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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/18/2021 at 11:01:46 (UTC).

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS ARMANDO GONZALES, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 04/04/2018 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Contract - Insurance lawsuit against ARMANDO GONZALES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5249

  • Filing Date:

    04/04/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Insurance

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

GONZALES ARMANDO

NATIONAL RETAIL TRANSPORTATION INC.

Cross Defendant

BRAND CLIFTON

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorney

MAHFOUZ RICHARD LOUIS II

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

MARR JESSE DUNCAN

 

Court Documents

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Richard L. Mahfouz re Proof of Service

4/2/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Richard L. Mahfouz re Proof of Service

Notice (name extension) - Notice of OSC re Dismissal

4/8/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of OSC re Dismissal

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

7/20/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 07/20/2020

7/20/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 07/20/2020

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

3/19/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Order (name extension) - Order Ex Parte

9/17/2019: Order (name extension) - Order Ex Parte

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application re Continuing Trial)

9/17/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application re Continuing Trial)

Ex Parte Application (name extension) - Ex Parte Application re Continuing Trial

9/12/2019: Ex Parte Application (name extension) - Ex Parte Application re Continuing Trial

Answer - Answer

7/22/2019: Answer - Answer

Complaint

4/4/2018: Complaint

Summons - on Cross Complaint

6/1/2018: Summons - on Cross Complaint

Proof of Personal Service

5/4/2018: Proof of Personal Service

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

4/4/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

28 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/01/2021
  • Hearing09/01/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 06/03/2021
  • Hearing06/03/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 04/08/2021
  • DocketNotice of OSC re Dismissal; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Armando Gonzales (Defendant); Armando Gonzalez Erroneously Sued As National Retail Transportation, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 04/07/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 09/01/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 04/07/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service)

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  • 04/07/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 04/07/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 04/07/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 04/05/2021
  • DocketDeclaration OF RICHARD L. MAHFOUZ, II; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/02/2021
  • DocketDeclaration of Richard L. Mahfouz re Proof of Service; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/08/2021
  • DocketPursuant to the request of moving party, Hearing on Motion to Compel Deposition scheduled for 03/09/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party on 03/08/2021

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  • 03/02/2021
  • DocketOpposition PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF CROSS-DEFENDANT CLIFTON BLAND AND DEFENDANTS REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS; Filed by: Clifton Brand (Cross-Defendant)

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39 More Docket Entries
  • 06/01/2018
  • DocketSummons on Cross Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 06/01/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Armando Gonzales (Defendant); National Retail Transportation, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 05/04/2018
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: National Retail Transportation, Inc. (Defendant); Service Date: 04/12/18; Service Cost: 135.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Armando Gonzales (Defendant); National Retail Transportation, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 77 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/02/2019 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 77

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  • 04/04/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 04/07/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 77

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC05249    Hearing Date: March 9, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., March 9, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Gonzales, et al.

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC05249 COMP. FILED: 04-04-18

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 05-04-21

MOTION C/O: 05-19-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-03-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL THE DEPOSITION OF CLIFTON BLAND AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant/Cross-Complainant National Retail Transportation, Inc.

RESP. PARTY: Cross-Defendant Clifton Bland

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant/Cross-Complainant National Retail Transportation, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Deposition is GRANTED. Cross-Defendant Clifton Bland is ordered to appear for deposition at a place and time to be noticed by National Retail. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. Furthermore, Cross-Defendant is ordered to pay sanctions of $834.60 within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: Filed on March 2, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: None filed as of March 5, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On April 4, 2018, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Armando Gonzales (“Gonzales”) and National Retail Transportation, Inc. (“National Retail”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendants filed an Answer on June 1, 2018. That same day, Defendant National Retail filed a Cross-Complaint against Clifton Bland (“Bland”). Cross-Defendant Bland filed an Answer to the Cross-Complaint on July 22, 2019.

On February 10, 2021, Defendant/Cross-Complainant National Retail filed the instant Motion to Compel the Deposition of Clifton Bland and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Cross-Defendant Bland filed an Opposition to the Motion on March 2. No reply brief was filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450, section (a) provides:

“If, after service of a deposition notice, a party to the action or an officer, director, managing agent, or employee of a party, or a person designated by an organization that is a party under Section 2025.230, without having served a valid objection under Section 2025.410, fails to appear for examination, or to proceed with it, or to produce for inspection any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice, the party giving the notice may move for an order compelling the deponent’s attendance and testimony, and the production for inspection of any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice.”

(Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (a).)

The motion must “be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040, or, when the deponent fails to attend the deposition…by a declaration stating that the petitioner has contacted the deponent to inquire about the nonappearance.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (2).) (Emphasis added.) A court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).) (Emphasis added.)

  1. Discussion

A. Deposition

National Retail’s counsel provides his declaration stating that in or about July 2020, he requested dates Cross-Defendant Bland would be available for deposition from his attorney. (Mot., Marr Decl., ¶ 2.) At sometime afterward, Cross-Defendant Bland’s attorney represented to National Retail’s counsel they were unable to locate their client. (Id. at ¶ 3.) On October 1, 2020, National Retail’s counsel electronically served a Notice of Remote Videotaped Deposition set for October 19, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. (Id., Exh. 1.) Cross-Defendant Bland did not appear for deposition and National Retail took a certificate of non-appearance. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. 2.) On December 31, 2020, National Retail’s counsel sent Cross-Defendant’s counsel an email proposing three new dates for Cross-Defendant’s deposition. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. 3.) Cross-Defendant’s counsel responded that same day, stating: “We are speaking with our client and I will let you know by the middle of next week. Thank you for your patience and have a great holiday.” (Id.) Cross-Defendant’s counsel did not further respond. (Id.)

In Opposition, Cross-Defendant argues that National Retail’s counsel did not sufficiently meet and confer before filing this Motion. (Oppo., p. 2:2-4.) However, a meet and confer is not required when the party to be deposed entirely fails to appear. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (b)(2).) When a party fails to appear, all that is required is that the moving party contact the deponent to inquire about the non-appearance. (Id.) Here, Cross-Defendant’s counsel informed National Retail’s counsel that Cross-Defendant Bland would not appear because he could not be located on October 16, 2020, the Friday afternoon before the October 19, Monday morning deposition. (Oppo., Exh. A.) Even if a meet and confer declaration was required, Cross-Defendant’s counsel does not explain why they did not respond to National Retail’s December 31, 2020 email offering three alternative dates for Cross-Defendant’s deposition.

Thus, National Retail has demonstrated it is entitled to an order compelling Cross-Defendant Bland to appear for deposition. Cross-Defendant Bland is ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date to be noticed by National Retail. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310.

B. Sanctions

Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subdivision (a) provides, in pertinent part, that the court may impose a monetary sanction on a party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. A misuse of the discovery process includes failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).) In addition, a court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel a deposition is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).)

The Court finds Cross-Defendant’s failure to appear at the October 19, 2020 deposition a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the imposition of sanctions is mandatory under Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450.

National Retail seeks sanctions of $1,169.60 based on 3 hours of attorney time billed at $275.00 per hour, a reservation fee of $61.60, a filing fee of $60.00, a remote appearance fee of $23.00, and a court reporter fee of $200.00. (Mot., Marr Decl., ¶¶ 6-9.) In Opposition, Cross-Defendant’s counsel argues National Retail is not entitled to the court reporter fee because his counsel gave notice via email that Cross-Defendant could not be located. (Oppo., p. 4:1-8, Exh. A.) However, the email does not demonstrate that Cross-Defendant’s counsel requested that the deposition be rescheduled. (Id.) Indeed, Cross-Defendant’s counsel requested the remote link for the Monday, October 19, 2020 deposition the Friday afternoon before. (Id.) Only after National Retail’s counsel inquired whether Cross-Defendant would be appearing did Cross-Defendant’s counsel state he could not be located. (Id.) Even then, Cross-Defendant did not request that the deposition be rescheduled or cancelled. (Id.) Cross-Defendant’s counsel only responded, “I have not had contact with the insured.” (Id.) Thus, it appears that Cross-Defendant’s counsel acquiesced to the October 19, 2020 deposition going forward.

In any case, the Court finds National Retail’s request excessive given the relative simplicity of this Motion and the lack of reply. The Court finds $834.60, based on 2 hours of attorney time, one filing fee, one remote appearance fee, and the $200.00 court reporter fee, to be reasonable. Cross-Defendant Bland is ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant/Cross-Complainant National Retail Transportation, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Deposition is GRANTED. Cross-Defendant Clifton Bland is ordered to appear for deposition at a place and time to be noticed by National Retail. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. Furthermore, Cross-Defendant is ordered to pay sanctions of $834.60 within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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