This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/25/2021 at 02:25:44 (UTC).

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS MARVIN LINO VALDEZ

Case Summary

On 12/12/2018 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MARVIN LINO VALDEZ. 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 Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******4786

  • Filing Date:

    12/12/2018

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Defendant

VALDEZ MARVIN LINO

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

BENSON SUSAN M

Defendant Attorney

OBERRECHT KIMBERLY

 

Court Documents

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

7/14/2021: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF PROOF OF SERVICE

7/15/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF PROOF OF SERVICE

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

7/15/2021: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

Notice of Change of Firm Name - Notice of Change of Firm Name

11/18/2020: Notice of Change of Firm Name - Notice of Change of Firm Name

Notice of Settlement - Notice of Settlement

6/7/2021: Notice of Settlement - Notice of Settlement

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

10/26/2020: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF PROOF OF SERVICE

6/30/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF PROOF OF SERVICE

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition DEFENDANT MARVIN LINO VALDEZS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION AND ORDER DEEMING ADMITTED THE TRUTH OF MATTERS AND FOR SANCTIONS

6/30/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition DEFENDANT MARVIN LINO VALDEZS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION AND ORDER DEEMING ADMITTED THE TRUTH OF MATTERS AND FOR SANCTIONS

Answer - Answer

9/9/2019: Answer - Answer

Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

3/20/2020: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

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

4/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

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

5/11/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

6/6/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Summons - Summons on Complaint

12/12/2018: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

12/12/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Complaint - Complaint

12/12/2018: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

12/12/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

12/12/2018: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

16 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/20/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 09/14/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 07/20/2021

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information: As To Parties: removed

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketDeclaration OF PROOF OF SERVICE; Filed by: Marvin Lino Valdez (Defendant)

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on 12/12/2018, entered Request for Dismissal with prejudice filed by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company as to the entire action

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- SUSAN M BENSON (Attorney): Organization Name: Benson Legal, APC

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketAddress for SUSAN M BENSON (Attorney) null

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketAddress for SUSAN M BENSON (Attorney) null

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  • 06/07/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 09/14/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 06/07/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Notice of Settlement: Status Date changed from 06/07/2021 to 06/07/2021; As To Parties: removed

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30 More Docket Entries
  • 06/06/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Marvin Lino Valdez (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 06/03/2019; Service Cost: 75.50; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 02/04/2019
  • DocketCase reassigned to Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 94 - Hon. James E. Blancarte; Reason: Inventory Transfer

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  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/10/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 12/12/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Marvin Lino Valdez (Defendant)

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  • 12/12/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Marvin Lino Valdez (Defendant)

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  • 12/12/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Plaintiff); As to: Marvin Lino Valdez (Defendant)

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  • 12/12/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/12/2018
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC14786    Hearing Date: July 14, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED

(CCP § 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion for Order Deeming Admitted the Truth of Matters is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also granted against Defendant Valdez in the amount of $360.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of 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 June 30, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on July 6, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On December 12, 2018, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for subrogation against Marvin Lino Valdez (“Valdez”). On September 9, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer.

On March 20, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Order Deeming Admitted the Truth of Matters (the “Motion”). On June 30, 2020, Defendant filed an Opposition and on July 6, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Reply.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Requests for Admission

A party must respond to requests for admissions within 30 days after service of such requests. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).) “If a party to whom requests for admission are directed fails to serve a timely response…(a) [that party] waives any objection to the requests, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product…” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (a).) “The requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction under Chapter 7.” (Id. at subd. (b).) A motion dealing with the failure to respond, rather than with inadequate responses, does not require the requesting party to meet and confer with the responding party. (Deymer v. Costa Mesa Mobile Home Estates (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 393, 395, fn. 4 [disapproved on other grounds in Wilcox v. Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973]. There is no time limit within which a motion to have matters deemed admitted must be made. (Brigante v. Huang (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1569, 1585.)

Here, Plaintiff’s counsel served Defendant with Requests for Admissions, Set One, on October 31, 2019 by regular mail. (Mot., Taylor Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. 1.) After Plaintiff granted Defendant several extensions, Defendant served unverified responses on January 3, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 5-8.) Although not procedurally required, on January 30, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel’s office sent a letter regarding the lack of verifications for the discovery. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. 2.) Indeed, it is well-settled that “[u]nsworn responses are tantamount to no responses at all.” (Appleton v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 632, 636 (citing Zorro Inv. Co. v. Great Pacific Securities Corp. (1977) 69 Cal.App.3d 907, 914).)

In Opposition, Defendant’s counsel argues the Motion should be denied in its entirety because she told Plaintiff’s counsel she would provide verifications, but had difficulty locating Defendant to do so. (Oppo., p. 3: 3-8, 11-21.) She also argues the delay in providing verifications resulted from her failure to pursue more aggressive efforts to locate Defendant and her failure to keep Plaintiff’s counsel appraised of the status of her efforts. (Id.)

In Reply, Plaintiff concedes that Defendant’s counsel stated she would provide verified responses when Defendant was located but did not indicate how much time would be necessary. (Reply, p. 2:10-14, Taylor Decl., ¶¶ 3-4.) Indeed, as of July 6, 2020, Defendant has not yet provided any verifications. (Id. at p. 2:23-24; Taylor Decl., ¶ 13.)

Although the Court recognizes Defendant’s counsel has made diligent efforts to locate her client, including retaining the services of a private investigator, a party is statutorily required to respond to a Request for Admissions within 30 days after service of such requests. (Oppo., Lesure-Sopheak Decl., ¶ 10; Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).) As Defendant has not provided any verified responses, Plaintiff is entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admissions, Set One, admitted against Defendant. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

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).) Furthermore, it is “mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction…on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $660.00 in sanctions, which consists of two hours of attorney time billed at $300.00 per hour and one filing fee of $60.00. (Mot., Taylor Decl., ¶ 12.) Defendant’s counsel opposes the request for sanctions on the basis that Defendant has not attempted in any way to delay or thwart Plaintiff’s litigation efforts by intentionally failing to cooperate with discovery. (Oppo., p. 3:25-28.) However, Defendant’s counsel herself states that she made contact with Defendant on May 22, 2020, at which time Defendant agreed to execute and mail the discovery verifications to defense counsel. (Oppo., p. 2:22-25, Lesure-Sopheak Decl., ¶ 12-13.) After this conversation, Defendant’s counsel apparently lost contact with Defendant again without providing the verifications as promised. (Id. at p. 2:24-26; Lesure-Sophak Decl., ¶ 14.) For this reason, the Court finds Defendant’s failure to provide discovery responses for the Requests for Admission a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the Court is required to impose monetary sanctions pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subd. (c).

However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this motion. The Court finds $360.00, based on one hour attorney time and one filing fee, to be reasonable. Defendant Valdez is ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion for Order Deeming Admitted the Truth of Matters is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also granted against Defendant Valdez in the amount of $360.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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