This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/22/2021 at 00:37:08 (UTC).

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS SHAWN SCOTT, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 12/20/2019 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against SHAWN SCOTT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Disposed - Other Disposed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1616

  • Filing Date:

    12/20/2019

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Other Disposed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Defendants

SCOTT SHAWN

STEWART JERMAINE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SCHOECK MICHAEL D.

Defendant Attorney

NORTON GEOFFREY P

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings)

10/19/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings) of 10/19/2021

10/19/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings) of 10/19/2021

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; DECLARATION OF ROBERT P. MITRO VI CH

10/5/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; DECLARATION OF ROBERT P. MITRO VI CH

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

10/12/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Reply (name extension) - Reply TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

10/12/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/15/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

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

1/15/2021: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF BREANNE L REESE ESQ ISO MOTION TO DEEM RFA'S ADMITTED

1/15/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF BREANNE L REESE ESQ ISO MOTION TO DEEM RFA'S ADMITTED

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

1/15/2021: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant Jermaine Stew Art's Oppos Ition to Plaintiff's Motion To Deem Requests for Admissions Admitted

2/24/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant Jermaine Stew Art's Oppos Ition to Plaintiff's Motion To Deem Requests for Admissions Admitted

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

3/2/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Reply (name extension) - Reply TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DEEM RFA'S ADMITTED

3/2/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DEEM RFA'S ADMITTED

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

3/9/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

3/22/2021: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

4/6/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

4/6/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order [PROPOSED] ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTIONDISCOVERY DATES] 19STLC1 1616 PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY (CEN

6/3/2021: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order [PROPOSED] ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTIONDISCOVERY DATES] 19STLC1 1616 PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY (CEN

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF JAMES E DELANEY ESQ ISO MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

6/17/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF JAMES E DELANEY ESQ ISO MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

19 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/16/2021
  • Hearing11/16/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Appearance Case Review

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketNon-Appearance Case Review Re: Filing of Proposed Judgment scheduled for 11/16/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings)

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings) of 10/19/2021; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings scheduled for 10/19/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 10/19/2021; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 01/13/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 10/19/2021

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  • 10/19/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/23/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 10/19/2021

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  • 10/12/2021
  • DocketReply TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/12/2021
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: SHAWN SCOTT (Defendant); JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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  • 10/05/2021
  • DocketOpposition TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; DECLARATION OF ROBERT P. MITRO VI CH; Filed by: JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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25 More Docket Entries
  • 01/31/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 01/27/2020; Service Cost: 79.50; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 12/23/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/18/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/23/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/23/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/23/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: SHAWN SCOTT (Defendant); JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: SHAWN SCOTT (Defendant); JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketDeclaration DECLARATION OF VENUE; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: SHAWN SCOTT (Defendant); JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: SHAWN SCOTT (Defendant); JERMAINE STEWART (Defendant)

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/20/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

b"

Case Number: 19STLC11616 Hearing Date: October 19, 2021 Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION\r\nFOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff\r\nState Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

\r\n\r\n

RESP. PARTY: Defendant Jermaine Stewart

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

\r\n\r\n

(CCP § 438, et seq.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

TENTATIVE RULING:

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile\r\nInsurance Company’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is GRANTED.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

SERVICE: \r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

[X]\r\nProof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

\r\n\r\n

[X]\r\nCorrect Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

\r\n\r\n

[X]\r\n16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

OPPOSITION: Filed on October 5, 2021 [ ] Late [ ]\r\nNone

\r\n\r\n

REPLY: Filed on\r\nOctober 12, 2021 [ ] Late [ ]\r\nNone

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

ANALYSIS:

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

I. \r\nBackground\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

On December 20, 2019, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual\r\nAutomobile Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendants\r\nShawn Scott (“Scott”) and Jermaine Stewart (“Stewart”) (collectively,\r\n“Defendants”). Defendant Stewart filed an Answer on March 17, 2020.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff filed a motion to deem Requests for Admission\r\nadmitted as to Defendant Stewart on January 15, 2021, which the Court granted\r\non March 9. (3/9/21 Minute Order.) Defendant Stewart was also ordered to pay\r\nsanctions of $460.00 within thirty days of notice of that order. (Id.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Following Defendant Scott’s failure to respond to the\r\nComplaint, default was entered against him on March 22.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Judgment on the\r\nPleadings (the “Motion”) on June 17. Defendant Stewart filed an opposition on\r\nOctober 5 and Plaintiff filed a reply brief on October 12.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

II. \r\nRequest\r\nfor Judicial Notice

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff requests judicial notice of (1) Defendant\r\nStewart’s Answer to the Complaint, (2) Plaintiff’s motion to deem Requests for\r\nAdmission admitted against Defendant Stewart, and (3) the Court’s March 9\r\nMinute Order granting Plaintiff’s Motion to deem Requests for Admission\r\nadmitted. (Mot., RJN, Exhs. A-C.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff’s request is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd.\r\n(d).)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

III. \r\nLegal\r\nStandard

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

The standard for ruling on a motion\r\nfor judgment on the pleadings is essentially the same as that applicable to a\r\ngeneral demurrer, that is, under the state of the pleadings, together with\r\nmatters that may be judicially noticed, it appears that a party is entitled to\r\njudgment as a matter of law. (Bezirdjian v. O'Reilly (2010) 183\r\nCal.App.4th 316, 321-322, citing Schabarum\r\nv. California Legislature (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1205, 1216.) Matters which are subject to mandatory\r\njudicial notice may be treated as part of the complaint and may be considered\r\nwithout notice to the parties. Matters which are subject to permissive judicial\r\nnotice must be specified in the notice of motion, the supporting points and\r\nauthorities, or as the court otherwise permits. (Id.) The motion may not be\r\nsupported by extrinsic evidence. (Barker\r\nv. Hull (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 221, 236.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

When the moving party is a plaintiff,\r\nhe or she must demonstrate that the complaint states sufficient facts to\r\nconstitute a cause of action against the defendant and that the answer does not\r\nstate sufficient facts to constitute a defense to the complaint. (Code Civ.\r\nProc., § 438, subd. (c)(1)(A)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

When the moving party is a defendant,\r\nhe must demonstrate either of the following exist:

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

(i) \r\nThe court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action\r\nalleged in the complaint.

\r\n\r\n

(ii) The complaint does not state\r\nfacts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against that defendant. (Code Civ. Proc., § 438, subd.\r\n(c)(1)(B)(i)-(ii).)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Additionally, a motion for judgment on\r\nthe pleadings must be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration\r\ndemonstrating an attempt to meet and confer in person or by telephone, at least\r\nfive days before the date a motion for judgment on the pleadings is filed.\r\n(Code Civ. Proc., § 439.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

IV. \r\nDiscussion\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

A. Meet and Confer

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff’s counsel submitted a declaration stating that\r\non May 25, 2021, his office served a meet and confer letter on Defendant\r\nStewart’s counsel pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 439. (Mot.,\r\nDelaney Decl., p. 1, Exh. A.) The meet and confer letter discusses the\r\npossibility of a motion for judgment on the pleadings and the legal bases for\r\nthat motion. (Id.) Plaintiff’s counsel also requested that Defendant\r\nStewart’s counsel respond to the meet and confer letter so that they may\r\nfurther discuss a settlement or the Motion. (Id.) Defendant Stewart’s counsel\r\ndid not respond. (Id. at p. 2.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

In opposition, Defendant Stewart argues that Plaintiff’s\r\ncounsel’s meet and confer efforts were insufficient because he was required to\r\nmeet and confer in person or by telephone, not via written letter. (Oppo., pp. 2-3.) On this basis, Defendant\r\nStewart argues the Motion should be denied. (Id.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

However, a determination that the meet and confer process\r\nis insufficient does not constitute grounds to grant or deny a motion for\r\njudgment on the pleadings. (Code Civ. Proc., § 439, subd. (a)(4).)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Thus, the Court finds Plaintiff substantially complied\r\nwith the meet and confer requirement. Notably, despite being served with the\r\nmeet and confer correspondence in May, Defendant Stewart’s counsel did not\r\nrespond to Plaintiff’s counsel’s meet and confer invitation.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

The Court proceeds to make a ruling on the merits.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

B. Merits

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff, an insurer, asserts a single cause of action\r\nseeking to recover damages of $12,438.32 arising from an alleged motor vehicle\r\naccident that occurred on or about April 8, 2019 between Plaintiff’s insured,\r\nMykola Netreba, and Defendant Scott as the driver of the vehicle involved.\r\n(Compl., pp. 1-3.) Plaintiff alleges Defendant Stewart was the registered owner\r\nof the vehicle that was involved in the accident with Plaintiff’s insured and\r\nthat Defendant Scott was driving the vehicle with the express or implied\r\npermission of Defendant Stewart. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges it investigated\r\nits insured’s claim, determined the claim was covered, and paid its insured\r\n$12,438.32 for the loss. (Id.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

There are\r\neight elements of an insurer's cause of action for\r\nequitable subrogation: [1]\r\nthe insured suffered a\r\nloss for which the defendant is liable, either as the wrongdoer whose act or omission caused the loss or because the defendant is legally responsible to the insured for the loss caused by the wrongdoer;\r\n[2] the claimed loss was one for\r\nwhich the insurer was not primarily liable; [3] the insurer\r\nhas compensated the insured in whole or in part for the same loss for which the\r\ndefendant is primarily liable; [4] the insurer has paid the claim of its\r\ninsured to protect its own interest and not as a volunteer; [5] the insured has\r\nan existing, assignable cause of action against the defendant which the insured\r\ncould have asserted for its own benefit had it not been compensated for its\r\nloss by the insurer; [6] the insurer has suffered damages caused by the act or\r\nomission upon which the liability of the defendant depends; [7] justice\r\nrequires that the loss be entirely shifted from the insurer to the defendant,\r\nwhose equitable position is inferior to that of the insurer; and [8] the\r\ninsurer's damages are in a liquidated sum, generally the amount paid to the\r\ninsured.’ (Pulte Home Corporation v. CBR Electric, Inc. (2020)\r\n50 Cal.App.5th 216, 229.) (Italics in original.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

The Requests for Admission deemed\r\nadmitted against Defendant Stewart contradict the general denial in Defendant’s\r\nAnswer. Specifically, the admissions admit (1) that Defendant Stewart was the\r\nregistered owner of the vehicle driven by Defendant Scott on April 8, 2019, the\r\ndate of the accident; (2) that Defendant Scott was driving the vehicle with\r\nDefendant Stewart’s permission; (3) that Defendant Stewart failed to exercise\r\nreasonable care by permitting Defendant Scott to drive the vehicle; (4) that\r\nDefendant Stewart’s failure to exercise reasonable care in permitting Defendant\r\nScott to drive the vehicle was a substantial factor in causing the subject\r\naccident; (5) that the subject accident caused Plaintiff’s insured to incur\r\ndamages; (6) that Plaintiff’s insured incurred damages of $12,438.32; (7) that\r\nPlaintiff was the insurer and paid its insured for their losses arising from\r\nthe subject accident; and (8) that the affirmative defenses asserted lack merit\r\nand evidentiary support. (Mot., RJN, Exh. B; 3/9/21 Minute Order.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Plaintiff has demonstrated that its\r\nComplaint properly pleads a subrogation cause of action and that Defendant\r\nStewart’s admissions establish the facts upon which Plaintiff bases its\r\nComplaint. The admissions further establish that Defendant Stewart does not\r\nhave a defense to this action.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

In opposition, Defendant Stewart’s\r\ncounsel argues that the failure to serve a timely response to the Requests for\r\nAdmission deemed admitted on March 9 was due to excusable neglect. (Mot., pp.\r\n3-4, Mitrovich Decl., ¶¶ 2-4.) Specifically, Defendant’s counsel states\r\nDefendant Stewart has not been located since 2019 despite numerous attempts and\r\nthe engagement of a private investigator. (Id.) Defendant Stewart’s\r\ncounsel argues Defendant Stewart should not be responsible for failing to\r\nrespond to discovery he may never have received. (Id.) On that basis,\r\nDefendant’s counsel requests that this Motion either be denied or be stayed so\r\nthat Defendant Stewart can be located and respond to the Requests for\r\nAdmission. (Id.) However, the Requests for Admission have already been\r\ndeemed admitted, so Defendant Stewart cannot now respond to them. In addition,\r\nDefendant Stewart may not avoid his discovery responsibilities by simply\r\nfailing to respond to his attorney and disappearing. Defendant Stewart appears\r\nto have abandoned this litigation since 2019 when he stopped communicating with\r\nhis attorney. The Court finds no good reason to continue or stay this Motion.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Based on\r\nall the above, the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is GRANTED.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

V. \r\nConclusion\r\n& Order

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff\r\nState Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion for Judgment on the\r\nPleadings is GRANTED.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Moving party is ordered to give\r\nnotice.

"

Case Number: 19STLC11616    Hearing Date: March 9, 2021    Dept: 25

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

CASE NAME: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Scott

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC11616 COMPL. FILED: 12-20-19

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 05-19-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 06-03-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-18-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

RESP. PARTY: Defendant Jermaine Stewart

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted against Defendant Jermaine Stewart GRANTED. Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED. Defendant Jermaine Stewart only is ordered to pay Plaintiff’s counsel sanctions of $460.00 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 February 24, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

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

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On December 20, 2019, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendants Shawn Scott (“Scott”) and Jermaine Stewart (“Stewart”). Defendant Stewart filed an Answer on March 17, 2020.

On January 15, 2021, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted (the “Motion”). Defendant Stewart filed an Opposition on January 15, 2021 and Plaintiff filed a Reply on March 2, 2021.

  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.)

Plaintiff served Defendant Stewart with Requests for Admission, Set One, via e-mail on July 1, 2020. (Mot., Reese Decl., pp. 1-2, Exh. A.) Although not required, Plaintiff’s counsel sent Defendant’s counsel a meet and confer letter regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Id., Exh. B.) Defendant Stewart did not provide any responses. (Id. at p.)

In Opposition, Defendant Stewart’s counsel states that he provided Defendant the discovery on July 21, 2020 via email. (Oppo., Mitrovich Decl., ¶ 2., Exh. 1.) Counsel also states he sent Defendant a letter via certified mail on September 16, 2020 regarding the discovery, urging Defendant to contact counsel and provide responses to the discovery. (Id., ¶ 3, Exh. 2.) Counsel sent another letter via certified mail on January 27, 2021, again urging Defendant to contact counsel and provide responses to the overdue discovery. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. 3.)

Defendant’s counsel argues that because they discovered the address at which counsel had sent the discovery requests was not Defendant’s current address, that Defendant should not be held responsible for failing to respond to discovery he never received, and that the Court should grant a 90-day continuance to allow Defense counsel to continue searching for Defendant. (Id., p. 2:12-27.) The Court is unpersuaded. Defendant counsel’s evidence demonstrates counsel’s office sent Defendant Stewart copies of the discovery requests via email on July 21, 2020. (Id., Mitrovich Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. 1.) Thus, Defendant Stewart had notice of the pending discovery requests. (See id.) Defense counsel presents no valid reason for Defendant’s failure to respond to this email.

Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admissions, Sets One, admitted against Defendant Stewart. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

B. Request for 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).)

The Court finds Defendant Stewart’s failure to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the Court is required to impose a monetary sanction on Defendant Stewart for his failure to respond to the Requests for Admission under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subdivision (c).

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $460.00, based on two hours of attorney time and one filing fee of $60.00. (Mot., Reese Decl., p. 2.) The Court finds Plaintiff’s request reasonable. Sanctions are to be paid by Defendant Stewart only to Plaintiff’s counsel 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 to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted against Defendant Jermaine Stewart GRANTED. Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED. Defendant Jermaine Stewart only is ordered to pay Plaintiff’s counsel sanctions of $460.00 within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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