This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/24/2020 at 02:20:34 (UTC).

TAULER SMITH LLP VS JOSEPH VALERIO, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 12/16/2019 TAULER SMITH LLP filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against JOSEPH VALERIO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is SERENA R. MURILLO. The case status is Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1426

  • Filing Date:

    12/16/2019

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

TAULER SMITH LLP

Defendants

CTRLR LLC

VALERIO JOSEPH W.

THE SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

SONG SAMUEL

VIGO FLORA

KO JOSHUA

GAW RANDOLPH

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

TAULER ROBERT

 

Court Documents

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

9/8/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

8/31/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

9/1/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Randolph Gaw In Opposition to Motion to Compel Depositions

8/14/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Randolph Gaw In Opposition to Motion to Compel Depositions

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application To Quash Doe Amendments; Hear...)

7/8/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application To Quash Doe Amendments; Hear...)

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

7/6/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone - Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone

7/6/2020: Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone - Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone

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

7/6/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Randolph Gaw

7/6/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Randolph Gaw

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/3/2020: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

6/29/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

6/29/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

6/29/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/28/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Mark Poe

4/10/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Mark Poe

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Joseph W. Valerio

4/10/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Joseph W. Valerio

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

3/27/2020: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

12/16/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

31 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Tauler Smith LLP on 12/16/2019, entered Request for Dismissal without prejudice filed by Tauler Smith LLP as to the entire action

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketAddress for Robert Tauler (Attorney) null

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/22/2020

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/19/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/22/2020

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Responses to First Set of Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, Special Interrogatories and Form Interrogatories to Defendants scheduled for 09/22/2020 at 02:00 PM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/22/2020

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  • 09/10/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Responses to First Set of Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, Special Interrogatories and Form Interrogatories to Defendants scheduled for 09/22/2020 at 02:00 PM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/10/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order)

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  • 09/10/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 09/10/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/10/2020
  • DocketReset - Court Unavailable, Hearing on Motion to Compel Responses to First Set of Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, Special Interrogatories and Form Interrogatories to Defendants scheduled for 09/22/2020 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 09/22/2020 02:00 PM

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  • 09/08/2020
  • DocketOpposition to Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by: Joseph W. Valerio (Defendant); CTRLR, LLC (Defendant)

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46 More Docket Entries
  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketThe case is placed in special status of: Stay - Removal to Federal Court

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  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketNotice of Removal to Federal Court; Filed by: Joseph W. Valerio (Defendant); CTRLR, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/19/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Tauler Smith LLP (Plaintiff); As to: Joseph W. Valerio (Defendant); CTRLR, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Tauler Smith LLP (Plaintiff); As to: Joseph W. Valerio (Defendant); CTRLR, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Tauler Smith LLP (Plaintiff); As to: Joseph W. Valerio (Defendant); CTRLR, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/16/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC11426    Hearing Date: September 22, 2020    Dept: 26

Tauler Smith, LLP v. Valerio, et al.MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION, REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION, SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND FORM INTERROGATORIES; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2033.290, 2030.300, 2031.310)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Tauler Smith LLP’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, Special Interrogatories and Form Interrogatories; Request for Sanctions is DENIED. SANCTIONS OF $1,060.00, AWARDED JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY AGAINST PLAINTIFF AND COUNSEL OF RECORD, ARE TO BE PAID TO DEFENSE COUNSEL WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On December 16, 2019, Plaintiff Tauler Smith, LLP (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Joseph Valerio and CTRLR, LLC (“Defendants”) for (1) violation of the Computer Fraud And Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030; (2) Fraud; and (3) Intentional Interference With Business Relations.

On January 16, 2020, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal to Federal Court. The case was remanded on March 11, 2020. On March 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Motion to Reclassify the Action to a Court of Unlimited Jurisdiction. On June 3, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Admission, Requests for Production of Documents, Form Interrogatories and Special Interrogatories; Request for Sanctions.

On August 31, 2020, the Court denied the Motion to Reclassify. Defendants filed an opposition to the Motion to Compel Further on September 8, 2020.

Discussion

Notice of the motion to compel further must be given “within 45 days of service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or any specific later date to which the requesting party and the responding party have agreed in writing,” otherwise, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (c).) Here, Defendants’ initial responses were served by mail on April 28 and 29, 2020. (Motion, Tauler Decl., Exhs. B-I.) The Notice of Motion and Motion to Compel Further Responses were timely served on June 3, 2020. (Motion, POS.)

The motion must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (b).) Plaintiff’s counsel declares he sent a meet and confer letter on May 13, 2020, to which defense counsel responded that supplemental responses would not be provided. (Motion, Tauler Decl., ¶12.) A copy of the meet and confer letter is not attached to the Motion. In opposition, Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s counsel did not meet and confer in good faith. Despite defense counsel proposing a telephonic meet and confer, Plaintiff’s counsel apparently missed the scheduled call and made no effort to speak on the phone again. (Opp., Gaw Decl., ¶¶2-4 and Exh. A.) In fact, Plaintiff’s counsel’s final meet and confer email on May 19, 2020 cut off further discussion regarding the discovery. (Id. at Exh. B.) In light of this evidence, to which Plaintiff has not replied, the Court is not inclined to find that the meet and confer requirement is satisfied.

Third, Cal. Rules of Court Rule 3.1345 requires all motions or responses involving further discovery to attach a separate statement with the text of each request, the response, and a statement of factual and legal reasons for compelling further responses. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345, subd. (a).) No separate statement was filed in connection with the Motion to Compel Further Responses.

Next, the court addresses the fact that Plaintiff has filed a single discovery motion to compel further responses with respect to eight separate sets of discovery (four sets of discovery as to two Defendants). Yet Plaintiff has only paid a single filing fee. Filing the motions as a single motion negatively impacts the court’s calendar by placing more motions on the calendar than slots have been provided by the online reservation system. Furthermore, it allows the party to avoid paying the requisite filing fees. Statutorily required filing fees are jurisdictional and “it is mandatory for the court clerks to demand and receive statutorily required filing fees.” (See Duran v. St. Luke’s Hospital (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 457, 460.) Plaintiff, therefore, should have paid an additional seven motion filing fees in order to bring this Motion before the Court.

Finally, the Court addresses the substance of the instant Motion to Compel Further Responses and Request for Sanctions. Defendants objected to numerous discovery requests because more discovery requests were served than are permitted in a court of limited jurisdiction under Code of Civil Procedure section 94 (35 written requests). Plaintiff’s Motion is brought on the grounds that this objection is without merit because this action will be reclassified and there is no limit on the number of discovery requests in an unlimited jurisdiction court. (Motion, Notice, p. 1.) The Motion to Reclassify, however, was denied and Plaintiff has not sought leave to serve additional discovery. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 95.) Defendants’ objections are valid and Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further Responses is without merit.

Defendants are entitled to monetary sanctions under Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.300, 2031.310, 2033.290 and 2023.010, et seq. The numerous procedural defects in Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further and Request for Sanctions demonstrate that it was not brought with substantial justification. Based on a lodestar calculation, Defendants are awarded sanctions of $1,060.00 based on two hours of attorney time billed at $500.00 per hour. (Opp., Gaw Decl., ¶¶5-10.)

Conclusion

Plaintiff Tauler Smith LLP’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, Special Interrogatories and Form Interrogatories; Request for Sanctions is DENIED. SANCTIONS OF $1,060.00, AWARDED JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY AGAINST PLAINTIFF AND COUNSEL OF RECORD, ARE TO BE PAID TO DEFENSE COUNSEL WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

Moving party to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC11426    Hearing Date: August 31, 2020    Dept: 26

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Tauler Smith, LLP’s Motion to Reclassify Action as Unlimited is CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 2, 2020 AT 9 AM IN DEPARTMENT 26 IN THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

ANALYSIS:

On December 16, 2019, Plaintiff Tauler Smith, LLP (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Joseph Valerio and CTRLR, LLC (“Defendants”) for Computer Fraud And Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030; (2) Fraud; and (3) Intentional Interference With Business Relations.

On January 16, 2020, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal to Federal Court. The case was remanded on March 11, 2020.

On March 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Motion to Reclassify the Action to a Court of Unlimited Jurisdiction. On August 14, 2020, Defendants filed an opposition to the Motion to Reclassify.

Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (CCP § 403.040(a).) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (CCP § 403.040(b).) In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

Discussion

Whether due to inadvertence, error, or otherwise, no memorandum of points and authorities, nor any supporting declaration was filed with the Notice of Motion to Reclassify. Therefore, the Court cannot make a ruling on the Motion to Reclassify at this time.

The hearing on the Motion to Reclassify is CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 2, 2020 AT 9 AM IN DEPARTMENT 26 IN THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. AT LEAST 16 COURT DAYS PRIOR TO THE CONTINUED HEARING DATE, PLAINTIFF IS TO FILE AND SERVE SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS ADDRESSING THE DEFECTS NOTED ABOVE. FAILURE TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN THE MOTION TO RECLASSIFY BEING PLACED OFF CALENDAR OR DENIED.

THE HEARING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IS CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 9, 2020 AT 9 AM IN DEPARTMENT 26 IN THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving party to give notice.