This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/30/2019 at 00:11:30 (UTC).

CECILE JONES VS CITY OF GARDENA ET AL

Case Summary

On 11/18/2015 CECILE JONES filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CITY OF GARDENA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DEIRDRE HILL and STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1609

  • Filing Date:

    11/18/2015

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DEIRDRE HILL

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

JONES CECILE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 100

GARDENA CITY OF

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OF

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

B & D LAW GROUP APLC

GEOULLA DANIEL DANNY

Defendant Attorney

DUMONT LOUIS R. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

1/23/2018: Minute Order

Amended Complaint

2/9/2018: Amended Complaint

Motion to Quash

6/11/2018: Motion to Quash

ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES]PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY

7/25/2018: ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES]PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY

Opposition

8/29/2018: Opposition

Minute Order

9/6/2018: Minute Order

CIVIL DEPOSIT

9/14/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

Order

11/15/2018: Order

Notice of Case Management Conference

12/12/2018: Notice of Case Management Conference

Notice

1/4/2019: Notice

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

2/26/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES' CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR 1. IMPLIED EQUITABLE INDEMNITY 2. APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT 3. DECLARATORY RELIEF

7/10/2017: COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES' CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR 1. IMPLIED EQUITABLE INDEMNITY 2. APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT 3. DECLARATORY RELIEF

Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

7/11/2017: Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

Notice of Ruling

8/22/2017: Notice of Ruling

Demurrer

10/3/2017: Demurrer

Opposition

10/19/2017: Opposition

Notice of Ruling

11/2/2017: Notice of Ruling

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike

12/20/2017: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike

43 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/01/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Gardena, City of (Defendant)

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  • 02/26/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Quash (,) - Held

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  • 02/26/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Quash ,)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/26/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/25/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 02/22/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 02/20/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/19/2019
  • at 11:00 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 02/06/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/17/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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106 More Docket Entries
  • 07/10/2017
  • SUMMONS CROSS-COMPLAINT

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  • 05/18/2017
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 97; (Trial; Advanced to a Previous Date) -

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  • 05/18/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-05-18 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2017
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 97; Final Status Conference (Final Status Conference; Off Calendar) -

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  • 05/03/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-05-03 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2017
  • Minute Order

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  • 04/06/2017
  • Summons

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  • 04/06/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Cecile Jones (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/18/2015
  • Complaint; Filed by Cecile Jones (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/18/2015
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC601609    Hearing Date: July 16, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of¿California

County¿of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

¿

CECILE JONES,

¿

¿

¿

Plaintiff,

¿

Case No.:

¿

¿

BC601609

¿

vs.

¿

¿

[Tentative] RULING

¿

¿

CITY OF GARDENA, et al.,

¿

¿

¿

Defendants.

¿

¿

¿

¿

¿

¿

¿

Hearing Date:¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿July 14, 2020

¿

Moving Parties:¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Defendant City of Gardena

Responding Party:¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Plaintiff Cecile Jones

Motion to Set Reasonable Expert Fees for Plaintiff’s Billing Expert Andrew S. Morris

¿

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

RULING

The court held a hearing on July 14, 2020 and continued the matter to July 16, 2020 to encouragee

BACKGROUND

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿On November 18, 2015, plaintiff Cecile Jones filed a complaint against City of Gardena and County of Los Angeles for premises liability and negligence based on a trip and fall on January 17, 2015.

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿On July 10, 2017, County of Los Angeles filed a cross-complaint for implied equitable indemnity, apportionment of fault, and declaratory relief.¿

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿On November 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a FAC.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Under CCP §2034.470, “(a) If a party desiring to take the deposition of an expert witness under this article deems that the hourly or daily fee of that expert for providing deposition testimony is unreasonable, that party may move for an order setting the compensation of that expert.¿¿Notice of this motion shall also be given to the expert.¿

(b) In any attempt at an informal resolution under Section 2016.040, either the party or the expert shall provide the other with all of the following:¿¿(1) Proof of the ordinary and customary fee actually charged and received by that expert for similar services provided outside the subject litigation.¿¿(2) The total number of times the presently demanded fee has ever been charged and received by that expert.¿¿(3) The frequency and regularity with which the presently demanded fee has been charged and received by that expert within the two-year period preceding the hearing on the motion.

(c) In addition to any other facts or evidence, the expert or the party designating the expert shall provide, and the court’s determination as to the reasonableness of the fee shall be based on, proof the ordinary and customary fee actually charged

(d) . . . [T]he expert or the party designating the expert shall also provide, and the court’s determination as to the reasonableness of the fee shall also be based on, both of the following:¿¿(1) The total number of times the presently demanded fee has ever been charged and received by that expert.¿¿(2) The frequency and regularity with which the presently demanded fee has been charged and received by that expert within the two-year period preceding the hearing on the motion.¿

(e) The court may also consider the ordinary and customary fees charged by similar experts for similar services within the relevant community and any other factors the court deems necessary or appropriate to make its determination.

(f) Upon a determination that the fee demanded by that expert is unreasonable, and based upon the evidence and factors considered, the court shall set the fee of the expert providing testimony.”¿

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿“[A]n expert witness’s ‘customary’ fee is not necessarily the ‘reasonable’ fee a deposing party must pay for deposing another party’s expert witness.”¿¿Marsh v. Mountain Zephyr, Inc.¿(1996) 43 Cal. App. 4th¿289, 299.

DISCUSSION

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Defendant City of Gardena requests an order setting the compensation of plaintiff’s billing expert Andrew S. Morris, pursuant to CCP §2034.470(a).

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿On February 24, 2020, plaintiff mailed a designation of Andrew S. Morris as a medical billing expert.¿¿Morris is charging $1,000/hr. to testify at deposition.¿¿Defendant contends that $1,000/hr. is an unreasonable and excessive rate.¿¿On March 6, 2020, defense counsel sent plaintiff’s counsel a meet and confer letter requesting that plaintiff provide information as required by CCP §2034.470(b).¿¿Defendant contends that plaintiff’s counsel has not provided the information to justify the hourly rate.¿¿In contrast, defendant asserts, Morris is charging plaintiff $300/hour to review records and $500/hr. to consult with plaintiff.¿¿Also, defendant argues, similar experts charge a much lower rate for deposition.¿¿For example, plaintiff’s engineering expert charges $450/hr. and defendant’s engineering expert charges $500/hr. for non-videotaped deposition.¿¿See Yaron

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿In opposition, plaintiff argues that the motion is moot because plaintiff has offered to subsidize the deposition testimony fees of Dr. Morris.¿¿Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Morris has been retained and charges $1,000 per hour for deposition testimony as a medical billing expert.¿¿Plaintiff also argues that defendant’s comparisons to other experts is flawed and misleading because each expert is qualified in a distinct subject and their educational backgrounds greatly differ.¿¿Plaintiff asserts that she produced the required documents in compliance with CCP §2034.470(b), which sets forth Dr. Morris’ payment history since July 2015, stating a history fee of $1,000.¿¿See Ted Ravan Exh. G.

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿In reply, defendant objects to Exh. G.¿¿Defendant argues that the motion is not moot because plaintiff is placing quid pro quo conditions on her offer, was non-specific, and made after the motion was filed.¿¿Further, defendant argues that plaintiff did not provide proof that Dr. Morris was regularly paid his demanded rate and that the rate is consistent with the “ordinary and customary fees charged by similar experts.”¿¿Defendant also asserts that plaintiff has not shown customary fees charged by billing experts providing similar services within the relevant community.¿¿Defendant reiterates that its billing expert charges $500.

The court finds that plaintiff’s Exh. G lacks foundation.¿¿Although Exh. G is sufficient to comply with CCP §2034.470(b) to attempt to informally resolve the matter, it is insufficient as evidence for the court to consider and to use to determine the reasonableness of Dr. Morris’ fee.¿¿Further, plaintiff has not provided proof that $1,000 is the ordinary and customary fee actually charged make a determination

Plaintiff contends Defendant did not make a good faith effort to meet and confer given the short turn-around time requested by the meet and confer letter. Adequate effort was made to satisfy the meet and confer requirement, yet further discussion might have resolved the issue. Thus, the court encouraged e .

The onus is on Plaintiff to set forth the evidence and meet the evidentiary presentation required by the Code.  Plaintiff’s showing is insufficient.  Defense has presented the only evidence of customary fees. Accordingly, absent agreement, the motion is GRANTED.¿In accordance with CCP §2034.470(g) successfully opposed the instant motion.

¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Defendant is ordered to give notice of the court’s ruling.

Case Number: BC601609    Hearing Date: July 14, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

CECILE JONES,

Plaintiff,

Case No.:

BC601609

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

CITY OF GARDENA, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: July 14, 2020

Moving Parties: Defendant City of Gardena

Responding Party: Plaintiff Cecile Jones

Motion to Set Reasonable Expert Fees for Plaintiff’s Billing Expert Andrew S. Morris

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

RULING

The motion is DENIED without prejudice to a subsequent motion with evidence as required under CCP §2034.470 for the court’s consideration. The court encourages the parties to meet and confer further as to splitting Dr. Morris’ fee.

BACKGROUND

On November 18, 2015, plaintiff Cecile Jones filed a complaint against City of Gardena and County of Los Angeles for premises liability and negligence based on a trip and fall on January 17, 2015.

On July 10, 2017, County of Los Angeles filed a cross-complaint for implied equitable indemnity, apportionment of fault, and declaratory relief.

On November 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a FAC.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

Under CCP §2034.470, “(a) If a party desiring to take the deposition of an expert witness under this article deems that the hourly or daily fee of that expert for providing deposition testimony is unreasonable, that party may move for an order setting the compensation of that expert. Notice of this motion shall also be given to the expert.

(b) In any attempt at an informal resolution under Section 2016.040, either the party or the expert shall provide the other with all of the following: (1) Proof of the ordinary and customary fee actually charged and received by that expert for similar services provided outside the subject litigation. (2) The total number of times the presently demanded fee has ever been charged and received by that expert. (3) The frequency and regularity with which the presently demanded fee has been charged and received by that expert within the two-year period preceding the hearing on the motion.

(c) In addition to any other facts or evidence, the expert or the party designating the expert shall provide, and the court’s determination as to the reasonableness of the fee shall be based on, proof the ordinary and customary fee actually charged and received by that expert for similar services provided outside the subject litigation.

(d) . . . [T]he expert or the party designating the expert shall also provide, and the court’s determination as to the reasonableness of the fee shall also be based on, both of the following: (1) The total number of times the presently demanded fee has ever been charged and received by that expert. (2) The frequency and regularity with which the presently demanded fee has been charged and received by that expert within the two-year period preceding the hearing on the motion.

(e) The court may also consider the ordinary and customary fees charged by similar experts for similar services within the relevant community and any other factors the court deems necessary or appropriate to make its determination.

(f) Upon a determination that the fee demanded by that expert is unreasonable, and based upon the evidence and factors considered, the court shall set the fee of the expert providing testimony.”

“[A]n expert witness’s ‘customary’ fee is not necessarily the ‘reasonable’ fee a deposing party must pay for deposing another party’s expert witness.” Marsh v. Mountain Zephyr, Inc. (1996) 43 Cal. App. 4th 289, 299.

DISCUSSION

Defendant City of Gardena requests an order setting the compensation of plaintiff’s billing expert Andrew S. Morris, pursuant to CCP §2034.470(a).

On February 24, 2020, plaintiff mailed a designation of Andrew S. Morris as a medical billing expert. Morris is charging $1,000/hr. to testify at deposition. Defendant contends that $1,000/hr. is an unreasonable and excessive rate. On March 6, 2020, defense counsel sent plaintiff’s counsel a meet and confer letter requesting that plaintiff provide information as required by CCP §2034.470(b). Defendant contends that plaintiff’s counsel has not provided the information to justify the hourly rate. In contrast, defendant asserts, Morris is charging plaintiff $300/hour to review records and $500/hr. to consult with plaintiff. Also, defendant argues, similar experts charge a much lower rate for deposition. For example, plaintiff’s engineering expert charges $450/hr. and defendant’s engineering expert charges $500/hr. for non-videotaped deposition. See Yaron F. Dunkel decl.

In opposition, plaintiff argues that the motion is moot because plaintiff has offered to subsidize the deposition testimony fees of Dr. Morris. Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Morris has been retained and charges $1,000 per hour for deposition testimony as a medical billing expert. Plaintiff also argues that defendant’s comparisons to other experts is flawed and misleading because each expert is qualified in a distinct subject and their educational backgrounds greatly differ. Plaintiff asserts that she produced the required documents in compliance with CCP §2034.470(b), which sets forth Dr. Morris’ payment history since July 2015, stating a history fee of $1,000. See Ted Ravan decl., Exh. G.

In reply, defendant objects to Exh. G. Defendant argues that the motion is not moot because plaintiff is placing quid pro quo conditions on her offer, was non-specific, and made after the motion was filed. Further, defendant argues that plaintiff did not provide proof that Dr. Morris was regularly paid his demanded rate and that the rate is consistent with the “ordinary and customary fees charged by similar experts.” Defendant also asserts that plaintiff has not shown customary fees charged by billing experts providing similar services within the relevant community. Defendant reiterates that its billing expert charges $500.

The court finds that plaintiff’s Exh. G lacks foundation. Although Exh. G is sufficient to comply with CCP §2034.470(b) to attempt to informally resolve the matter, it is insufficient as evidence for the court to consider and to use to determine the reasonableness of Dr. Morris’ fee. Further, plaintiff has not provided proof that $1,000 is the ordinary and customary fee actually charged and received by that expert for similar services, as required by CCP §2034.470(c). Plaintiff also does not provide evidence of the ordinary and customary fees charged by similar experts for similar services within the relevant community. Defendant’s evidence that its billing expert charges $500 is helpful, but the court lacks the information under CCP §2034.470 to make a determination as to the reasonableness of the $1,000 fee. The court notes also that plaintiff has offered to “subsidize” Dr. Morris’ fee but has not set forth the amount.

Accordingly, the motion is denied without prejudice to a subsequent motion for the plaintiff to provide evidence as set forth in CCP §2034.470. The court encourages the parties to meet and confer further as to splitting Dr. Morris’ fee.

Defendant is ordered to give notice of the court’s ruling.

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