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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/27/2019 at 16:25:06 (UTC).

HECTOR LOPEZ VS JASON B MORRIS DPM

Case Summary

On 10/14/2016 HECTOR LOPEZ filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against JASON B MORRIS DPM. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6171

  • Filing Date:

    10/14/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

LOPEZ HECTOR

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 20

MORRIS JASON B. DPM

FOUAD HANY C. M.D. (DOE 2)

DIGNITY HEALTH MEDICAL GROUP-VENTURA

MORRIS JASON B.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAW OFFICE OF JOHN B. RICHARDS

RICHARDS JOHN BRYANT ESQ.

RICHARDS JOHN BRYANT

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

CLARK MAUREEN E.

GREER CURTIS KEITH ESQ.

LABOVITZ STACI LISABETH ESQ.

CARROLL BARBARA ANN

CLARK MAUREEN ELIZABETH ESQ.

 

Court Documents

NOTICE AND MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF COUNSEL

1/17/2018: NOTICE AND MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF COUNSEL

RULING RE: MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

2/8/2018: RULING RE: MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

NOTICE OF RULING ON MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

2/15/2018: NOTICE OF RULING ON MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

Opposition

2/28/2018: Opposition

PLAINTIFF EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE HEARING ON DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF JOHN B. RICHARDS

3/9/2018: PLAINTIFF EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE HEARING ON DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF JOHN B. RICHARDS

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

7/18/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

DEFENDANTS AMENDED SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

7/18/2018: DEFENDANTS AMENDED SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Declaration

9/17/2018: Declaration

Unknown

9/20/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

10/1/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

11/14/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

11/29/2018: Minute Order

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/23/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Unknown

2/27/2019: Unknown

Notice of Ruling

4/11/2019: Notice of Ruling

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

10/14/2016: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

SUMMONS

10/14/2016: SUMMONS

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

12/27/2016: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

75 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/07/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Jury Trial ((Remaining Defendant Jason Morris, D.P.M.)) - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/23/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference ((Remaining Defendant Jason Morris, D.P.M.)) - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Jason B. DPM Morris (Defendant)

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  • 04/09/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an Order to Continue Trial and All Related Discovery and Motion Cutoff Dates) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 04/09/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (for an Order to Continue Trial and All Related Discovery and Motion Cutoff Dates); Filed by Jason B. DPM Morris (Defendant)

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  • 04/09/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Defendant's Ex Parte Application for an Order to C...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/05/2019
  • Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by Jason B. DPM Morris (Defendant)

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  • 03/25/2019
  • Stipulation - No Order (Stipulation To Permit Electronic Service Mail Transmission); Filed by Hector Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/08/2019
  • Answer (ANSWER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT); Filed by Jason B. DPM Morris (Defendant)

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  • 02/27/2019
  • amended complaint; Filed by Hector Lopez (Plaintiff)

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150 More Docket Entries
  • 02/28/2017
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 01/31/2017
  • Answer; Filed by FOUAD, HANY C. M.D. (DOE 2) (MSJ) (Defendant)

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  • 01/31/2017
  • ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

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  • 12/27/2016
  • Amendment to Complaint; Filed by Hector Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/27/2016
  • Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious Name)

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  • 12/27/2016
  • Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious Name)

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  • 12/27/2016
  • Amendment to Complaint; Filed by Hector Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/14/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Hector Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/14/2016
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 10/14/2016
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC636171    Hearing Date: June 26, 2020    Dept: 29

Lopez v. Morris et al. BC636171 – June 26, 2020

Defendant’s Motion to Compel Further Depositions and Documents is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as set forth below. Defendant is entitled to take a further deposition of Plaintiff’s expert witness Maurice Perry, DPM, to answer certain questions, as discussed below. The deposition is limited to one hour. The motion is DENIED as to the further deposition of Keith Vinnecour, CPO. Plaintiff and his counsel of record are ordered to pay sanctions in the amount of $800.

In this action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant was negligent in providing medical care and treatment that resulted in below-the-knee amputations of both of Plaintiff’s legs. The experts for both sides were deposed. Prior to the depositions, the parties agreed if any expert were to formulate any “new or different opinions,” the expert would be produced for further deposition regarding the new or different opinions formed.

The motion concerns two witnesses, Plaintiff’s experts Maurice Perry, DPM and Keith Vinnecour, CPO. In October 2019, Plaintiff informed Defendant that Dr. Perry had formed several new opinions and that in accordance with the agreement, he would be made available for a deposition, limited to the new opinions only. Later that month, Plaintiff moved ex parte to specially set a trial date to an earlier date. In support of that application, Plaintiff submitted a letter from Mr. Vinnecor, Plaintiff’s life expectancy expert, expressing the opinion that Plaintiff’s mental health would be compromised if the trial were to proceed in January 2020 (a date originally requested by Plaintiff’s former co-counsel). (The trial was subsequently continued due to an emergency involving Plaintiff’s counsel). Defendant took the position that the letter reflected a “new or different opinion” by Mr. Vinnecor and that his further deposition was also warranted.

The second depositions took place on January 21, 2020. Plaintiff’s counsel instructed the witnesses not to answer several questions claiming the questions were beyond the limited scope of the depositions that had been agreed to by the parties. Defendant now moves to compel further depositions, arguing that the questions were within the scope and the instructions improper.

I. PARTIES’ AGREEMENT REGARDING THE LIMITED SCOPE OF THE SECOND DEPOSITIONS

As an initial matter, the Court must resolve a dispute regarding the scope of the parties’ agreement to allow a second deposition of experts. Plaintiff contends that the parties agreed that a second deposition would be allowed regarding new or different opinions formulated by the expert since the last deposition. Defendant argues that the parties agreed that they would also be permitted to enquire into all additional work that the expert had engaged in since the last deposition, even if the work pertained only to previous opinions. Based on the documentary evidence provided, the Court finds that the agreement provided that the scope of the depositions would be limited to new or different opinions (including the work performed in formulating those opinions), but would not include other work, such as further work that related only to previously developed opinions.

Given that the parties agreed to a narrow scope for the second depositions, Defendant’s argument that parties are generally permitted to conduct discovery regarding “any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter” is not on point. The question for the Court is whether the disputed questions fall within the agreement of the parties regarding the scope of the deposition.

II. PLAINTIFF’S OVERLY NARROW INTERPRETATION OF THE AGREEMENT REGARDING SCOPE

Plaintiff essentially takes the position that the only questions that are proper under the parties’ agreement are (1) what new or different opinions has the witness formulated; (2) what is the basis for those opinions; and (3) what work did the witness perform in formulating those opinions. That is too narrow. In deposing an expert witness about his or her opinions, counsel is entitled to ask, for example, whether the expert considered various facts that the expert does not mention as a basis for the opinion, and to ask the witness why he or she did or did not consider such facts. Counsel may also ask questions regarding the basis for assumptions or facts that the expert made, among other topics.

With those preliminary statements, the Court now turns to the specific questions at issue in this motion.

III. QUESTIONS TO DR. PERRY

Question/ Response 1: Objection is overruled. Defendant may ask questions regarding the expert’s communications with counsel to determine whether the communications are relevant to the newly formulated opinions. Counsel is also entitled to some leeway in probing whether the conversation related to the new opinions. So, for example, with respect to the October 10 phone conversation, counsel is permitted to ask generally for a list of topics that were discussed, and to probe briefly whether the topic was related to the new opinions. Defendant is not entitled to ask for details about conversations where the topics do not relate to the new opinions.

Question/ Response No. 2 and 3: Objections are sustained. The question should be limited to work performed in connection with the new opinions.

Question/ Response No. 4: Objection is sustained. Dr. Perry does not appear to have opined that Plaintiff is entitled to the same prosthetic devices that Dr. Perry himself uses. The question is beyond the scope of the new opinions.

Question / Response No. 5: Objection is overruled. The fact that Dr. Perry did not refer Plaintiff to a recommended prosthetist could be relevant to his opinion that Plaintiff is entitled to the best prosthetics.

Question / Response No. 6: Objection is overruled. Dr. Perry’s understanding of when the infection developed could be relevant to his opinions that if Plaintiff had not undergone surgery with Dr. Morris, he would still have both his legs and would have continued to have both legs for the next 20 years.

Question / Response No. 7: Objection is sustained. The Court cannot see any relevance of this question to any of the new opinions.

Question / Response No. 8: Objection is overruled. This question is potentially relevant to Dr. Perry’s new opinion regarding life expectancy.

Question / Response No. 9: Objection is overruled. One of the new opinions that Dr. Perry formulated is that Dr. Morris acted outside the standard of care by misleading Plaintiff. This question is relevant that opinion. The Court does not understand Plaintiff’s position regarding “rebuttal” opinions. A party is required to provide a supplemental expert list to disclose experts to cover subjects in response to the opposing party’s list. Such experts may be deposed. Dr. Perry’s new opinion formulated in response to Dr. Wagner’s opinions falls within the party’s agreement regarding the scope of the renewed deposition.

With respect to documents, Defendant has not identified any documents that have not yet been produced.

In sum, Plaintiff is ordered to produce Dr. Perry for a further deposition at a mutually convenient date, time and place. The deposition shall be limited to one hour. Speaking objections and instructions not to answer shall not be allowed, except to the extent necessary to protect privileges. Defendant is ordered not to go beyond the scope of the questioning as allowed by this order. If a disagreement regarding scope arises, the parties are encouraged to be flexible and cooperative to avoid further involvement by the Court. To the extent Plaintiff believes that significant, material violations of this order have occurred, the proper approach is to terminate the deposition and seek a protective order from the Court, not to instruct not to answer. The one-hour time limit is to be measured exclusive of any speaking objections or discussions between counsel (which the Court does not expect to see).

If a disagreement arises during the deposition, the parties are permitted and encouraged to call Department 29 to inquire whether the Court is available for an informal discovery conference during a break in the deposition.

IV. FURTHER DEPOSITION OF MR. VINNECOUR

The Court DENIES the motion with respect to Mr. Vinnecour, Plaintiff’s life expectancy expert. Plaintiff is not offering Mr. Vinnecour to express any of the opinions in the letter at trial. The letter appears to be relevant for impeachment purposes; the parties did not agree that a further deposition would permitted to explore impeachment material. In sum, a further deposition of Mr. Vinnecour is beyond the scope of the parties’ further deposition.

V. SANCTIONS

The Court finds that Plaintiff’s counsel of record, John Richards, Esq., abused the discovery process by instructing Dr. Perry not to answer relevant, non-privileged questions that were within the agreed-upon scope of the deposition. Code Civil Procedure §§ 2023.010, 2025.460. Given that Defendant only partially prevailed on this motion, the Court imposes sanctions against John Richards, Esq., in the reduced amount of $800.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.
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