This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/02/2019 at 00:13:39 (UTC).

JOEL ROTHSCHILD ET AL VS THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS

Case Summary

On 12/22/2016 JOEL ROTHSCHILD filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4780

  • Filing Date:

    12/22/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Petitioners, Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

JOEL M. ROTHSCHILD LIVING TRUST

ROTHSCHILD JOEL

Defendants and Respondents

HOLLAND JESSE

DALY BRIAN

ROBERTSON SCOTT

HARRIS CHRIS

ODEN CHRIS

JONES ADAM

DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIA-

JONES ADAM C.P.A.

BLACKSTONE BUILDERS INC.

SEARS TEDDY

HOA ORGANIZERS INC.

MARK H. SAVEL ARCHITECTS INC.

SAVEL MARK H.

DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION

GARCIA ANTHONY

SEARS KENNY

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

BLACKSTONE BUILDERS INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorneys

NORRIS MATTHEW J. ESQ.

WATERKOTTE GRANT

Defendant Attorneys

REAGAN BARRY JAMES

EVERETT SEYMOUR BERNARD III

MORRISON EDWARD F JR

MEYER JASON FREDERICK

KENNEDY KEVIN PETER

 

Court Documents

DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC. NOTICE OF JOINDER TO DEFENDANT DESMOND HOA?S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

3/19/2018: DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC. NOTICE OF JOINDER TO DEFENDANT DESMOND HOA?S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

DEFENDANTS MARK H. SAVEL ARCHITECTS, INC. AND MARK H. SAVEL DEMURRER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT OF PLAINTIFF JOEL ROTHSCHILD; ETC.

4/11/2018: DEFENDANTS MARK H. SAVEL ARCHITECTS, INC. AND MARK H. SAVEL DEMURRER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT OF PLAINTIFF JOEL ROTHSCHILD; ETC.

DECLARATION OF PLAINTIFF JOEL ROTHSCHILD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

5/10/2018: DECLARATION OF PLAINTIFF JOEL ROTHSCHILD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

DECLARATION OF TINA FANELLI-MORACCINI IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

5/10/2018: DECLARATION OF TINA FANELLI-MORACCINI IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

DEFENDANTS' EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

5/16/2018: DEFENDANTS' EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF ERRATA TO DEFENDANT HOA ORCANIZERS, INC.'S NOTICE OF JOINDER TO THE DESMONI) CONDIMINIUM'S REPLY TO TILE SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

5/18/2018: NOTICE OF ERRATA TO DEFENDANT HOA ORCANIZERS, INC.'S NOTICE OF JOINDER TO THE DESMONI) CONDIMINIUM'S REPLY TO TILE SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

5/23/2018: SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC.'S NOTICE OF JOINDER TO DEFENDANT DESMOND HOA'S DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

6/4/2018: DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC.'S NOTICE OF JOINDER TO DEFENDANT DESMOND HOA'S DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Proof of Service by Mail

2/1/2019: Proof of Service by Mail

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR: 1. VIOLATIONS OF DAVIS-STIRLING ACT; ETC.

3/10/2017: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR: 1. VIOLATIONS OF DAVIS-STIRLING ACT; ETC.

Unknown

4/6/2017: Unknown

Proof of Service

4/11/2017: Proof of Service

DECLARATION OF JOEL ROTHSCHILD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR: TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

4/17/2017: DECLARATION OF JOEL ROTHSCHILD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR: TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

Unknown

4/18/2017: Unknown

Minute Order

4/18/2017: Minute Order

DECLARATION OF MARK H. SAVEL IN SUPPORT OF BRIEF OF SPECIALLY APPEARING PARTIES MARK H. SAVEL ARCHITECTS, INC. AND MARK H. SAVEL WITH RESPECT TO ARBITRATION

5/1/2017: DECLARATION OF MARK H. SAVEL IN SUPPORT OF BRIEF OF SPECIALLY APPEARING PARTIES MARK H. SAVEL ARCHITECTS, INC. AND MARK H. SAVEL WITH RESPECT TO ARBITRATION

DEFENDANTS' MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT ETC

5/9/2017: DEFENDANTS' MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT ETC

DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC.'S JOINDER TO DEFENDANTS THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION, CHRIS ODEN, CHRIS HARRIS, ANTHONY GARCIA, SCOTT ROBERTSON, JESSE HOLLAND AND ADAM JONES RENEWED

12/4/2017: DEFENDANT HOA ORGANIZERS, INC.'S JOINDER TO DEFENDANTS THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION, CHRIS ODEN, CHRIS HARRIS, ANTHONY GARCIA, SCOTT ROBERTSON, JESSE HOLLAND AND ADAM JONES RENEWED

187 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/24/2019
  • Motion for Leave (to File Fourth Amended Complaint); Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Declaration (of Justin R. Felton in Support of Plaintiff Joel Rothschild's Motion for Leave to File Fourth Amended Complaint); Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 73; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 05/10/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 73; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 04/26/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 73; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 04/10/2019
  • Notice ( of Trial Continuance); Filed by Joel M. Rothschild Living Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/08/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 73; Court Order

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  • 02/05/2019
  • Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff)

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462 More Docket Entries
  • 02/06/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/06/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff); Joel M. Rothschild Living Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/06/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff); Joel M. Rothschild Living Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/03/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/03/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff); Joel M. Rothschild Living Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/10/2017
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 01/10/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/22/2016
  • SUMMONS

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  • 12/22/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Joel Rothschild (Plaintiff); Joel M. Rothschild Living Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/22/2016
  • COMPLAINT FOR: 1. VIOLATIONS OF DAVIS-STIRLING ACT; ETC

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: May 12, 2021    Dept: 73

JOEL ROTHSCHILD v. THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM, et al. 

Counsel for Desmond (cross-complaint only): John R. Yates (Yates Litigation)

Motion by counsel for PLAINTIFF to be relieved as counsel (filed 03/24/2021)

TENTATIVE RULING

The court grants the motion.

Discussion

Plaintiff Joel Rothschild sues the following Defendants for issues arising from his condominium located on 851 N. San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood:

Defendant Name

Description

Abbrev.

The Desmond Condominium Homeowners’ Association

The Association

Desmond

Chris Oden

Board Member

Board

Chris Harris

Board Member

Anthony Garcia

Board Member

Scott Robertson

Board Member

Jesse Holland

Board Member

Adam Jones

Board Member

HOA Organizers, Inc.

Managing Agent

HOA Organizers/ HOA Org.

Mark H. Savel Architects, Inc.

Architect Co.

Savel

Mark H. Savel

Architect

Blackstone Builders, Inc.

Architect Co.

Blackstone

Kenny Sears

Condo Owner

Sears

Per the complaint, the condominium building was built in 2002 and Plaintiff purchased Unit 129 on June 1, 2003. The condominium developer filed for bankruptcy protection on February 22, 2002, because of financial difficulties caused in whole or in party by construction defect issues and sales problems. On January 15, 2011, a $1,400,000 settlement was reached in a construction defect lawsuit, which involved “Hilldale stair repairs.” Desmond allegedly hired Savel Defendants and Defendant Blackstone as a general contractor to make repairs after the settlement. Notwithstanding, the Hilldale staircase was not completed, plumbing and sewage defects remain, the carbon monoxide uptake inhibitor system (to prevent emissions from garage vehicles) has not been activated, and problems with landscaping, elevators, and access to storage still exist. Instead of using the settlement money on repairs, the money was allegedly diverted.

On December 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed the complaint in this action. On February 1, 2017, Plaintiff suffered a fall on the Hilldale staircase that caused injuries, including possibly life-threatening head trauma. On March 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. On March 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. On June 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint. On August 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed the operative Fourth Amended Complaint for:

C/A 1: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org., Sears for Violating Davis-Stirling Act

C/A 2: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org., Savel, Blackstone for Negligence

C/A 3: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org. for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

C/A 4: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org. Savel, Blackstone for Fraud

C/A 5: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org., Savel, Blackstone for Constructive Fraud

C/A 6: Against all Defendants for Nuisance

C/A 7: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org., Sears for Breach of Governing Documents

C/A 8: Against all Defendants for Declaratory Relief

C/A 9: Against Desmond, Board, HOA Org. for Accounting

On July 8, 2020, the Desmond filed a cross-complaint for breach of contract and negligence against Rothschild through John Yates of Yates Litigation as counsel for Desmond (as to the cross-complaint).

On March 24, 2021, Yates filed a motion to be relieved as counsel. Yates testifies that counsel has been unable to reach the Desmond Board to respond to Yates’ request to retain new counsel to prosecute the cross-complaint or dismiss the cross-complaint. Yates reached out to Shanna Van Wagner of Lynberg & Watkins, which currently serves as defense counsel for Desmond in this case, to relay the message to the board. Yates served the client at the client’s current address, which was confirmed by secretary of state records (statement of information filed 11/17/2020. Neither the client nor any party has opposed. On April 15, 2021, the Desmond filed a dismissal of their cross-complaint (through Yates).

Analysis

An attorney may withdraw even without cause as long as “withdrawal can be accomplished without undue prejudice to the client’s interests.” (Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.) It is within the court’s discretion as to whether to deny an attorney’s request to withdraw because such withdrawal would cause injustice or undue delay in the proceeding; however, such discretion is to be exercised reasonably. (See Mandell v. Sup. Ct (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 1, 4.) 

A notice of motion and motion to be relieved as counsel under CCP section 284(2) shall be directed to the client and shall be made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil form (MC-051).  (Cal. R. Ct. 3.1362(a).)  No memorandum is required for the motion.  (Cal. R. Ct. 3.l362(b)).  The motion shall be accompanied by a declaration stating in general terms, without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship, why counsel is making a motion instead of filing a consent.  (Cal. R. Ct. 3.1362(c)).  If the motion is served by mail, it shall be accompanied by a declaration stating facts showing either that (1) the service address is the current residence or business address of the client or (2) the service address is the last known residence or business address of the client and the attorney has been unable to locate a more current address after making reasonable efforts to do so within 30 days prior to filing the motion.  (Cal. R. Ct. 3.1362(d)). 

The motion may be brought on various grounds, some of which include the client’s failure to pay attorney fees (People v. Prince (1968) 268 Cal.App.2d 398, 406), the client’s insistence on an action that is not justified under existing law or by good faith argument (Estate of Falco v. Decker (1987) 188 Cal.App.3d 1004, 1015), and a conflict of interest between counsel and the client (Aceves v. Superior Court (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 584, 592).

The court finds that counsel has complied with the requirements of the California Rules of Court. Counsel has declared a justifiable reason to be relieved as counsel. Given that a dismissal of the cross-complaint has been filed (for which Yates was retained), the client still has other defense counsel to defend this case, and the client has not filed an opposition, the court does not find any undue prejudice. The court, therefore, grants the motion.

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: September 09, 2020    Dept: 73

9/9/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

JOEL ROTHSCHILD v. THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM, et al. (BC644780)

Counsel for Defendant/moving party: Jason Meyer, Andre Picciurro, Daniel Quon (Gordon Rees)

Other counsel: Omitted.

Motion by Desmond and the Board to Compel Deposition of Nina Hickox (filed 7/10/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

Subject to proof of service of the motion upon Nina Hickox, or a waiver thereof, the unopposed motion is granted. The court finds good cause to order witness Nina Hickox to appear for a remote deposition within thirty days. The court denies monetary sanctions.

Discussion

On July 10, 2019, Desmond and the Board filed a motion to compel nonparty witness Nina Hickox to appear for a deposition. Hickox submitted a declaration in support of Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion and was identified as a person with knowledge of Plaintiff’s claims.

· On May 6, 2020, Defendants served Hickox with a deposition subpoena for remote personal appearance.

· On June 4, 2020, Hickox stated that she was not able to attend due to symptoms of Covid-19, containing an alleged doctor’s note.

Defendants mention multiple attempts to schedule a deposition of Hickox, and Hickox’s many medical excuses for being unable to attend.

Although no party filed an opposition, on September 1, 2020 Defendants filed a reply, updating the court on subsequent events since filing the motion:

· Hickox stated that her health was slowly getting better and asked that a deposition be set after August 31, 2020.

· Because trial was set for September 4, 2020, Defendants attempted to schedule the deposition for the week of August 17, 2020. Despite attempts, Defendants did not hear from Hickox until July 29, 2020.

· After the trial in this action was continued from 9/4/20, pursuant to Hickox’s request, Defendants rescheduled her deposition for September 2, 2020.

· On August 18, 2020, Hickox wrote that she was still suffering with Covid-19 symptoms and in light of the trial continuance to June 2021, requested that her deposition be rescheduled to a time after the new year.

Defendants argue that Hickox is coordinating with plaintiff to deprive Defendants of discovery and, therefore, request monetary sanctions.

On September 3, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel filed a declaration “to keep the court completely informed as possible,” attaching recent e-mails from Hickox and Picciurro which the court will not summarize here.

ANALYSIS

Personal service to a resident of California of any deposition subpoena is effective to require personal attendance and testimony by the deponent and any specified production. (Cal. Code. Civ. Proc. § 2020.22(c)).

The dispute between Defendants and Hickox is not if Hickox will appear for a deposition, but when. Hickox is willing to attend a deposition, but would rather do so next year. Defendants argue that they are entitled to discovery now. Given the lack of solid and credible evidence justifying further delay, the court agrees with Defendants. The motion is granted, and Hickox is ordered to appear for a remote deposition within thirty days of this order.

Regarding sanctions, the court declines to impose sanctions in the interest of justice. Covid-19 related reasons have been mentioned. The court notes, however, that the court sees some evidence of gamesmanship on Hickox’s and/or Plaintiff’s part in delaying her deposition, but without more evidence, the court gives Hickox a reasonable opportunity to cooperate. The court will not impose sanctions, at this time. The issue of sanctions and other court orders such as contempt due to Hickox’s failure to appear in violation of a court order are not properly before the court, but it could be if this behavior continues.

Notice of ruling by moving parties.

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: August 11, 2020    Dept: 73

8/11/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

JOEL ROTHSCHILD v. THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM, et al. (BC644780)

motionS for summary adjudication

TENTATIVE RULING

No further tentative ruling on the Desmond HOA defendants’ motion.

Evidentiary rulings re HOA Organizers’ motion:

Plaintiff’s Objections to Declaration of Janet Ulrich:  Overruled.

Plaintiff’s Objections to Separate Statement:  The court overrules objections to SUMF ## 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.  The court sustains objections to SUMF ## 12, 13, 19, 20, 21. 

The court will hear argument and take the matters under submission.

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: July 23, 2020    Dept: 73

7/23/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

JOEL ROTHSCHILD v. THE DESMOND CONDOMINIUM, et al. (BC644780)

Counsel for Plaintiff/opposing party: Grant Waterkotte, Justin Felton (Petit Kohn, etc.)

Counsel for Defendants/moving parties The Desmond Condominium Homeowners’ Association and individual Board defendants (6): Jason Meyer, Andre Picciurro, Daniel Quon (Gorden Rees, etc.)

Other parties and counsel: Omitted.

DeFENDANTS’ (Desmond, et al.) motion for summary adjudication (filed 02/07/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

None at this time. Hear argument. The court intends to take the matter under submission.

Evidentiary rulings

Opposition Objections: The court overrules objection nos. 1-5.

Opposition Separate Statement Objections: The court overrules objection to DUF nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10-12, 14-26. The court sustains objection to DUF nos. 3 as to “forced to prioritize,” 6 and 8.

Reply Objections:

· Joel Rothschild Decl:

o Sustain: 1, 6, 7, 13, 17 only as to the use of the word “material”, 18

o Overrule: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19

· Michael Vettoretto Decl.:

o Sustain: 1

o Overrule: 2, 3

· Joe Everett Michaels Decl.:

o Sustain: 1, 5 as to the use of the work “actively” only,

o Overrule: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

· Fanelli-Moranccini Decl.:

o Sustain: 2

o Overrule: 1

· Nina Hickox

o Sustain: 6 as to the word “intentionally” only, 7, 11, 13, 14

o Overrule: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12

Reply RJN: The court grants the request for judicial notice of the recorded restated declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions.

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: July 08, 2020    Dept: 73

07/08/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

Rothschild, etc. vs. The Desmond, etc., et al. (BC644780)

Counsel for cross-complainant/moving party Desmond, etc.: John R. Yates

Motion by Desmond for Leave to File Cross-Complaint (filed 04/02/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

The court grants the unopposed motion. CCP § 426.50

The proposed cross-complaint attached to the motion is deemed filed and served on all previously served and appearing parties as indicated on the proof of service of the motion. However, moving party is ordered to file a stand-alone cross-complaint. Cross-defendant Joel Rothschild’s responsive pleading shall be filed and served no later than 15 days from this date.

Notice of ruling by moving party.

Case Number: BC644780    Hearing Date: February 04, 2020    Dept: 73

2/4/20

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

Rothschild, etc. vs. The Desmond, etc., et al. (BC644780)

MOTION TO QUASH DEPOSITION SUBPOENA TO INSPECTORS OF ELECTION LLC OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER (filed 10/4/19)

Moving parties: Defendants The Desmond Condominium Homeowners Association, Chris Oden, Chris Harris, Anthony Garcia, Scott Robertson, Jesse Holland, and Adam Jones

TENTATIVE RULING

Defendant’s unopposed motion to quash Plaintiff’s deposition subpoena is GRANTED.

Discussion

Defendants Desmond and Board move for an order quashing the subpoena or, alternatively, limiting the deposition subpoena for production of business records that Plaintiff served on Inspectors of Election LLC. The motion is unopposed.

ANALYSIS

When a subpoena has been issued requiring the attendance of a witness or the production of documents, electronically stored information, or other things before a court or at the taking of a deposition, the court, upon motion “reasonably made” by the party, the witness, or any consumer whose personal records are sought, or upon the court's own motion after giving counsel notice and an opportunity to be heard, may make an order quashing the subpoena entirely, modifying it, or directing compliance with it upon those terms and conditions as the court may specify. (See Code Civ. Proc. § 1987.1; Southern Pac. Co. v. Superior Court (1940) 15 Cal.2d 206.)

For discovery purposes, information is relevant if it might reasonably assist a party in evaluating the case, preparing for trial, or facilitating settlement. (Gonzalez v. Superior Court (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1539, 1546.) Generally, all unprivileged information that is relevant to the subject matter of the action is discoverable if it would itself be admissible evidence at trial or if it appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.010; Schnabel v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 704, 711.)

When the information sought to be discovered impacts a person’s constitutional right to privacy, limited protections come into play for that person. (Shaffer v. Superior Court (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 993, 999.) The protections cover both a person’s personal and financial matters. (Ibid.) The court must balance competing rights—the right of a litigant to discover relevant facts and the right of an individual to maintain reasonable privacy—in determining whether the information is discoverable. (Ibid.)

Here, Plaintiff’s subpoena seeks all documents from Inspectors of Election LLC related to the Desmond’s August 30, 2019 election, including: (1) outer envelopes; (2) contents of voting envelopes; and (3) documents provided to homeowners regarding the election. (See Zorik Haruthunian Decl., ¶¶ 2-3, Ex. A.)

Defendants demonstrate grounds exist to quash the subpoena. First, Defendants present evidence that no election occurred on August 30, 2019. (See Chris Harris Decl., ¶ 3.) As drafted, the subpoena will unlikely lead to any responsive documents.

Second, even if the subpoena is construed to mean the Board’s August 26, 2019 secret ballot vote to modify and amend the Desmond’s governing documents (see Harris Decl., ¶ 4), that vote occurred after Plaintiff filed his operative Fourth Amended Complaint. Defendants also represent that the amendments to the governing documents do not apply retroactively. (See ibid.) Based on Defendants’ arguments, the August 26, 2019 secret ballot is not relevant to Plaintiff’s case.

Third, the documents sought in the subpoena raise constitutional privacy issues, as well as may violate the confidentiality of secret ballot elections to amend governing documents, per Davis-Sterling Act, i.e., Civil Code sections 5100(a)(1) and 5115(c). As Defendants point out, Plaintiff’s request for outer envelopes, will uncover Board member names and identifying information. Because Plaintiff has not filed an opposition, there is no basis to find that Plaintiff’s rights to discover the information overcomes any privacy or confidentiality interest of the Board members and/or is not violative of the Davis-Sterling Act.

Fourth, Defendant presents evidence that the Desmond provided and/or made accessible voting materials regarding the election (because all unit owners were able to participate in the secret ballot election) and that an informational session occurred on July 23, 2019. (See Harris Decl., ¶ 5.) Defendants also present evidence that, on August 29, 2019, Inspectors of Election LLC mailed all unit owners a summary report of the secret ballot and provided the amended and restated bylaws. (See id., ¶ 6, Ex. A.)

Defendant’s unopposed motion to quash Plaintiff’s deposition subpoena is GRANTED.Notice of ruling by moving parties.

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