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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/14/2019 at 08:54:33 (UTC).

LISA HASTINGS VS. ABRAHAM KEVORKIAN, ET AL

Case Summary

On 01/29/2016 LISA HASTINGS filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against ABRAHAM KEVORKIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4909

  • Filing Date:

    01/29/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

HASTINGS LISA

Defendants

KEVORKIAN ABRAHAM

ODESHO NANCY

FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Not Classified By Court

TEST PARTY FOR TRUST CONVERSION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

JAMISON LAW FIRM THE

Defendant Attorneys

MARCELLA LUCENTE

LUCENTE MARCELLA

EARLY ERIC P.

 

Court Documents

Legacy Document

1/29/2016: Legacy Document

Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

6/17/2016: Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

Legacy Document

10/7/2016: Legacy Document

Substitution of Attorney

1/11/2017: Substitution of Attorney

Legacy Document

2/17/2017: Legacy Document

Request For Copies

4/3/2017: Request For Copies

Legacy Document

6/15/2017: Legacy Document

Request For Copies

6/16/2017: Request For Copies

Legacy Document

7/18/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/19/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/19/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/26/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/26/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

2/7/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

2/7/2018: Legacy Document

Request for Judicial Notice

7/10/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Writ - Return

12/18/2018: Writ - Return

Opposition

5/28/2019: Opposition

177 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/09/2019
  • Hearingat 09:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 12/03/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Final Status Conference

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  • 07/23/2019
  • DocketRequest For Copies; Filed by Lisa Hastings (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/17/2019
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department B; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 06/17/2019
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department B; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 06/06/2019
  • Docketat 08:35 AM in Department B; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/28/2019
  • DocketBrief (Plaintiff's Designation of Expert); Filed by Lisa Hastings (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/28/2019
  • DocketMotion in Limine (no.1 and order to exclude the evidence that was not produced and not disclosed in discovery requests; to bar witnesses from testifying at trial who were known to plaintiff but whose identities were not disclosed during discovery and to exclude); Filed by Abraham Kevorkian (Defendant)

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  • 05/28/2019
  • DocketOpposition (to plaintiff's motion in limine no. 3 to exclude any argument, testimony or evidence of plaintiff Lisa Hastings' dealings with Antranik Kevorkian; memorandum of points and authorities in support thereof; declaration of Abraham Kevorkian); Filed by Abraham Kevorkian (Defendant)

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  • 05/28/2019
  • DocketOpposition (to plaintiff's motion in limine no.2 to exclude any argument, testimony or evidence that plaintiff's counsel Guy E. Jamison has stolen the passports out of defendants' mailbox, memorandum of points and authorities in support thereof; declaration of); Filed by Abraham Kevorkian (Defendant)

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219 More Docket Entries
  • 03/01/2016
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by Nancy Odesho (Defendant)

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  • 03/01/2016
  • DocketNotice of Demurrer and Demurrers; Filed by Nancy Odesho (Defendant)

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  • 03/01/2016
  • DocketMotion re: (Notice of Motion and Motion to Strike Portion of First Amended Complaint); Filed by Abraham Kevorkian (Defendant)

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  • 03/01/2016
  • DocketMotion re: (Notice of Motion and Motion to Strike Portion of First Amended Complaint); Filed by Nancy Odesho (Defendant)

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketSummons; Filed by null

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Lisa Hastings (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/29/2016
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC064909    Hearing Date: April 23, 2021    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

lisa hastings,

Plaintiff,

v.

abraham kevorkian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC064909

Consolidated with: EC066975

Hearing Date: April 23, 2021

[Tentative] order RE:

motion to tax costs

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations

These consolidated actions involve the property located at 721 Colman Street, Altadena, California 91001 (“Hastings Property”) owned by Plaintiff Lisa Hastings (“Ms. Hastings” or “Plaintiff”), and the property located at 728 Colman Street, Altadena, CA 91001 (“Kevorkian Property”) owned by Defendants Abraham Kevorkian (“Mr. Kevorkian”) and Nancy Odesho Kevorkian (“Mrs. Kevorkian”).

The matter came for trial in December 2019 to January 2020. The Court issued its Judgment After Trial on January 12, 2021.

B. Motion to Strike/Tax Costs

On January 11, 2021, Plaintiff filed ger Memorandum of Costs, wherein she seeks:

· Item 1. Filing and Motion Fees - $4,393

· Item 4. Deposition Costs - $6,689

· Item 5. Service of Process - $1,901

· Item 8. Witness Fees - $320

· Item 9. Court Ordered Transcripts - $300

· Item 11. Models, Enlargements, and Photocopies of Exhibits - $289

· Item 12. Court Reporter Fees as Established by Statute - $16,947

· Item 13. Other (Expert Fees) - $31,016

· TOTAL: $61,855

On January 25, 2021, Mr. Kevorkian filed a motion to tax costs sought by Plaintiff.

On March 29, 2021, Plaintiff filed an opposition brief.

On April 16, 2021, Mr. Kevorkian filed a reply brief.

DISCUSSION

  1. Prevailing Party

Under CCP § 1032, costs are available as a matter of right when the prevailing party is within one of the four categories designated by the statute. (Michell v. Olick (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1194, 1197-1198.) Section 1032 statute defines the prevailing party to include four categories of parties:

1) the party with a net monetary recovery;

2) the defendant in whose favor a dismissal was entered;

3) the defendant where neither plaintiff nor defendant recovers any relief; and

4) the defendant against whom plaintiff has not recovered any relief.

In other situations or when a party recovers other than monetary relief, the prevailing party is determined by the court, and the award of costs is within the court's discretion. (Id.)

On page 8 of the January 12, 2021 Judgment After Trial, the Court deemed Plaintiff the prevailing party “both because there is a net monetary award in her favor and because she has obtained the principal elements of the essential equitable relief that she sought.”

Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to costs pursuant to CCP § 1032.

  1. Motion to Tax Costs

1. Item 1: Filing and Motion Fees

CCP § 1033.5(a)(1) classifies filing, motion, and jury fees as allowable costs under section 1032.

Plaintiff seeks to recover $4,393 for Item 1. Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost.

Mr. Kevorkian argues that the entirety of the costs should be disallowed because Plaintiff is seeking costs in 3 different actions, Plaintiff’s motion for summary adjudication was denied on the 5th cause of action for cancellation of written instrument in May 2019, and Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the IIED cause of action.

However, filing and motion fees are an allowable cost pursuant to CCP § 1033.5(a)(1). Although Plaintiff’s MSA on a cause of action may have been denied, this in itself is not a ground to tax the cost. Further, the voluntarily dismissal of a cause of action does not negate the entirety of Plaintiff’s claimed costs. Finally, this matter involves a consolidated action, wherein the Court held a trial on the initial Complaint filed on January 29, 2016 in Case No. EC064909, the Second Amended Complaint filed on May 14, 2018 in Case No. EC066975, and the Supplemental Complaint filed March 26, 2019 in Case No. EC066975. Thus, these are not 3 separate actions that Mr. Kevorkian argues Plaintiff is improperly seeking costs for. The parties were well aware from the inception of trial that the matter had been consolidated and that each of the complaints were at issue.

Thus, the motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 1 costs is denied. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 1 is $4,393.

2. Item 4: Deposition Costs

CCP § 1033.5(a)(3) states that: (A) taking, video recording, and transcribing necessary depositions, including an original and one copy of those taken by the claimant and one copy of depositions taken by the party against whom costs are allowed; (B) fees of a certified or registered interpreter for the deposition of a party or witness who does not proficiently speak or understand the English language; and (C) travel expenses to attend depositions are allowable costs under section 1032.

Plaintiff seeks to recover $6,689 for Item 4 for: (1) Mr. Kevorkian’s video deposition for $665; (2) Mr. Kevorkian’s deposition, reporter’s transcript for $1,925; (3) deposition of Mrs. Odesho (reporter’s transcript) for $543; (4) deposition of Mr. Kevorkian’s video deposition for $945; (5) 5/16/19 deposition of Mr. Kevorkian for $996.50; (6) 5/16/19 deposition of Timothy Reardon for $1,024.75; and (7) 11/7/19 deposition of Sally Lucero for $591.25.

Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost. He argues that this cost should be disallowed because the Court ruled on pure questions of law and depositions were not reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation and trial. He also argues that there was no deposition of Sally Lucero because Plaintiff’s counsel, Guy Jamison, intimidated and threatened her.

The Court will allow the costs for Mr. Kevorkian and Mr. Reardon’s deposition.

However, the Court will strike the cost of $591.25 sought for the deposition of Ms. Lucero. Plaintiff has not provided the Court with a record to determine the appropriateness of Ms. Lucero’s deposition. The burden is on Plaintiff to substantiate this cost. As stated in CCP § 1033.5(a)(3)(A), an allowable cost is the taking, video recording, and transcribing of “necessary depositions.” Thus, the Court will strike the cost for Ms. Lucero’s deposition.

Thus, the Court grants Mr. Kevorkian’s motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 4 costs by $591.25. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff on Item 4 is $6,097.75 (=$6,689 - $591.25).

3. Item 5: Service of Process

“Service of process by a public officer, registered process server, or other means” is an allowable cost under CCP § 1033.5(a)(4).

Plaintiff seeks to recover $1,901 for Item 5.

Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost. He argues that in the first case (EC064909), Plaintiff was awarded $1,385.34 and nothing more, she voluntarily dismissed her IIED claim and Fidelity Title Insurance Company from the action, and Plaintiff’s MSA was denied.

Mr. Kevorkian has not stated actual grounds upon which the motion to tax these Item 5 costs should be granted. As discussed above, the order on the MSA and the voluntarily dismissals are not grounds in and of themselves to strike these costs. Further, even if Plaintiff was awarded a certain sum for damages on a cause of action, this does not preclude a separate recovery for costs and attorney’s fees apart from damages.

Thus, the motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 5 costs is denied. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 5 is $1,901.

4. Items 8: Witness Fees

CCP § 1033.5(a)(7) provides that an allowable cost includes ordinary witness fees pursuant to Government Code, § 68093. Government Code, § 68093 states: “Except as otherwise provided by law, witness' fees for each day's actual attendance, when legally required to attend a civil action or proceeding in the superior courts, are thirty-five dollars ($35) a day and mileage actually traveled, both ways, twenty cents ($0.20) a mile.”

Plaintiff seeks to recover $320 for Item 8 for witness fees for: (1) Timothy Reardon/Old Republic Title (1 day at $45); and (2) Los Angeles County Fire Department (1 day at $275). Mr. Kevorkian addresses Item 8 costs with Item 13 (expert witness fees), arguing that the cost memorandum is unclear. (See Mot. at pp.12-13.)

Here, the $45 cost of witness fees is reasonable in amount as to Mr. Reardon and will an allowable cost.

With regard to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the cost memorandum has a notation with the statement “GOVT fee”, but it unclear what this means. Thus, the Court will allow a total cost award of $35 for this witness. In opposition, Plaintiff argues that section 1033.5(a)(7) costs are allowable, but Plaintiff fails to substantiate the cost with evidence or any other arguments.

The Court grants Mr. Kevorkian’s motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 8 costs by $240. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 8 is $80.

5. Item 9: Court Ordered Transcripts

CCP §1003.5(a)(9) state that an allowable cost includes transcripts of court proceedings ordered by the court.

Plaintiff seeks to recover $300 for Item 9. Plaintiff seeks the $300 she paid as her portion of the court reporter cost for the site visit.

Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost, arguing that the Court ordered the parties to split the cost of the court reporter for the site visit. He provides Exhibit C to his declaration, which includes a receipt showing that he paid his portion of the court reporter fees in the amount of $300. (Kevorkian Decl., Ex. C.)

According to the Court’s March 30, 2019 minute order in Case No. EC066975, the Court set a hearing for the site visit of Colman Street and ordered the parties to secure a court reporter and share the costs. Thus, the Court will strike the cost sought by Plaintiff as the Court expressly ordered that the parties share the burden of this cost.

The Court grants Mr. Kevorkian’s motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 9 costs by $300. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff on Item 9 is $0.

6. Item 11: Models, enlargements, and photocopies of exhibits

An allowable cost under CCP § 1033.5(a)(13) includes: “[m]odels, the enlargements of exhibits and photocopies of exhibits, and the electronic presentation of exhibits, including costs of rental equipment and electronic formatting, may be allowed if they were reasonably helpful to aid the trier of fact.”

Plaintiff seeks to recover $289 for Item 11. Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost, arguing that Plaintiff has not shown that the exhibit(s) aided the Court and were reasonably necessary.

However, the evidence in this case, including the exhibits regarding the properties on Colman Street and their relationships thereto, were instructive and reasonably necessary for the conduct of the litigation.

Thus, the motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 11 costs is denied. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 11 is $289.

7. Item 12: Court Reporter Fees as Established by Statute

CCP §1033.5(a)(11) classifies court reporter fees as established by statute as allowable costs under section 1032.

Plaintiff seeks to recover $16,947 for Item 12. Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax the entirety of the cost, arguing that Plaintiff seeks costs for court reporter fees that the Court did not order.

Mr. Kevorkian also argues that at the end of trial when the Court asked whether the parties would provide the Court with a transcript, both parties stated no. However, transcript fees are different from court reporter fees. (See CCP § 1033.5(a)(9) [transcripts by court order] and (11) [court reporter fees as established by statute].) Transcript fees are not at issue in this item.

Thus, the Court will award court reporter fees.

The non-jury trial commenced on December 9, 2019 and the Court certified Ingrid Saracione (certified shorthand reporter) was appointed as an official court reporter pro tempore. Thereafter, the Court signed an Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore on January 6, 2020 regarding Mary R. Rickery.[1]

Government Code, § 68086 provides for the costs of court reporting services by an “official court reporter” pursuant to CCP § 269. Subsection (c) of section 68086 provides that the “costs for the service of the official court reporter shall be recoverable as taxable costs by the prevailing party as otherwise provided by law.” (See also Gov’t Code, § 68086(d)(2) [“(2) That if an official court reporter is not available, a party may arrange for, at the party's expense, the presence of a certified shorthand reporter to serve as

Here, Plaintiff hired California Deposition Reporters, Inc. The receipts state that the court reporter was retained for “Services: LA Superiour [sic] Court Official; Reporter” for the amounts of: $1,571.10 (12/10/19), $1,571.10 (12/9/19), $798.43 (12/11/19), $798.43 (12/12/19), $1,571.10 (12/17/19), $1,571.10 (12/18/19), $1,571.10 (12/19/19), $1,571.10 (12/30/19), $1,571.10 (12/31/19), $798.43 ($798.43), $1,777.14 (1/6/20), and $1,777.14 (1/7/20). (Memo. of Costs at pp. 17-28 of 28 [Invoice #3947-3951, 3971-3974, 4177-4178, 4192-4193].) Thus, the costs have been substantiated with receipts.

The motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item 12 costs is denied. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 12 is $16,947.

8. Item 13: Other (Expert Witness Fees)

CCP § 1033.5(a)(8) provides that an allowable cost includes “[f]ees of expert witnesses ordered by the court.” “Items not mentioned in this section and items assessed upon application may be allowed or denied in the court's discretion.” (CCP §1033.5(c)(4).)

Plaintiff seeks to recover $31,016 for Item 13 (Other) for expert witness fees. Mr. Kevorkian seeks to tax these costs in their entirety.

Mr. Kevorkian argues that he never served a section 998 offer and thus Plaintiff is not entitled to recover expert witness fees.

However, subsection (8) states that expert witness fees are an allowable cost where ordered by the Court. In opposition, Mr. Jamison states in his declaration that Plaintiff claims costs associated with expert fees because the Court ordered the use of an expert witness. (Jamison Decl., ¶7.) He states that Mr. Rivera (now deceased) handled this specific aspect of the case, but that he is aware that the Court wanted the parties to retain an expert in May 2019 for the purpose of assisting the Court in its analysis of the title and easement issues. (Id.) Plaintiff argues that the Court ordered the use of an expert witness, where parties would have proceeded without an expert. (Opp. at p.4.)

The Court did not order that the parties retain expert witnesses. The Court did contemplate having the parties share the fees of a Court appointed expert, but later thought better of this idea given the expense this would involuntarily impose on the parties. Mr. Rivera, quite appropriately intuited that the Court might need expert testimony, and the expert was indeed helpful, even though the Court did not agree with some of his conclusions. Nevertheless, this is not grounds to allow expert witness costs. The Court grants Mr. Kevorkian’s motion to tax Plaintiff’s Item13 costs by $31,016. The total amount that shall be awarded to Plaintiff in Item 13 is $0.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant Abraham Kevorkian’s motion to tax costs sought by Plaintiff is granted in part and denied in part such that Plaintiff’s requested costs shall be awarded as follows:

Plaintiff’s Cost Memorandum Request $61,855

· Item 1. Filing and Motion Fees - $4,393 (no reduction)

· Item 4. Deposition Costs - $6,097.75 ($591.25 reduction)

· Item 5. Service of Process - $1,901 (no reduction)

· Item 8. Witness Fees - $80 ($240 reduction)

· Item 9. Court Ordered Transcripts - $0 ($300 reduction)

· Item 11. Models, Enlargements, and Photocopies of Exhibits - $289 (no reduction)

· Item 12. Court Reporter Fees as Established by Statute - $16,947 ($0 reduction)

· Item 13. Other (Expert Fees) - $0 ($31,016 reduction)

TOTAL COSTS AWARDED $29,707.75 (reduction of $32,147.25)

Accordingly, the total costs Plaintiff may recover from Mr. Kevorkian is $29,707.75.

Plaintiff shall provide notice of this ruling. 


[1] Government Code, § 69941 states: “A superior court may appoint  competent phonographic reporters, to be known as official reporters of such court, and such official reporters pro tempore, as are deemed necessary for the performance of the duties and the exercise of the powers conferred by law upon the court and its members.”

CRC Rule 2.956(e)(2) defines “official reporter” and “official reporting services” to “include an official court reporter or official reporter as those phrases are used in statutes, including Code of Civil Procedure sections 269 and 274c and Government Code section 69941; and include an official reporter pro tempore as the phrase is used in Government Code section 69945 and other statutes, whose fee for attending and reporting proceedings is paid for by the court or the county, and who attends court sessions as directed by the court, and who was not employed to report specific causes at the request of a party or parties.”

Case Number: EC064909    Hearing Date: November 27, 2019    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

lisa hastings,

Plaintiff,

vs.

abraham kevorkian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC066975

Previously consolidated with: EC064909

Hearing Date: November 27, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motions to compel further responses

Background

  1. Allegations

This action involves the property located at 721 Colman Street, Altadena, California 91001 (“Hastings Property”) owned by Plaintiff Lisa Hastings (“Plaintiff”), and property located at 728 Colman Street, Altadena, CA 91101 (“Kevorkian Property”) owned by Defendants Abraham Kevorkian (“Kevorkian”) and Nancy Odesho (“Odesho”). Plaintiff alleges that the Kevorkian Property has always benefited, as the dominate tenement, over the Hastings Property with a 30-foot wide recorded easement.

Plaintiff also alleges that the Hastings Property receives a benefit of a 34-foot Road and Utility Easement for the northern side of the Kevorkian Property. However, Plaintiff alleges that Kevorkian and Odesho persuaded Fidelity National Title Insurance Company (“Fidelity”) to improperly record a grant deed, unilaterally granting themselves the benefits of the Road and Utility Easement.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against Defendants to enjoin them from using the easement for anything other than ingress and egress, in view of Defendants’ history of parking vehicles in the easement area. The second amended complaint (“SAC”), filed May 14, 2018, alleges causes of action for: (1) quiet title against Kevorkian and Odesho; (2) slander of title against Kevorkian, Odesho, and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company; (3) permanent injunction to compel removal of encroachment against Kevorkian and Odesho; (4) ejectment against Kevorkian and Odesho; and (5) cancellation of written instrument against Kevorkian and Odesho.

On March 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental Complaint for: (1) reformation of written instrument; (2) partial cancellation of written instrument; (3) cancellation of written instrument; (4) declaratory relief; (5) slander of title; and (6) permanent injunction. Plaintiff’s Supplemental Complaint involves additional events that occurred after the filing of the SAC, including Defendants taking out a loan on the Kevorkian Property secured by a deed of trust in favor of the lender New Penn Financial, LLC, which includes an allegedly false description based upon the self-granted easement (“New Penn Deed”) and a survey Defendants commissioned from Caliland Engineering, Inc. and Yoon Lai (“Caliland Survey”) which purportedly confirms that the Kevorkian Property is benefited by a 34-foot Road and Utility Easement.

  1. Motions on Calendar

On October 18, 2019, Abraham Kevorkian filed two motions to compel further responses to special interrogatories, set two (“SROG”) and requests for admissions, set two (“RFA”) in Case No. EC066975. On October 21, 2019, he filed a motion to compel further responses to requests for production of documents, set two (“RPD”). Plaintiff filed opposition briefs on November 15, 2019.

On October 28, 2019, Abraham Kevorkian filed a motion for order deeming the truth of facts and genuineness of documents in Case No. EC064909. On November 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed an opposition brief to this motion but filed it in Case No. EC066975.

DISCUSSIOn

  1. Discovery Cut Off Period

CCP §2024.020(a) states: “Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any party shall be entitled as a y, and to

A non-jury trial is set for December 9, 2019.

Abraham Kevorkian’s discovery motions are currently set for November 27, 2019.

On October 31, 2019, Judge C. Edward Simpson denied Abraham Kevorkian’s ex parte application to continue the trial date and trial-related deadlines. On the Court’s own motion, Judge Simpson advanced the hearing dates of the 3 motions to compel further filed in Case No. EC066975 and the 1 motion to deem RFA admitted in Case No. EC064909, originally set for January 3, 2020 and December 6, 2019 respectively, to November 27, 2019.

Despite advancing the hearing dates on the 4 discovery motions, the motions are still untimely as they violate the discovery cut-off period. As stated in CCP §2024.020(a), discovery motions must be heard on or before the 15th day prior to trial. At least 15 days before the December 9, 2019 trial date would be November 22, 2019 (which accounts for the weekend). Thus, to be timely, Abraham Kevorkian should have reserved earlier hearing dates by or before November 22, 2019, or moved ex parte to advance the hearing dates on the motions so that they complied with the procedural deadline requirements of CCP §2024.020.

Thus, the motions may be denied on this basis.

  1. Timeliness of Motions to Compel Further Responses in Case No. EC066975

Motions to compel further responses must be brought within 45 days of receiving the verified or supplemental verified responses, or as otherwise agreed upon between the parties in writing. (CCP §§2030.300(c), 2031.310(c), 2033.290(c).) An additional 5 days is added where the interrogatory responses are served by mail. (CCP §1013.) The 45-day limitation to move to compel further responses as to interrogatories and document requests is jurisdictional, and courts are without authority to rule on untimely motions to compel except just to deny them. (Vidal Sassoon, Inc. v. Superior Court (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 681, 685.) The deadline cannot be circumvented by propounding the same discovery again. (Prof. Career Colleges etc. v. Superior Court (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 490, 492.)

Plaintiff served her SROG, RPD, and RFA responses/objections on Abraham Kevorkian on August 26, 2019 by mail. (Kevorkian Decl. re SROG, Ex. B; Kevorkian Decl. re RPD, Ex. B; Kevorkian Decl. re RFA, Ex. B.)

These motions were filed on October 18, 2019.

To be within the jurisdictional time period, the motions to compel further should have latest been filed by October 15, 2019. There is also no indication that the parties agreed in writing to extend the time period to file the motions.[1]

As such, the motions to compel further responses were not timely filed. This failure to comply with the jurisdictional time limit is sufficient to deny the 3 motions.

  1. Motion for Order Deeming Truth of Facts and Genuineness in Case No. EC064909

As pointed out by Plaintiff in the opposition brief, the motion is moot because Plaintiff served her responses regarding the RFA on October 14, 2019 and verifications were served on October 29, 2019. Nevertheless, in view of the rapidly approaching trial, the Court reviewed the responses, and finds that they do not directly address the requests. These are simple requests regarding the genuineness of documents or other disputed issues and can be responded to with straightforward admissions or denials. The Court orders Plaintiff to respond within five days with straightforward admissions or denials.

Conclusion and Order

With regard to the 3 motions to compel further responses filed in Case No. EC066975, the motions are denied on the basis of untimeliness pursuant to CCP §§2030.300(c), 2031.310(c), and 2033.290(c). The motion regarding the RFAs in Case No. EC064909 is granted.

Plaintiff is ordered to provide notice of this ruling.


[1] Abraham Kevorkian argues that the responses were unverified. However, as pointed out by Plaintiff, only responses to discovery need be verified whereas objections need not be verified. (CCP §§2030.250(a), 2031.250(a), 2033.240(a).) Plaintiff essentially served objections in response to the discovery requests.

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