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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/06/2019 at 10:56:16 (UTC).

NATHANIEL WHITE JR ET AL VS WENDY TAYLOR

Case Summary

On 12/04/2015 NATHANIEL WHITE JR filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against WENDY TAYLOR. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MONICA BACHNER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3093

  • Filing Date:

    12/04/2015

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MONICA BACHNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Cross Defendants

TAYLOR DONNETTA

WHITE NATHANIEL JR.

WHITE NATHANIEL

TAYLOR BONNETTA

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Plaintiffs

TAYLOR WENDY

WILLIAMS JENNIE B.

WHITE NATHANIEL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

PRAY PRICE WILLIAMS & PICKING

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

NICK A. URICK

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

URICK NICK A.

Cross Defendant Attorney

JACKSON DORIAN L

 

Court Documents

NOTICE OF NON-OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS - CCP 438

1/8/2018: NOTICE OF NON-OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS - CCP 438

Proof of Service

1/22/2018: Proof of Service

DONNETTA TAYLOR'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL NATHANIEL WHITE, SR. AND TO RESPOND TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET 1, ETC

7/9/2018: DONNETTA TAYLOR'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL NATHANIEL WHITE, SR. AND TO RESPOND TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET 1, ETC

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DONNETTA TAYLOR'S: 1. MOTION TO COMPEL NATHANIEL WHITE, SR. TO RESPOND TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET 1, AND FOR SANCTIONS, ETC

7/16/2018: MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DONNETTA TAYLOR'S: 1. MOTION TO COMPEL NATHANIEL WHITE, SR. TO RESPOND TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET 1, AND FOR SANCTIONS, ETC

Proof of Service by Mail

10/29/2018: Proof of Service by Mail

Declaration

11/13/2018: Declaration

Minute Order

11/30/2018: Minute Order

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

12/13/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Minute Order

1/8/2019: Minute Order

Stipulation and Order

1/25/2019: Stipulation and Order

Proof of Service by Mail

6/24/2019: Proof of Service by Mail

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

6/24/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Opposition

6/24/2019: Opposition

NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT AND OF ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO GIVE NOTICE

12/8/2016: NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT AND OF ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO GIVE NOTICE

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

12/20/2016: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARING TIME

1/24/2017: NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARING TIME

Notice of Related Cases

11/9/2017: Notice of Related Cases

NOTICE OF RULING

12/4/2017: NOTICE OF RULING

144 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/05/2019
  • Reply (Brief in Support of Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens); Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 07/05/2019
  • Reply (Brief in Support of Request for Judicial Notice); Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 07/05/2019
  • Declaration re: Attorney's Fees (of Dorian L. Jackson, ESQ.); Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Declaration (of Dorian L. Jackson, Esq. in Support of Motion to Compel Further Responses); Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Opposition (to Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens); Filed by Wendy Taylor (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Opposition (to Request for Judicial Notice re Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens); Filed by Wendy Taylor (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by Wendy Taylor (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Nathaniel White, Jr. (Cross-Defendant)

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286 More Docket Entries
  • 03/01/2016
  • ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR PARTITION

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  • 01/20/2016
  • AFFIDAVIT OF REASONABLE DILIGENCE

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  • 01/20/2016
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS & COMPLAINT

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  • 01/20/2016
  • Affidavit ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 01/20/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Nathaniel, Jr. White (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/11/2015
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 12/11/2015
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/04/2015
  • Complaint; Filed by Nathaniel, Jr. White (Plaintiff); Donnetta Taylor (Plaintiff); NATHANIEL WHITE (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/04/2015
  • COMPLAINT FOR PARTITION

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  • 12/04/2015
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC603093    Hearing Date: January 08, 2021    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

NATHANIEL WHITE, JR., et al.,

vs.

WENDY TAYLOR, et al.

Case No.: BC603093

Hearing Date: January 8, 2021

Cross-Complainant Wendy Taylor’s motion for sanctions based on contempt and/or bad-faith tactics is denied.

Cross-Defendant Donetta Taylor’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Cross-Complainant Wendy Taylor (“Cross-Complainant”) moves for order imposing monetary sanctions against Dorian L. Jackson, Esq. (“Jackson”), counsel for Cross-Defendants Nathaniel White, Jr. (“Junior”) and Donetta Taylor (“Donetta”) (collectively “Cross-Defendants”), for contempt under C.C.P. §§128, 177, 1208 and 1218 in the amount of $3,760 and for bad faith tactics under C.C.P. §128.5 in the amount of $3,160, in the total amount of $6,920 for the following conduct: (1) failing to follow the May 1, 2020 Court Order to timely serve the Notice of the continuance of the hearing on the motion for summary judgment (“MSJ”) on Cross-Complainant; and (2) waiting until the last minute to offer to vacate Motions to Compel RFP-1 after receiving and rejecting numerous requests to vacate. (Notice of Motion, pg. i; Motion , pg. 4; Decl. of Urick ¶15.) In opposition, Donetta requests monetary sanctions against Cross-Complainant and her counsel Nick A. Urick, Esq. (“Urick”) in the amount of $4,000. (Opposition, pgs. 9-10.)

Cross-Defendants’ 12/24/20 evidentiary objections to the Declaration of Urick are sustained as to Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 21, 22, and 25 and overruled as to Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, (except as to “That in a continued Bad Faith Tactic”, for which the objection is sustained), 23, and 24. The Court notes Cross-Complainant’s objection that Cross-Defendants cite to the incorrect CRC Rule in their evidentiary objections; however, the Court in its discretion elects to rule on the objections. (Reply, pg. 1.)

Cross-Complainant requests the Court deem the opposition late for failing to properly electronically serve the document pursuant to the parties’ e-service agreement. (Reply, pgs. 1-3.) The Court denies this request and elects to consider the opposition.

Contempt Sanctions

C.C.P. §128(a)(4)-(5) provide that the Court has the inherent power to punish for contempt and to control proceedings before the Court. C.C.P. §1209(a)(5) provides that disobedience of any lawful order of the Court is a contempt of the authority of the Court.

C.C.P. §1218(a) provides as follows: “Upon the answer and evidence taken, the court… shall determine whether the person proceeded against is guilty of the contempt charged, and if it be adjudged that the person is guilty of the contempt, a fine may be imposed on the person not exceeding [$1,000] payable to the court, or the person may be imprisoned not exceeding five days, or both. In addition, a person who is subject to a court order as a party to the action, or any agent of this person, who is adjudged guilty of contempt for violating that court order may be ordered to pay to the party initiating the contempt proceeding the reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred by this party in connection with the contempt proceeding.” (Emphasis Added.)

In addition, the request for contempt sanctions is procedurally defective. C.C.P. §1211(a) provides that when the contempt is committed outside the Court’s presence, “an affidavit shall be presented to the court or judge of the facts constituting the contempt…” C.C.P. §1212 requires that when the contempt is not committed in the presence of the Court, “a warrant of commitment may, upon notice, or upon an order to show cause, be granted; and no warrant of commitment can be issued without… such notice or order to show cause.”

“It is axiomatic that a court may not punish a contempt committed out of its presence without a full hearing… at which [the alleged contemnor] has the opportunity to appear by reason of personal service of an order to show cause [C.C.P. §§1211, 1212]. Neither warrant nor order to show cause may issue except on proper affidavit setting forth the full facts of the alleged contempt.” (Lund v. Superior Court of Orange County (1964) 61 Cal.2d 698, 713 (Emphasis added).)

Cross-Complainant is not entitled to contempt sanctions given the motion is procedurally defective and does not set forth evidence suggesting Jackson’s conduct was willful. Cross-Complainant did not personally serve Jackson with the motion for contempt and did not submit an affidavit requesting the Court issue an Order to Show Cause (“OSC”) of contempt. Cross-Complainant’s argument in reply that the Court has jurisdiction to issue an OSC does not cure the fact Cross-Complainant did not submit an Affidavit and request that the Court issue an OSC prior to filing this motion. (Reply, pg. 4.) In addition, the Court will not hold a party in contempt without a full hearing, and Cross-Complainant has not submitted sufficient evidence suggesting Jackson’s failure to comply with the Court’s May 1, 2020 Order was willful or that sanctions are warranted at this time. (See Chapman v. Superior Court (1968) 261 Cal.App.2d 194, 200 [“Taking the record by its four corners, it is clear to us that there was no evidence to sustain the implied finding of the court that petitioner had been ‘duly served’ with the subpoena, or the finding that she had the ability to comply with the order and willfully failed, neglected and refused to do so.”].) While willfulness can be inferred by the circumstances, Cross-Complainant’s evidence of the circumstances is insufficient for an inference of willfulness. (See Koehler v. Superior Court (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 1153, 1169.)

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Complainant’s request for contempt sanctions is denied.

Monetary Sanctions for Bad Faith Tactics

C.C.P. §128.5(a) provides as follows: “A trial court may order a party, the party's attorney, or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by another party as a result of bad-faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.”

“‘Actions or tactics’ include, but are not limited to, the making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a complaint, cross-complaint, answer, or other responsive pleading…” (C.C.P. §128.5(b)(1).) “‘Frivolous’ means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.” C.C.P. §128.5(b)(2).

“If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion…” (C.C.P. §128.5(f)(1)(C).)

As a preliminary matter, to the extent Cross-Complainant requests Section 128.5 sanctions based on Jackson’s delayed offer to vacate the hearings on the motions to compel, the request is improper since Section 128.5 sanctions are not available for discovery matters. (See C.C.P. §128.5(e) [“This section shall not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions.”].)

Cross-Complainant does not submit evidence suggesting Jackson’s failure to timely serve notice of the continuance of the hearing was done for an improper purpose or as a result of bad-faith actions or amounted to a tactic that was frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. Cross-Complainant’s only evidence with respect to the conduct underlying the instant motion is the following: (1) on May 1, 2020, the Court served on Jackson its Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order, which continued the hearing on the MSJ from June 15, 2020 to September 4, 2020 and ordered Jackson to give notice by mail of the continuance and to file a proof of service of such notice; (2) Jackson did not give notice or file proofs of service forthwith; (3) Jackson only gave notice of the continued hearing date when he re-filed the MSJ on May 28, 2020 after receiving an email from Urick indicating the originally-filed MSJ lacked a required statement of facts; (4) on June 29, 2020, Jackson formally served the original Notice Re: Continuance via email; and (5) Jackson has not filed proof of service of the Notice Re: Continuance with the Court. (Decl. of Urick ¶¶4-6, fn. 2, Exhs. 1, 2, 3, 4.) Urick declared that he was harmed by Jackson’s delay, because, based on the June 2, 2020 opposition deadline associated with the original hearing date, he spent time working on the opposition to the MSJ instead of taking a traditional Memorial Day vacation. (Decl. of Urick ¶¶7-8.)

However, Cross-Complainant submits no evidence suggesting Jackson had knowledge of these plans and intentionally delayed in serving notice to prevent them. Moreover, Cross-Complainant’s own evidence demonstrates Urick learned the hearing had been continued on May 28, 2020, prior to the opposition becoming due. While Cross-Complainant’s evidence shows Jackson failed to comply with the Court’s order given his providing Cross-Complainant notice that the hearing had been continued, the Court finds there is insufficient evidence to determine that such a failure to comply was done in bad-faith.

In opposition, Taylor requests sanctions against Cross-Complainant and Urick for frivolously filing the instant motion pursuant to C.C.P. §128.5. (Opposition, pgs. 9-10.) However, in light of the finding that Jackson’s failure to properly provide notice of the continued hearing, the Court finds Urick’s motion was not frivolously filed for the purposes of harassment or causing unnecessary delay.

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Complainant’s motion for an award of sanctions against Jackson is denied.

Taylor’s request for an award of monetary sanctions against Urick is denied.

Dated: January _____, 2021

Hon. Monica Bachner

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC603093    Hearing Date: September 04, 2020    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

NATHANIEL WHITE, JR., et al.,

vs.

WENDY TAYLOR, et al.

Case No.: BC603093

Hearing Date: September 4, 2020

Cross-Defendants Donnetta Taylor and Nathaniel White, Jr.’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of the 1st COA [Issues Nos. 1-9] and 2nd COA [Issues Nos. 10-12] is denied.

Cross-Defendants Donnetta Taylor (“Donnetta”) and Nathaniel White, Jr. (“Junior”) (collectively “Cross-Defendants”) move for summary judgment against the Second Amended Cross-Complaint of Cross-Complainants Wendy Taylor (“Wendy”) and Nathaniel White Senior (“Senior”) (collectively, “Cross-Complainants”). In the alternative, Cross-Defendants move for summary adjudication of the 1st (undue influence/elder abuse) and 2nd (breach of fiduciary duty of trustee) causes of action based on the following issues: (1) the 1st COA is barred by the doctrine of laches [Issue Nos. 1-2] and the statute of limitations [Issues Nos. 4-5]; (2) the 1st COA, as asserted by Senior, is barred by Senior’s ratification of the 2011 Trust [Issue No. 3]; (3) the 1st COA is without merit since Cross-Complainants have no evidence of the following: (a) the presumption applies [Issue No. 6], (b) L.B. White was a vulnerable victim [“Dependent Adult”] [Issue No. 7], (c) Donetta had apparent authority [Issue No. 8], or (d) Donetta used any actions or tactics [Issue No. 9]; (5) the 2nd COA, as asserted by Wendy, is barred for Wendy’s lack of standing [Issue No. 10]; (6) the 2nd COA is without merit because Cross-Complainants have no evidence of damages from an alleged failure to serve the Section 16061.7 Notice [Issues Nos. 11-12]. (Notice of Motion, pgs. 2-3.)

Requests for Judicial Notice

Cross-Defendants’ 3/30/20 request for judicial notice is granted as to the 12/24/14 Myrtle Property Grant Deed, 2/14/17 Cross-Complaint, 10/10/18 FACC, 2/1/19 SACC, 7/11/19 TACC, Death Certificate, 12/4/15 Complaint, Wendy’s 3/1/16 Answer, Wendy’s 3/30/16 First Amended Answer, Wendy’s Birth Certificate, 10/15/15 Myrtle Property Grant Deed, 8/28/18 Affidavit of Wendy, Donetta’s Birth Certificate, 6/12/98 Panorama City Property Grant Deed, 8/26/10 Panorama City Property Grant Deed, 12/29/64 Marriage Certificate, and Junior’s Birth Certificate. (CD-RJN, Exhs. 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 40, 42, F, L, V, W, X, Y.) However, the Court will not take judicial notice of the truth of the matters asserted with the complaints, cross-complaints, and Affidavit of Wendy.

Cross-Complainants’ 8/21/20 request for judicial notice is granted as to the 2/5/14 Death Certificate, East 21st Street Grant Deed, Wendy’s Notice of Inspection, Opposition, the Notice of Ruling on the Demurrer, Junior’s Request for Admission, Wendy Taylor’s Amended Responses, and 8/19/16 Quitclaim Deed (CC-RJN, Exhs. A, C, D, E, G, H, I, K.) However, the Court will not take judicial notice of the truth of the matters asserted in Wendy’s Notice of Inspection, the Opposition, the Notice of Ruling, Junior’s Request for Admission, or Wendy’s Amended Responses. (CC-RJN, Exhs. D, E, G, H, I.) The request for judicial notice is denied as to the Medical Records and the 8/29/06 Affidavit. (CC-RJN, Exhs. B & K.)

Evidentiary Objections

C.C.P. §437c(q) provides as follows: “In granting or denying a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, the court need rule only on those objections to evidence that it deems material to its disposition of the motion. Objections to evidence that are not ruled on for purposes of the motion shall be preserved for appellate review.”

In light of the ruling on the motion and pursuant to C.C.P. §437c(q), the Court declines to rule on Cross-Defendants’ 8/28/20 evidentiary objections to Exhibit B (Medical Records) Nos. 1-4.

Cross-Defendants’ evidentiary objection to Exhibit E (Cross-Complainants’ Opposition to Demurrer to SACC) is overruled in light of the Court’s ruling on Cross-Complainants’ request for judicial notice.

Pursuant to C.C.P. §437c(q), the Court declines to rule on Cross-Defendants’ evidentiary objections to Exhibit F (8/29/06 Affidavit), Exhibit G (Notice of Ruling on Demurrer), the Declaration of Wendy (as to Nos. 1-7), the 9/3/19 Affidavit of Senior (as to Nos. 1-15), the 10/7/19 Affidavit of Senior (as to Nos. 1-23), and the Affidavit of Urick are Nos. 1-4 [Note: No. 2 is unnumbered].

Cross-Complainants did not file evidentiary objections to Cross-Defendants’ evidence.

Procedural Background & Operative Cross-Complaint

On December 4, 2015, Cross-Defendants filed their initial complaint for partition against Wendy in the instant action, and on February 14, 2017, Cross-Complainants filed their cross-complaint against Cross-Defendants and former Cross-Defendant and decedent Bonnetta White (“Bonnetta”). After Cross-Defendants demurred to the cross-complaint and the subsequent first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”), Cross-Complainants filed their SACC for (1) undue influence/elder abuse, (2) breach of fiduciary duty, (3) conversion, (4) accounting, and (5) injunction against Cross-Defendants and Bonnetta on February 1, 2019. On May 29, 2019, the Court overruled Cross-Defendants’ demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, and 4th causes of action, sustained the demurrer with 30 days leave to amend as to the 3rd cause of action, and sustained without leave to amend as to the 5th cause of action. Cross-Complainants filed a third amended cross-complaint (“TACC”) on July 11, 2019, and on July 29, 2019, the Court dismissed Bonnetta as a cross-defendant, pursuant to Cross-Complainants’ oral request. On February 5, 2020, the Court granted Cross-Defendants’ motion to strike the TACC for untimely filing and for exceeding the scope of amendment permitted by the Court.

Accordingly, the operative cross-complaint in this action consists of the 1st, 2nd and 4th causes of action asserted in the SACC, in which Bonnetta is no longer a named defendant. In addition, the operative versions of 1st and 2nd causes of action are only asserted against Donnetta and not Junior. Only the 4th (accounting) cause of action is asserted against both Donnetta and Junior.

Cross-Complainants allege the instant action involves real property at 1075-1079 E. 21st Street, Long Beach, California 90806 (“East 21st Street”) and the November 5, 2003 White Family Trust (“2003 Trust”) and its revisions, noting Cross-Complainants allege the September 19, 2011 L.B. White Revocable Trust (“2011 Trust”) was the product of undue influence, abuse, and fraud. (SACC ¶¶10-11, fn. 2.) Cross-Complainants allege East 21st Street, a four unit apartment complex, was originally held in joint tenancy between Wendy and L.B. White. (SACC ¶15.) Cross-Complainants allege they were beneficiaries of the 2003 Trust, which conveyed them real and personal property including East 21st Street, real property at 1419 Myrtle Ave., Long Beach, CA 90818 (“Myrtle Property”), and real property in east Texas. (SACC ¶¶16-17.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta and Bonnetta conspired to strip L.B. White of his assets by moving into East 21st Street with L.B. White in 2009, providing him homecare services, and thereafter unduly influencing him to rewrite the 2003 Trust to change its beneficiaries to include Cross-Defendants. (SACC ¶¶19, 22, 23, 33.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta, the trustee of the 2011 Trust, failed to probate L.B. White’s estate following his passing such that specific gifts outlined in the 2011 Trust were not provided to Senior. (SACC ¶26.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta and Bonnetta spent all of L.B. White’s money, cashed in his life insurance policies for face value prior to his death, used his vehicles for their own personal use, sold the Myrtle Property, and resided at East 21st Street rent free. (SACC ¶27.) Cross-Complainants additional allegations with respect to the individual causes of action are discussed below.

Moving Party’s Burden on Summary Judgment/Summary Adjudication

“The motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law…” (C.C.P. §437c(c).) “A party may move for summary adjudication as to one or more causes of action within an action… if the party contends that the cause of action has no merit []. A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action [].” (C.C.P. §437c(f)(1).)

“For the purposes of a motion for summary [judgment and/or adjudication][,]… a cross-defendant has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action… cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action. Once the… cross-defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the… cross-complainant to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto. The… cross-complainant shall not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists but, instead, shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (C.C.P. §437c(p)(2).)

Motion for Summary Judgment

Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary judgment. Cross-Defendants’ motion only addresses the 1st and 2nd causes of action without addressing the 4th cause of action. (See Notice of Motion.) As such, the Court cannot determine no triable issue of material fact remains as to the 4th cause of action. The 4th cause of action is still a part of the operative SACC, and as such, Cross-Defendants bear the burden of proving Cross-Complainants have not submitted and are unable to submit evidence in support thereof before the burden shifts to Cross-Complainants. Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is denied.

Motion for Summary Adjudication

Cross-Defendants move for summary adjudication of the 1st and 2nd causes of action on the grounds there are complete defenses to the 1st cause of action [Issues Nos. 1-2 (laches) & 4-5 (statute of limitations)], there are complete defenses as to the 1st and 2nd causes of action as asserted by a single party [Issue No. 3 (Senior’s ratification as to 1st COA); Issue No. 10 (Wendy’s standing as to 2nd COA)], and one or more of the elements of the 1st and 2nd causes of action cannot be established [Issues Nos. 6-9 (1st COA); Issues Nos. 11-12 (2nd COA)].

Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary adjudication of certain issues, which requires adjudication of the issue completely dispose of the underlying cause of action.

Cross-Defendants appear to refer to Cross-Complainants’ 1st cause of action as one for two separate claims of Financial Elder Abuse and Undue Influence. For this reason, for certain defenses, Cross-Defendants move for summary adjudication on the same issue twice, as to each “separate” claim in the cause of action. (See Issues Nos. 1-2 & 4-5.) However, the 1st cause of action is one for Financial Elder Abuse, which Cross-Complainants appear to allege was carried out through Cross-Defendants’ alleged undue influence over L.B. White, as well as via other means, and does not contain a separate “claim” for undue influence. As such, Cross-Defendants’ burden on summary adjudication is to show Cross-Complainants cannot establish an element of the cause of action and their failure to do so completely disposes of the cause of action. (See Hindin v. Rust (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 1247, 1255 [“[C.C.P. §437c(f)(1)] provides: ‘A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.’” (Italics in original).].)

While Cross-Complainants make allegations relating to whether Bonnetta and Donnetta qualified as “Care Custodians” pursuant to Probate Code §21362 and/or whether certain conduct violated Probate Code §21380, these references to the Probate Code are irrelevant since the asserted cause of action, and the corresponding elements Cross-Complainants must prove, is for Financial Elder Abuse pursuant to Welf. & Inst. Code §15610.30. (SACC ¶¶36, 40, 43.) While Cross-Complainants contend the 2011 Trust was the product of undue influence, abuse, or fraud, they have not filed a petition to void an instrument or a transfer in Probate Court, and rather, have filed a civil action for financial elder abuse for which they seek damages. (SACC ¶¶56, 59.) Cross-Defendants present no authority suggesting an independent cause of action or “claim” for “undue influence” pursuant to Probate Code §21380 exists. As such, Cross-Defendants are not entitled to move for summary adjudication on the 1st cause of action on the grounds that Cross-Complainants have no evidence the Presumption of Undue Influence exists [Issues No. 6] or on the grounds that the claim for Undue Influence is without merit [Issues Nos. 7-9] because, even if Cross-Defendants were to make such a showing, they would not have met their burden on summary adjudication since Cross-Complainants allege Cross-Defendants procured the 2011 Trust through “undue influence, abuse, and fraud.” (SACC, fn. 2.)

The Court notes a cause of action for Financial Elder Abuse requires proving a defendant has either: “ (1) Take[n]… real or personal property of an elder… for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both[;] [or] (2) Assist[ed] in taking…. real or personal property of an elder… for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both[;] [or] (3) Take[n]…, or assist[ed] in taking…, real or personal property of an elder… by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.” (CACI 3100; Welf. & Inst. Code §15610.30.)

As such, even if Cross-Defendants demonstrate Cross-Complainants cannot establish the single issue of Cross-Defendants’ alleged undue influence in obtaining the assets, they will not have addressed whether Cross-Complainants can establish Cross-Defendants procured the 2011 Trust through abuse and/or fraud, which are alternate theories of liability for financial elder abuse. Since Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of Issues Nos. 6-9 would not completely dispose of the cause of action, the Court cannot grant summary adjudication on those issues.

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of the 1st COA based on Issues Nos. 6-9 is denied.

Undue Influence/Elder Abuse (1st COA) – Donnetta

  1. Doctrine of Laches [Issues Nos. 1-2]

    Cross-Defendants argue the 1st cause of action is barred by the equitable doctrine of laches [Issues Nos. 1-2]. (Motion, pgs. 3-6.) Specifically, Cross-Defendants argue Cross-Complainants unreasonably delayed in filing their action until months after the death of a material witness, which has prejudiced Cross-Defendants, and Cross-Complainants acquiesced in the act about which they complain.

    “Laches is an equitable time limitation on a party’s right to bring suit, resting on the maxim that ‘equity aids the vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights.’ […] A defendant must demonstrate three elements to successfully assert a laches defense: (1) delay in asserting a right or a claim; (2) the delay was not reasonable or excusable; and (3) prejudice to the party against whom laches is asserted.” (Magic Kitchen, LLC v. Good Things International, Ltd (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1144, 1156-1157 (Citations Omitted).)

    “[I]t is well-established, both in California and generally, that laches applies to equitable actions, not actions at law.”(Connolly v. Trabue (2012) 204 Cal.App.4th 1154, 1164.)

    Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden of showing the doctrine of laches is a complete defense to the 1st cause of action. Specifically, Cross-Defendants did not establish the doctrine of laches applies to Cross-Complainants’ financial elder abuse cause of action, which only seeks damages not equitable relief. (SACC ¶56.) Cross-Defendants’ cited authorities in their discussion of the doctrine of laches’ applicability to the 1st cause of action are inapposite. (Motion, pgs. 3-6, citing Drake v. Pinkham (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 400 [petition to invalidate amendments to the survivor’s trust] and Stafford v. Ballinger (1962) 199 Cal.App.2d 289 [action to quiet title].)

    Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication that the 1st COA is barred by the equitable doctrine of laches [Issues Nos. 1-2] is denied.

  2. Statute of Limitations [Issues Nos. 4-5]

Cross-Defendants argue the 1st cause of action is barred by the applicable statute of limitations [Issues Nos. 4-5]. (Motion, pgs. 7-9.) The Court notes Cross-Complainants frame the 1st cause of action as one to “Set Aside the 2011 Trust”; however, the 1st cause of action is for financial elder abuse, and not a petition to set aside an instrument or transfer.

Welf. & Inst. Code §15657.7 provides as follows: “An action for damages pursuant to Sections 15657.5 and 15657.6 for financial abuse of an elder… shall be commenced within four years after the plaintiff discovers or, through the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered, the facts constituting the financial abuse.”

Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary adjudication. Cross-Defendants argue there are two bases for the 1st cause of action to be barred by the statute of limitations, first of which, relies on authority relating to the running of a beneficiary’s statute of limitations to petition the Court concerning a trust’s validity or invalidity. (Motion, pgs. 7-8, citing Prob. Code §15800, Drake v. Pinkham, supra, 217 Cal.App.4th at 407.) However, Cross-Complainants’ 1st cause of action is not a petition concerning the 2011 Trust’s validity, rather, it is a cause of action for financial elder abuse. As such, Cross-Defendants’ arguments and authority relating to whether the statute of limitations began to run on this basis are irrelevant. The Court notes Cross-Defendants’ assertion that, assuming arguendo, the limitations period of Probate Code §16061.8 does not apply, the four-year statute of limitations under Welf. & Inst. Code §15657.7 would also bar the 1st cause of action given Cross-Complainants’ allegation Wendy was aware of L.B. White’s lack of capacity in 2006, and as such the statute would have expired in 2015, a year before Cross-Complainants filed the instant action. (Motion, pg. 8, citing to [Cross-Defendants’ Disputed Separate Statement of Facts (“D-SSF”) No. 16] TACC ¶¶35-36.) However, this argument cites to allegations of the TACC, which was stricken. Moreover, it appears to still rely on authority relating to the accrual of the statute of limitations in the context of a petition to dispute the validity of a trust, not a cause of action for financial elder abuse. For Cross-Defendants to meet their burden of showing the statute of limitations provides a complete defense to the cause of action, they must submit evidence demonstrating Cross-Complainants discovered, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the financial abuse prior to February 14, 2013, which is four years prior to Cross-Complainants’ filing of their initial cross-complaint on February 14, 2017. Cross-Defendants’ evidence does not make such a showing.

Cross-Defendants argue a second basis for the 1st cause of action being barred by the statute of limitations is based on the Notice Requirement in Probate Code §§16061.8 and 16061.7 which provides that parties receiving the notice have only 120 days to contest the validity of the trust. (Motion, pgs. 8-9; citing Bridgeman v. Allen (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 288, 293.) However, Cross-Defendants’ reliance on the service of the Probate Code Notices is misplaced given the 1st cause of action is for financial elder abuse and not a petition to contest the 2011 Trust. While Cross-Complainants allege the 2011 Trust is invalid due to Cross-Defendants’ alleged misconduct and financial elder abuse of L.B. White, they do not seek to invalidate the trust via this cause of action. To meet their burden, Cross-Defendants must submit evidence Cross-Complainants knew or had reason to know of the financial abuse of L.B. White by Cross-Defendants over four years prior to commencing the action. Here, even if service of the Probate Code Notice amounted to notice L.B. White was being or had been financially abused, Cross-Defendants’ own cited evidence demonstrates they were served on May 20, 2015, fewer than four years prior to the filing of the underlying cross-complaint. (Motion, pg. 9; [D-SSF Nos. 18-19] Exhs. 6, 23.)

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary adjudication and their motion for summary adjudication that the 1st COA is barred by the applicable statute of limitations [Issues Nos. 4-5] is denied.

  1. Senior’s Ratification of the 2011 Trust [Issue No. 3]

Cross-Defendants argue Senior is barred from asserting the 1st cause of action because he ratified the 2011 Trust by accepting gifts from the 2011 Trust, which contains a no-contest clause [Issue No. 3]. (Motion, pgs. 6-7.) The Court notes Cross-Complainants frame the 1st cause of action as one to “Set Aside the 2011 Trust”; however, the 1st cause of action is for financial elder abuse, and not a petition to set aside an instrument.

Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary adjudication. While allegations in Cross-Complainants 1st cause of action dispute the validity of the 2011 Trust, the 1st cause of action is not an action to invalidate the 2011 Trust, rather, it is for financial elder abuse. Cross-Defendants cite to no authority suggesting evidence relating to Senior’s acceptance of a gift from the 2011 Trust precludes him for bringing an action for financial elder abuse against Bonnetta. Rather, the authorities Cross-Defendants rely on involve petitions to the probate court with respect to an instrument or transfer and whether a party is barred from making such a petition after having accepted a gift pursuant to the no-contest clause trust. (See Burch v. George (1994) 7 Cal.4th 246, 254; Castro v. Castro (1856) 6 Cal. 158, 161; Hutchins v. Security Trust & Sav. Bank (1929) 208 Cal. 463, 475.) Moreover, effective January 1, 2020, the Legislature revised the statutory scheme governing no contest clauses limiting “the enforceability of no contest clauses to only three types of claims: (1) direct contests brought without probable cause; (2) challenges to the transferor's ownership of property at the time of the transfer if expressly included in the no contest clause; and (3) creditor's claims and actions based on them, if expressly included in the no contest clause.” (Munn v. Briggs (2010) 185 Cal. App. 4th 578, 593.)

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of Issue No. 3 is denied.

  1. Lack of Evidence to Support the Cause of Action [Issues Nos. 6-9]

    As discussed above, Cross-Defendants did not meet their burden on summary adjudication as to Issues Nos. 6-9 since adjudication of these issues would not completely dispose of the 1st cause of action. (Motion, pgs. 9-13.)

    Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of the 1st cause of action is denied.

    Breach of Fiduciary Duty (2nd COA) – Donnetta

  1. Wendy’s Lack of Standing [Issue No. 10]

    Cross-Defendants argue that Wendy does not have standing to assert her breach of fiduciary duty cause of action for Donnetta’s alleged breach of duties as trustee by failing to serve a conforming Probate Code Notice since Wendy is not a beneficiary of the 2011 Trust and is not a blood relative of L.B. White. (Motion, pg. 13.) However, this argument fails to address all alleged theories of breach in Cross-Complainants’ breach of fiduciary duty cause of action, which alleges Donetta breached her fiduciary when she and Bonnetta retained for their personal use, and refused to turn over, the personal property of L.B. White to the heirs of his body, by retaining L.B. White’s minivan, cashing out his insurance policy, conspiring to strip L.B. White’s bank account and failing to serve a conforming Probate Code Notice on Wendy. (SACC ¶¶69, 74-77.) In addition, Cross-Defendants’ argument pivots to issues not contemplated by Issue No. 10 and reference the standard of ruling on a demurrer. (Motion, pg. 14.) While it appears Cross-Defendants’ argument may be construed as asserting Cross-Complainants cannot establish the existence of a fiduciary relationship between Donnetta and Wendy due to the fact Wendy is not a beneficiary of the 2011 Trust and not a blood-relative of L.B. White, this is not how Cross-Defendants have framed their argument or evidence. As such, the Court finds Cross-Defendants have not met their burden.

    Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of Wendy’s right to assert the 2nd cause of action for lack of standing [Issue No. 10] is denied.

    [The Court notes Cross-Defendants’ arguments the incorrect party is named and the suit should have been filed as a verified petition in the probate department; however, these are not issues on which Cross-Defendants gave notice it would seek summary adjudication, and as such, the Court does not reach them. (Motion, pg. 14.)]

  2. Lack of Evidence to Support the Cause of Action

    The Court notes Issues Nos. 11 and 12 both seek adjudication of whether Cross-Complainants’ 2nd COA is without merit due to lack of evidence Cross-Complainants suffered damages due to an alleged failure to serve the Section 16061.7 Notice.

    “To establish a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty, a plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of a fiduciary relationship, breach of that duty and damages. [Citations]” (Charnay v. Cobert (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 170, 182.)

    Cross-Defendants do not meet their burden on summary adjudication. Specifically, Cross-Defendants fail to address all theories of liability alleged by Cross-Complainants such that summary adjudication of the issues presented would dispose of the cause of action. Cross-Defendants argue Cross-Complainants have no evidence they were damaged by “this alleged breach… of the alleged failure to serve a conforming Probate Code §16061.7 Notice.” (Motion, pgs. 14-15.) However, as discussed below, Cross-Complainants allege various other breaches by Donnetta. As such, a failure to demonstrate damages with respect to a single breach would not dispose of the cause of action.

    Cross-Complainants’ breach of fiduciary duty cause of action is based on allegations Donnetta and Bonnetta, as trustees of the 2011 Trust, owed to the Trust duties of reasonable care, loyalty, avoidance of conflict of interest, and preservation of the trust property. (SACC ¶68.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta breached her duties when she, with Bonnetta, retained for their personal use and failed to turn over the personal property of L.B. White, specifically, by failing to provide for the specific gifts for the property listed as Schedule C of the 2003 Trust, by retaining for their own personal use a minivan vehicle owned by L.B. White after his passing, by cashing out an insurance policy held by L.B White for face value prior to his passing, as well as stripping the assets in L.B. White’s bank accounts and investment accounts prior to his passing. (SACC ¶¶69-76.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta breached her fiduciary duties under the Probate Code by failing to provide Wendy notices that conformed with Probate Code §16061.7. (SACC ¶¶77-79.) Cross-Complainants allege Donnetta, with Bonnetta, prevented Senior from serving as the trustee of the 2011 Trust, never presented Senior with a copy of the 2011 Trust, never served Senior with a Probate Code §16061.7 Notice after the passing of L.B. White, and Senior never consented to Donnetta being named the trustee of the 2011 Trust in place of himself. (SACC ¶¶80-83.)

    Here, the allegations relating to Donnetta’s failure to serve a conformed Notice constitute one of many breaches alleged by Cross-Complainants. Since Cross-Defendants do not address whether Cross-Complainants have sufficient evidence to prove any of the other breaches, they have not met their burden. Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication of the 2nd cause of action for lack of evidence to support the cause of action [Issues Nos. 11 & 12] is denied.

    Conclusion

    Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion for summary judgment/adjudication is denied.

    Dated: September _____, 2020

    Hon. Monica Bachner

    Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC603093    Hearing Date: August 20, 2020    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

NATHANIEL WHITE, JR., et al.,

vs.

WENDY TAYLOR, et al.

Case No.: BC603093

Hearing Date: August 20, 2020

Cross-Defendant Nathaniel White, Jr.’s motions to compel Cross-Complainants Wendy Taylor and Nathaniel White Senior to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set One) are moot.

Cross-Defendant’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Cross-Complainants’ request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Two motions to compel further responses are presently before the Court. First, Cross-Defendant Nathaniel White, Jr. (“Cross-Defendant”) moves for an order compelling Cross-Complainant Wendy Taylor (“Taylor”) to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set One). Cross-Defendant also moves for an order compelling Cross-Complainant Nathaniel White Sr. (“Senior”) to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set One). In connection with each of the motions, Cross-Complainant requests awards of monetary sanctions against Taylor and Senior (collectively “Cross-Complainants”) and their attorney of record Nick A. Urick (“Urick”) in the total amount of $5,540. (Notices of Motion, pg. 2.) In their joint opposition, Cross-Complainants requests monetary sanctions against Cross-Defendant and his counsel of record, Dorian Jackson (“Jackson”) in the amount of $2,600 for their failure to meet and confer. (Opposition, pgs. 12-15.)

Motions to Compel Further

On April 3, 2019, Cross-Defendant served the Requests for Production (Set One) on Cross-Defendants. After Cross-Complainants provided responses that Cross-Defendant deemed evasive, Cross-Defendant filed motions to compel further responses on June 24, 2020, which were scheduled for November 12, 2019. At the September 18, 2019 Informal Discovery Conference (“IDC”), the Court advanced the motions to compel further to that date and granted them, ordering Cross-Complainants to serve responses. (9/18/19 Minute Order, pg. 4.) On November 4, 2019, Cross-Complainants served supplemental responses to the request for production, which Cross-Defendant asserts were devoid of any documents the Court had ordered produced and instead unilaterally set a date, time, and location for an inspection of documents sought via the requests. Cross-Defendant asserts that due to Cross-Complainants’ failure to comply with the Court’s September 18, 2019 order, Cross-Defendant filed the instant motions on December 23, 2019. The Court notes that given Cross-Complainants served their supplemental responses on November 4, 2019, the 50-day deadline (45 days plus five days for mailing) for Cross-Defendant to file motions to compel further responses was December 24, 2019. (C.C.P. §2031.310(c).)

The parties agree the motions are moot given the Court ordered Cross-Complainants to produce documents during the February 5, 2020 IDC consistent with the Court’s September 18, 2020 order, and that Cross-Complainants thereafter complied with the order by producing the at-issue documents on March 5, 2020. (2/5/20 Minute Order, pgs. 4-5; Opposition, pg. 2; Decl. Dobbins, ¶7, Exh. 3; Reply.) As such, there are no further responses to requests for production that Cross-Defendant moves to compel.

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendant’s motions to compel Cross-Complainants’ further responses to Requests for Production of Documents (Set One) are denied as moot.

Requests for Sanctions

Cross-Defendant’s request for monetary sanctions in connection with the instant remains at issue. (See Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 407; CRC 3.1348(a) (“The court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though … the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”).)

C.C.P. §2031.300(c) provides that the Court shall impose a monetary sanction against any party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further production of documents unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of a sanction unjust.

C.C.P. §2031.310(b)(2) requires the parties engage in meaningful meet and confer prior to filing the motion.

Cross-Defendant’s requests for sanctions are denied. First, Cross-Defendant’s counsel did not engage in sufficient meet and confer to determine if filing the instant motions could have been avoided. Specifically, at no point during meet and confer did Cross-Defendant’s counsel request an extension of the 45-day deadline for filing the instant motion. (Decl. of Jackson ¶¶6-8, Exhs. H, K.) The dispute between the parties relates to whether Cross-Complainants were required to produce documents for inspection or produce documents, not whether Cross-Complainants refused to produce said documents. The filing of the instant motions could have been avoided if the parties had been able to resolve the issues relating to scheduling a document inspection as opposed to producing the documents themselves, which Cross-Complainants were willing to produce. In addition, Cross-Complainants submitted evidence their counsel was unable to attend the agreed-to November 12, 2019 inspection due to suffering a back injury on November 11, 2019, and that he contacted Cross-Defendant’s counsel indicating as much. (Decl. of Urick ¶¶8-10.) Cross-Complainants also submitted evidence that the meet and confer engaged in by the parties prior to the filing of the motion involved the document inspection date and logistics, and not the issues identified in the motion to compel further. (Decl. of Urick ¶10-12.) Given the circumstances, the Court finds imposition of monetary sanctions against Cross-Complainants and their counsel of record would be unjust.

Cross-Complainants’ request for monetary sanctions is also denied. Cross-Complainants did not prevail on the instant motion, and the Court finds sanctions are otherwise unwarranted.

Based on the foregoing, the parties’ requests for monetary sanctions are denied.

Case Number: BC603093    Hearing Date: July 10, 2020    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

NATHANIEL WHITE, JR., et al.,

vs.

WENDY TAYLOR, et al.

Case No.: BC603093

Hearing Date: July 10, 2020

Cross-Defendant Nathaniel White, Jr.’s motion to compel Cross-Complainant Wendy Taylor to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set Two) is moot.

Cross-Defendant’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Cross-Complainant’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Cross-Defendant Nathaniel White, Jr. (“Cross-Defendant”) moves for an order compelling Cross-Complainant Wendy Taylor (“Cross-Complainant”) to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set Two). Cross-Defendant also requests awards of monetary sanctions against Wendy and her attorney of record Nick A. Urick (“Urick”) in the amount of $7,501.05. (Notice of Motion, pg. 2.) In opposition, Cross-Complainant requests monetary sanctions against Cross-Defendant and his counsel of record, Dorian Jackson (“Jackson”) in the amount of $2,986.35 for their failure to meet and confer. (Opposition, pgs. 10-12.)

Motion to Compel Further

On September 19, 2019, Cross-Defendant served the Requests for Production (Set Two) on Cross-Defendant based on Cross-Complainant’s refusal to produce the documents sought via the requests during the September 18, 2020 Informal Discovery Conference (“IDC”). (Decl. of Jackson ¶2.) On October 25, 2019, Cross-Defendant received responses that did not include production of any documents, but instead set a date, time, and location for an inspection of documents sought via the requests for November 12, 2019, at the West Covina Courthouse. (Decl. of Jackson ¶9, Exhs. D, E.) On November 11, 2019, Urick cancelled the inspection because he hurt his back, Jackson declared he and Urick thereafter exchanged emails on December 5, 2019, but that they were not able to resolve the matter. (Decl. of Jackson ¶13, Exhs. J, F, G, H, I, J, K.) Cross-Defendant thereafter filed the instant motion on December 10, 2019. The Court notes that given Cross-Complainant served her responses on October 21, 2019, the 50-day deadline (45 days plus five days for mailing) for Cross-Defendant to file a motion to compel further responses was December 10, 2019. (C.C.P. §2030.310(c); Decl. of Jackson, Exh. E.)

The parties agree the motion itself is moot given the Court ordered Cross-Complainant to produce documents during the February 5, 2020 IDC, and that Cross-Complainant thereafter complied with the order by producing documents for copying and inspection. (2/5/20 Minute Order, pgs. 4-5; Opposition, pg. 2; Decl. Dobbins, Exhs. 1-3; Reply.)

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendant’s motion to compel further responses to Requests for Production of Documents (Set Two) is denied as moot.

Requests for Sanctions

Cross-Defendant’s request for monetary sanctions in connection with the instant remains at issue. (See Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 407; CRC 3.1348(a) (“The court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though … the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”).)

C.C.P. §2031.300(c) provides that the Court shall impose a monetary sanction against any party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further production of documents unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of a sanction unjust.

C.C.P. §2031.310(b)(2) requires the parties engage in meaningful meet and confer prior to filing the motion.

Cross-Defendant’s request for sanctions is denied. First, the Court finds Cross-Defendant’s counsel did not engage in sufficient meet and confer to determine if filing the instant motion could be avoided prior to the discovery deadline. Specifically, at no point during meet and confer did Cross-Defendant’s counsel request an extension of the 45-day deadline for filing the instant motion, but instead demanded production by a certain date and if no documents were received, stated he would file a motion to compel further. (Decl. of Jackson, Exh. F.) The correspondence submitted demonstrates that Cross-Complainant’s counsel was agreeable to granting extensions under the statute for Jackson to perform the document inspection. (Decl. of Jackson, Exh. G.) The Court finds the correspondence demonstrates that Jackson did not engage in meaningful meet and confer prior to filing the instant motion, and that the filing of the instant motion could have been avoided if the parties had been able to resolve the issues relating to scheduling a document inspection as opposed to producing the documents themselves, which Cross-Complainant was willing to produce. In addition, Cross-Complainant submitted evidence that her counsel Urick was unable to attend the agreed-to November 12, 2019 inspection due to suffering a back injury on November 11, 2019, and that Urick contacted Cross-Defendant’s counsel Jackson indicating as much. (Decl. of Urick ¶¶7-9.) Cross-Defendant also submitted evidence that the meet and confer engaged in by the parties prior to the filing of the motion involved the document inspection date and logistics, and not the issues identified in the motion to compel further. (Decl. of Urick ¶10.) Given the circumstances, the Court finds imposition of monetary sanctions against Cross-Complainant and her counsel of record would be unjust.

Cross-Complainant’s request for monetary sanctions is also denied. Cross-Complainant did not prevail on the instant motion, and the Court finds sanctions are otherwise unwarranted.

Based on the foregoing, the parties’ requests for monetary sanctions are denied.

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