This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/13/2019 at 22:04:08 (UTC).

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA VS CHANG HWAN PARK ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/03/2014 PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against CHANG HWAN PARK. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ROBERT S. HARRISON, MARK A. BORENSTEIN, MICHELLE R. ROSENBLATT, MARC MARMARO, HOLLY E. KENDIG, EDWARD B. MORETON and DENNIS J. LANDIN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1477

  • Filing Date:

    04/03/2014

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT S. HARRISON

MARK A. BORENSTEIN

MICHELLE R. ROSENBLATT

MARC MARMARO

HOLLY E. KENDIG

EDWARD B. MORETON

DENNIS J. LANDIN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Defendants and Respondents

AN, CHRISTINE J., D.C.

ANGEL CHIROPRACTIC CARE, INC.

BAEK, ROBERT S., D.C.

BYON, ROBYNNIE

DOES ONE THROUGH ONE HUNDRED

HOLY CHIROPRACTIC CARE, INC.

KIM SEOG WOO

KIM, JEFF

KIM, SEOG-WOO, D.C.

LAW OFFICES OF SUNMIN LEE & ASSOCIATES

LEE, MICHAEL S.

LEE, SUNMIN

MANAGEMENT PLUS GROUP

NORTHWEST LAW FIRM, INC.

Interested Parties

ALLSTATE FIRE & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMP-

ALLSTATE INDEMNITY COMPANY

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY

ALLSTATE PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE

ALLSTATE VEHICLE & PROPERTY INSURANCE

10 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Interested Party Attorneys

KNOX RICKSEN LLP

HASEGAWA JOSEPH FREDERICK

PIKE GREGORY DAVID

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

KWONG ROSA ESQ.

HUGHES SCOTT D.

COE JAEMAN J. ESQ.

B. CHRISTINE PARK

SEVERO MICHAEL V. ESQ.

FENTON HENRY R. ESQ.

FIRM CHRISTINE PARK LAW

FENTON LAW GROUP LLP

SCOTT D. HUGHES ATTORNEY AT LAW

JAENAM COE PC LAW OFFICES OF

ROSA KWONG LAW OFFICE OF

KENNETH T. HAAN & ASSOCIATES APC

SEVERO MICHAEL VINCENT

 

Court Documents

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL THIRD PARTY IN KI AN DBA 3RD STREET CO.'S COMPLIANCE ETC.

12/11/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL THIRD PARTY IN KI AN DBA 3RD STREET CO.'S COMPLIANCE ETC.

Minute Order

6/8/2016: Minute Order

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA INSURANCE FRAUDS PREVENTION ACT, VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA UNFAIR COMPETITION ACT

7/27/2016: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA INSURANCE FRAUDS PREVENTION ACT, VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA UNFAIR COMPETITION ACT

Minute Order

12/5/2018: Minute Order

OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MICHAEL LEE AND NORTHWEST LAW FIRM'S MOTION TO QUASH ETC.

12/4/2017: OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MICHAEL LEE AND NORTHWEST LAW FIRM'S MOTION TO QUASH ETC.

AFFIDAVIT PURSUANT TO C.C.P. 685.050 FOR WRIT OF EXECUTION TO DEFENDANT ROBYNNIE BYON AKA ROBYN BYON

1/31/2018: AFFIDAVIT PURSUANT TO C.C.P. 685.050 FOR WRIT OF EXECUTION TO DEFENDANT ROBYNNIE BYON AKA ROBYN BYON

Minute Order

10/3/2014: Minute Order

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

12/9/2014: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

NOTICE OF MOTION AND PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF THIRD PARTY WITNESS KINJI NICOLE HITHE BAKER (AKA NICOLE BAKER, KINJI HITHE, KINJI BAKER, AND JOY BAKER) AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS IN T

3/4/2016: NOTICE OF MOTION AND PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF THIRD PARTY WITNESS KINJI NICOLE HITHE BAKER (AKA NICOLE BAKER, KINJI HITHE, KINJI BAKER, AND JOY BAKER) AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS IN T

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO STRIKE TH ANSWERS AND REQUEST THE ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENTS OF DEFENDANTS MANAGEMENT PLUS GROUP, CHANG HWAN PARK, AND TIFFANY Y

9/14/2016: MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO STRIKE TH ANSWERS AND REQUEST THE ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENTS OF DEFENDANTS MANAGEMENT PLUS GROUP, CHANG HWAN PARK, AND TIFFANY Y

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT NORTHWEST LAW FIRM, INC.'S RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFFS' FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET NO. 3) AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $510.00

11/16/2016: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT NORTHWEST LAW FIRM, INC.'S RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFFS' FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET NO. 3) AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $510.00

NOTICE OF RULING; NOTICE OE HEARING

3/17/2017: NOTICE OF RULING; NOTICE OE HEARING

NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT MICHAEL LEE'S RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFFS' FORM INTERROGATORIES SET NOS. 5 AND 6 AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,380.OO

4/4/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT MICHAEL LEE'S RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFFS' FORM INTERROGATORIES SET NOS. 5 AND 6 AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,380.OO

NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION FOR ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS SET NOS. 5 AND 6 AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $780.00

4/4/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION FOR ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS SET NOS. 5 AND 6 AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $780.00

NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE BY THIRD PARTY BENNY'S MARKET WITH PLAINTIFFS' BUSINESS RECORDS SUBPOENA

5/31/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUED MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE BY THIRD PARTY BENNY'S MARKET WITH PLAINTIFFS' BUSINESS RECORDS SUBPOENA

NOTICE OF RULING

6/27/2017: NOTICE OF RULING

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS TO STRIKE THE ANSWER OF DEFENDANT TIFFANY WONJIN YANG FOR HER FAILURE TO ATTEND HER COURT-ORDERED DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS

8/29/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS TO STRIKE THE ANSWER OF DEFENDANT TIFFANY WONJIN YANG FOR HER FAILURE TO ATTEND HER COURT-ORDERED DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS

Minute Order

12/15/2017: Minute Order

467 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/04/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 37; Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 04/04/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/29/2019
  • Notice (of Case Reassignment); Filed by Allstate Insurance Company (Real Party in Interest)

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  • 01/22/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for ([Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice]); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/22/2019
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/22/2019
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/05/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 37; Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 12/05/2018
  • Minute Order ((Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/05/2018
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/17/2018
  • NOTICE OF RULING REGARDING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM STAY

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1,005 More Docket Entries
  • 10/03/2014
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 40; Ex-Parte Proceedings - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/03/2014
  • EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER UNSEALING COMPLAINT AND PERMITTING SERVICE OF COMPLAINT ON DEFENDANTS PURSUANT TO INSURANCE CODE SECTION 1871.7(E)(2)

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  • 10/03/2014
  • Minute Order

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  • 10/03/2014
  • Minute order entered: 2014-10-03 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/03/2014
  • ExParte Application & Order; Filed by People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/03/2014
  • ORDER GRANTING EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER UNSEALING COMPLAINT AND PERMITTING SERVICE OF COMPLAINT ON DEFENDANTS PURSUANT TO INSURANCE CODE SECTION 1871 .7(E)(2)

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  • 10/03/2014
  • Minute Order

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  • 04/03/2014
  • SUMMONS

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  • 04/03/2014
  • Complaint; Filed by People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/03/2014
  • COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA INSURANCE FRAUDS PREVENTION ACT, VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA UNFAIR COMPETITION ACT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC541477    Hearing Date: October 30, 2020    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: October 30, 2020

CASE NUMBER: BC541477

CASE NAME: People of the State of California v. Chang Hwan Park, et al.

TRIAL DATE: August 3, 2021

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

MOTION: Plaintiffs’ Motion for Terminating Sanctions

MOVING PARTIES: Plaintiffs, People of the State of California ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company, et al.

OPPOSING PARTY: Defendant, Northwest Law Firm, Inc.

OPPOSITION: October 19, 2020

REPLY: October 23, 2020

TENTATIVE: Plaintiffs’ motion for terminating sanctions is DENIED. Plaintiffs’ motion for monetary sanctions is granted. Sanctions are awarded against Northwest and its counsel, Michael Severo, jointly and severally, in the amount of $2,135 to be paid within sixty days of this date. Counsel are ordered to meet and confer in person or on the telephone by November 6 to schedule a firm date for a PMQ deposition to be completed before December 31, 2020. Failure to comply with this order, without good cause, is grounds for terminating sanctions. Plaintiffs to give notice..

Background

This action arises out of an alleged fraudulent scheme to defraud insurance companies.  Plaintiffs the People of the State of California ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company; Allstate Indemnity Company; Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company; Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Company (collectively “Plaintiffs”) allege that Defendants illegally owned and operated a number of sham law offices and health care practices for the purpose of fabricating insurance claims to deceive insurers into paying policy proceeds to personal injury patients.  Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of the allegedly defrauded insurance companies.   

Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on July 27, 2016, alleging two causes of action against all Defendants for: (1) violation of Insurance Code, § 1871.7 and (2) violation of Business and Professions Code, § 17200, et seq. (the Unfair Competition Law [“UCL”]).  

On October 18, 2017, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Deposition of Defendant, Northwest Law Firm, Inc.’s (“Northwest”) Person Most Qualified (“PMQ”) was granted. The court ordered that the deposition of Northwest’s PMQ be completed by December 8, 2017, and further, ordered sanctions against Northwest and its counsel jointly and severally in the amount of $579.70.

On November 13, 2017, Plaintiffs amended the FAC to name Kelly L. Casado and the Casado Law firm (collectively the “Casado Defendants”) as Doe Defendants 2 and 3 to the FAC.  Casado’s special motion to strike the FAC (“anti-SLAPP motion”) came to hearing on March 1, 2018, at which time the court denied the motion.  On March 8, 2018, the Casado Defendants filed a notice of appeal from the court’s March 1, 2018 ruling, and the matter was automatically stayed.   

On December 23, 2019, the Court of Appeal issued its opinion on the Casado Defendants’ appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the Casado Defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion and indicated that Allstate was to recover its costs on appeal.

Plaintiffs now move for terminating sanctions against Northwest, striking its answer and entering its default based on its allegedly repeated failure to produce a Person most Qualified (“PMQ”) for deposition pursuant to the court’s October 18, 2017 order. Northwest opposes the motion.

Discussion

It is well established that the primary purpose of discovery sanctions is curative, not punitive.  (Welgoss v. End (1967) 252 Cal.App.2d 982, 992; Caryl Richards, Inc. v. Superior Court (1961) 188 Cal.App.2d 300, 303-304.)  Generally, the discovery statutes evince an incremental approach to sanctions, starting with monetary sanctions and ending with the ultimate sanction of dismissal.  (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 967, 992.)  “Although in extreme cases a court has the authority to order a terminating sanction as a first measure [citations], a terminating sanction should generally not be imposed until the court has attempted less severe alternatives and found them to be unsuccessful and/or the record clearly shows lesser sanctions would be ineffective.”  (Lopez v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 566, 604-605 .)   

A terminating sanction is a draconian remedy, and it is appropriate only when less severe alternatives will not vindicate the court’s authority and the purpose of the subject discovery.  (Rail Services of America v. State Com. Ins. Fund (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 323, 332; Mileikowsky v. Tenet Healthsystem (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 531, 564, disapproved on other grounds by Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hosp. and Medical Center (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1259, 1273; New Albertsons, Inc. v. Superior Court (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1423.) 

Plaintiffs contend that terminating sanctions against Northwest are warranted because of Northwest’s pattern of willfully failing to obey the court’s October 18, 2017 order granting Plaintiffs’ motion to compel the deposition of Northwest’s PMQ by failing to produce a PMQ to date and failing to pay the sanctions ordered. (the “October Order”) (Motion, 5-7.)

Plaintiffs submit the declaration of their attorney, Ryan G. Jacobson (“Jacobson”) in support of this argument.

Jacobson attests that on May 12, 2016, Plaintiffs served their first Notice of Deposition for the PMQ of Northwest. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 3, Exhibit 1.) On June 22, 2016, Northwest’s counsel indicated by letter that the deposition would not be going forward. (Id.; Exhibit 2.) Jacobson further attests that on June 2, 2017, Northwest indicated that its PMQ would be available for deposition on July 18, 2017 and July 19, 2017. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 4, Exhibit 4.) Accordingly, Plaintiffs served notice on June 6, 2017 for the deposition of Northwest’s PMQ on July 19, 2017. (Id.; Exhibit 5.) According to Jacobson, Northwest’s counsel again cancelled the deposition on short notice, two days before it occurred. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 4.)

Following the court’s October 18, 2017 ruling, Jacobson attests that Plaintiffs re-noticed the deposition of Northwest’s PMQ for November 30, 2017. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 5, Exhibit 7.) A week before the November 30, 2017 date, Northwest’s counsel requested that the deposition be rescheduled. (Id.; Exhibit 8.) Thereafter, the matter was stayed pending the Casado Defendants’ Special Motion to Strike and appeal.

On February 27, 2020 and after the stay was lifted following the Casado Defendants’ appeal, Jacobson attests that he sent Northwest’s counsel another meet and confer letter requesting dates for deposition of its PMQ. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 6.) Jacobson attests that he sent a further letter on April 22, 2020 and that on that date, the parties agreed to conduct the PMQ’s Deposition on September 9, 2020 by zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Id., Exhibit 11.) Northwest’s PMQ failed to appear at deposition on September 9, 2020. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 6.)

In opposition, Northwest contends that terminating sanctions are not warranted because “defendants have complied in full with the court’s order” since the deposition of Defendant Lee covered all areas that would be asked of a PMQ of Northwest. (Opposition, 6-7.) Additionally, Northwest contends that allowing Plaintiffs to obtain an order requiring the deposition of Northwest’s PMQ would be discovery abuse because it would allow Plaintiffs to “cover again areas already addressed and concluded in the Michael Lee deposition sessions.” (Id.) Northwest submits its counsel, Michael V. Severo’s (“Severo”) declaration in support of his opposition.

Severo attests that from case inception, Plaintiffs have habitually set dates for depositions “unilaterally” and without consulting him as to availability, necessitating multiple continuances of such depositions. (Severo Decl. ¶¶ 3-4.) According to Severo, Plaintiffs knew that Lee was the owner and operator of Northwest, such that “Mr. Lee is Northwest, and Northwest is Mr. Lee.” (Severo Decl. ¶ 7.) Severo also attests that he repeatedly asked Plaintiffs’ counsel during the various sessions of Lee’s deposition whether Lee was being deposed as the PMQ of Northwest or individually, and that “It was obvious that the artificial line between PMK for Northwest and Mr. Lee could not be distinguished.” (Severo Decl. ¶ 8.)

In reply, Plaintiffs contend that terminating sanctions are still warranted because Northwest has not shown any intent of complying with the court’s October Order, which clearly required Northwest to produce a PMQ for deposition. (Reply, 5.)

Plaintiffs’ motion also requests an additional $2,135 in sanctions. Plaintiffs’ attorney Ryan Jacobson attests that this amount compromises of 3 hours spent preparing this motion at $600 per hour and that the request also includes a $60 filing fee, and $275 in connection with the nonappearance of Northwest’s PMQ at deposition. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 7.)

There is no dispute between the parties that the court ordered a deposition of Northwest’s PMQ, and that deposition has not been taken. While the number of cancellations of scheduled depositions is excessive, discovery sanctions should be made to compel that discovery be completed if possible. Exhibit 13 to the Jacobson Declaration contains an email from Mr. Severo’s assistant, Mr. Reyes, offering a deposition on October 2 in lieu of the September 9 deposition, which was rejected by Plaintiff. If that offer had been accepted and Defendant cancelled that date too, a better case could be made for terminating sanctions. The court finds that no award of terminating sanctions is warranted at this time.

However, Northwest’s argument that Plaintiffs’ attempts to obtain a PMQ Deposition constitutes discovery abuse is not well taken, as creates an inference that the October 2 date was not a legitimate alternative . Plaintiffs have a broad right to obtain discovery of all defendants, and a PMQ Deposition is not the same thing as an individual deposition even if the PMQ is functionally the same person as the individual defendants. Further, because Plaintiffs have demonstrated that Northwest has repeatedly cancelled the deposition of its PMQ on short notice on numerous occasions, the court finds it appropriate to issue the following lesser sanctions:

  1. Counsel are ordered to meet and confer in person or on the telephone by November 6 to schedule a firm date for a PMQ deposition to be completed before December 31, 2020.

  2. Failure to produce a PMQ for deposition by December 31, 2020 without good cause is grounds for terminating sanctions against Northwest

  3. Northwest and its counsel, Michael Severo, jointly and severally, are ordered to pay sanctions in connection with this dispute in the amount of $2,135.

Conclusion

Plaintiffs’ motion for terminating sanctions is DENIED. Plaintiffs’ motion for monetary sanctions is granted. Sanctions are awarded against Northwest and its counsel, Michael Severo, jointly and severally, in the amount of $2,135 to be paid within sixty days of this date. Counsel are ordered to meet and confer in person or on the telephone by November 6 to schedule a firm date for a PMQ deposition to be completed before December 31, 2020. Failure to comply with this order, without good cause, is grounds for terminating sanctions. Plaintiffs to give notice.

Case Number: BC541477    Hearing Date: October 14, 2020    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: October 14, 2020

CASE NUMBER: BC541477

CASE NAME: People of the State of California v. Chang Hwan Park, et al.

TRIAL DATE: August 3, 2021

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

MOTION: Plaintiffs’ Motion for Terminating Sanctions

MOVING PARTIES: Plaintiff, People of the State of California ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company, et al.

OPPOSING PARTY: Defendant, Michael S. Lee

OPPOSITION: September 30, 2020

REPLY: October 2, 2020

TENTATIVE: Plaintiffs’ motion for terminating sanctions is DENIED. Lee is ordered to pay previously ordered sanctions in the amount of $3,612.70 within 20 days of this date. Lee’s counsel Michael V. Severo, Esq. is jointly and severally ordered to pay $2,585.40 of those sanctions within 20 days of this date. Further monetary sanctions are awarded against Lee and his counsel jointly and severally for this motion in the amount of $2,735, payable within 60 days of this date. The court sets an order to show cause hearing on January 12, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 37 to show proof of payment of sanctions or why monetary sanctions of up to $1,500 each pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 177.5 should not be ordered against Lee and/or his counsel if these court orders are not complied with.

Background

This action arises out of an alleged fraudulent scheme to defraud insurance companies.  Plaintiffs the People of the State of California ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company; Allstate Indemnity Company; Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company; Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Company (collectively “Plaintiffs”) allege that Defendants illegally owned and operated a number of sham law offices and health care practices for the purpose of fabricating insurance claims to deceive insurers into paying policy proceeds to personal injury patients.  Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of the allegedly defrauded insurance companies.   

Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on July 27, 2016, alleging two causes of action against all Defendants for: (1) violation of Insurance Code, § 1871.7 and (2) violation of Business and Professions Code, § 17200, et seq. (the Unfair Competition Law [“UCL”]).  

On June 14, 2016 the court granted a motion to compel Defendant Michael Lee (“Lee”) to provide responses to form interrogatories and awarded sanctions against Lee in the amount of $250, payable within 30 days.

On January 13, 2017, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Lee to respond to discovery and for sanctions was granted. Lee was ordered to pay a total of $1,151 in sanctions across four motions payable within 30 days and was ordered to serve responses within 30 days.

On April 10, 2017, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Lee to respond to Requests for Production came on for hearing and was deemed moot as Lee had served responses. However, sanctions were awarded in the amount of $360 against Lee and his counsel and payable within 30 days.

On May 11, 2017, Plaintiffs’ first motion for terminating sanctions against Lee based on his alleged failure to serve the responses ordered on January 13 and April 10 came on for hearing. Plaintiffs’ motion was denied because Lee had served responses prior to this hearing. However, sanctions were ordered against Lee and his attorney in the amount of $1,080, payable within 30 days.

On August 11, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel Lee’s Deposition. Plaintiffs’ motion argued that an order compelling Lee’s deposition was required because Lee repeatedly failed to appear at his duly noticed depositions. On October 18, 2017, Plaintiffs’ unopposed motion to compel Lee’s deposition was granted. Lee was ordered to sit for deposition by December 8, 2017. Additionally, $572.70 in sanctions were awarded against Lee and his counsel jointly and severally and payable within 60 days.

On November 13, 2017, Plaintiffs amended the FAC to name Kelly L. Casado and the Casado Law firm (collectively the “Casado Defendants”) as Doe Defendants 2 and 3 to the FAC.  Casado’s special motion to strike the FAC (“anti-SLAPP motion”) came to hearing on March 1, 2018, at which time the court denied the motion.  On March 8, 2018, the Casado Defendants filed a notice of appeal from the court’s March 1, 2018 ruling, and the matter was automatically stayed.   

On December 23, 2019, the Court of Appeal issued its opinion on the Casado Defendants’ appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the Casado Defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion and indicated that Allstate was to recover its costs on appeal.

Plaintiffs now move for terminating sanctions against Lee, striking his answer and entering his default, based on his failure to attend and complete his court ordered deposition and repeated failures to comply with discovery. Lee opposes the motion.

Discussion

It is well established that the primary purpose of discovery sanctions is curative, not punitive.  (Welgoss v. End (1967) 252 Cal.App.2d 982, 992; Caryl Richards, Inc. v. Superior Court (1961) 188 Cal.App.2d 300, 303-304.)  Generally, the discovery statutes evince an incremental approach to sanctions, starting with monetary sanctions and ending with the ultimate sanction of dismissal.  (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 967, 992.)  “Although in extreme cases a court has the authority to order a terminating sanction as a first measure [citations], a terminating sanction should generally not be imposed until the court has attempted less severe alternatives and found them to be unsuccessful and/or the record clearly shows lesser sanctions would be ineffective.”  (Lopez v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 566, 604-605 (Lopez).)   

A terminating sanction is a draconian remedy, and it is appropriate only when less severe alternatives will not vindicate the court’s authority and the purpose of the subject discovery.  (Rail Services of America v. State Com. Ins. Fund (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 323, 332; Mileikowsky v. Tenet Healthsystem (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 531, 564, disapproved on other grounds by Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hosp. and Medical Center (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1259, 1273; New Albertsons, Inc. v. Superior Court (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1423.) 

Plaintiffs contend that terminating sanctions against Lee are warranted because of Lee’s pattern of failing to obey the court’s various previous orders to pay sanctions and other discovery abuses. (Motion, 6-8.) Plaintiffs submit the declaration of their attorney, Ryan G. Jacobson (“Jacobson”) in support of this argument.

Jacobson attests that from June 14, 2016 to the present, Lee has accrued $3,612.70 in monetary sanctions with respect to motions to compel responses to discovery, a motion to compel his deposition and a prior motion for terminating sanctions. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 3.) With respect to Plaintiffs’ attempts to obtain Lee’s deposition, Jacobson attests that Plaintiffs first noticed Lee’s deposition on May 12, 2016 and that from then until December 11, 2017, Lee did not appear for deposition because his counsel unilaterally cancelled the deposition shortly before each scheduled date. (Jacobson Decl. ¶¶ 4; Exhibits 3-6.) Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed their motion to compel Lee’s deposition on August 3, 2017 and on October 18, 2017, Plaintiffs’ motion was granted. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 5; Exhibit 11.) Following the court’s ruling on Plaintiffs’ motion, the parties further met and conferred and agreed on December 11, 2017 for Lee’s deposition. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 6, Exhibits 12-16.) Although Lee appeared at this deposition, Jacobson attests that it was suspended because Lee claimed he felt sick and could not continue. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 6.)

Finally, Jacobson attests that on February 27, 2020, the parties resumed meeting and conferring to schedule Lee’s deposition after discovery resumed following the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the Casado Defendants’ appeal of the ruling on their Special Motion to Strike. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 7.) According to Jacobson, the parties agreed to August 19, 2020 for Lee’s deposition but the deposition was again cancelled two days prior by Lee’s counsel. (Id.) Thus, Plaintiffs’ counsel wrote to Lee’s counsel on August 19, 2020 requesting alternative dates for Lee’s deposition. (Id.)

In opposition, Lee contends that terminating sanctions are not warranted because Lee has “complied, albeit belatedly” with all applicable discovery orders. (Opposition, 5-6.) Further, Lee contends that the court should not issue terminating sanctions because were Lee’s default to be entered, “a subsequent motion to set aside a default judgment would fall squarely within the mandator provisions of C.C.P. 473(b).” (Id.) Lee submits his counsel, Michael V. Severo’s (“Severo”) declaration in support of his opposition.

Severo attests that as shown by Plaintiffs’ motion, Lee’s failures to appear at deposition were the result of his actions, not Lee’s. (Severo Decl. ¶ 4.) Further, Severo attests that Lee appeared for deposition on September 22, 2020 and that a third and final session of his deposition is being scheduled for “possibly October 12, 2020.” (Severo Decl. ¶ 5.) Severo also attests that if Lee’s deposition is completed before this hearing the motion would be taken off-calendar. (Severo Decl. ¶ 6.)

In reply, Plaintiffs confirm that the parties have agreed on October 12, 2020 for Lee’s deposition as of October 6, 2020. (Reply, 2-3.) Plaintiffs state that the motion will be taken off calendar if Lee appears for his deposition on October 12, 2020 and all sanctions are paid in full before the instant hearing. (Id.)

Based on the above discussion regarding the court’s previous discovery orders issued against Lee, the court finds that terminating sanctions are not warranted. It is undisputed that Lee has not failed to comply with any of the substantive portions of the court’s previous orders regarding written discovery. Moreover, based on the parties moving and opposing papers it appears that the parties have also agreed to a date certain to complete Lee’s deposition. Further, Lee does not dispute that he has failed to pay any of the discovery sanctions the court previously ordered against him despite the due dates for those payments having long passed. Some of those sanctions, about $2,585.40, were also ordered payable by Lee’s counsel and remain unpaid despite the due dates having long passed. The court finds that failure to pay monetary sanctions without more does not warrant issuing terminating sanctions, as less severe alternatives are warranted.

Plaintiffs’ motion also requests an additional $2,735 in sanctions. Plaintiffs’ attorney Ryan Jacobson attests that this amount compromises of 4 hours spent preparing this motion at $600 per hour, a $60 filing fee, and $275 in connection with Lee’s nonappearance at deposition. (Jacobson Decl. ¶ 8.) The court finds that Plaintiffs’ request is reasonable considering Lee and his counsel’s repeated failures to appear at deposition and pay his previous discovery sanctions. Thus, sanctions are awarded against Lee and his counsel, jointly and severally, in the amount of $2,735 and payable within 60 days. If they remain unpaid past that date, they will bear interest at the same rate as post judgment interest of 10% simple interest per annum.

Conclusion

Plaintiffs’ motion for terminating sanctions is DENIED. Lee is ordered to pay previously ordered sanctions in the amount of $3,612.70 within 20 days of this date. Lee’s counsel Michael V. Severo, Esq. is jointly and severally ordered to pay $2,585.40 of those sanctions within 20 days of this date. Further monetary sanctions are awarded against Lee and his counsel jointly and severally for this motion in the amount of $2,735, payable within 60 days of this date. The court sets an order to show cause hearing on January 12, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 37 to show proof of payment of sanctions or why monetary sanctions of up to $1,500 each pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 177.5 should not be ordered against Lee and/or his counsel if these court orders are not complied with.

Case Number: BC541477    Hearing Date: September 03, 2020    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: September 3, 2020

CASE NUMBER: BC541477

CASE NAME: People of the State of California v. Chang Hwan Park, et al.

TRIAL DATE: None

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

MOTION: Defendants’ Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint

MOVING PARTY: Defendants, Casado Law Firm and Kelly Casado

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff People of the State of the California

OPPOSITION: August 21, 2020

REPLY: August 27, 2020

TENTATIVE: The Casado Defendants’ demurrer to the FAC is overruled in its entirety. Plaintiff is to give notice.

MOTION: Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Business Records to JPMorgan Chase Bank

MOVING PARTY: Defendants, Casado Law Firm and Kelly Casado

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff People of the State of California

OPPOSITION: August 21, 2020

REPLY: August 27, 2020

TENTATIVE: The Casado Defendants’ motion is denied. Plaintiff is to give notice.

MOTION: Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Business Records to Hanmi Bank

MOVING PARTY: Defendants, Casado Law Firm and Kelly Casado

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff People of the State of California

OPPOSITION: August 21, 2020

REPLY: August 27, 2020

TENTATIVE: The Casado Defendants’ motion is denied. Plaintiff is to give notice

Background

The following background is common to and applies to all three motions before the court today.

This action arises out of an alleged fraudulent scheme to defraud insurance companies.  Plaintiffs the People of the State of California ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company; Allstate Indemnity Company; Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company; Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Company (collectively “Plaintiffs”) allege that Defendants illegally owned and operated a number of sham law offices and health care practices for the purpose of fabricating insurance claims to deceive insurers into paying policy proceeds to personal injury claimants.   

Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on July 27, 2016, alleging two causes of action against all Defendants for: (1) violation of Insurance Code, § 1871.7 and (2) violation of Business and Professions Code, § 17200, et seq. (the Unfair Competition Law [“UCL”]).  On November 13, 2017, Plaintiffs amended the FAC to name Kelly L. Casado and the Casado Law firm (collectively the “Casado Defendants”) as Doe Defendants 2 and 3 to the FAC.  Casado’s special motion to strike the FAC (“anti-SLAPP motion”) came to hearing on March 1, 2018, at which time the court denied the motion.  On March 8, 2018, the Casado Defendants filed a notice of appeal from the court’s March 1, 2018 ruling, and the matter was automatically stayed.   

On December 17, 2019 Defendant Robynnie Byon filed a Notice of Stay of Proceedings, indicating that this action was stayed as to Byon and pursuant to a Post Discharge Injunction in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Byon was dismissed without prejudice from this action on May 11, 2020.

On December 23, 2019, the Court of Appeal issued its opinion on the Casado Defendants’ appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the Casado Defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion and also indicated that Allstate was to recover its costs on appeal. [

On April 24, 2020, the Casado Defendants filed a demurrer to the FAC. On April 27, 2020, the Casado Defendants also filed motions to quash deposition subpoenas for production of business records to JPMorgan Chase Bank and Hanmi Bank. Plaintiffs oppose all three motions.

DEMURRER[1]

Request for Judicial Notice

Plaintiff requests that the court take judicial notice of the following in connection with its opposition to the instant demurrer:

1. Opinion by Court of Appeal – Second District (unpublished), The People ex rel. Allstate Insurance Company, et al. v. Kelly L. Casado, et al., Case No. B288742 (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC541477), which was filed on December 23, 2019.

2. Appellants’ Opening Brief, The People ex rel. Allstate Insurance Company, et al. v. Kelly L. Casado, et al., Case No. B288742 (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC541477), which was filed January 30, 2019.

3. Notice of Motion and Special Motion to Strike First Amended Complaint Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declarations of Kelly L. Casado and Michael V. Severo (without exhibits), People of the State of California, ex rel., Allstate Insurance Company, et al. v. Chang Hwan Park, et al., Case No. BC541477, filed on January 11, 2018.

Plaintiff’s request is granted. The existence and legal significance of these documents are proper matters for judicial notice. (Evidence Code § 452, subd. (d), (h).)

Discussion

  1. Legal Standard

A demurrer is an objection to a pleading, the grounds for which are apparent from either the face of the complaint or a matter of which the court may take judicial notice. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.30, subd. (a); see also Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318.) The purpose of a demurrer is to challenge the sufficiency of a pleading “by raising questions of law.” (Postley v. Harvey (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 280, 286.) The court “treat[s] the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. . . .” (Berkley v. Dowds (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 518, 525 (Berkley).) “In the construction of a pleading, for the purpose of determining its effect, its allegations must be liberally construed, with a view to substantial justice between the parties.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 452; see also Stevens v. Sup. Ct. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 594, 601.) “When a court evaluates a complaint, the plaintiff is entitled to reasonable inferences from the facts pled.” (Duval v. Board of Trustees (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 902, 906.)

The general rule is that the plaintiff need only allege ultimate facts, not evidentiary facts. (Doe v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 42 Cal.4th 531, 550.) “All that is required of a plaintiff, as a matter of pleading, even as against a special demurrer, is that his complaint set forth the essential facts of the case with reasonable precision and with sufficient particularity to acquaint the defendant with the nature, source and extent of his cause of action.” (Rannard v. Lockheed Aircraft Corp. (1945) 26 Cal.2d 149, 156-157.) “[D]emurrers for uncertainty are disfavored and are granted only if the pleading is so incomprehensible that a defendant cannot reasonably respond.” (Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Ins. Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 841, 848, fn. 3 (Mahan), citing Lickiss v. Fin. Indus. Regulatory Auth. (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 1125, 1135.) In addition, even where a complaint is in some respects uncertain, courts strictly construe a demurrer for uncertainty “because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Khoury v. Maly’s of California, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.)

Demurrers do not lie as to only parts of causes of action where some valid claim is alleged but “must dispose of an entire cause of action to be sustained.” (Poizner v. Fremont General Corp. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 119.) “Generally it is an abuse of discretion to sustain a demurrer without leave to amend if there is any reasonable possibility that the defect can be cured by amendment.” (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 349.)

  1. Discussion

As a preliminary note, Plaintiff contends that the Casado Defendant’s demurrer should be overruled in its entirety because it is untimely. (Opposition, 7.) Plaintiff relies on Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.40, subdivision (a), which provides that a demurrer may be served and filed within 30 days after service of the Complaint. However, Plaintiff cites to no authority, which requires that a demurrer be overruled solely because it was brought more than 30 days after service of the Complaint. The court may exercise its discretion to consider a late-filed demurrer. (See Jackson v. Doe (2011) 192 Cal. App. 4th 742, 750.)

Here, it is undisputed that the Casado Defendants timely filed an anti-SLAPP motion which was denied and then appealed. Further, the Court of Appeal issued its opinion on December 23, 2019, upholding the trial court’s ruling. Thereafter, based on the Severo Declaration, the parties began meeting and conferring in April 2020 regarding the proposed demurrer, and the demurrer was filed on April 24, 2020. Given this procedural history, the court will not overrule the Casado Defendants’ demurrer based on any untimeliness and will consider the demurrer on its merits.

The Casado Defendants contend that the FAC is insufficiently pled as to them because the FAC does not specifically allege what the Casado Defendants, and not the other defendants did. (Demurrer, 8-12.) Alternatively, the Casado Defendants contend that the FAC’s claims are barred by Insurance Code, section 1871.7, subdivision (l)(1). (Demurrer, 12-14.) The court will address these arguments in turn.

  1. Whether the FAC is Plead With Sufficient Specificity

Insurance Code, section 1871.7 provides, in relevant part: 

It is unlawful to knowingly employ runners, cappers, steerers, or other persons to procure clients or patients to perform or obtain services or benefits pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) of the Labor Code or to procure clients or patients to perform or obtain services or benefits under a contract of insurance or that will be the basis for a claim against an insured individual or his or her insurer. 

(Ins. Code, § 1871, subd. (a).)  Section 1871, subdivision (b) establishes penalties for violation of this section or of Penal Code, sections 549, 550, or 551.  (Id. at subd. (b).)  Penal Code, section 549 prohibits the solicitation, acceptance, or referral of business with the knowledge of, disregard for, or intent to file fraudulent claims, while Penal Code, section 550 makes it unlawful to commit acts including knowingly presenting or causing to be presented any false or fraudulent insurance claims. 

Business and Professions Code section 17200 (“UCL”) prohibits “unfair competition,” which is defined to include “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice” and “unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising” and any act prohibited by business and professions code section 17500. A cause of action under the UCL must be stated with “reasonable particularity.” (Gutierrez v. Carmax Auto Superstores California (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 1234, 1261.)

The UCL prohibits: (1) unlawful conduct; (2) unfair business acts or practices; (3) fraudulent business acts or practices; (4) unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising; and (5) any act prohibited under sections 17500-77.5.  UCL actions based on “unlawful” conduct may be based on violations of other statutes.  (See Klein v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1342, 1383.)

First, the Casado Defendants contend that the FAC was required to allege each cause of action against them with specificity because the California Insurance Frauds Prevention Act “sounds in fraud.” (Demurrer, 9.) The Casado Defendants rely on State ex rel. McCann v. Bank of America, N.A. (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 897, 906 (McCann) for this argument. Further, it is unclear whether the Casado Defendants also argue that a claim under Business and Professions Code section 17200 was required to be pled with specificity. However, to the extent the Casado Defendants make this contention, the court disagrees.

In opposition, Plaintiff contends that the Casado Defendants’ reliance on McCann is misplaced. (Opposition, 8.) The court agrees.

In McCann, the Court of Appeal stated that fraud was the required pleading specificity for a CFCA cause of action, “ “ as in any action sounding in fraud.”” (Id.; quoting City of Pomona v. Superior Court (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 793, 803.) As such, a Plaintiff is required to plead the “time, place, and contents of the false representations, as well as the identity of the person making the misrepresentation and what he obtained thereby.”” (Id.) However, McCann does not stand for the proposition that a claim under Insurance Code section 1871.7 is required to be pled with specificity.

Second, the Casado Defendants contend that the FAC is insufficiently pled because it cannot be discerned from the face of the FAC what the Casado Defendants are allegedly to have done. (Demurrer, 8-12.) In opposition, Plaintiff contends that no specific pleading standard has been enumerated for Insurance Code section 1871.7 and that regardless, the FAC is sufficiently pled. (Opposition, 8-11.)

Here, the FAC alleges that DOES ONE through TWENTY FIVE “were or are individuals or entities that are legally responsible in some manner for the conduct herein alleged.” (FAC ¶ 33.) Further, all layperson defendants and “other DOE defendants” engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to “gather and steer personal injury clients and patients between sham law offices and sham mill-type healthcare facilities” in order to make fraudulent insurance claims. (FAC ¶ 45.) There are allegedly “at least two” allegedly sham law offices that are owned and controlled by defendants. (FAC ¶ 46.) Defendants allegedly violated Insurance Code section 1871.7 by virtue of this alleged conduct. (FAC ¶¶ 64-65.) Further, Defendants, including doe defendants’ conduct also allegedly constituted unfair competition. (FAC ¶ 71.)

The court finds that the FAC is sufficiently pled. As Plaintiff correctly contends, the Casado Defendants have cited to no case law for the proposition that Insurance Code section 1871.7 or Business and Professions Code section 17200 causes of action were required to be pled with specificity. Based on the above discussion of the FAC’s allegations, the court finds that the FAC sufficiently alleges a cause of action under Insurance Code section 1871.7 and that further, sufficiently alleges a cause of action under Business and Professions Code section 17200 with reasonable particularity.

  1. Whether the FAC’s Causes of Action are Barred

Insurance Code section 1871.7, subdivision (l)(1) provides that: “An action pursuant to this section may not be filed more than three years after the discovery of the facts constituting the grounds for commencing the action.”

The Casado Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s FAC is barred as to them because the FAC does not sufficiently allege that all claims against the Casado Defendants were discovered by or before April 3, 2011, three years prior to filing the initial Complaint. (Demurrer, 12-14.) The Casado Defendants contend that to the extent toe FAC includes dates in its allegations, these dates do not affirmatively demonstrate that the FAC is timely as to the Casado Defendants and that, as such, the FAC is untimely. (Id.)

In opposition, Plaintiff contends that the Casado Defendants’ timeliness argument must fail because the argument is not supported by the face of the FAC. (Opposition, 11.) The court agrees. The court cannot determine based on the face of the FAC that the FAC is untimely as to the Casado Defendants. Further, the Casado Defendants have cited to no authority for the proposition that Plaintiff was required to affirmatively allege timeliness in the FAC in order for the claims to be considered timely for purposes of demurrer. Thus, the court does not sustain the Casado Defendants’ demurrer on this basis.

  1. Misjoinder

Code of Civil Procedure, section 379 provides that multiple persons may be joined in one action against them if either of the following applies:

“(1) Any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative, in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons will arise in the action; ¿or

(2) A claim, right, or interest adverse to them in the property or controversy which is the subject of the action.”

Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.10, subdivision (d) allows a party to demur to a pleading on the grounds that there is a defect or misjoinder of parties.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (d).)  

The Casado Defendants contend that the FAC insufficiently joins them as parties because the FAC was required to allege that any nonlawyer defendant owned, controlled, or operative the Casado Law Firm. (Demurrer, 14-16.) In opposition, Plaintiff contends that the Casado Defendants’ misjoinder argument must fail because the Casado Defendants do not argue that the allegations of the FAC did not arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences. (Opposition, 11-12.)

The court agrees with Plaintiff. The Casado Defendants do not demonstrate that misjoinder exists. Specifically, the Casado Defendants’ demurrer does not explain why the FAC was required to allege that nonlawyer defendants controlled the Casado Law Firm in order for the allegations to arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of occurrences.

Thus, the court does not sustain the Casado Defendants’ demurrer on this basis.

Conclusion

The Casado Defendants’ demurrer to the FAC is overruled in its entirety. Plaintiff is to give notice.

MOTIONS TO QUASH SUBPOENA

The Casado Defendants move to quash two subpoenas, one each to JP Morgan Chase Bank and to Hanmi Bank on the grounds that both are overbroad and seek private information.

Discussion

I. Procedural Requirements

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, sections 1985.3, subdivision (e), a subpoena duces tecum that seeks the production of consumer records, served on either the consumer or his attorney shall be accompanied by a notice indicating that (1) records about the consumer are being sought, (2) if the consumer objects the production of records, the consumer shall serve written objections prior to the date of production, and (3) if the party who is seeking records will not agree to cancel the subpoena upon objection, that an attorney should be consulted about the consumer’s interest in protecting his rights of privacy.

Further, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1985.6, the subpoenaing party shall serve on the witness, prior to production of the records, a “proof of personal service” or “service by mail” and provide the witness an authorization to release records signed by the employee or by his attorney of record.

The Casado Defendants do not argue that the subpoenas must be quashed for failing to comply with procedural requirements. Thus, the court will proceed to analyze substantive considerations regarding the subpoenas.

II. Substantive Considerations

A court “may make an order quashing the subpoena entirely, modifying it, or directing compliance with it upon those terms or conditions as the court shall declare, including protective orders. In addition, the court may make any other order as may be appropriate to protect the person from unreasonable or oppressive demands, including unreasonable violations of the right of privacy of the person.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1987.1.) The court, upon motion reasonably made by the party, may rule upon motions for quashing, modifying or compelling compliance with, subpoenas. (See, e.g., Lee v. Swansboro Country Property Owners Ass’n (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 575, 582-83.) A court may abuse its discretion in denying requests for discovery, or in granting a motion to quash, where it fails to consider interests favoring disclosure, or an order partially limiting rather than outright denying discovery. (Johnson v. Sup. Ct. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1050, 1073.)

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1345 requires a separate statement to be submitted in connection with any motion “involving the content of a discovery request or the response to such a request…..”  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1345(a).)  A separate statement is required for a motion to compel answers at a deposition and a motion to compel or quash the production of documents or tangible things at a deposition.  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1345(a)(4)-(5).)   

Plaintiff contends that each of the Casado Defendants’ motions to quash must be denied because no separate statement was filed in connection with either motion, and a separate statement was required pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345.

In reply, the Casado Defendants have filed separate statements in support of each motion. However, pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345, a separate statement was required with the Casado Defendants’ moving papers. Because the Casado Defendants did not file a separate statement until their reply, the court denies the motion to quash.

Conclusion

The Casado Defendants’ motions to quash are denied. Plaintiffs to give notice.


[1] The Casado Defendants submit the declaration of their attorney, Michael V. Severo (“Severo”) to demonstrate that they have fulfilled their meet and confer obligations pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.41 prior to filing the instant motion. Severo attests that on April 23, 2020, he met and conferred with Plaintiff’s counsel Ryan Jacobson by telephone and were unable to reach an agreement regarding the issues raised in the instant demurrer. (Severo Decl. ¶ 4.) The Severo Declaration is sufficient for purposes of Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.41.