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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/26/2019 at 14:58:04 (UTC).

SOO JA CHUNG VS L A COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHO

Case Summary

On 10/24/2016 SOO JA CHUNG filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against L A COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8379

  • Filing Date:

    10/24/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

CHUNG SOO JA

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 60

LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPOR-

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN W. TOPPILA

KIM JASON JOHN

PERRY ALLAN

Defendant Attorney

WAINFELD GABRIEL HORACE

 

Court Documents

ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES]

2/14/2018: ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES]

NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

2/23/2018: NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

6/26/2018: NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF GABRIEL H. WAINFELD

8/14/2018: DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF GABRIEL H. WAINFELD

ORDER

8/14/2018: ORDER

NOTICE OF RULING

8/16/2018: NOTICE OF RULING

Ex Parte Application

1/8/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

1/10/2019: Minute Order

Substitution of Attorney

3/18/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Association of Attorney

4/9/2019: Association of Attorney

Minute Order

4/11/2019: Minute Order

Order

4/11/2019: Order

Ex Parte Application

4/11/2019: Ex Parte Application

Notice of Ruling

4/16/2019: Notice of Ruling

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE/PUBLIC ENTITY - MOTOR VEHICLE; ETC

10/24/2016: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE/PUBLIC ENTITY - MOTOR VEHICLE; ETC

SUMMONS

10/24/2016: SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/8/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

CIVIL DEPOSIT

10/11/2017: CIVIL DEPOSIT

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/24/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transpor- (Defendant)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Continue Trial) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 04/11/2019
  • at 12:48 PM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Minute Order ((Nunc Pro Tunc Order Re Minute Order of 4/11/19) (to change times of Trial and FSC); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (to Continue Trial); Filed by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transpor- (Defendant)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Order (Re Trial Continuance); Filed by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transpor- (Defendant)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/09/2019
  • Association of Attorney; Filed by Soo Ja Chung (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/18/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Soo Ja Chung (Plaintiff)

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30 More Docket Entries
  • 09/22/2017
  • Miscellaneous-Other; Filed by Soo Ja Chung (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/22/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-09-22 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/22/2017
  • INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS (DEPARTMENT 91, 92, 93, 97, 98)

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  • 03/24/2017
  • Answer; Filed by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transpor- (Defendant)

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  • 03/24/2017
  • ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 03/08/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/08/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Soo Ja Chung (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/24/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Soo Ja Chung (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/24/2016
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE/PUBLIC ENTITY - MOTOR VEHICLE; ETC

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  • 10/24/2016
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC638379    Hearing Date: August 27, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SOO JA CHUNG,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC638379

[TENTATIVE] (1) ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

(2) ORDER GRANTING DEFENSE MENTAL EXAMINATION OF PLAINTIFF

Dept. 31

10:30 a.m.

August 27, 2020

 

  1. Background

    Plaintiff, Soo Ja Chung filed this action against Defendant, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for damages Plaintiff sustained while a passenger on Defendant’s bus. Plaintiff alleges Defendant’s driver negligently and carelessly accelerated the bus immediately after Plaintiff boarded Defendant’s bus.

    Defendant now moves (1) for leave to amend its answer and (2) to compel the defense mental examination of Plaintiff.

  2. Motion for Leave to Amend Answer

    Defendant moves for leave to amend its answer to include an affirmative defense of a breach of oral agreement.

    The court may, in furtherance of justice, and on such terms as may be proper, allow a party to amend any pleading. (CCP §§ 473 and 576.) Judicial policy favors resolution of all disputed matters between the parties and, therefore, leave to amend is generally liberally granted. Ordinarily, the court will not consider the validity of the proposed amended pleading in ruling on a motion for leave since grounds for a demurrer or motion to strike are premature. However, the court does have discretion to deny leave to amend where a proposed amendment fails to state a valid cause of action as a matter of law and the defect cannot be cured by further amendment. (California Casualty General Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 274, 281.)

    The application for leave to amend should be made as soon as the need to amend is discovered. The closer the trial date, the stronger the showing required for leave to amend. If the party seeking the amendment has been dilatory, and the delay has prejudiced the opposing party, the Court has the discretion to deny leave to amend. (Hirsa v. Superior Court (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 486, 490.) Prejudice exists where the amendment would require delaying the trial, resulting in loss of critical evidence, or added costs of preparation such as an increased burden of discovery. (Magpali v. Farmers Group, Inc. (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 471, 486-488.)

    Here, Defendant seeks leave to amend its answer to include an affirmative defense of breach of oral agreement based on Plaintiff’s alleged oral agreement to settle this matter. Defendant asserts Plaintiff will not be prejudiced by allowing the proposed amendment, and that denying the motion will deprive Defendant of a meritorious defense. Plaintiff does not oppose the motion. Trial in this matter is not currently set, and thus, there will be no prejudice as a result of the amended answer.

    The motion is granted.

  3. Motion to Compel the Defense Mental Examination of the Plaintiff

  1. Moving Argument

Defendant moves to compel Plaintiff to submit to a neuro psych defense medical examination on the ground that Plaintiff recently produced records from Dr. Daniel Zehler for a neuropsychological examination, which is the first time Defendant was provided with records by a neuropsychologist. Defendant seeks to have its expert, Dr. Ari Kalechstein, to conduct a neuropsychological examination of Plaintiff, so that Defendant is not prejudiced when Plaintiff has Dr. Zehler testify at trial.

  1. Opposing Argument

Plaintiff argues that since the incident she has had significant cognitive issues, including loss of memory, difficulty with speech, disorientation, dizziness and trouble with balancing, such that a lengthy and invasive mental examination will cause detriment to Plaintiff’s mental condition. Before a mental examination is ordered, Plaintiff’s treating doctor should opine that an examination will not be detrimental to her health. Further, Plaintiff contends Defendant’s motion does not comply with CCP § 2032.310.

  1. Analysis

Except for defense physicals in personal injury cases (in which one examination is permitted as a matter of course) and exams arranged by stipulation, a court order is required for a physical or mental examination. Such order may be made only after notice and hearing, and for “good cause shown.” (CCP §2032.320(a).)

The examination will be limited to whatever condition is “in controversy” in the action. (CCP §2032.020(a).) This means the examination must be directly related to the specific injury or condition that is the subject of the litigation. (Roberts v. Superior Court (1973) 9 Cal.3d 330, 337.) Often, a party's pleadings put his or her mental or physical condition in controversy ... as when a plaintiff claims continuing mental or physical injury resulting from defendant's acts: “A party who chooses to allege that he has mental and emotional difficulties can hardly deny his mental state is in controversy.” (See Vinson v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal.3d 833, 837, wherein the plaintiff claimed ongoing emotional distress from sexual harassment by former employer.) Discovery responses can also frame the issues regarding the injuries and damages alleged.

Where the plaintiff's injuries are complex, several exams may be necessary by specialists in different fields. There is no limit on the number of physical or mental exams that may be ordered on a showing of good cause. The good cause requirement checks any potential harassment of the plaintiff. (See Shapira v. Superior Court (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 1249, 1255.)

Here, Plaintiff affirms that she is alleging she has suffered significant cognitive issues. While Plaintiff asserts she will suffer long term detriment to her mental condition, Plaintiff does not submit any evidence to show that a mental examination as proposed by Defendant would be harmful to her health. The court thus finds good cause for the mental examination sought.

Plaintiff further contends failed to satisfy the requirements of CCP §2032.320(d), which requires the moving party to specify the “diagnostic tests and procedures, conditions, scope, and nature of the examination.” Defendant’s motion indicates the scope of the examination is set forth in the exhibits attached to the Declaration of Counsel, filed concurrently with the moving papers. Counsel’s declaration references a description of the neuropsychological evaluation to be performed by Dr. Kalechstein, (Exh. E), a list of the tests to be administered during the examination by Dr. Kalechstein (Exh. F). Exhibit F lists 22 potential tests; “The tests are considered to be valid and reliable measures of cognition and emotion, and will assess the following domains: intellectual function, attention/information processing speed, language/academic achievement, visuospatial skills, motoric function, memory for auditory and/or visual information, executive/frontal function, and/or personality/emotional functioning, Attached is a universe of the tests [Exh. F] that may he administered to the plaintiff. The specific tests to be administered will be determined once records have been reviewed and the testing has commenced.” (Exh. E.)

Plaintiff cites to Carpenter v. Superior Court (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 249, in arguing that Defendant has failed to specify the tests and procedures to be conducted.

In Carpenter v. Superior Court (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 249, 260, the defendant argued that simply naming the types of tests to be performed, as opposed to the exact tests themselves, was sufficient in the context of a mental health examination. The court of appeals disagreed and noted that the statute required the defendant to specify the “diagnostic tests and procedures,” which means they must be listed by name.

The Court indicated, “Nor does the discussion in Ragge otherwise persuade us that it would be inappropriate to compel advance disclosure of the test names. Yamaha refers us to a passage in which the Ragge court stated: ‘Because the mental examination provides one of the few opportunities for a defendant to have access to a plaintiff, and the only opportunity for a defendant to have a plaintiff examined by defendant's expert, some preference should be given to allowing the examiner to exercise discretion in the manner and means by which the examination is conducted, provided it is not an improper examination.’ (Ragge, supra, 165 F.R.D. at p. 609.) In general, we have no quarrel with this proposition. Certainly, the examiner should have some discretion in choosing the manner and means of conducting the examination—but only as long as the tests he or she proposes are not unduly invasive or otherwise inappropriate. The way to assure that the tests do not make the examination “improper,” as Ragge puts it, is to require the court to name the tests in its order. This assures that the court has considered any objections to the tests and provides the examiner clear parameters for the examination.”

Defendant, in this case, identifies 22 potential tests for the neurological examination, which is sufficiently narrow to permit Plaintiff to prepare for the examination. The court therefore finds Defendant has met its obligations in this regard.

Defendant’s motion to compel Plaintiff to attend and neurophysiological examination with Drs. Ari Kalechstein. 11835 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 1265E, LA, CA 90064. Counsel must meet and confer to determine the date and time for the examination; if Plaintiff does not meaningfully participate in the meet and confer process, Defendants may unilaterally set the date and time for the examination with at least ten days’ notice to Plaintiff (extended per Code if by other than personal service).

Defendant is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

 

Dated this 27th day of August, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

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