This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/29/2020 at 13:51:32 (UTC).

AARON JUSTIS, ET AL. VS. MICHAEL HODGES

Case Summary

On 10/31/2017 AARON JUSTIS filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against MICHAEL HODGES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WILLIAM D. STEWART. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7546

  • Filing Date:

    10/31/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

WILLIAM D. STEWART

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Cross Defendants and Not Classified By Court

BUDS & ROSES COLLECTIVE INC.

JUSTIS AARON

JUSTIS ERICA

Defendants, Cross Plaintiffs and Not Classified By Court

HODGES MICHAEL

RICE RODNEY

BUDS & ROSES COLLECTIVE INC.

JUSTIS AARON

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

HENRY G WYKOWSKI & ASSOCIATES

WYKOWSKI HENRY GEORGE

Defendant Attorneys

AD ASTRA LAW GROUP LLP

ARTHUR D. HODGE ESQ.

ARTHUR D. HODGE ATTORNEY AT LAW

HODGE ARTHUR DONALDSON

Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

WINSTON WOLFE LAW FIRM PC

SHELTON JOSHUA PAUL

 

Court Documents

Notice - NOTICE OF ERRATA

9/22/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ERRATA

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

3/20/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

2/3/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

Supplemental Declaration - SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF ARTHUR D. HODGE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, PROPOUN

12/20/2019: Supplemental Declaration - SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF ARTHUR D. HODGE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, PROPOUN

Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF/CROSS-DEFENDANT BUDS & ROSES COLLECTIVE, INC.S DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

11/27/2019: Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF/CROSS-DEFENDANT BUDS & ROSES COLLECTIVE, INC.S DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICAT...)

12/6/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION DEFENDANT'S EX PARTE APPLICAT...)

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORY 17.1, REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND FOR ISSUE SANCTIONS

11/27/2019: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORY 17.1, REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND FOR ISSUE SANCTIONS

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

11/25/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

11/7/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES TO BUDS & ROSES AND REQUEST FOR MONETA

11/5/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES TO BUDS & ROSES AND REQUEST FOR MONETA

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET TWO, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES

11/1/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET TWO, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSTION TO MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES

11/1/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREW F. SCHER IN OPPOSTION TO MOTION TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION AND FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, PROPOUNDED FROM MICHAEL HODGES

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ARTHUR D. HODGE AND EXHIBITS THERETO IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL BUDS & ROSES FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE

10/21/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ARTHUR D. HODGE AND EXHIBITS THERETO IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL BUDS & ROSES FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

5/31/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Proof of Service by Mail

2/11/2019: Proof of Service by Mail

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

2/11/2019: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses)

2/15/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses)

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: First Amended Cross-Complaint

6/1/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: First Amended Cross-Complaint

230 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/21/2021
  • Hearing06/21/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Jury Trial

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  • 06/10/2021
  • Hearing06/10/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Final Status Conference

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  • 10/14/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses (Responses to Form Interrogatory 17.1) - Held

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  • 10/14/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") (Plaintiff Erica Justis's Deposition and Request for Monetary Sanctions) - Held

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  • 10/14/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/14/2020
  • DocketOrder (Court's Order re: Motion to Compel Further Responses); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/09/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 10/09/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketObjection (TO EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IN CONNECTION WITH MICHAEL HODGES? MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS); Filed by Aaron Justis (Plaintiff); Erica Justis (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketReply (IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES); Filed by Aaron Justis (Plaintiff); Erica Justis (Plaintiff)

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290 More Docket Entries
  • 01/16/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service (OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; OSC Discharged) -

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  • 01/16/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-01-16 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/09/2018
  • DocketCross-Compl fld- No Summons Issued; Filed by Michael Hodges (Defendant); Rodney Rice (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 01/09/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Michael Hodges (Defendant)

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  • 01/09/2018
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Michael Hodges (Defendant)

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  • 11/07/2017
  • DocketRequest For Copies

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Aaron Justis (Plaintiff); Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Aaron Justis (Plaintiff); Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC067546    Hearing Date: October 14, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

aaron justis, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

michael hodges,

Defendant.

CROSS-COMPLAINTS

Case No.: EC067546

Hearing Date: October 14, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion to compel further responses

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations of Complaint

Plaintiffs Aaron Justis (“Aaron Justis”) and Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (“B&R”) commenced this action against Defendant Michael Hodges (“Defendant” or “Hodges”). Aaron Justis and Hodges were the only directors of B&R, a medical cannabis dispensary. Aaron Justis and B&R allege that Hodges breached his fiduciary duty to B&R and treated B&R as his personal bank account, misappropriated funds, and wasted corporate resources. The complaint, filed October 31, 2017, alleges causes of action for: (1) removal of director; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; and (3) intentional interference with prospective economic relations.

Hodges filed a first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”) on May 21, 2018 against Aaron Justis and B&R for: (1) appointment of receiver; (2) removal of director; (3) breach of oral contract; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; (5) conversion; (6) unjust enrichment; (7) quantum meruit; (8) declaratory relief; (9) fraud; (10) promissory estoppel; (11) appointment of provisional director; and (12) accounting.

B. Motion on Calendar

On July 17, 2020, Plaintiff Erica Justis filed a motion to compel Defendant Michael Hodges’ further response to form interrogatory no. 17.1 (“FROG”). Plaintiff also seeks sanctions in the amount of $4,405 and for issue/evidence sanctions precluding Defendant from introducing documentary evidence that would have been responsive to FROG No. 17.1. On September 30, 2020, Hodge filed a declaration in support of the opposition and on October 1, 2020, Hodges filed an opposition brief. On October 6, 2020, Justis filed a reply brief.

On July 29, 2020, Defendant Hodges filed a motion to compel Plaintiff Erica Justis’ deposition. Defendant seeks monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,260. On September 30, 2020, Aaron Justis, Erica Justis, and B&R filed an opposition brief. On October 6, 2020, Hodges filed a reply brief.

DISCUSSION

A. Erica Justis’ Motion to Compel Hodges’ Further Responses to FROG No. 17.1

1. Merits of Motion

On September 6, 2019, Plaintiff Erica Justis propounded the underlying Requests for Admissions (“RFA”) on Defendant Michael Hodges. Defendant provided initial responses to the RFA on October 7, 2019 and amended responses on October 17, 2019, but may no responses to FROG No. 17.1. Plaintiff propounded FROG No. 17.1 on Defendant and Defendant served responses on June 1, 2020. Plaintiff argues that attempts to meet and confer were made and unsuccessful.

Plaintiff’s separate statement indicates that she seeks further responses to FROG No. 17.1 on RFA Nos. 1-33. FROG No. 17.1 asks if Defendant’s response to each RFA served with the FROG is an unqualified admission and, if not, for each response that is not an unqualified admission: (a) state the number of the RFA; (b) state all facts upon which he bases his response; (c) state the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons who have knowledge of those facts; and (d) identify all documents and other tangible things that support your response and state the name, address, and telephone number of the person who has each document.

In opposition, Defendant argues that this motion is now moot because he served full and complete responses to the FROG on September 28, 2020. (Hodge Decl., ¶2, Ex. 1.)

In reply, Plaintiff argues that the responses are still wholly insufficient. (Reply at p.1.)

As responses have now been provided to the FROG, the substantive discovery issues of the motion are now moot. To the extent the supplemental responses are still inadequate, the parties should engage in good faith meet and confer efforts and if such discovery issues cannot be resolved informally, then Plaintiff should consider filing another motion.

2. Sanctions

Plaintiff requests monetary, evidence, and issue sanctions against Defendant.

Defendant does not request sanctions in connection with filing the opposition.

The Court declines to impose evidence/issues sanctions against Defendant at this time. However, the Court will award reasonable monetary sanctions in the amount of $590 ($295/hour x a reasonable time of 2 hours on the motion).

Plaintiff also requests that a discovery referee be appointed for the prompt resolution of discovery issues. The Court denies the request for a discovery referee at this time.

B. Hodges’ Motion to Compel Erica Justis’ Deposition

Defendant Hodges moves to compel Plaintiff Erica Justis to attend her deposition and produce documents. Defendant noticed her deposition on 5 separate occasions over 9 months and argues that Plaintiff’s counsel has refused to produce Ms. Justis or at least provide alternate dates for her availability. (Hodge Decl., Exs. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 [5 Notices of Deposition of Erica Justis].) In response to the first deposition notice, Plaintiff’s counsel emailed defense counsel to cancel it because Ms. Justis would not be appearing. (Id. at Ex. 2.) In response to the second deposition notice, Plaintiff’s counsel emailed defense counsel that he was not available for the deposition, so Ms. Justis too would not appear. (Id. at Ex. 4.) In response to the third deposition notice, Plaintiff’s counsel stated that he was awaiting word on his son’s surgery and would be in a better position to determine his availability for the deposition thereafter. (Id. at Ex. 6.) In response to the fourth deposition notice, Plaintiff’s counsel emailed defense counsel that his office made a calendar error so that he would not be able to attend the deposition, but was willing to make himself and the deponent available from November 19 to 26, 2019 instead. (Id. at Ex. 8.)

On June 8, 2020, Defendant issued the Fifth Notice of Deposition, scheduling her deposition for June 30, 2020 at the Offices of Aptus Court Reporting in Irvine and sought 19 requests for documents. (Hodge Decl., Ex. 9 [Fifth Notice of Deposition].) In response, on June 9, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel sent an email, stating that the scheduling live depositions during the Shelter in Place order would not work because Plaintiff’s counsel lives in San Francisco and engaging in non-essential travel for the deposition would violate the Shelter in Place order. (Id. at Ex. 11.) Defense counsel then exchanged emails with Plaintiff’s counsel for alternate deposition dates, and Plaintiff’s counsel raised concerns about the increasing severity of the pandemic and non-essential travel. (See id. at Exs. 12-19.)

In opposition, Plaintiffs argue that Ms. Justis is the wife of Aaron Justis, she has no involvement in the business, and her only involvement is with regards to Hodges’ threat of extortion directed at her. Plaintiffs argue that now that a trial date has been set for June 21, 2021, Plaintiffs’ counsel offered dates for Mr. Hodge (defense counsel) to take the video deposition of Ms. Justis on October 22-23 or November 5, 6, 9, or 11, 2020. (Opp. at Ex. G.) Plaintiff’s counsel, Henry Wykowski, states that he is in a higher risk category for COVID-19 complications and thus is exercising caution during the pandemic. (Wykowski Decl., ¶12.)

The Judicial Council has issued Temporary Emergency Rules regarding court proceedings in the California Rules of Court. Emergency Rule 11 (effective June 20, 2020) regarding Depositions Through Remote Electronic Means states:

(a) Deponents Appearing Remotely.  3.1010(c) and (d), a party or nonparty deponent, at their election or the election of the deposing party, is not required to be present with the deposition officer at the time of the deposition.

(b) Sunset of Rule.  will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted, or until amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.

(CRC Emergency Rule 11.) Emergency Rule 11 was apparently issued so that depositions could go forward in a safe and timely manner. It appears to be in effect.

Based on the parties’ initial emails, it appears that the parties strongly considered doing an in-person deposition of Ms. Justis. In his July 26, 2020 email, Plaintiff’s counsel states that assuming Ms. Justis can make it to the deposition, he too can come for her deposition sometime in October 2020. (Hodge Decl., Ex. 19.) Based on the opposition papers, Ms. Justis appears to be willing to attend her deposition via video. If Plaintiff’s counsel and Ms. Justis are willing to attend her deposition presently, then it should go forward.

If the parties remain unable to agree on an in-person deposition, the Court will order a deposition of Ms. Justis via telephonic or videoconference means pursuant to CRC Emergency Rule 11 based on the dates that have been offered or some other date that is satisfactory. If the parties cannot agree, the Court will order a date.

Defendant Hodges seeks monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,260 for bringing the motion. Ms. Justis does not seek sanctions in connection with the opposition. The Court is inclined not to award sanctions to either party.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Plaintiff’ Erica Justis’ motion to compel Defendant Hodges’ further responses to FROG No. 17.1 (as to RFA Nos. 1-7, 9-12, 14-21, and 23-33) is moot as further responses were provided. Defendant and his counsel of record, jointly and severally, are ordered to pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $590.00 to Plaintiff, by and through counsel, within 20 days of notice of this order.

The Court will order the deposition of Erica Justis to proceed on a date that will be set at the hearing on this matter. The requests for sanctions on this aspect of the motion are denied.

Each party shall provide notice of their respective order.

Case Number: EC067546    Hearing Date: February 07, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

aaron justis, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

michael hodges,

Defendant.

CROSS-COMPLAINTS

Case No.: EC067546

Hearing Date: February 7, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motions to compel further responses; and

motion for sanctions

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations of Complaint

Plaintiffs Aaron Justis (“Aaron Justis”) and Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (“B&R”) commenced this action against Defendant Michael Hodges (“Defendant” or “Hodges”). Aaron Justis and Hodges were the only directors of B&R, a medical cannabis dispensary. Aaron Justis and B&R allege that Hodges breached his fiduciary duty to B&R and treated B&R as his personal bank account, misappropriated funds, and wasted corporate resources. The complaint, filed October 31, 2017, alleges causes of action for: (1) removal of director; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; and (3) intentional interference with prospective economic relations.

Hodges filed a first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”) on May 21, 2018 against Aaron Justis and B&R for: (1) appointment of receiver; (2) removal of director; (3) breach of oral contract; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; (5) conversion; (6) unjust enrichment; (7) quantum meruit; (8) declaratory relief; (9) fraud; (10) promissory estoppel; (11) appointment of provisional director; and (12) accounting.

B. Motions on Calendar

On calendar are 3 motions to compel further responses and 1 motion for sanctions.

Hodges filed 3 motions to compel further to requests for production of documents (“RPD”) against B&R (Reservation No. 240013431418), Aaron Justis (Reservation No. 866721509380), and Erica Justis (Reservation No. 696691987294). Hodges initially filed the motions to compel further on October 21, 2019, and these initial motions were fully briefed.

Hodges then filed amended motions on December 20, 2019. Plaintiffs filed oppositions to the amended motions on January 28, 2020. On January 31, 2020, Hodges filed reply briefs.

On January 13, 2020, Aaron Justis filed a motion for sanctions against Hodges and Cross-Complainant Rodney Rice (“Rice”) in the amount of $6,742.00. On January 27, 2020, Hodges filed an opposition to the sanctions motion.

HODGES’ MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO RPD

In the supplemental declaration of Arthur D. Hodge (Hodges’ counsel) filed with the amended motion papers, Mr. Hodge states that he had to prematurely file these motions in order to make the cut-off period pursuant to code because he would be out for the holidays in December 2019 until January 6, 2020. (Suppl. Hodge Decl., ¶13.) Mr. Hodge states that on December 14, 2019, he offered to take the motions off calendar in exchange for a stipulation and order that further responses would be served and that he would otherwise have to file motions on December 20, 2019. (Id.)

In the supplemental declaration of Andrew Scher (Plaintiffs’ counsel), Mr. Scher states that he responded to defense counsel’s email on December 17, 2019, stating that he would be amenable to extending the motion cut-off date. (Suppl. Scher Decl., ¶4.) Mr. Scher states that he would be willing to continue with meet and confer efforts. (Id., ¶5.)

As shown by Hodges’ moving papers and the declaration of his counsel, it appears that the parties were unable to adequately meet and confer on the RPD requests and responses in good faith.

While the Court has considered continuing the motions to allow good faith meet and confer efforts, the Court notes that the parties have belabored the discovery process during the course of this litigation. Thus, the Court will rule on the merits of the motions, but will consider the lack of good faith meet and confer when determining the appropriateness of sanctions.

A. Motion to Compel Aaron Justis’ Further Responses

Hodges moves to compel Aaron Justis’ further responses to RPD, set 2, Nos. 52-67. The Court rules as follows:

· RPD No. 52 asks for all for all documents relating or referring to Michael Hodges. RPD No. 53 asks for all documents relating or referring to communications between Hodges and Aaron Justis. RPD No. 62 asks for all documents relating or referring to any verbal or written communications between Aaron Justis and Robert Raich regarding Hodges. The RPDs are overly broad in scope and do not limit the documents requested to a particular period of time or for relevant subject matter. The Court also does not find that Hodges has not established good cause for the production of documents. (CCP §2031.310.) “To establish good cause, a discovery proponent must identify a disputed fact that is of consequence in the action and explain how the discovery sought will tend in reason to prove or disprove that fact or lead to other evidence that will tend to prove or disprove the fact.” (Digital Music News LLC v Superior Court (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 216, 224.) As the RPDs are broad in scope, the parties should meet and confer as to the scope and Hodges should narrowly tailor the requests to seek relevant information and documents only. If Hodges chooses to amend the RPDs, Plaintiff should also take due care to produce the discovery as requested and produce a privilege log for privileged documents. To the extent Plaintiff’s responses are complete, he should clarify this in his responses. Further, Plaintiff should only assert objections/privileges that apply and to the extent that boilerplate objections/privileges are asserted, the Court may choose to disregard them in future motions on the discovery at issue. At this time, based on the lack of good cause established by Hodges and the current wording of the RPDs, the Court denies the motion on RPD Nos. 52-53 and 62.

· RPD Nos. 54-60 ask for all documents relating or referring to any damages, embarrassment, humiliation, difficulty concentrating at work, insomnia, discomfort, and mental and emotional distress Aaron Justis sustained or suffered as a result of any wrongful acts committed by Hodges. RPD Nos. 61 and 63-67 seek all documents relating or referring to various allegations as alleged in the complaint in case no. EC069206. The documents sought in these RPDs are relevant to damages Aaron Justis is claiming, and thus he has put them at issue in this case. Further, the requests seek documents supporting the allegations Aaron Justis made in his complaint in the consolidated case. In response to each of these RPDs, Aaron Justis responded in the same manner by stating he has produced Bates Nos. AJ00001-AJ02058. However, in compliance with CCP §2031.280, Aaron Justis must identify the documents with the specific request number, rather than producing more than 2,000 pages without specifying which pages are in response to the RPD at issue. Thus, the Court grants the motion as to RPD Nos. 54-61 and 63-67.

The Court declines to award sanctions to either party in connection with this motion. As discussed above, it appears that the meet and confer process was prematurely cut off. Further, the Court notes that there are issues with both Hodges’ RPDs and Plaintiff’s responses. Rather, the parties should make good faith efforts to cooperate in discovery, particularly before the Mandatory Settlement Conference.

B. Motion to Compel Erica Justis’ Further Responses

Hodges moves to compel Erica Justis’ further responses to RPD, set 1, Nos. 1-16. The RPDs are similar to those propounded on Aaron Justis in his RPD, set 2. Thus, the Court makes similar consistent rulings.

The motion to compel Erica Justis’ further responses to RPD Nos. 1, 2, and 11 are denied for the same reasons as stated above (re RPD Nos. 52, 53, and 62 propounded on Aaron Justis).

The motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 3-9 for the same reasons stated above (re RPD Nos. 54-60 propounded on Aaron Justis).

The motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 10 and 12-16 for the same reasons stated above (re RPD Nos. 61-67 propounded on Aaron Justis).

As discussed above, sanctions will not be awarded to either Hodges or Erica Justis in connection with this motion.

C. Motion to Compel B&R’s Further Responses

Hodges moves to compel B&R’s further responses to RPD, set 1, Nos. 1-57. The Court makes the following rulings.

· The motion is denied as to RPD Nos. 1-2 for the same reasons discussed above (re RPD Nos. 52, 53, and 62 propounded on Aaron Justis). Similarly, RPD Nos. 5-6 seek all documents regarding Rodney Rice and all communications. For the same reasons, the motion is denied as to RPD Nos. 5-6.

· RPD Nos. 3-4 seek all documents referring or relating to communications between B&R and the City’s departments from September 1, 2007 to the present. RPD Nos. 46-47 seek all documents relating to B&R filed with City departments from January 1, 2007 to the present. RPD Nos. 48-50 seek documents regarding B&R’s cannabis distributor, retailer, manufacturer, and cultivator license application submitted with the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Cannabis Control from January 1, 2018 to the present. In response, B&R states that it produced Bates Nos. AJ00001-AJ02058, and that it has further produced documents AJ02059-AJ02821. However, these responses fail to comply with CCP §2031.280. Further, to the extent that not all documents have been produced on the basis of privilege, a privilege log should be provided. Finally, the fact that Hodges may have subpoenaed the documents from the City does not excuse B&R from complying with its discovery obligations. The motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 3-4 and 46-50.

· RPD Nos. 7-14, 36-38, 40-42, 44, and 52-57 seek documents regarding B&R’s business, such as corporate books, applications, leaseholds, certificates, business ownership, federal tax liens, investors, employees, loans, corporate meetings, etc. In response, B&R states that it produced Bates Nos. AJ00001-AJ02821. However, this response and the documents produced fail to comply with CCP §2031.280 as there is no specification on which documents are actually responsive to the RPDs asked. Further, to the extent that not all documents have been produced on the basis of privilege, a privilege log should be provided. The motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 7-14, 36-38, 40-42, 44, and 52-57.

· RPD Nos. 15-35, 39, 43, 45 seek documents supporting B&R’s contentions. As B&R has put such matters into issue, B&R should provide supporting documents. Though B&R states in its responses that it has produced AJ00001-AJ02821, B&R fails to specify the documents specific to each RPD request, as required under CCP §2031.280. Thus, the motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 15-35, 39, 43, and 45.

As discussed above, sanctions will not be awarded to either Hodges or B&R in connection with this motion.

PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Plaintiff moves for monetary sanctions against Hodges and Rice for violation of LASC Local Rule 3.25 regarding attendance at the settlement conference and submission of settlement conference statement. Plaintiff states in the notice of motion that the motion is made pursuant to Local Rule 3.10.

A. LASC Local Rules

LASC Local Rule 3.10, entitled “SANCTIONS”, states:

The court may impose appropriate sanctions for the failure or refusal to comply with the rules in this chapter, including the time standards and/or deadlines, and any court order made pursuant to the rules. Counsel are directed to Code of Civil Procedure sections 128, 128.7, 177.5, 575.2, 583.150, 583.430, 2016.010-2036.050, Government Code section 68608, and California Rules of Court, rule 2.30. The sanctions may be imposed on a party and, if appropriate, on counsel for that party.

(LASC Local Rule 3.10.)

Local Rule 3.25, entitled “CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE”, states in relevant part:

(d) Settlement Conference. The court may set a settlement conference on its own motion or at the request of any party.

(1) Attendance. Unless expressly excused for good cause by the judge, all persons whose consent is required to effect a binding settlement must be personally present at a scheduled settlement conference, including the following: (1) the parties (unless consent of a party is not required for settlement); (2) an authorized representative of any insurance company which has coverage, or has coverage at issue, in the case; and (3) an authorized representative of a corporation or other business or government entity which is a party. These persons must have full authority to negotiate and make decisions on settlement of the case.

(2) Excuse From Attendance. A request to be excused from attending the settlement conference made by a person who is required to personally attend must be made by written stipulation of the parties or an ex parte application made in compliance with Local Rule 3.5. A person excused by the court must be available for telephone communication with counsel and the court at the time set for the settlement conference.

(3) Familiarity with Case. Counsel must attend the settlement conference and be familiar with the pertinent available evidence involving both liability and damages. Counsel must be prepared to discuss the case in depth and, except for good cause shown, must be the person who will try the case.

(e) Written Statements for Settlement Conferences. Each party must submit to the court and serve all other parties a written statement no later than five court days before the conference.

The written statement must contain a concise statement of the material facts of the case and the factual and legal contentions in dispute. The statement must identify all parties and their capacities in the action and contain citations of authorities which support legal propositions important to resolution of the case. The written statement of a party claiming damages must list all special damages claimed, including all expenses incurred up to the time of the settlement conference, state any amounts claimed as general and punitive damages, and provide a total amount of damages claimed. The written statement must also include the general status of the case, including settlement offers.

The written statement must be submitted directly to the courtroom in which the settlement conference is calendared and not sent to the clerk’s office. The written statements will not be filed; they are only used at the settlement conference and will be returned to counsel or destroyed at the conclusion of the conference.”

(LASC Local Rule 3.25(d)-(e).)

B. Merits of Motion

On September 26, 2019, Plaintiff’s ex parte application for continuance of trial came for hearing. The Court granted the ex parte application, continuing the final status conference and trial dates. The Court also scheduled a voluntary settlement conference for December 13, 2019. Plaintiffs submitted a proposed order, which the Court signed, stating that “[p]ursuant to Local Rule 3.25(d), pretrial Settlement Conference in this case is hereby scheduled for December 13, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.” (Wykowski Decl., Ex. A.)

On December 13, 2019, the Court held the Voluntary Settlement Conference and Defendant’s ex parte application for order continuing the trial date. The Court granted the ex parte application and continued the final status conference and trial date. The Court scheduled a Mandatory Settlement Conference for March 27, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. and stated that all parties must be present, unless the parties find a mediator experienced in the issues of the case. The Court stated that it would issue sanctions against any party that failed to appear at the Mandatory Settlement Conference.

Aaron Justis argues that he prepared for and attended the settlement conference scheduled for December 13, 2019, but Hodges and Rice failed to appear in violation of Local Rule 3.25(d) and neither submitted a Settlement Conference Statement pursuant to Local Rule 3.25(e). Thus, he requests sanctions against them.

The Court denies Aaron Justis’ motion for sanctions against Hodges and Rice.

First, while Aaron Justis relies on the Local Rules for sanctions, Local Rule 3.10 specifies that parties and their counsel requesting sanctions are “directed” to various code sections and California Rules of Court in order to make such a motion. In the reply brief, Aaron Justis argues that his citation to Local Rule 3.10 is sufficient and then specifies his motion was made pursuant to CCP §575.2(a) and CRC Rule 2.30.[1] (Reply at pp.2-3.) Further, the Court notes that Local Rule 3.10 allows sanctions to be imposed upon the Court’s discretion. Here, the Court declines to exercise such discretion in imposing sanctions.

Second, though the September 26, 2019 order stated that the voluntary settlement conference was made pursuant to Local Rule 3.25(d), the Court again declines to impose sanctions at this time. Hodges argues that his counsel attended the December 13, 2019 voluntary settlement conference via telephone; however, Local Rule 3.25(d) specifies that an excuse from attendance (including appearing by telephone) must be made by written stipulation or ex parte application. Although the Court declines to award sanctions in connection with the December 13, 2019 voluntary settlement conference, by declining to do so, the Court is not condoning Defendants or Mr. Hodge’s (Hodges’ counsel) actions.

On December 13, 2019, the Court scheduled a Mandatory Settlement Conference for March 27, 2020, and specified in its order that all parties must be in attendance or that sanctions would be imposed. Thus, if Defendants and defense counsel fail to attend the Mandatory Settlement Conference, Plaintiff may then seek sanctions in connection with the March 27, 2020 conference.

As the parties are aware, there is a Mandatory Settlement Conference set for March 27, 2020. The parties and their counsel should take due care prior to that time to cooperate, act with civility, and engage in good faith during the conduct of this litigation to foster goodwill and encourage settlement of the case.

Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Hodges and Rice is denied.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Hodges’ motion to compel Aaron Justis’s further responses is denied as to RPD Nos. 52, 53, and 62, and granted as to RPD Nos. 54-61 and 63-67. Hodges’ motion to compel Erica Justis’s further responses is denied as to RPD Nos. 1, 2, and 11, and granted as to RPD Nos. 3-10, and 12-16. Hodges’ motion to compel B&R’s further responses is denied as to RPD Nos. 1-2 and 5-6, and granted as to RPD Nos. 3-4 and 7-57. Plaintiff shall provide further, code-compliant responses without objection, produce a privilege log if necessary, and/or clarify if he has no further responsive documents within 20 days of this order. All responses and production of documents must comply with CCP §2031.280. No sanctions shall be awarded in connection with any of the motions.

Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Hodges and Rice is denied.

Hodges shall provide notice of this order.


[1] CCP §575.2(a) states: “Local rules promulgated pursuant to Section 575.1 may provide that if any counsel, a party represented by counsel, or a party if in pro se, fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof, the court on motion of a party or on its own motion may strike out all or any part of any pleading of that party, or, dismiss the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or enter a judgment by default against that party, or impose other penalties of a lesser nature as otherwise provided by law, and may order that party or his or her counsel to pay to the moving party the reasonable expenses in making the motion, including reasonable attorney fees. No penalty may be imposed under this section without prior notice to, and an opportunity to be heard by, the party against whom the penalty is sought to be imposed.”

CRC Rule 2.30(b) states: “In addition to any other sanctions permitted by law, the court may order a person, after written notice and an opportunity to be heard, to pay reasonable monetary sanctions to the court or an aggrieved person, or both, for failure without good cause to comply with the applicable rules. Subsection (c) states: “Sanctions must not be imposed under this rule except on noticed motion by the party seeking sanctions or on the court's own motion after the court has provided notice and an opportunity to be heard. A party's motion for sanctions must (1) state the applicable rule that has been violated, (2) describe the specific conduct that is alleged to have violated the rule, and (3) identify the attorney, law firm, party, witness, or other person against whom sanctions are sought. The court on its own motion may issue an order to show cause that must (1) state the applicable rule that has been violated, (2) describe the specific conduct that appears to have violated the rule, and (3) direct the attorney, law firm, party, witness, or other person to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed against them for violation of the rule.

Both the CCP and CRC Rule require that notice be provided to the opposing party. The Court does not find that Aaron Justis’ general reference to the LASC Local Rule sufficiently apprises Hodges or this Court of the basis for the motion for sanctions. (See CCP §1010.)

Case Number: EC067546    Hearing Date: December 06, 2019    Dept: NCB

 

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

aaron justis, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

michael hodges,

Defendant.

CROSS-COMPLAINTS

Case No.: EC067546

Hearing Date: December 6, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motions to compel further responses; motion to compel deposition

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations of Complaint

Plaintiffs Aaron Justis (“Aaron Justis”) and Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (“B&R”) commenced this action against Defendant Michael Hodges (“Defendant” or “Hodges”). Aaron Justis and Hodges were the only directors of B&R, a medical cannabis dispensary. Aaron Justis and B&R allege that Hodges breached his fiduciary duty to B&R and treated B&R as his personal bank account, misappropriated funds, and wasted corporate resources. The complaint, filed October 31, 2017, alleges causes of action for: (1) removal of director; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; and (3) intentional interference with prospective economic relations.

Hodges filed a first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”) on May 21, 2018 against Aaron Justis and B&R for: (1) appointment of receiver; (2) removal of director; (3) breach of oral contract; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; (5) conversion; (6) unjust enrichment; (7) quantum meruit; (8) declaratory relief; (9) fraud; (10) promissory estoppel; (11) appointment of provisional director; and (12) accounting.

B. Discovery Motions

On October 21, 2019, Hodges filed 5 motions to compel further responses to: (1) Form Interrogatories, set one (“FROG”) from B&R; (2) Requests for Production of Documents, set one (“RPD”) from B&R; (3) RPD, set two, from Aaron Justis; (4) FROG, set one, from Erica Justis; and (5) RPD, set one, from Erica Justis. The Court is in receipt of opposition briefs to each motion filed on November 5, 2019. On November 6, 2019, Hodges filed reply briefs. The motion to compel Erica Justis’ further responses to the FROG was cancelled and taken off-calendar by the moving party. The motions to compel Erica Justis, Aaron Justis, and B&R’s further responses to the RPD was continued by the moving party to February 7, 2020. Thus, the only remaining motion filed by Hodges that is on calendar this date is the motion to compel B&R’s further responses to the FROG.

On November 7, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel further responses to FROG No. 17.1 from Hodges. On November 21, 2019, Hodges filed an opposition brief.

On November 12, 2019, Hodges filed a motion to compel B&R’s deposition. On November 21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion.

SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATIONS

On December 2, 2019, Andrew Scher (Plaintiffs’ counsel) and Arthur D. Hodge (Hodges’ counsel) filed supplemental declarations to update the Court on what discovery issues are remaining.

Mr. Scher states that he believes that Hodges’ motions to compel further responses to the RPD (directed at B&R, Aaron Justis, and Erica Justis) are moot. He suggests that the 3 discovery motions on calendar on this date be continued to after January 15, 2020 following further meet and confer efforts, or that the Court use a portion of the Voluntary Settlement Conference (scheduled December 13, 2019) to guide the parties in informally resolving the remaining discovery.

Mr. Hodge states that he has not received substantive responses to the FROG from B&R, but that he has received supplemental responses for the other 4 motions to compel responses. He requests that the motion to compel B&R’s further responses to the FROG be granted.

Based on the representation of the parties’ counsel, it appears that the 3 discovery motions scheduled for February 7, 2020 should be taken off-calendar as moot as supplemental responses have been received. To the extent that Plaintiff’s supplemental responses are unsatisfactory, Hodges may move to compel further responses by filing separate, new motions with updated meet and confer efforts and updated separate statements of the remaining discovery at issue. At the December 6, 2019 hearing, the parties should be prepared to discuss whether the February 7, 2020 will be going off calendar.

HODGES’ MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION

Hodges moves to compel the deposition of B&R and for the production of documents. Hodges argues that he noticed the deposition of B&R for October 2, 2019, but B&R’s counsel (Henry Wykowski) unilaterally cancelled the deposition on October 1, 2019. Hodges then sought to depose B&R on October 29, 2019, but Mr. Wykowski again cancelled on October 17, 2019 based on his son’s knee surgery. The parties then agreed to November 13, 2019 as a deposition date (subject to the knee surgery recovery), but Mr. Wykowski cancelled the deposition on November 4, 2019 due to a schedule conflict and served objections on November 8, 2019. Thus, despite 3 separate notices of deposition, Hodges argues that B&R has refused to make itself available for deposition and thus moves for an order compelling B&R’s appearance.

In opposition, B&R argues that on November 4, 2019, Mr. Wykowski offered November 19 and 26 for B&R’s deposition, but Hodges’ counsel (Arthur Hodge) responded a week after the motion was filed on November 19, 2019 by stating that the dates would not work because Mr. Hodge was engaged in trial and the deposition would need to be postponed. (Wykowski Decl., Ex. B.)

The parties do not dispute that Hodges is entitled to take the deposition of B&R. However, it appears that the parties have been unable to agree on a date to do so. Based on the parties’ meet and confer efforts, the failure to secure a date appears to be mutual, as B&R recently offered alternate dates for its deposition, but Hodges’ counsel is now busy with trial in a different case.

In the interest of resolving the discovery disputes, the Court would be inclined to grant the motion such that B&R be ordered to appear for its deposition on a mutually agreeable deposition date no later than the first week of January, 2020. The Court is inclined not to award sanctions to either party in connection with this motion. However, at this stage, the Court will continue the hearing on the motion because a Voluntary Settlement Conference is set for December 13, 2019 and the parties appear to be mutually working towards resolving their discovery disputes, which is evidenced by the supplemental declarations of counsel. For the guidance of counsel, the Court is inclined to order that the deposition take place in the first week of January if the parties are unable to find a date. In light of the Court’s likely ruling on this issue, the parties should mutually work towards finding a mutually agreeable deposition date for B&R.

HODGES’ MOTION TO COMPEL B&R’S FURTHER RESPONSES TO FROG

Hodges moves to compel B&R’s further responses to FROG requests. In opposition, B&R states that it has provided further discovery responses, such that the motion is now moot, and did not provide substantive arguments to the moving papers or a responsive separate statement. In reply, Hodges argues that he is still not in receipt of supplemental responses despite the opposition briefs’ representations.

Since then, the parties have informed the Court that Plaintiffs provided further responses to 4 of 5 motions to compel further responses filed by Hodges, but that Plaintiffs have not provided further responses to the FROGs propounded on B&R. On December 2, 2019, Hodges’ counsel, Arthur D. Hodge, filed a supplemental declaration stating that no substantive responses have been received from B&R as of November 27, 2019. (Hodge Decl., ¶2.) He states that the only responses Hodges received with regard to the FROG was objections on October 21, 2019, which prompted the filing of this discovery motion. (Id., ¶3.) Mr. Hodge states that he has received supplemental responses to the other 4 discovery motions. (Id., ¶4.)

As no supplemental responses were provided by B&R, despite representations that responses had been provided, the Court grants Hodges’ motion to compel B&R’s further response to the outstanding FROG.

Hodges’ request for sanctions is granted in the amount of $1,410 (i.e., 3 hours x $450/hour, plus $60 filing fee).

PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FROG

Plaintiffs Aaron Justis, Erica Justis, and B&R move to compel Hodges’ further responses to FROG and RPD. They seek Hodges’ further responses to the RFAs propounded by B&R (nos. 12-35), Erica Justis (nos. 1-35), and Aaron Justis (nos. 12-21).

FROG 17.1 asks if Hodges’ responses to the RFA was an unqualified admission and if not, then to state the number of the RFA, all facts upon which he based his response, contact information of the person with those facts, and to identify all documents that support his response. Plaintiffs provide a copy of the separate RFAs propounded by each of Aaron Justis, Erica Justis, and B&R on Hodges, as well as the FROGs propounded by B&R on Hodges. (Scher Decl., Ex. A.)

As pointed out by Hodges, Plaintiffs are attempting to enforce B&R’s FROGs propounded on Hodges to extend to discovery propounded by Aaron and Erica Justis. The FROG no. 17.1 at issue was propounded on Hodges by B&R only—neither Aaron Justis nor Erica Justis joined in the FROG requests. Further, because each of the Plaintiffs filed separate RFA requests on Hodges, Plaintiffs should have propounded separate FROG requests on Hodges respective to each Plaintiffs’ discovery.

As the discovery currently stands, Hodges properly responded to FROG No. 17.1 as propounded by B&R only. It does not appear that there would be any impediment for Aaron and Erica Justis to separately propounded FROGs on Hodges respective to their RFAs.

Thus, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Hodges’ further responses to B&R’s FROG No. 17.1 is denied, as there is no disagreement that Hodges responded to the FROG with regard to B&R’s accompanying RFAs. To the extent that Aaron and Erica Justis seek FROG No. 17.1 responses to their respective RFAs, they should propound separate FROG requests on Hodges for each of their discovery requests.

Plaintiffs’ request for evidence/issue and monetary sanctions is denied.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The parties are requested to attend the hearing. As discussed above, in light of Plaintiffs’ supplemental discovery responses provided to Hodges, the Court inquires whether Hodges’ 3 motions to compel further response to discovery scheduled for February 7, 2020 are now moot and should be taken off-calendar.

Hodges’ motion to compel B&R’s deposition is granted. B&R shall appear for deposition no later than January 10, 2020. As discussed above, the Court would be inclined to grant the motion without sanctions because the parties appear to be mutually working towards resolving their discovery disputes. As such, the parties should continue in making good faith meet and confer efforts to conduct the deposition of B&R on a mutually agreeable date.

Hodges’ motion to compel B&R’s further responses to the FROG is granted, such that further responses shall be served within 20 days of notice of this order. B&R and its counsel of record, jointly and severally, are ordered to pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $1,410.00 to Hodges, by and through counsel, within twenty (20) days of notice of this order.

Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Hodges’ further response to B&R’s FROG is denied.

Hodges shall provide notice of this order.

Case Number: EC067546    Hearing Date: November 15, 2019    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

aaron justis, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

michael hodges,

Defendant.

CROSS-COMPLAINTS

Case No.: EC067546

Hearing Date: November 15, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motions to compel further responses

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Aaron Justis (“Aaron Justis”) and Buds & Roses Collective, Inc. (“B&R”) commenced this action against Defendant Michael Hodges (“Defendant” or “Hodges”). Aaron Justis and Hodges were the only directors of B&R, a medical cannabis dispensary. Aaron Justis and B&R allege that Hodges breached his fiduciary duty to B&R and treated B&R as his personal bank account, misappropriated funds, and wasted corporate resources. The complaint, filed October 31, 2017, alleges causes of action for: (1) removal of director; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; and (3) intentional interference with prospective economic relations.

Hodges filed a first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”) on May 21, 2018 against Aaron Justis and B&R for: (1) appointment of receiver; (2) removal of director; (3) breach of oral contract; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; (5) conversion; (6) unjust enrichment; (7) quantum meruit; (8) declaratory relief; (9) fraud; (10) promissory estoppel; (11) appointment of provisional director; and (12) accounting.

On October 21, 2019, Hodges filed 5 motions to compel further responses to: (1) Form Interrogatories, set one (“FROG”) from B&R; (2) Requests for Production of Documents, set one (“RPD”) from B&R; (3) RPD, set two, from Aaron Justis; (4) FROG, set one, from Erica Justis; and (5) RPD, set one, from Erica Justis.

The Court is in receipt of opposition briefs to each motion filed on November 5, 2019. On November 6, 2019, Hodges filed reply briefs.

DISCUSSION

The Court notes that there are 5 discovery motions on calendar on November 15, 2019, as well as 4 discovery motions reserved/scheduled for December 6, 2019. The Court also notes that there is a Voluntary Settlement Conference set for December 13, 2019.

The Court has reviewed the parties’ papers and it appears that there are numerous outstanding discovery issues between the parties. According to the opposition briefs, Plaintiffs state they have provided further responses to all other discovery, and that these 5 discovery motions were unnecessarily filed by Hodges. Plaintiffs state that they have been distracted by these motions and are still working diligently to complete in full good faith further responses to the discovery remaining. Plaintiffs believe their supplemental responses will moot the motions and that they would be willing to meet and confer on the supplemental responses if Hodges finds them inadequate.

In the reply briefs filed November 6, 2019, Hodges argues that he is still not in receipt of supplemental responses despite the opposition briefs’ representations (which were filed on November 5, 2019).

At this time, the Court will continue the hearing on these motions to December 6, 2019 so that Plaintiffs can serve their further responses on Hodges. By doing so, these motions may become moot and be taken off-calendar on the continued hearing date. The parties should note that to the extent supplemental responses have been provided, the parties should engage in a new round of good faith meet and confer efforts to the extent the responses are inadequate and re-file updated motions. If there are still issues, the parties may want to consider participating in an Informal Discovery Conference with the Court so that these discovery matters may be more promptly and amicably resolved. The parties should cooperate in discovery matters to foster good will and communication between the parties, particularly since a Voluntary Settlement Conference is set in a month’s time.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Hodges’ motions to compel further responses are continued to December 6, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in this Department.

Hodges shall provide notice of this order.