On 09/18/2017 ANA JOVAL filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against LYNN RUSSELL OLSON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.
Disposed - Dismissed
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
GEORGINA T. RIZK
OLSON LYNN RUSSELL
HARRIS HOWARD ESQ.
O'SHEA TIMONTHY J. L/O OF
1/17/2019: Request for Dismissal
1/12/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES
1/12/2018: DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
1/12/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT
1/12/2018: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT
9/18/2017: Civil Case Cover Sheet
at 08:30 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Request for Dismissal; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Answer; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIALRead MoreRead Less
CIVIL DEPOSITRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEESRead MoreRead Less
Notice; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Receipt; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
ANSWER TO COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
Civil Case Cover SheetRead MoreRead Less
ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC676362 Hearing Date: August 11, 2020 Dept: 27
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT
THUY TRANG THI NGUYEN, et al.,
MICHELLE D. TAYLOR, et al.,
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA FOR EMPLOYMENT RECORDS; MOTION TO QUASH DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PMK FROM USC CENTER FOR SPINAL SURGERY
August 11, 2020
On January 10, 2017, plaintiffs Thuy Trang Thi Nguyen (“Nguyen”)mand minors Kaitlin Nguyen and Tyler Nguyen (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed this action against defendant Michelle D. Taylor (“Taylor”), City of Los Angeles Transit Services, and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. On September 27, 2019, MV Transportation, Inc. (“MV”) was named as a Doe defendant. The action arises from a motor vehicle collision that occurred on July 19, 2016 between a vehicle driven by Nguyen and a bus driven by Taylor. Plaintiffs allege that Taylor made an unsafe left turn onto on-coming traffic, striking Nguyen’s vehicle. At the time of the collision, Taylor was employed by MV.
Taylor moves for an order quashing Plaintiffs’ subpoena to her former employer, Transportation Concepts for her employment records.
Defendants Taylor, City, and MV also move for an order quashing Plaintiffs’ deposition subpoena to USC Center for Spinal Surgery.
A deposition subpoena may request (1) only the attendance and testimony of a deponent, (2) only the production of business records for copying, or (3) the attendance and testimony, as well as the production of business records. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.020.) The court, upon motion or the court’s own motion, “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 orders 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, subd. (a).) “A deposition subpoena that commands only the production of business records for copying shall designate the business records to be produced either by specifically describing each individual item or by reasonably particularizing each category of item . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., §2020.410, subd. (a).)
“‘[F]or discovery purposes, information is relevant if it might reasonably assist a party in evaluating the case, preparing for trial, or facilitating settlement’ and ‘[a]dmissibility is not the test and information, unless privileged, is discoverable if it might reasonably lead to admissible evidence.’ These rules are applied liberally in favor of discovery . . . and (contrary to popular belief) fishing expeditions are permissible in some cases.” (Cruz v. Superior Court (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 646, 653, citations omitted.) The Court must “balance the public need against the weight of the privacy right” and only serious invasions of privacy will bar discovery. (Crab Addison, Inc. v. Superior Court (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 958, 966.) There is not an egregious invasion of privacy every time there is a request for private information and courts must “place the burden on the party asserting a privacy interest to establish its extent and seriousness of the prospective invasion.” (Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 557.)
Subpoena to Transportation Concepts
Personnel documents and information, communicated to an employer in confidence
are covered by the employee’s constitutional right of privacy. Board of Trustees v. Superior
Court (1981) 119 Cal. App. 3d 516, 524-26; see also Harding Lawson Assocs. v. Superior
Court (1992) 10 Cal. App. 4th 7, 10 [holding that personnel files are protected by the right
of privacy unless the requesting party shows a compelling need for the particular documents
and that the information cannot reasonably be obtained through depositions or from
Taylor worked at Transportation Concepts one year before being hired by MV and six years before the collision. Plaintiff alleges Taylor’s employment records should be produced because she received 20 hours of classroom training by Transportation Concepts to become licensed to drive a bus. According to Plaintiffs, Taylor’s driving record is relevant to outstanding issues involving the “force of impact” for the collision and her records may establish a repeated pattern of inattentive driving. Plaintiffs also contend the records are relevant to whether Taylor was trained to operate passenger buses or whether City and MV entrusted the bus to Taylor knowing she was unfit.
First, plaintiff does not sufficiently explain how employment records could be reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding the force of impact for any collision.
Second, a broad request for employment records is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding MV’s knowledge of Taylor’s fitness as a bus driver, especially when MV has already admitted vicarious liability.
Third, the only documents from Transportation Concepts that could be relevant to this action would be documents relating to classroom and behind-the-wheel training Taylor mentioned in deposition. However, Plaintiffs do not show why additional evidence beyond her deposition testimony is necessary.
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS the Motion and the subpoena to Transportation Concepts is QUASHED.
Subpoena to USC Center for Spinal Surgery
Dr. Mark Spoonamore is an expert retained by Defendants to testify at trial. Dr. Spoonamore also conducted the defense medical examination of plaintiff Nguyen on June 25, 2019. On March 18, 2020, Plaintiff served a deposition subpoena on Defendants’ retained expert’s office, USC Center for Spinal Surgery. Defendant moves to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it is a premature request for expert discovery and seeks impermissible discovery. Defendant also states the subpoena is harassing and seeks monetary sanctions.
The deposition subpoena seeks to take the deposition of the person most knowledgeable/qualified from USC Center for Spinal Surgery. The PMK topics relate to medical billing practices, expert retention practices, and the defense medical examination of Plaintiff. The subpoena also lists 9 categories of documents for production.
Categories of Testimony
Plaintiff seeks to depose the PMK for USC Center Spinal Surgery on the following topics: (1) policies and procedures for medical billing, (2) policies and procedures for negotiating medical treatment charges, (3) policies and procedures for collection of payment for medical treatment, (4) policies and procedures for medical-legal billing, (5) policies and procedures for negotiating medical-legal bills, (6) policies and procedures for reduction in lien amounts, (7) policies and procedures for negotiating medical bills, (8) policies and procedures for acceptance of full and final payment figures of medical treatment, (9) policies and procedures regarding the retention of Mark Spoonamore, M.D. as an expert witness, and (10) the defense medical examination performed by Dr. Spoonamore of Nguyen.
Dr. Spoonamore is a retained expert and also the doctor who conducted the defense medical examination of Nguyen. Code of Civil Procedure section 2032.610 directs the production of the report made by the medical examiner for the defense medical examination. It also waives the work product protection only for “the examiner’s writings and reports and to the taking of the examiner’s testimony.” Defendants do not contest that Dr. Spoonamore’s report and Dr. Spoonamore’s testimony regarding the exam are discoverable, but challenge whether Dr. Spoonamore’s office should be compelled to testify on topics outside of the medical examination.
The Court agrees with Defendants. Dr. Spoonamore did not treat Plaintiff or bill Plaintiff. Dr. Spoonamore has no percipient knowledge of Plaintiff. To the extent Plaintiffs seek to depose Dr. Spoonamore and his office for information outside of the defense medical examination, such as billing practices or expert retention, that constitutes expert discovery that is only permitted “following receipt of an expert witness list from a party.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2034.410.) If Plaintiff seeks to depose Dr. Spoonamore about the defense medical examination, Plaintiff should serve Dr. Spoonamore with a deposition subpoena, not his office.
Requests for Production
Defendants submitted a separate statement explaining why each request for production in the Subpoena is improper. Plaintiffs did not submit an opposing separate statement responding to Defendants’ arguments and did not explain how their requests for production to Dr. Spoonamore’s office (who neither treated nor billed Nguyen) were proper or was not expert discovery. Plaintiffs’ references to the Court’s November 8, 2019 are unpersuasive and disingenuous.
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion and the subpoena is quashed.
The court may in its discretion award the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in making or opposing the motion, including reasonable attorney’s fees, if the court finds the motion was made or opposed in bad faith or without substantial justification or that one or more of the requirements of the subpoena was oppressive. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1987.2, subd. (a).)
The Court finds the Motions were opposed in bad faith and without substantial justification. Thus, the Court imposes monetary sanctions on Plaintiffs and counsel of record, jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,520.00, consisting of 8 hours of defense counsel’s hourly rate of $175.00 and $120.00 in filing fees, to be paid within twenty (20) days of the date of this Order.
Moving party to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.
Dated this 11th day of August 2020
Hon. Edward B. Moreton, Jr.
Judge of the Superior Court