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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/13/2019 at 06:33:57 (UTC).

ANA JOVAL VS LYNN RUSSELL OLSON ET AL

Case Summary

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.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6362

  • Filing Date:

    09/18/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

JOVAL ANA

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-30

OLSON LYNN RUSSELL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

HARRIS HOWARD ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

O'SHEA TIMONTHY J. L/O OF

 

Court Documents

Request for Dismissal

1/17/2019: Request for Dismissal

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

1/12/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

1/12/2018: DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

CIVIL DEPOSIT

1/12/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

1/12/2018: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

CoverSheet

9/18/2017: CoverSheet

Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/18/2017: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons

9/18/2017: Summons

Complaint

9/18/2017: Complaint

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/18/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 03/04/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/17/2019
  • Request for Dismissal; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/12/2018
  • Answer; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)

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  • 01/12/2018
  • DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 01/12/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 01/12/2018
  • NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

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  • 01/12/2018
  • Notice; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)

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  • 01/12/2018
  • Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)

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  • 01/12/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by Lynn Russell Olson (Defendant)

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  • 01/12/2018
  • ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 09/18/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet

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  • 09/18/2017
  • Complaint

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  • 09/18/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/18/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Ana Joval (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

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.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

MICHELLE D. TAYLOR, et al.,

Defendants.

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.: BC646362

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA FOR EMPLOYMENT RECORDS; MOTION TO QUASH DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PMK FROM USC CENTER FOR SPINAL SURGERY

Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

August 11, 2020

  1. Introduction

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 defendantThe 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. 

  1. Legal Standard

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.)  

  1. Discussion

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

nonconfidential sources].) 

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 NguyenCode 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 discoveryPlaintiffs’ references to the Court’s November 8, 2019 are unpersuasive and disingenuous.  

Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion and the subpoena is quashed. 

Monetary Sanctions

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