On 01/03/2018 ANABELLA ACOSTA filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against SAMUEL AARON KAUFMAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI, HOLLY E. KENDIG and THOMAS D. LONG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
JON R. TAKASUGI
HOLLY E. KENDIG
THOMAS D. LONG
KAUFMAN SAMUEL AARON
DOES 1 TO 25
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION A PUBLIC ENTITY
KAUFMAN JILL W
HASZ MEGAN LEA
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
RAHMANI NEAMA ESQ.
AYNECHI H. DEAN
YOUNG ARIANNA MARIE
D'ANDREA MICHAEL A
GONZALEZ D. ELLIOT
5/19/2020: Demand for Jury Trial
5/21/2020: Request for Refund / Order
6/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE REVIEW OF THE HEARINGS SET IN THIS CASE;) OF 06/08/2020
7/7/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANT STATE OF CALIFORNIA'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL APPEARANCE OF PMK AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS; P&A DECLARATION OF DAVID ADIDA
7/28/2020: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts - INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS - NOT RESOLVED
8/25/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS LIMITED OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS SAMUEL AARON KAUFMAN AND JILL WATSON KAUFMANS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER RE: CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: DECLA
9/2/2020: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE (VERONICA RODRIGUEZ #12215)
9/2/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER; HEARING ON MOTION TO ...)
3/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER CONTINUANCE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE) OF 03/23/2020
3/27/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)
4/8/2020: Separate Statement
4/18/2019: Proof of Personal Service
6/4/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL;)
6/20/2019: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees
7/11/2019: Stipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter
7/12/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)
7/18/2019: Notice of Ruling
Hearing05/27/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury TrialRead MoreRead Less
Hearing05/13/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:21 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted MatterRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder (1-Granting in Part Pltf's Mtn to Compel Appearance PMK at Deposition. 2-Order Grant in Part Application for Order to Resume Deposition of Pltf. 3-Order granting Kaufmans Protective Order); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder (Re: Protective Order -Confidential Designation Only Per Los Angeles Model); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Ruling on Submitted Matter Re: 1-Plaintiff's Motion to Compe...) of 09/03/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Ruling on Submitted Matter Re: 1-Plaintiff's Motion to Compe...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder (Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Appearance of PMK and Request for production of Documents at Deposition-Directed to Deft. State of California); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Motion to Compel Attendance of Plaintiff At Deposition) - Not Held - Rescheduled by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Protective Order - Not Held - Rescheduled by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAmended Complaint (First); Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff); Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Anabella Acosta (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC689041 Hearing Date: March 24, 2021 Dept: 31
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT
SAMUEL AARON KAUFMAN, ET AL.,
CASE NO: BC689041
[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT KARAPETYAN’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
March 24, 2021
Plaintiff, Anabelle Acosta (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants, Samuel Aaron Kaufman, Jill Watson Kaufman, Megan Lea Hasz, State of California, California Department of General Services, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, VasiIii Zhatko (“Zhatko”), and Goar Karapetyan (“Karapetyan”) for damages arising from an automobile accident. The parties provide the incident involved a three-vehicle accident that occurred on the freeway. Plaintiff was a passenger in one of the vehicles; Hasz was driving a second vehicle allegedly in the course and scope of her employment with the State, and Samuel Aaron Kaufman and Jill Watson Kaufman were in the third vehicle.
Plaintiff alleges Defendant Karapetyan employed an individual who operated a motor vehicle involved in the accident, that Karapetyan owned one of the vehicles involved in the accident, and that Zhatko was the driver of a vehicle registered to Karapetyan.
Defendant Karapetyan now moves for summary judgment.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Karapetyan argues Plaintiff has no evidence that Karapetyan employed the individuals involved in the accident or that Karapetyan gave permission to drive the vehicle allegedly owned by her. Karapetyan argues Plaintiff’s verified discovery responses show she has no evidence to prove that Karapetyan is liable for Plaintiff’s damages. Karapetyan contends Plaintiff’s factually devoid discovery responses warrant judgment in Karapetyan’s favor as a matter of law.
Any opposition to the motion was due on or before 3/10/21. As of 3/22/21, Plaintiff has not filed any opposition to the motion.
Request for Judicial Notice
Karapetyan requests the court take judicial notice of Plaintiff’s complaint filed in this action on or about 1/3/18. The request is granted. (Evid. Code § 452(d).)
Karapetyan avers Plaintiff’s discovery responses are factually devoid as to the claims Karapetyan employed Zhatko, that Zhatko was acting as an agent of Karapetyan at the time of the incident, that Karapetyan gave Zhatko permission to drive the vehicle he was operating, or that Karapetyan was negligent with respect to the accident. (UMF 5-8.) As evidence, Karapetyan submits Plaintiff’s responses to Karapetyan’s discovery requests propounded on Plaintiff. (Mot. Blanco Decl. ¿¿ 2-4.)
A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication must introduce admissible evidence in order to shift the burden of proof to the plaintiff. There are two ways for the moving party to make out the necessary prima facie case. A defendant may present evidence that – if uncontradicted – constitutes a preponderance of evidence that plaintiff cannot establish an essential element of its case. This approach, which requires offering evidence that negates a key element of the plaintiff’s cause of action, is known as the “tried and true” approach. See, e.g., Kids’ Universe v. In2Labs (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 870, 879.
Alternatively, a defendant may present circumstantial evidence that the plaintiff does not now possess and cannot reasonably obtain the evidence needed to establish one or more elements of a claim. This is known as the “no evidence” approach and is described in Aguilar v, Atlantic Richfield Company (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, at 854. A defendant making a “no evidence” motion must introduce admissible evidence (by declaration or otherwise) that, in response to the full panoply of discovery devices (request for production, interrogatories, depositions etc.), the plaintiff has produced factually devoid responses sufficient to support an inference that the plaintiff cannot make out a prima facie case on an element of its case. In addition, a defendant making a “no evidence” motion must also establish that, by the time the case comes up for trial, the plaintiff “cannot reasonably expect to obtain” the evidence necessary to raise a triable issue of fact on the issue. Schieding v. Dinwiddie Construction Company (1999) 69 Cal.App. 4th 64, 83.
“A plaintiff's ‘factually devoid’ discovery responses may be used to shift the burden of production onto the plaintiff when the ‘logical inference’ is that the plaintiff possesses no facts to support his or her claims.” Bayramoglu v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC (2020) 51 Cal.App.5th 726, 733.
Here, Karapetyan contends that the subject discovery submitted with Karapetyan’s motion is factually devoid of any evidence to show that Karapetyan employed an individual who operated one of the vehicles involved in the accident, or that Karapetyan owned one of the vehicles being operated with his permission. The motion is a “factually devoid discovery responses” motion, such that Defendants need not conclusively establish lack of evidence of fault in connection with the accident. Karapetyan’s evidence shows that Plaintiff’s responses to Karapetyan’s form interrogatories, special interrogatories, and requests for admissions, sets one, are factually devoid of any facts to support the claims against Karapetyan. (Mot. Blanco Decl. Exhs. B-D.) In particular, in response to Karapetyan’s requests for admissions asking Plaintiff to admit she has no facts showing Karapetyan was negligent, to admit Plaintiff has no facts Karapetyan employed Zhatko at the time of the incident, to admit Plaintiff has no facts Karapetyan gave Zhatko permission to drive the vehicle, and to admit Plaintiff has no facts Karapetyan was negligent with respond to the accident, Plaintiff responded, “Admit.” (Mot. Blanco Decl. Exh. D.)
What is more, trial in this matter is currently set for 5/27/21, which is approximately two months after the hearing on this matter. Even in making all reasonable inferences in non-moving Plaintiff’s favor, it does not appear Plaintiff can expect to obtain the evidence necessary to raise a triable issue of fact on the issue of Defendants’ alleged negligence by the time the matter comes up trial. Aguilar, 25 Cal.4th at 854 (noting that a defendant seeking summary judgment “must show that the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence . . . [and] the defendant must also show that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence . . .”). The logical inference in this matter is that Plaintiff possesses no facts to establish her claims against Karapetyan. Bayramoglu, 51 Cal.App.5th at 733.
This is sufficient to meet Karapetyan’s moving burden. The burden thus shifts to Plaintiff to raise a triable issue of fact. Plaintiff did not oppose the motion, and thus, fails to meet her burden.
Based on the foregoing, Karapetyan’s motion for summary judgment is granted.
Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at email@example.com 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 24th day of March, 2021
Hon. Thomas D. Long
Judge of the Superior Court
Case Number: BC689041 Hearing Date: August 31, 2020 Dept: 31
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT
SAMUEL AARON KAUFMAN, ET AL.,
CASE NO: BC689041
[TENTATIVE] (1) ORDER FINDING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL APPEARANCE OF PERSON(S) MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AT DEPOSITION DIRECTED TO DEFENDANT STATE OF CALIFORNIA MOOT
(2) ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS THE STATE’S AND HASZ’S APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER RESUMING THE DEPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF AND FOR ADDITIONAL TIME BEYOND SEVEN HOURS TO FAIRLY EXAMINE HER
(3) ORDER GRANTING SAMUEL AARON KAUFMAN AND JILL WATSON KAUFMAN’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER RE: CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
August 31, 2020
Plaintiff, Anabelle Acosta (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants, Samuel Aaron Kaufman, Jill Watson Kaufman, Megan Lea Hasz, State of California, California Department of General Services, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for damages arising from an automobile accident. The parties provide the incident involved a three-vehicle accident that occurred on the freeway. Plaintiff was a passenger in one of the vehicles; Hasz was driving a second vehicle allegedly in the course and scope of her employment with the State, and Samuel Aaron Kaufman and Jill Watson Kaufman were in the third vehicle.
On 4/8/20, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Appearance of Person(s) Most Knowledgeable and Requests for Production of Documents at Deposition Directed at Defendant State of California (the “State”). On 7/7/20, Defendants Megan Lea Hasz (“Hasz”) and the State filed an opposition to the motion, and Plaintiff filed a reply.
On 4/13/20, Defendants Megan Lea Hasz and State of California filed a Motion for an Order Resuming the Deposition of Plaintiff and for Additional Time Beyond Seven Hours to Fairly Examine Her. Plaintiff filed an opposition to this motion on 6/8/20. Defendants Samuel Aaron Kaufman (“Samuel”) and Jill Watson Kaufman (“Jill”) filed a joinder to Defendants Megan Lea Hasz and State of California’s motion on 7/1/20.
Both motions were set to be heard 7/28/2020. However, the parties scheduled an IDC for these discovery disputes on the same day as the hearings. The hearing on the motions was therefore continued to 8/31/20. The discovery disputes were not resolved at the IDC. (Minute Order 7/28/20.)
Thereafter, on 8/20/20, Samuel and Jill filed a Motion for Protective Order re: Confidential Information. On 8/24/20, Samuel and Jill filed an Ex Parte Application for an Order Shortening Time to Hear the Motion for Protective Order, which the court granted. (Minute Order 8/24/20.) The hearing on motion for protective order was set for 8/31/20; the opposition was ordered to be filed by 8/26/20, and the reply was ordered to be filed by 8/27/20. (Ibid.)
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Appearance of PMK and Request for Production of Documents Directed at the State
Plaintiff asserts Hasz was driving a 2014 Ford Fusion (the “Ford”) at the time of the incident, and it is Plaintiff’s understanding this model of Ford records both pre-impact and post-impact crash data through an air bag control module electronic system. On 5/21/20, the State allegedly sold the Ford to an unknown third party and did not perform a download of the data before selling it. Plaintiff originally noticed the State’s PMK’s deposition on 9/16/19, which Plaintiff states the main purpose of is to gather evidence concerning the Ford, but later took this deposition off-calendar pending available dates from defense counsel. On 1/27/20, Plaintiff re-noticed the State’s PMK’s deposition with request for production of documents for 2/18/20 but asserts the State has refused to produce the PMK.
Plaintiff moves for an order to compel the State to produce a PMK for the following categories:
1. Category 2: The person most knowledgeable as to any inspections (or lack thereof) of the FORD since the date of the INCIDENT;
2. Category 3: The person most knowledgeable as to the investigation (or lack thereof)
of the INCIDENT;
3. Category 4: The person most knowledgeable as to the chain of custody with regard
to the FORD since the date of the INCIDENT;
4. Category 5: The person most knowledgeable as to any and all steps (or lack thereof)
to preserve the FORD and any potential electronic data recorded by the FORD’s
onboard computer system;
5. Category 6 (amended): The person most knowledgeable as to Defendant Megan
Hasz’s motor vehicle accidents (both on-the-job and personal) dating back 10 years
prior to the INCIDENT; and
6. Category 7: The person most knowledgeable as to any and all inspections of the
FORD before the INCIDENT..
(Mot. Exh. 6.) Additionally, the deposition notice requested the following documents:
1. Any and all documents related to the handling and investigation of Plaintiff’s notice of claim mailed on July 6, 2017;
2. Any and all documents related to any inspections (or lack thereof) of the FORD since the date of the INCIDENT;
3. Any and all documents related to the investigation (or lack thereof) of the INCIDENT;
4. Any and all documents related to the chain of custody with regard to the FORD since the date of the INCIDENT;
5. Any and all documents related to any and all steps (or lack thereof) to preserve the FORD and any potential electronic data recorded by the FORD’s onboard computer system;
6. Category 6 (amended): Any and all documents related to Defendant Megan Hasz’s motor vehicle accidents (both on-the-job and personal) dating back 10 years prior to the INCIDENT (pursuant to the Hon. Takasugi’s February 6, 2020 minute order); and;
7. Category 7: Any and all documents related to any and all inspections of the FORD before the INCIDENT.
Plaintiff asserts that to date the State has refused to designate persons for PMK categories 2-3 and 5-7, and that the State has refused to produce documents for these categories. Plaintiff contends she has described with reasonable particularity each PMK and RFP category, but the State has asserted invalid objections to each.
In opposition, the State contends PMK categories 2 and 7 are overbroad and oppressive because they are not described with reasonable particularity. Further, the State contends category 3 seeks privileged and confidential information from the State’s Office of Risk and Insurance Management’s (“ORIM”) investigation following Plaintiff’s filing of a claim with the California State of Board of Control seeking monetary damages, which ORIM denied. Concerning category 6, the State contends this category was previously foreclosed by the court as information about complaints about Hasz’s driving is overbroad and oppressive. As to category 5, the State contends this request seeks non-existent information as the State has already indicated to Plaintiff in discovery that the State sold the Ford at an auction after the accident without downloading any potential electronic data recorded by the vehicle’s computer system.
Plaintiff, in reply, contends the categories are not overbroad and oppressive, and it is not a valid objection for the State to claim it cannot designate a witness because it does not know the answers to the information sought. Further, Plaintiff argues it is undisputed that Hasz’s vehicle crashed into Plaintiff’s on the day of the accident, information concerning the vehicle is relevant to Plaintiff’s to the action and relevant to Plaintiff’s claim the State failed to preserve evidence. Lastly, Plaintiff provides it has agreed to withdraw category 3 following the 7/28/20 IDC.
8/26/20 Status Update
On 8/26/20, the State and Hasz filed a status update providing the State has agreed to produce a PMK and responsive documents to categories 2, 5, 6 and 7. Given that Plaintiff has agreed to withdraw category 3, there are no remaining issues in dispute relating to the subject categories. Thus, the court presumes the parties have resolved the issues in this matter and finds the motion to compel PMK moot. The only remaining issue is sanctions.
Plaintiff moves for sanctions pursuant to CCP § 2025.450(g)(1). CCP § 2025.450(g)(1) provides: If a motion under subdivision (a) is granted, the court shall impose a monetary sanction under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2023.010) in favor of the party who noticed the deposition and against the deponent or the party with whom the deponent is affiliated, unless the court finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Emphasis added.)
Plaintiff requests sanctions of $2,060.00 against the State because the State did not act with substantial justification in opposing Plaintiff’s motion. However, given that Plaintiff’s motion is not being granted in light of the State agreeing to produce a PMK as to each category Plaintiff sought following further meet and confer efforts, Plaintiff’s request for sanctions against the State is denied. The court also cannot make a finding that the State acted without substantial justification.
Defendants Hasz’s and the State’s Motion to Resume Deposition of Plaintiff for Additional Time Beyond 7 Hours
The State and Hasz move for an allowing the continued deposition of Plaintiff for additional time beyond seven hours. The State and Hasz provide Plaintiff’s deposition was taken on 3/3/20 and adjourned after approximately 5 hours and 49 minutes, but the State and Hasz assert they were unable to question Plaintiff about her personal injury claims, such as her extensive medical and psychological history, her substantial treatment since the accident, and her alleged injuries. Further, the State and Hasz assert that not all relevant documents were produced during the deposition, including the contract for a show Plaintiff was an actress on. The State and Hasz request an additional four hours to complete Plaintiff’s deposition so that all three Defendants have sufficient time to complete their questioning. Moreover, the State and Hasz contend there is good cause to grant their application given the complexity of Plaintiff’s alleged damages and personal injury claims. Lastly, the State and Hasz request a protective order to prevent Plaintiff’s counsel from asserting speaking objections and coaching Plaintiff.
In opposition, Plaintiff argues moving Defendants have not established they did not have a fair opportunity to examine Plaintiff, as the State and Hasz themselves created the need for additional time because Defendants did not allocate their time reasonably. Further, Plaintiff asserts the State and Hasz have been provided with relevant documents concerning Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff contends she did not impede or delay her 3/3/20 deposition, and it was only the State’s and Hasz’s counsel that wanted to end the deposition on the noticed day. In addition, Plaintiff argues the request for a protective order is defective.
Defendants Samuel Aaron Kaufman and Jill Watson Kaufman filed a Notice of Joinder to the State’s and Hasz’s application, arguing there is good cause for compelling an additional four hours for Plaintiff’s deposition because (1) the time spent deposing Plaintiff regarding her earnings and expenses was necessary and warranted; (2) Defendants did not spend “four hours and thirty minutes” questioning Plaintiff only about her past earnings and expenses and questioned Plaintiff on a variety of other important issues during that time, as well; (3) Plaintiff has failed to produce important documents and information pertaining to her earnings and expenses in discovery; and (4) Defendants have not yet deposed Plaintiff or completed questioning on important topics, including her treatment history due to the accident, prior medical history relevant to this action, the specific injuries and symptoms she attributes to the accident and the extent those injuries and symptoms have changed and/or resolved, and other issues.
CCP §2025.290(a) provides, “Except as provided in subdivision (b), or by any court order, including a case management order, a deposition examination of the witness by all counsel, other than the witness' counsel of record, shall be limited to seven hours of total testimony. The court shall allow additional time, beyond any limits imposed by this section, if needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent, another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays the examination.”
Here, the deposition transcript shows Plaintiff’s deposition was ended after about 5 hours and 49 minutes in pertinent part because the court reporter was unable to continue and the parties were unable to obtain a different court reporter to continue the deposition. (Mot. Exh B, p. 250:2-13.) The transcript shows the following exchange occurred at the conclusion of the deposition:
Q Right. But you cannot tell us how long.
Correct? You have no idea?
THE REPORTER: Okay. The depo is done. It's 6:20.
MR. AYNECHI: Are you putting what you are saying on record?
THE REPORTER: I just did. I said the depo is done. It's 6:20.
MR. AYNECHI: Counsel, do you want to end the deposition right now?
MR. GONZALEZ: No. I don't.
MR. AYNECHI: So I'm unaware of this situation where a court reporter ends a deposition. That's never happened to me before. We are -- we will continue to proceed as long as you want to ask questions but I don't -- I don't know. This is a situation I have not encountered before.
MR. GONZALEZ: Neither have I. But my preference because I still have questions is to continue with the deposition until I'm done with my questions. Now counsel for the State of California and Ms. Hasz seems like he's packing up his things and he's going to leave.
MR. ADIDA: Only because I'm not sure we can have a deposition without a court reporter. That would be really hard.
MR. GONZALEZ: Okay. Well, I mean, I'd like to continue. Dean, are you amenable to --
MR. AYNECHI: I'm amenable to continuing. (Whereupon a discussion was held off the record)
MR. ADIDA: Elliot, it's your depo. It's your call. I'm not sure based on what your court reporter is telling us and you know she wasn't able to transcribe what she said. But if I can -- you know, hopefully I can do you justice. You said you were tired. You said that this is too late and that you wanted to end transcribing this deposition. Am I in the ballpark, Ms. Court Reporter?
THE REPORTER: Yes. And you also said, counsel, that you were leaving at 5:30 which is almost an hour ago. And the deposition was going to be suspended at that time, Mr. Gonzalez, because Mr. Adida was going to leave. And now I feel like I'm being put in a very uncomfortable and awkward position.
MR. GONZALEZ: So my preference is to continue with the deposition. If Madam Court Reporter is unable to continue, to continue with the deposition but to try to get another court reporter if we can do that.
THE REPORTER: I think that's extremely unlikely at this hour. But I will call my office. It's almost 6:30.
THE WITNESS: What time did we break for lunch?
MR. AYNECHI: It's okay.
THE WITNESS: I mean I have to eat.
MR. AYNECHI: There's no question right now.
MR. ADIDA: So Elliot, you want to call and see if there's another court reporter that's available. That could be the remedy to this issue.
MR. GONZALEZ: I'd like to see if we can do that.
THE WITNESS: I'm assuming this is a break?
MR. AYNECHI: Yeah, do you want to take a break then?
MR. GONZALEZ: Sure. Let's go off the record.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are going off the record. This is the end of media unit No. 7. The time is 6:25 P.M. (Whereupon a recess was taken)
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are going back on the record. This is the beginning of media unit No. 8. The time is 6:30 P.M.
MR. GONZALEZ: It's -- we're back on record. It's now 6:30. Madam Court Reporter has informed us that she's unable to continue any further today. We tried to get another court reporter so that we could continue with today's deposition but that was not possible. So at this point we're going to suspend the deposition. I have further questions. I don't know if the other parties have further questions, but they can make their record on that. And my position is that we suspend and meet and confer as to a mutually agreeable date and time to continue this deposition.
MR. AYNECHI: Go ahead.
MR. ADIDA: I think that we all tried here today in good faith to try to get this done and unfortunately we just couldn't. And so I agree that the best way to proceed forward is to suspend the deposition and continue on another day where everybody is available. And yes, I do have questions too.
(Ibid. at pp. 247-250:2-21.) The transcript thus shows the deposition terminated because the court reporter was unable to continue, and the parties were not able to find a different court reporter to continue the deposition. The court has further reviewed the transcript provided by Plaintiff and does not find Defendants failed to ensure all topics were covered because their time was not allocated reasonably, as the transcript clearly shows the deposition was terminated because there was no court reporter available to continue. Further, there is no harassing or unnecessary deposition questioning or testimony that created the need for additional time.
It is clear Defendants did not finish questioning Plaintiff about her claimed physical injuries and related damages. Further, while Plaintiff argues Defendant should have allocated a fraction of the time spent on Plaintiff’s past earnings history, the questioning appears necessary considering Plaintiff’s career as an actress and lost earnings claims. On balance, the court finds the State and Hasz, along with Samuel and Jill Kaufman, established good cause to show additional time is needed to depose Plaintiff concerning her medical history, treatment, and alleged injuries. The court awards four additional hours to complete Plaintiff’s deposition.
The State and Hasz further request a protective order to prevent Plaintiff’s counsel from asserting speaking objections and coaching the witness.
Pursuant to CCP § 2025.420(b), “[t]he court, for good cause shown, may make any order that justice requires to protect any party, deponent, or other natural person or organization from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense…” “Before, during, or after a deposition, any party, any deponent, or any other affected natural person or organization may promptly move for a protective order. The motion shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.” (CCP § 2025.420(a).)
In this case, there is no evidence the parties have met and conferred regarding the State’s and Hasz’s request for a protective order. Further, the court does not find the State and Hasz have established good cause warranting a protective order against Plaintiff’s counsel. Nonetheless, the court expects all counsel to comport themselves appropriately as speaking objections and coaching or leading witnesses will not be condoned.
Based on the foregoing, the State’s and Hasz’s application for an order resuming the deposition of Plaintiff is granted for an additional four hours. Plaintiff’s Counsel and Defense Counsel are ordered to work together to schedule a time and date for the deposition. If Counsel are unable to resolve the scheduling issue, The State’s and Hasz’s Counsel may set the deposition on defense Counsel’s terms with ten days’ notice to Plaintiff’s Counsel (extended per Code if by other than personal service).
Defendants Samuel and Jill Kaufman’s Motion for Protective Order re: Confidential Information
Defendants Samuel and Kill Kaufman (the “Kaufmans”) assert they have served subpoenas on third-party entities that require the parties to enter into a protective order regarding confidential information before producing documents in response to the subpoenas. The Kaufmans assert that despite extensive meet and confer efforts, the parties cannot agree on the language of a stipulated protective order. The Kaufmans seek entry of the protective order attached as Exhibit R to their motion. (Mot. Gonzalez Decl. Exh. R.) The Kaufmans argue good cause exists for the requested protective order because the requested documents are relevant to Plaintiff’s claims and medical damages.
Plaintiff filed a limited opposition contending Exhibit R does not contemplate third party deponents who have raised their own issues. Plaintiff argues the protective order that should be entered is attached as Exhibit 2 to its opposition and requests the court order the Kaufmans to produce copies of all documents Plaintiff has produced pursuant to their meet and confer efforts. Further, Plaintiff contends the parties should bd required to serve a copy of the protective order with any subpoena.
In reply, the Kaufmans contend their proposed protective order adequately addresses concerns raised by third-party deponents regarding confidential information, and the third-party deponents have not objected to the language of any proposed protective order.
“When an inspection, copying, testing, or sampling of documents, tangible things, places, or electronically stored information has been demanded, the party to whom the demand has been directed, and any other party or affected person, may promptly move for a protective order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.060(a).) “The Court, for good cause shown, may make any order that justice requires to protect any party or other person from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.” (CCP § 2031.060(b).)
“As can be seen by the language of the above provision, the issuance and formulation of protective orders are to a large extent discretionary.” (Raymond Handling Concepts Corp. v. Superior Court (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 584, 588.)
Here, the parties’ concerns pertain to confidential information that may be produced by third parties. The court has reviewed each the Kaufman’s and Plaintiff’s proposed protective orders and finds the Kaufmans’ proposed protective order adequately address concerns relating to confidential information that may be produced by third parties. (Mot. Gonzalez Decl. Exh. R.) The proposed protective order properly governs the use of confidential information by the parties and allows third parties to designate documents produced as confidential. Moreover, Plaintiff does not establish it is necessary to order the parties to serve a copy of the protective order on every third party a party serves subpoena on. Under the proposed order, any third party has the ability to designate information as confidential that the third party regards as such.
Therefore, the Kaufmans’ motion for protective order is granted.
Plaintiff ordered to give notice for motion to compel appearance of PMK and request for production of documents.
Moving Defendants the State and Hasz ordered to give notice for motion for order resuming deposition of Plaintiff and additional time beyond seven hours.
Moving Defendants Samuel Aaron Kaufman and Jill Watson Kaufman ordered to give notice for motion for protective order re: confidential information.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at firstname.lastname@example.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. The court is not available to hear oral argument on this date. If the parties do not submit on the tentative and want oral argument, the hearing will have to be continued, and the parties must work with the clerk to find an available date for the continuance.
Dated this 31st day of August, 2020
Hon. Thomas D. Long
Judge of the Superior Court