Search

Attributes

This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/10/2019 at 07:49:39 (UTC).

ANNE MARIE BERTE VS EL TORITO GRILL ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/22/2017 ANNE MARIE BERTE filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against EL TORITO GRILL. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7135

  • Filing Date:

    09/22/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

BERTE ANNE MARIE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 99

REAL MIX RESTAURANTS INC

EL TORITO GRILL

GRILL EL TORITO

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

NOVAK SEAN M. ESQ.

NOVAK SEAN MICHAEL

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

STONE & DEAN LLP

MILLER GREGORY SCOTT

 

Court Documents

INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS

6/7/2018: INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS

INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS (DEPARTMENT 2, 3, 4, 5, 7)

8/16/2018: INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS (DEPARTMENT 2, 3, 4, 5, 7)

Notice of Stay of Proceedings

8/21/2018: Notice of Stay of Proceedings

Unknown

2/19/2019: Unknown

Minute Order

2/19/2019: Minute Order

Notice

3/6/2019: Notice

Unknown

3/8/2019: Unknown

Minute Order

3/8/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

4/19/2019: Minute Order

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

12/22/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

12/22/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

DEFENDANT RM EL TORITO LLC'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

1/23/2018: DEFENDANT RM EL TORITO LLC'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

11/6/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

11/6/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

SUMMONS

9/22/2017: SUMMONS

PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. PREMISES LIABILITY; 2. NEGLIGENCE

9/22/2017: PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. PREMISES LIABILITY; 2. NEGLIGENCE

4 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/19/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Status Conference Re: Bankruptcy - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Status Conference Re: Bankruptcy; Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/22/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/08/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/08/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Final Status Conference) of 03/08/2019); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/08/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/06/2019
  • Notice (OF STATUS CONFERENCE); Filed by ANNE MARIE BERTE (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/19/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review (ReBankruptcy) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/19/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Non-Appearance Case Review Re: Bankruptcy) of 02/19/2019); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
13 More Docket Entries
  • 12/22/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/22/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by ANNE MARIE BERTE (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/22/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/06/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/06/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by ANNE MARIE BERTE (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/06/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by ANNE MARIE BERTE (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/06/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/22/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by ANNE MARIE BERTE (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/22/2017
  • PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. PREMISES LIABILITY; 2. NEGLIGENCE

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/22/2017
  • SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC677135    Hearing Date: February 17, 2021    Dept: 28

Motions to Compel Responses to Supplemental Interrogatories and Request for Production (Both Set One) and Form Interrogatories (Set Two); Motion to Deem Matters in Request for Admissions (Set One) as True

Having considered the moving, opposing, and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On September 22, 2017, Plaintiff Anne-Marie Berte (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant RM El Torito LLC (erroneously sued as El Torito Grill and Real Mex Restaurants) (“Defendant”).  Plaintiff alleges premises liability and negligence in her complaint arising from and slip or trip and fall on September 27, 2015.

On September 11, 2020, Defendant filed motions to compel Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections to Supplemental Interrogatories and Request for Production (Both Set One) and Form Interrogatories (Set Two) pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.290 and 2031.300.

Also on September 11, 2020 Defendant filed a motion to deem the matters in Request for Admissions (Set One) as true against Plaintiff pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280.

Trial is scheduled for May 10, 2021.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Defendant asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections to Supplemental Interrogatories and Request for Production (Both Set One) and Form Interrogatories (Set Two) within seven days because Plaintiff failed to serve timely responses.

Defendant also asks the Court to deem the matters within Request for Admissions (Set One) as true against Plaintiff because Plaintiff failed to serve timely responses.

Defendant further asks the Court to impose $7,040.00 in monetary sanctions against Plaintiff and her counsel for their abuse of the discovery process.

Lastly, Defendant asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to produce the original word processing documents used to create Plaintiff’s responses.

Plaintiff asks the Court to impose $7,140.00 in monetary sanctions against Defendant and its counsel of record for having to oppose these motions.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses and for a monetary sanction. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (b).) The statute contains no time limit for a motion to compel where no responses have been served. All that need be shown in the moving papers is that a set of interrogatories was properly served on the opposing party, that the time to respond has expired, and that no response of any kind has been served. (See Leach v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902, 905-906.)

Where there has been no timely response to a demand for the production of documents, the demanding party may seek an order compelling a response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (b).) Failure to timely respond waives all objections, including privilege and work product. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) Thus, unless the party to whom the demand was directed obtains relief from waiver, he or she cannot raise objections to the documents demanded. There is no deadline for a motion to compel responses. Likewise, for failure to respond, the moving party need not attempt to resolve the matter outside court before filing the motion.

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subdivision (b), a “party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction under Chapter 7 (commencing with section 2023.010).” The court “shall” grant the motion to deem requests for admission admitted “unless it finds that the party to whom the requests for admission have been directed has served, before the hearing on the motion, a proposed response to the requests for admission that is in substantial compliance with Section 2033.220.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subd. (a), “[t]he court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. . . . If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery is a misuse of the discovery process. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010.)

Sanctions are mandatory in connection with motions to compel responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, subd. (c) and 2031.300, subd. (c).) However, sanctions are not mandatory if 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.” (Ibid.) Sanctions are mandatory “on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to request for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subdivision (a) states: “[t]he court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”

DISCUSSION

On July 1, 2020, Defendant served Supplemental Interrogatories and Request for Production (Both Set One), Form Interrogatories (Set Two), and Request for Admissions (Set One) on Plaintiff by e-mail.  (Sepanosian Moving Declarations, ¶ 2, Exh. A.)  On July 31, 2020, Plaintiff served verified responses to Defendant’s written discovery requests on Defendant by U.S. mail.  (Novak Declarations, 3, Exh. A.)

Defendant contends Plaintiff’s responses were drafted in December of 2020 and, necessarily, not served on Plaintiff on July 31, 2020 for two reasons.  First, Plaintiff’s verifications are “strikingly similar” to verifications previously provided in this case.  Second, Plaintiff’s proofs of service by U.S. mail are electronically created and not scanned.

The Court finds there is insufficient evidence to show Plaintiff has presented fabricated proofs of service in order to avoid an unfavorable ruling on these motions.  It is common for parties to electronically save signatures in order to affix them to multiple verifications.  Moreover, the Court is not in a position to act as a handwriting expert in discerning whether Plaintiff’s previous verification was replicated  for a nefarious purpose.  Similarly, it is also common for parties to electronically create proofs of service regardless of whether service was effectuated by U.S. mail.

In its reply, Defendant requests the Court to compel Plaintiff to produce the original word processing documents used to create Plaintiff’s responses.  The Court finds this is unwarranted for the same reasons stated above.

Thus, the Court finds the motions cannot be granted because responses were timely served.  However, sanctions cannot be imposed against Defendant because Plaintiff waited until December 3, 2020 to respond to Defendant’s August 17, 2020 meet and confer correspondence.  As such, Plaintiff left Defendant to assume Plaintiff failed to provide her responses and refused to provide them absent a court order compelling service of responses.  Thus, no sanctions can be imposed against either party.

CONCLUSION

The motions are DENIED.

The parties requests for sanctions are DENIED.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.

related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where REAL MEX RESTAURANTS INC. is a litigant

Latest cases represented by Lawyer NOVAK SEAN M