This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/27/2019 at 02:52:30 (UTC).

BERTHA CASTILLO VS RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY ET AL

Case Summary

On 10/02/2017 BERTHA CASTILLO filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY. 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:

    ****8214

  • Filing Date:

    10/02/2017

  • 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

CASTILLO BERTHA

Defendants and Respondents

RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY

RALPH'S

DOES 1 TO 50

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

ZUCKERMAN PAUL S. ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

D'ORO FRANK J. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL. DEPOSITION OF ARTURO RAMIREZ, EMPLOYEE AND PERSON MOST QUALIFIED FOR DEFENDANT RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS; REQUES

5/24/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL. DEPOSITION OF ARTURO RAMIREZ, EMPLOYEE AND PERSON MOST QUALIFIED FOR DEFENDANT RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS; REQUES

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF TAKING MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF ARTURO RAMIREZ, EMPLOYEE AND PERSON MOST QUALIFIED FOR DEFENDANT RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS OFF CALENDAR

6/20/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF TAKING MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF ARTURO RAMIREZ, EMPLOYEE AND PERSON MOST QUALIFIED FOR DEFENDANT RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS OFF CALENDAR

Unknown

10/2/2018: Unknown

Declaration

10/30/2018: Declaration

Request for Judicial Notice

10/30/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Request for Judicial Notice

1/2/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Declaration

1/2/2019: Declaration

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/2/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Objection

1/11/2019: Objection

Reply

1/11/2019: Reply

Minute Order

1/17/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

1/28/2019: Minute Order

Unknown

1/28/2019: Unknown

Notice of Ruling

2/7/2019: Notice of Ruling

Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

3/14/2019: Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

Substitution of Attorney

4/10/2019: Substitution of Attorney

ANSWER OF RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY DBA RALPHS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

11/13/2017: ANSWER OF RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY DBA RALPHS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

SUMMONS

10/2/2017: SUMMONS

17 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/21/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 05/17/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 04/10/2019
  • Notice of Lien; Filed by BERTHA CASTILLO (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/10/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by BERTHA CASTILLO (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/02/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/18/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/14/2019
  • [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY (Defendant)

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  • 02/07/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY (Defendant)

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  • 01/28/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 01/28/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 01/28/2019); Filed by Clerk

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26 More Docket Entries
  • 12/08/2017
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY (Defendant); RALPH'S (Legacy Party)

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  • 11/13/2017
  • Answer; Filed by RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY (Defendant); RALPH'S (Legacy Party)

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  • 11/13/2017
  • ANSWER OF RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY DBA RALPHS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 10/30/2017
  • NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS

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  • 10/30/2017
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by RALPH'S GROCERY COMPANY (Defendant)

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  • 10/23/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 10/23/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by BERTHA CASTILLO (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC678214    Hearing Date: October 31, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion for Terminating Sanctions to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Issue and Evidence Sanctions

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.  No opposition was filed.

BACKGROUND

On October 2, 2017, Plaintiff Bertha Castillo (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Ralph’s Grocery Company dba Ralph’s (“Defendant”) for premises liability and general negligence for a trip and fall incident that occurred on October 6, 2015.

On April 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a substitution of counsel, indicating she would be representing herself.

On July 29, 2019, the Court granted Defendant’s motion to compel Plaintiff to submit to a medical examination. 

On September 26, 2019, Defendant filed the instant motion for terminating sanctions or, in the alternative, issue and evidentiary sanctions.  No opposition was filed.

Trial is set for December 17, 2019.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Defendant requests that this Court grant terminating sanctions by dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint on grounds that Plaintiff misused the discovery process by failing to submit to a physical examination despite this Court’s order compelling Plaintiff to do so.

In the alternative, Defendant requests evidentiary sanctions precluding Plaintiff from introducing any evidence of any facts to establish the negligence of Defendant or that Plaintiff sustained any injuries or damages as a result of the subject incident.  Defendant also requests issue sanctions establishing in this action that Plaintiff’s negligence was the sole cause of the subject incident, that Defendant is not negligent, and that no conduct on the part of Defendant was a cause of any injuries or damages to Plaintiff.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party fails to comply with a court order compelling a response to interrogatories or a request for production, the court may impose monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating sanctions.  (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.290, subd. (c), 2031.300, subd. (c).)  California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 provides that, “[t]o the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method . . . , the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose . . . [monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating] sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process . . . .”  California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010 provides that “[m]issues of the discovery process include, but are not limited to, the following: . . . (d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery. . . . (g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery . . . .”

“The trial court may order a terminating sanction for discovery abuse ‘after considering the totality of the circumstances: [the] conduct of the party to determine if the actions were willful; the detriment to the propounding party; and the number of formal and informal attempts to obtain the discovery.’”  (Los Defensores, Inc. v. Gomez (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 377, 390 (quoting Lang v. Hochman (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 1225, 1246).)  “Generally, ‘[a] decision to order terminating sanctions should not be made lightly.  But where a violation is willful, preceded by a history of abuse, and the evidence shows that less severe sanctions would not produce compliance with the discovery rules, the trial court is justified in imposing the ultimate sanction.’”  (Los Defensores, supra, 223 Cal.App.4th at p. 390 (citation omitted).)

“Under this standard, trial courts have properly imposed terminating sanctions when parties have willfully disobeyed one or more discovery orders.”  (Ibid. (citing Lang, supra, 77 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1244-1246); see, e.g., Collisson & Kaplan v. Hartunian (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1611, 1617-1622 (terminating sanctions imposed after defendants failed to comply with one court order to produce discovery); Laguna Auto Body v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 481, 491 (disapproved on other grounds in Garcia v. McCutchen (1997) 16 Cal.4th 469, 478, n. 4) (terminating sanctions imposed against plaintiff for failing to comply with a discovery order and for violating various discovery statutes).)

DISCUSSION

Terminating Sanctions

On July 29, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff to appear for a physical examination within 30 days of the court’s order on a date mutually agreeable to Plaintiff and Defendant.  (Grigorian Decl., ¶ 5, Ex. C.)  The Court also ordered Plaintiff to pay $980 in monetary sanctions within 30 days of the court’s order.  (Id.After numerous failed attempts to contact Plaintiff to find a mutually convenient date for the exam, Defendant scheduled a physical examination on September 11, 2019.  (Motion, p. 4: 8-11; Grigorian Decl., ¶ 6, Ex. D.) appear for the examination.  (Grigorian Decl., ¶ 6.)  

The Court finds that Plaintiff has engaged in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process by disobeying the Court’s July 29, 2019 order to submit to a physical examination.  Plaintiff was served with a Notice of Ruling of the Court’s order on July 30, 2019, as well as notice of this motion for terminating sanctions.  Based on this, the Court finds that Plaintiff had knowledge of her discovery obligations, the Court order compelling her compliance and imposition of monetary sanctions, and that her case was at a risk of being dismissed.  Plaintiff has also failed to file an opposition demonstrating that her noncompliance was not willful.  In fact, according to Defendant’s counsel, Plaintiff was under the impression that the case was closed and has no intention of appearing at any future hearings.  (Grigorian Decl., ¶ 7.) Given Plaintiff’s failure to comply with discovery obligations, failure to confer about scheduling a medical examination, failure to oppose this motion, and apparent disinterest in prosecuting this action, the Court finds lesser sanctions would not produce compliance with the discovery rules.

Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for terminating sanctions is GRANTED.  

Evidentiary/Issue Sanctions

Given Defendant’s motion for terminating sanction is granted, Defendant’s alternative motion for evidentiary and issue sanctions is MOOT.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s motion for terminating sanctions is GRANTED.

Defendant’s alternative motion for evidentiary and issue sanctions is MOOT.

Plaintiff’s action is hereby dismissed.

Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.