This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/15/2019 at 00:34:43 (UTC).

CHUONG THAI VS CITY OF MONTEREY PARK

Case Summary

On 03/06/2018 CHUONG THAI filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against CITY OF MONTEREY PARK. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6884

  • Filing Date:

    03/06/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Other Labor

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

THAI CHUONG

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 20

CITY OF MONTEREY PARK

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

HENNIG ROB ESQ.

HENNIG ROBERT ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

MEYERHOFF MARK H.

 

Court Documents

PLAINTIFF CHOUNG THAI'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

6/21/2018: PLAINTIFF CHOUNG THAI'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

CIVIL DEPOSIT

6/21/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

Minute Order

11/6/2018: Minute Order

Order

11/6/2018: Order

Separate Statement

3/1/2019: Separate Statement

Notice of Motion

3/1/2019: Notice of Motion

Minute Order

3/15/2019: Minute Order

Declaration

3/18/2019: Declaration

Order

3/19/2019: Order

Reply

3/22/2019: Reply

Minute Order

3/29/2019: Minute Order

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/22/2019: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

DEFENDANT CITY OF MONTEREY PARK'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

4/11/2018: DEFENDANT CITY OF MONTEREY PARK'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBERS

3/28/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBERS

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/22/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

3/8/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

3/8/2018: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

COMPLAINT FOR: 1. RETALIATION IN VIOLATION OF CAL. LAB. CODE 1102.5; AND ETC

3/6/2018: COMPLAINT FOR: 1. RETALIATION IN VIOLATION OF CAL. LAB. CODE 1102.5; AND ETC

18 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/08/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 56; Jury Trial - Held - Continued

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  • 06/24/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Final Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 06/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 05/31/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 05/02/2019
  • at 09:15 AM in Department 56; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 04/25/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 56; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 04/22/2019
  • Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/02/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 56; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 03/29/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 56; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 03/29/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion to Quash (Subpoenas to the City of Stanton and the City of South Pasadena and for Sanction in the amount of $2,750.00) - Held

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41 More Docket Entries
  • 03/22/2018
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Chuong Thai (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/22/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Chuong Thai (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/22/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/08/2018
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 03/08/2018
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/08/2018
  • OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/08/2018
  • ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 03/06/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 03/06/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR: 1. RETALIATION IN VIOLATION OF CAL. LAB. CODE 1102.5; AND ETC

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/06/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Chuong Thai (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC696884    Hearing Date: February 05, 2020    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

CHUONG THAI, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

CITY OF MONTEREY PARK, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CASE NO.: BC696884

ORDER RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Dept. 56

On the Court’s own motion, the Court continues the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication, filed by Defendant City of Monterey Park scheduled for 02/05/2020 at 8:30 a.m. at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 56 to 02/28/2020 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 56 for the court to review the respective arguments advanced by the parties.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 31st day of January 2020

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC696884    Hearing Date: December 17, 2019    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

CHUONG THAI, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

CITY OF MONTEREY PARK, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CASE NO.: BC696884

ORDER RE:

CONTINUANCE OF HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION AGAINST PLAINTIFF CHUONG THAI

Date: December 3, 2019

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Defendant City of Monterey Park (“Moving Defendant”)

On the Court’s own motion, the Court CONTINUES the hearing on Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication, against Plaintiff Chuong Thai scheduled for 12/17/2019 at 8:30 a.m. at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 56 to 12/26/2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 56 so that the Court can consider the arguments advanced by Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication, against Plaintiff Chuong Thai.

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Dated this 3rd day of December 2019

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC696884    Hearing Date: October 24, 2019    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

CHUONG THAI, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

CITY OF MONTEREY PARK, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CASE NO.: BC696884

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS (SET TWO) AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

Date: October 24, 2019

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Chuong Thai

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant City of Monterey Park

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

This is an action arising from the alleged wrongful termination of Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants alleging causes of action for: (1) retaliation in violation of California Labor Code, Section 1102.5; and (2) defamation.

According to the declaration of Plaintiff’s counsel, Sereena J. Singh (“Singh”): (1) Plaintiff served Defendant with Plaintiff’s requests for production (set two) on February 12, 2019. (Singh Decl. at ¶ 3; Singh Decl. at Exhibit A); (2) Plaintiff received Defendant’s responses on April 3, 2019. (Id. at ¶ 4; Id. at Exhibit B); (3) Plaintiff sent a detailed meet and confer letter to Defendant on May 10, 2019 due to Defendant’s deficient responses (Id. at ¶ 5; Id. at Exhibit C); (4) almost a month later on June 4, 2019, Defendant responded to that letter refusing to produce documents responsive to Request Number 89 and Request Number 89 sought documents pertaining to any investigation conducted by an outside attorney, Kathy Gandhara, pertaining or relating to Plaintiff including any investigation into the allegations of misconduct that resulted in his termination (Id. at ¶ 6; Id. at Exhibit D); (5) on August 16, 2019, Defendant served Plaintiff with its motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication and in its separate statement, Defendant listed multiple material facts pertaining to the propriety of Plaintiff’s termination and specifically placed the investigation conducted by Kathy Gandhara at issue and stated the matters she investigated pertained to Plaintiff’s termination in material facts 118, 119, 124, and 125 (Id. at ¶ 9; Id. at Exhibit F); and (6) the parties are at an impasse and the intervention of this Court is required for Plaintiff to obtain discovery necessary for the full and fair resolution of his claims (Id. at ¶ 14.)

Singh also declares that: (1) through discovery, Plaintiff has learned that Defendant alleges that in or around April 2017, Defendant received complaints that Plaintiff did the following—inappropriately accepted gifts from a vendor in violation of the City’s policy, used his City credit card to purchase items for personal use in violation of the City’s policy, circumvented the City’s policy in purchasing items for use by City employees, purchased items with the City credit card prohibited by City policy, and purchased items for vendors in violation of City policy (Id. at ¶ 15); (2) Defendant alleges that after receiving these allegations, in or around April 20, 2019, Defendant retained Kathy Gandhara, an outside attorney investigator to look into the allegations against Plaintiff (Id.); and (3) shortly after that, on April 29, 2017, Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s employment. (Id.)

Plaintiff filed a motion to compel Defendant’s further responses to Plaintiff’s request for production of documents, set two, number 89. Additionally, Plaintiff requests monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,750.00 against Defendant.

Plaintiff’s Request for Production of Documents set two, number 89 seeks “Any and all DOCUMENTS PERTAINING or RELATING to any investigation conducted by Kathy Gandhard [sic] PERTAINING or RELATING to PLAINTIFF.” (Singh Decl. at Exhibit B.)

MEET AND CONFER

The meet and confer requirement has been met.

DISCUSSION

Under California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2017.010 “any person may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or to the determination of any motion made in that action, if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” “Discovery may relate to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.010.) “The Court shall limit the scope of discovery if it determines that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness of that discovery clearly outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” (Lipton v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1599, 1611.) “For discovery purposes, information is relevant if it might reasonably assist a party in evaluating the case, preparing for trial, or facilitating settlement.” (Id.) Discovery statutes are “construed liberally in favor of disclosure.” (Obregon v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 424, 434.) Where a party objects to a motion to compel, the burden is on the responding party to justify any objection. (Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.) To support an objection to a request for production of documents, the objecting party has to establish the validity of its objections with supporting facts in order to meet its burden. (Southern Pac. Co. v. Superior Court (1969) 3 Cal.App.3d 195, 198.) Where a demanding party receives responses to its request for production of documents that consists of objections that are without merit or too general, then “the demanding party may move for an order compelling further response to the demand.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2031.310(a)(3).)

Issue No. 1: The Good Cause Requirement

Where a party seeks to compel further responses to a request for production of documents, the party seeking to compel further responses must establish good cause for such production. (Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 216, 223-224.) “[F]actual evidence is supplied to the court by way of declarations.” (Id. at 224.) Specific facts justifying the production of requested documents must be in a declaration. (Id.) “To establish good cause, a discovery proponent must identify a disputed fact that is of consequence in the action and explain how the discovery sought will tend in reason to prove or disprove the fact or lead to other evidence that will tend to prove or disprove the fact.” (Digital Music News LLC v. Superior Court (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 216, 224.)

The Court finds that Plaintiff has established good cause for production of documents pursuant to its request number 89. Singh’s declaration indicates that: (1) Defendant’s motion for summary judgment listed material facts relating to the propriety of Plaintiff’s termination and specifically placed the investigation conducted by Kathy Gandhara at issue and stated the matters she investigated pertained to Plaintiff termination in material facts 118, 119, 124, and 125; (2) the information sought from request number 89 is necessary to oppose Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Id. at ¶ 10); and (3) it is necessary that Plaintiff obtain the discovery at issue from request number 89 for the full and fair resolution of his claims. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Also, given that Plaintiff’s first cause of action is for retaliation, it would seem pertinent that documents related to any investigation conducted with respect to Plaintiff would be relevant to determining whether, in fact, Plaintiff’s termination was retaliatory in nature as Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that he engaged in protected activity by disclosing information (Complaint at ¶ 19) and was terminated by Defendant due to his engagement in protected activity. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-22.) Also, given that Defendant alleges that it received complaints about Plaintiff violating City policies (Singh Decl. at ¶ 15), the discovery at issue with respect to request number 89 could tend to prove or disprove whether Plaintiff in fact was terminated for a retaliatory reason or was terminated because he violated city policy. Given that Plaintiff has established good cause, the burden now switches to Defendant to justify its objections.

Defendant has not met its burden in justifying its objections to Plaintiff’s request for production of documents, set two number 89 because an objector bears the burden of establishing with supporting facts, a valid objection. (Southern Pac. Co. v. Superior Court (1969) 3 Cal.App.3d 195, 198.) Facts are provided to the Court via declarations. (Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 216, 224.) Defendant’s opposition mentions that Plaintiff’s RFP number 89 seeks documents that are protected by the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine; however, there is no declaration that was lodged or filed with Defendant’s opposition papers to support Defendant’s opposition to Plaintiff’s motion to compel. Defendant has not met its burden for justifying its objections to Plaintiff’s request for production of documents, set two, number 89.

The Court therefore GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses to Plaintiff’s request for production of documents, set two, number 89. Defendant to provide verified, complete code-compliant responses to Plaintiff’s request for production of documents, set two, number 89 within 30 days of the date of this order.

Issue No. 2: Monetary Sanctions

Plaintiff requests monetary sanctions against Defendant in the amount of $2,750.00.

California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2031.310(h) says that “the court shall impose a monetary sanction . . . against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further response to a demand, 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.” “The Court shall impose a monetary sanction . . . against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel an answer or production, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.480(j).) Under California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2023.030 “[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.” “[T]he 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.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2023.030(a).) Misuses of the discovery process include: (1) failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery; (2) making an evasive response to discovery; or (3) disobeying a court order to provide discovery. (Code Civ. Proc. 2023.010.) “The trial court has broad discretion in selecting discovery sanctions.” (Padron v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 1246, 1259.) “Discovery sanctions are intended to remedy discovery abuse, not to punish the offending party.” (Id.)

Singh declares that: (1) her hourly rate is $550.00 per hour (Singh Decl. at ¶ 16); (2) Plaintiff is seeking sanctions in the amount of $2,750.00 (Id. at ¶ 17); (3) the amount of sanctions that are requested represents 5 hours of time taken in drafting and preparing the motion and related papers (Id.); (4) she has spent in excess of 5 hours drafting Plaintiff’s motion (Id.); (5) the requested 5 hours represents a modest share of the actual time expended or expected to be expended on this motion at a reasonable hourly rate (Id.); and (6) she anticipates spending an additional 3 hours in reviewing Defendant’s opposition papers. (Id.)

The Court exercises its discretion and GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for sanctions and awards Plaintiff reduced monetary sanctions in the amount of $1,375.00 which represents 2.5 hours of work with respect to Plaintiff’s motion. Sanctions are to be paid by Defendant to Plaintiff within 20 days.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 24th day of October 2019

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court