This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/06/2019 at 02:46:12 (UTC).

DANIEL GEOULLA VS CALIFORNIA AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Case Summary

On 07/20/2017 DANIEL GEOULLA filed a Personal Injury - Uninsured Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CALIFORNIA AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE 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 LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****0239

  • Filing Date:

    07/20/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Uninsured Motor Vehicle

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

LAURA A. SEIGLE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

GEOULLA DANIEL

Defendant and Respondent

CALIFORNIA AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

TUSA DANIEL P. ESQ.

GEOULLA DANIEL D. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Motion to Quash

10/1/2018: Motion to Quash

Other -

10/1/2018: Other -

Notice

12/21/2018: Notice

Order

12/28/2018: Order

Minute Order

12/28/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

1/2/2019: Minute Order

Notice of Ruling

1/4/2019: Notice of Ruling

Notice of Ruling

1/4/2019: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order

4/12/2019: Minute Order

Unknown

6/28/2018: Unknown

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING THE DEPOSITION OF DANIEL GEOULLA AND ETC.

9/7/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING THE DEPOSITION OF DANIEL GEOULLA AND ETC.

PETITION TO ASSIGN CASE NUMBER FOR PURPOSE OF DISCOVERY MOTIONS LINS. CODE 11580.2(F)]

7/20/2017: PETITION TO ASSIGN CASE NUMBER FOR PURPOSE OF DISCOVERY MOTIONS LINS. CODE 11580.2(F)]

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/12/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 04/12/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Held

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  • 04/12/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Informal Discovery Conference (IDC); Informal Discovery Confe...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/21/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 01/22/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 01/04/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Daniel Geoulla (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/04/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Daniel Geoulla (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/02/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 01/02/2019
  • Minute Order ((Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/28/2018
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Quash ((Legacy)) - Held - Motion Granted

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6 More Docket Entries
  • 10/01/2018
  • Motion to Quash; Filed by Daniel Geoulla (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/01/2018
  • Motion to Compel; Filed by Daniel Geoulla (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/01/2018
  • Motion to Quash

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  • 06/28/2018
  • Miscellaneous-Other; Filed by California Automobile Insurance Company (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 11/13/2017
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 98; Unknown Event Type - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 11/13/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-11-13 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/07/2017
  • NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING THE DEPOSITION OF DANIEL GEOULLA AND ETC.

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  • 07/20/2017
  • Petition; Filed by null

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  • 07/20/2017
  • PETITION TO ASSIGN CASE NUMBER FOR PURPOSE OF DISCOVERY MOTIONS LINS. CODE 11580.2(F)]

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BS170239    Hearing Date: April 30, 2021    Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA 

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

DANIEL GEOULLA,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CALIFORNIA AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY,

Defendant(s).

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.: BS170239

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: CALIFORNIA AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE ARBITRATION

Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

April 30, 2021

This uninsured motorist (UIM) claim arises from an October 3, 2013 two-car accident in which the uninsured motorist allegedly ran over Claimant/Petitioner Daniel Geoulla while fleeing the scene of the accident. Petitioner gave notice of a formal demand for arbitration on September 25, 2015.  (Def.’s Ex. A.)  Respondent moves for an order dismissing the UIM claim with prejudice for delay in prosecution under California Insurance Code section 11580.2(i)(2), which requires all UIM arbitrations to be concluded within 5 years from the institution of the arbitration proceeding.  This section also provides that the doctrines of estoppel, waiver, impossibility, impracticality, and futility apply to excuse a party’s noncompliance with the statutory timeframe, as determined by the court.  (Ins. Code, § 11580.2, subd. (i)(3).)  The determination whether it was ‘impossible, impracticable, or futile’ to bring a case to trial within a given time period is generally fact specific, depending on the obstacles faced by the plaintiff in prosecuting the action and the plaintiff's exercise of reasonable diligence in overcoming those obstacles.” Eliceche v. Federal Land Bank Assn. (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 1349 [citing Howard v. Thrifty Drug & Discount Stores (1995) 10 Cal.4th 424, 438.]) The burden of prosecuting an arbitration is always with the plaintiff or claimant.  (Santangelo v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 804, 816.)  Petitioner does not dispute that he made his formal arbitration demand on September 25, 2015.  Instead, Petitioner argues that Respondent ignored his demand for three months and did not respond until December 1, 2015 so the Court should consider those three months tolled(Farid Decl., ¶ 71.)  Petitioner adds that Emergency Rule 10 provides a six-month extension to the time in which an action must be brought to trial, so his five-year deadline to arbitrate his claim is actually September 1, 2021.  

Petitioner also argues that within the five-year period, there was time in which it was, for any reason, impossible, impracticable, or futile to bring the action to trial.  Petitioner claims that Respondent refused to respond to discovery that was propounded on April 28, 2020.  Petitioner contends that Respondent essentially forced him to file nine motions to compel in July 2020, which were not heard and resolved until March 5, 2021, when the Court ordered Respondent to provide further responses to some of Petitioner’s discovery requests and denied some parts of Petitioner’s motions

Petitioner also argues that on May 21, 2020, Respondent introduced a new argument which changed their theory of the case by seeking to use an audio recording of an unrelated deposition.  This audio recording triggered Respondent to file a motion for a protective order to prevent his counsel from being deposed, which the Court denied on January 20, 2021. but could not find a mutually agreeable time.

However, difficulty in obtaining discovery has not been recognized as making arbitration (or trial, based on cases analyzing Code of Civil Procedure 583.420) impossible, impracticable, or futile.  (Langan v. McCorkle (1969) 276 Cal.App.2d 805, 809.)  To the extent Respondent attempted to introduce information that was not properly turned over in discovery, Petitioner could have moved to excluded the evidence.  

Instead, the Court notes that Petitioner’s counsel admits that on April 5, 2021, upon receiving the Motion to dismiss, counsel realized that the five-year deadline to arbitrate was miscalendered for March 25, 2022 instead of March 25, 2021.   This miscalculation seems to be the true cause for Petitioner’s failure to bring arbitrate his claim within five years and is an insufficient reason to deny Defendant’s Motion.  (Cannon v. City of Novato (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 216 [error in calculating limitation date was not grounds for excuse to bring action to trial within five years]) 

As Petitioner has not met his burden of showing how it would have been impossible, futile, or impracticable to conclude the UIM arbitration within five years, it would be an abuse of discretion for this Court to deny this motion.  

Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED. 

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 30th day of April 2021

Hon. Edward B. Moreton, Jr. 

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BS170239    Hearing Date: March 05, 2021    Dept: 27

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: CLAIMANT DANIEL GEOULLA’S MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES orders compelling further responses from Respondent.  Further responses as ordered

Request

RFA 14-17 ask Respondent to admit that Claimant’s “medical treatment” was reasonable.  Respondent objected to the RFAs as vague and ambiguous as to the medical treatment referred to in the request Without waiving said objection, responding party has previously made admissions in response to the earlier requests for admission and Dr. Michael Weinstein has given opinions in his deposition regarding the nature of injuries he believed were related to the accident and the medical treatment he believed was reasonably related to the accident and the costs of care he believed was reasonable. With this clarification, deny the remainder of the request not covered by this clarification.”  

Claimant requests a further response.  However, the purpose of a request for admission is to set to rest “the truth of specified matters of fact, opinion relating to fact, or application of law to fact.”  The phrase “medical treatment” is too vague in this case, especially since it appears that Plaintiff has undergone significant treatment and procedures.

RFA Nos. 18-23: Claimant need for a cervical discectomy surgery.  Claimant also wants Respondent to admit or deny whether the cost of his treatments is reasonable.  

Respondent states it has insufficient information or belief to admit or deny because Dr. Michael Weinstein has not examined the Claimant on [sic] July 19, 2017.  Respondent continues, “However, if the claimant requires a cervical discectomy surgery, responding party denies it would be caused or necessitated by the accident at issue.”  

The Court is not persuaded by Respondent’s supposed inability to respond. Respondent seems to be comfortable denying Claimant’s need for a cervical discectomy for the injuries sustained from the car accident.  Respondent correctly states that whether a surgical procedure is required, necessary, or reasonable, are triable issues, but fails to grasp its obligation to set forth its position through discovery

RFA Nos. 24-26 whether medical services from Dr. Nicholas S. Fuller were reasonably necessary and due to the incident.  Respondent stated as admitted to in prior responses.”  Respondent claims it has these issues with respect to specific medical services.  Claimant does not address this explanation.  The Court finds the reference to “medical services” too vague.  No further response is needed. 

RFA Nos. 29-33 ask similar questions with regards to Intelligent Pain Solutions.  Respondent states, “Deny except as admitted to in prior responses in RFAs and as conceded by Dr. Weinstein in his depo.”  The reference to treatment without specifically identifying particular treatments or procedures makes the RFA too vague.  No further response is needed. 

There is no separate statement identifying Respondent’s responses to Form Interrogatory No. 17.1.  The Court cannot evaluate whether the response is sufficient.  Accordingly, Claimant’s motion for an order compelling a further response to Form Interrogatory No. 17.1 from Set 4 and Set 5 is DENIED.  

Request for Admission (Set 4)

RFA Nos41-42, 43-4445-46These requests ask Respondent to admit or deny whether Claimant’s neck or back injury has improved or worsened.  Respondent objected to the requests on the grounds that it assumes Claimant’s neck or back was injured.  The Court does not find any issue with Respondent’s objection, but also notes that any response other than an unqualified admission is subject to further explanation under Form Interrogatory No. 17.1. 

Request for Production (Set 2)

RFP Nos. 7-8: These RFPs seek all documents supporting Respondent’s contentions that Claimant assumed the risks of his injuries and his injuries are unreasonable.  Respondent objected on the grounds that the requests were vague, ambiguous, uncertain, and unintelligible.  

Respondent argues that RFP No. 7 is duplicative of RFP No. 5, which also asks for all documents that support the affirmative defense that Claimant assumed the risk of his injuries.  In response to RFP No. 5, Respondent stated that it is not contending that Claimant assumed the risk.  However, even if the request is duplicative, Respondent must still provide a Code-compliant response.  

With respect to RFP No. 8, Respondent explains that Claimant has not specified what all of his claimed injuries are, and therefore a response stating is impossible.  Claimant previously described his injuries as including but not necessarily limited to Claimant stated discovery and investigation are ongoing and he reserves the right to amend or supplement the response.  

On reply, however, Claimant states that Respondent is well aware of his injuries to his neck and back If Respondent is unclear about whether injuries have been sustained, Respondent may object to producing documents relating to unknown injuries.  However, it is clear that Respondent is aware of at least some of Plaintiff’s injuries and with respect to those, Respondent must provide a further response.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.240, subd. (a) [“If only part of an item or category of item . . . is objectionable, the response shall contain a statement of compliance, or a representation of inability to comply with respect to the remainder of that item or category.”].)  

Claimant’s Motion for an order compelling a further response to Requests for Production of Documents (Set 2) is GRANTED.  

Request for Production (Set 3)

RFP Nos. 3-8: These RFPs request documents supporting any contention that Claimant’s medical services are unnecessary or unreasonable.  Respondent’s response reads as follows: 

Objection, vague and ambiguous regarding “REFLECTS, RELATES, CONCERNS” and, as drafted, seeks to invade the attorney client and attorney work product privileges as invasive of the privileged claim file and the privileged legal file of responding party’s counsel. Without waiving said objections, and by way of further response, responding party identifies evidence which is already in the custody and/or possession of claimant and his counsel and will therefore not be produced as burdensome, oppressive, and a waste of natural resources (i.e.

Respondent’s response is improper.  Respondent must state whether it will produce responsive documents.   If the documents would be duplicative, they do not need to be produced repeatedly, but Claimant is entitled to a response acknowledging whether Respondent intends to comply with the RFP.  If Respondent is concerned about wasting paper, it can produce documents electronically.  

Furthermore, in its opposition brief, Respondent claims the term “injuries” is too vague and it cannot determine whether Claimant’s costs are unnecessary.  This is unconvincing.  As stated above, after 8 years of litigation, Respondent is at least aware of some of Plaintiff’s injuries.  

Claimant’s Motion for an order compelling further responses

Special Interrogatories

Special Interrogatory No. 13This interrogatory requests all facts that support Respondent’s contention that Claimant’s injuries are unreasonable.  Respondent’s response is confusing.  First, Respondent states that it has made admissions in response to unidentified Requests for Admission, Set One and is therefore bound by them.  Respondent also refers to Dr. Weinstein’s deposition and medical reports.  Then, Respondent states that “[w]ith these

Respondent is entitled to specify the writings from which an answer to a special interrogatory may be derived or ascertained.  However, this specification shall be in sufficient detail to permit the propounding party to locate and to identify, as easily as the responding party can, the documents from which the answer may be ascertained.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.230. 

2030.230.)  Respondent’s broad reference to “recordings,” “transcripts,” “discovery responses,” and “medical records” is insufficient.  If Respondent wishes to take advantage of section 2030.230, it must identify the Bates-label range of the documents in which the answers will be found. 

Special Interrogatory 15: This interrogatory similarly requests all facts that support Respondent’s contention that Claimant’s injuries are unrelated to the incident.  The Court once again finds that Respondent’s response (which is the same as its response to Special Interrogatory 13, minus the list of documents) is insufficient for the same reasons stated above.  

Claimant’s Motion for an order compelling further responses

Special Interrogatories (Set 3)

Special Interrogatory Nos. 32-27: Claimant requests Respondent identify all witnesses, documents, and facts that support its contention that Claimant does not require an anterior cervical discectomy and stabilization with fusion and disc arthroplasty.  Respondent states it has “insufficient information or belief, at the present time, to make a specific contention in this regard.  However, if claimant does require an anterior cervical discectomy and stabilization with fusion, such a surgery would not have been caused by the accident at issue.”  

Claimant states that Respondent’s expert, Dr. Weinstein, has already completed a full physical examination and evolution of Claimant on July 19, 2017.  Claimant states that an objection based on the lack of personal knowledge is insufficient if access to knowledge is reasonably available. 

In opposition, Respondent states that it is unable to reach a certain final position a further response is not necessary.  Respondent does not explain how, after eight years of litigation, and the opportunity to examine Respondent makes no showing that it has tried to obtain the information by inquiry to other natural persons or organizations.  Furthermore, Respondent appears to be taking the position that these medical procedures are unnecessary, but refuses to state facts, or identify the documents and witnesses that would support its position.  While Respondent is not obligated to agree or reach the same conclusions as Claimant, Claimant is entitled to know what Respondent’s conclusions are.  Respondent must provide a further response. 

Claimant’s Motion for an order compelling further responses

Sanctions

The court shall impose a monetary sanction against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a further response, unless the person subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.  

With respect to both sets of Claimant’s Special and Requests for Production, Respondent’s objections were meritless $1,640 consisting of 4 hours at Claimant’s counsel’s hourly rate of $350 and $240 in filing fees, to be paid within 20 days of the date of this Order.  

The Court declines to impose sanctions in connection with Claimant’s motions regarding his Requests for Admissions and Form Interrogatories. 

Case Number: BS170239    Hearing Date: January 20, 2021    Dept: 27

  1. INTRODUCTION AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This uninsured motorist claim arises from a the uninsured motorist allegedly ran Geoulla

The events that triggered began after Respondent’s counsel, Thomas W. Shaver (“Mr. Shaver”) Claimant’s deposition testimony was different from a previously recorded statement because Claimant was enraged at the time of the accident and forgot certain details.  Mr. Shaver also suggested that Claimant’s anger frightened away the other driver, thus ing told Claimant’s counsel that he had an audiotape of Claimant acting aggressively and that he would introduce the audiotape as impeachment evidence if Claimant testified that he did not lose his temper.  As an aside, although Respondent stated that an electronic version of the audiotape would be provided, it was only lodged

This brings us to the question of how this audiotape came to be.  Claimant appeared against in another case captioned Maria Mendoza v. Ildefonso Davalos, et al. (Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC635052) (the “Mendoza”) case.  In connection with the Mendoza Mr. Shaver encountered each other on March 27, 2019 at Claimant’s office when Mr. Shaver’s client was being deposed by one of Claimant’s associates.  Claimant and Mr. Shaver began arguing Mr. Shaver was later admonished and sanctioned $1,460 by the Honorable Theresa Traber on June 24, 2019, who stated that the Court was persuaded that Mr. Shaver “crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate conduct on multiple occasions.”  Ex. A.)  The identified Mr. Shaver’s speaking objections, inappropriate instructions not to answer, commentary on the evidence, and general interference as improper.   (Claimant’s Ex. A.)

Mr. Shaver’s threat to use this audiotape against Claimant led to him being subpoenaed for deposition, followed by filing this Motion. 

  1. LEGAL STANDARD

Typically, a party seeking a protective order has the burden to establish “good cause” for its request, which means that the moving party must show that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness of the deposition outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Emerson Elec. Co. v. Sup. Ct. (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1101, 1110.)  However, courts have held that depositions of opposing counsel as “presumptively improper, severely restricted, and require ‘extremely’ good cause.”  (Carehouse ¿(2006) 143 Cal.App.4th 1558, 1562 [citing Spectra–Physics, Inc. v. Superior Court¿(1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 1487, 1493.) 

In Spectra-Physics, the court of appeal found that deposing counsel had “limited usefulness at best” because the attorney would assert claims of work product and attorney-client privilege.  (Spectra-Physicssupra, 198 Cal.App.3d at p. 1494.)  a three-prong test to consider whether : (1) there are no other means to obtain the information than to depose opposing counsel; (2) the information sought is relevant and nonprivileged; and (3) the information is crucial to the preparation for the case.  (Id. at pp.1494-1495.) 

The Court of Appeals expanded on this test in Carehouse when it stated that “[e]ach (Carehouse Convalescent, 143 Cal.App.4th at p. 1563.)  The also explained establishing that the information sought could be discovered by other means and is crucial to the preparation of the case while arty opposing discovery had the burden of establishing that the information sought is privileged or protected. (Id.)  

  1. DISCUSSION

Here, Claimant seeks to depose Mr. Shaver as a witness-participant of their verbal scuffle during the Mendoza .  Applying the tests found in Spectra-Physics and Carehouse , the Court concludes that Claimant has shown good cause to depose Mr. Shaver.  

First, Mr. Shaver is the only individual who can testify as to his own statements and conduct during the Mendoza Second, if Respondent insists on proceeding with its contributory negligence theory, Claimant has a right to mount a defense against it.  Claimant only noticed Mr. Shaver’s deposition after Mr. Shaver suggested that he would use audiotape from the Mendoza deposition impeachment evidence that Claimant has anger management problems.  Third, Respondent makes no claim of attorney-client privilege or work product protection, as the information sought concerns a proceeding other than this uninsured motorist arbitration.  

  1. CONCLUSION

Respondent’s Motion for a protective order is DENIED.  

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.  

20th January 21

Case Number: BS170239    Hearing Date: December 10, 2020    Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA 

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

DANIEL GEOULLA,

Plaintiff,

vs.

CALIFORNIA AUOTMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY,

Defendant.

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[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY RESPONSES

Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

December 10, 2020

Daniel Geoulla (“Petitioner”) commenced this uninsured motorist arbitration with Respondent California Automobile Insurance Company (“Respondent”) arising from an October 3, 2013 automobile accident.  On July 20, 2017, the uninsured motorist arbitration received a case number.  On April 28, 2020, Petitioner served Form Interrogatories Set Nos. Three and Four on Respondent.  Defendant did not provide timely responses.  Plaintiff filed these Motions on July 6, 2020.  

Where a party fails to serve timely responses to discovery requests, the court may make an order compelling responses.  (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300; Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 403.)   A party that fails to serve timely responses waives any objections to the request, including ones based on privilege or the protection of attorney work product.  (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, subd. (a), 2031.300, subd. (a).)  

In opposition, Respondent states that verified responses, without objection, have already been served and attaches them as exhibits.  The proofs of service state that the responses to Form Interrogatories (Set Three) were served on November 12, 2020Responses to Form Interrogatories (Set Four) were served on May 29, 2020.  The motions to compel responses are denied as MOOT

The 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.  (CRC 3.1348(a).)  

Respondent requests that sanctions not be issued because the delay in serving responses was inadvertent.  Respondent’s counsel states that the stay-at-home orders implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business operations and as a result, he failed to serve the responses on time.  Respondent’s excuse based on the temporary disruption of business operations is unpersuasive.  On reply, Petitioner states that Form Interrogatories (Set Three) were propounded April 28, 2020 but Respondent took six months to serve responses to them while acknowledging in letters from as early as July 2020 that Petitioner had pending motions to compel and that the responses were outstanding.   Petitioner attaches copies of 9 meet and confer emails that were sent to Respondent’s counsel requesting the missing responses, some of which received no response The Court also notes that two weeks after Respondent’s counsel acknowledged that the responses were outstanding, Respondent filed a motion for protective order on July 30, 2020. 

Accordingly, the Court awards sanctions in favor of Petitioner and against Respondent and counsel of record, jointly and severally, in the amount of $720, consisting of 2 hours of Petitioner’s counsel’s rate of $300 and $120 in filing fees, to be paid within 20 days 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 10th day of December 2020

Hon. Edward B. Moreton, Jr. 

Judge of the Superior Court

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