This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/14/2019 at 09:12:05 (UTC).

DARLENE MARRELL ET AL VS GREGORY SHURVANTE CREECH

Case Summary

On 08/11/2017 DARLENE MARRELL filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against GREGORY SHURVANTE CREECH. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1669

  • Filing Date:

    08/11/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

MARRELL DARLENE

PEREZ FERNANDO

Defendant

CREECH GREGORY SHRVANTE

Cross Defendant

MORRELL DARLENE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

KOTTLER DOUGLAS E. ESQ.

Defendant Attorneys

COLMAN JONATHAN H. ESQ.

FLEMING FRANCIS J.

 

Court Documents

SUMMONS

5/23/2018: SUMMONS

GREGORY SHURVANTE CREECH'S CROSS-COMPLAINT AGAINST DARLENE MORRELL FOR INDEMNITY, APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT AND PROPERTY DAMAGE

5/23/2018: GREGORY SHURVANTE CREECH'S CROSS-COMPLAINT AGAINST DARLENE MORRELL FOR INDEMNITY, APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT AND PROPERTY DAMAGE

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

6/21/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Other -

7/26/2018: Other -

Answer

7/26/2018: Answer

Unknown

9/7/2018: Unknown

Motion to Compel

12/18/2018: Motion to Compel

Motion to Compel

12/18/2018: Motion to Compel

Opposition

12/20/2018: Opposition

Opposition

12/20/2018: Opposition

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

12/26/2018: Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

Motion to Compel Discovery

12/27/2018: Motion to Compel Discovery

Motion to Compel Discovery

12/27/2018: Motion to Compel Discovery

Minute Order

1/4/2019: Minute Order

Notice

3/1/2019: Notice

Minute Order

3/5/2019: Minute Order

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

5/1/2019: Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

CIVIL DEPOSIT

1/3/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/10/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 05/01/2019
  • Docket[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District) (- FSC: 07-29-19 Trial: 08-12-19); Filed by Darlene Morrell (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 03/05/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 03/05/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 03/05/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 03/05/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 03/05/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/01/2019
  • DocketNotice (of Association); Filed by DARLENE MARRELL (Plaintiff); FERNANDO PEREZ (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/11/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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28 More Docket Entries
  • 01/03/2018
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by GREGORY SHRVANTE CREECH (Defendant)

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  • 01/03/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

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  • 01/03/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by GREGORY SHRVANTE CREECH (Defendant)

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  • 01/03/2018
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 01/03/2018
  • DocketDEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

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  • 09/07/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by DARLENE MARRELL (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/07/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 08/11/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 08/11/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by DARLENE MARRELL (Plaintiff); FERNANDO PEREZ (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/11/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****1669    Hearing Date: December 19, 2019    Dept: 5

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 5

DARLENE MORRELL, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

GREGORY SHURVANTE CREECH, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****1669

Hearing Date: December 19, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

Background

On August 11, 2017, Plaintiffs Darlene Morrell (“Morrell”) and Fernando Perez (“Perez”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendant Gregory Shurvante Creech (“Defendant”), asserting causes of action for motor vehicle and general negligence, following a motor vehicle collision. On November 18, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to compel a deposition of Dr. Kevin Li (“Dr. Li”), a treating physician, after he failed to appear for his deposition after being twice served with deposition subpoenas. Defendant served this motion upon Dr. Li by overnight mail.

Then, Defendant filed an ex parte application to compel Dr. Li’s deposition, which the Court heard on November 20, 2019. Dr. Li personally appeared at the hearing and requested a continuance of the ex parte hearing. The Court indicated that it would not rule on this issue via ex parte application, especially given the trial continuance, rendering Dr. Li’s request for a continuance moot. The Court advised Dr. Li that witnesses who are subpoenaed generally must testify, and that the Code of Civil Procedure often mandates sanctions for such motions to compel. The Court offered the parties the option of meeting-and-conferring in order to resolve the issue informally, obviating the need for further court appearances and related costs (of which Dr. Li had complained). Defendant’s counsel and Dr. Li stepped outside into the hallway, but returned shortly and indicated that they could not resolve the issue. Therefore, the Court denied the ex parte application and ordered the parties to return on the previously-noticed hearing date.

Defendant’s noticed motion was served on Dr. Li via overnight mail. Per California Rules of Court, rule 3.1346, a motion to compel a non-party must be served personally unless the non-party agrees to service by another means. At the hearing, Dr. Li indicated that he would not consent to service via any means other than personal service. Therefore, Defendant’s counsel personally served the motion upon Dr. Li in open court, satisfying the requirements of rule 3.1346.

Defendant moves for an order compelling the deposition of Dr. Kevin Li, M.D. (“Dr. Li”) and requiring Dr. Li to produce the documents listed in the deposition subpoena. Defendant also requests an award of sanctions against Dr. Li in the amount of $2,320.00. No opposition has been filed to this motion. The Court grants the motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

Code of Civil Procedure section 1987.1(a) provides, as follows: “If a subpoena requires the attendance of a witness or the production of books, documents, electronically stored information, or other things before a court, or at the trial of an issue therein, or at the taking of a deposition, the court, upon motion reasonably made by any person described in subdivision (b), or upon the court’s own motion after giving counsel notice and an opportunity to be heard, may make an order quashing the subpoena entirely, modifying it, or directing compliance with it upon those terms or conditions as the court shall declare, including protective orders. In addition, the court may make any other order as may be appropriate to protect the person from unreasonable or oppressive demands, including unreasonable violations of the right of privacy of the person.”

Section 2025.480(a) provides, as follows: “If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent’s control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.”

DISCUSSION

On July 11, 2019, Defendants served a subpoena upon Dr. Li and noticed his deposition for July 31, 2019 at Dr. Li’s office. (Declaration of Jenny R. Louro, ¶ 3 & Exh. A.) Defendants’ counsel attempted to confirm the deposition date with Dr. Li on July 29, 2019, and the next day, his office indicated that he would not attend the deposition because he has a “full day of clinic.” (Ibid.) However, Dr. Li’s office also indicated that “[w]e require payment for deposition prior to scheduling.” (Id., Exh. A.)

On October 15, 2019, Defendants served a subpoena upon Dr. Li and noticed his deposition for October 31, 2019 at Dr. Li’s office. (Id., ¶ 4 & Exh. C.) Dr. Li’s office stated that he would participate in a deposition only when a “retainer fee is received,” which is based on Dr. Li’s fee schedule. (Id., Exh. D.) Dr. Li also refused to participate in a deposition until a retainer agreement was signed. (Ibid.)

Then, on November 12, 2019, Defendants’ counsel corresponded with Dr. Li’s office and provided three alternative dates and times for his deposition. (Id., ¶ 5.) Dr. Li’s office demanded payment in advance. (Id., Exh. E.) Dr. Li’s office also requested an estimate or else he would charge a full day’s fee. (Ibid.)

Now, Defendants move to compel Dr. Li’s deposition. The Court agrees that Dr. Li has acted unreasonably in this case. While Dr. Li is entitled to a “reasonable and customary hourly or daily fee,” per Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.430(b), there is no authority permitting Dr. Li to condition his attendance upon his fee being paid in advance. The record reflects that Dr. Li has not acted in good faith. Therefore, the Court grants Defendants’ motion to compel Dr. Li’s deposition.

Defendants notice sanctions against Dr. Li. Defendants request two sanctions of $500 each for each failure to appear at his deposition, per Code of Civil Procedure section 1992. Moreover, Defendants seek sanctions of an additional $1,320 for the costs associated with this motion based upon seven hours of attorney time at a billing rate of $180 per hour plus a filing fee of $60. Therefore, Defendants seek total sanctions of $2,320.

The Court orders Dr. Li to pay sanctions of $500 based upon his second failure to appear for a deposition, as there is no good cause for Dr. Li’s failure to do so. The record reflects that Dr. Li’s refusal to appear was based solely upon his desire for payment in advance, which is not appropriate. Dr. Li shall pay this sanction within ten (10) days of notice of this order.

The Court also imposes the remaining sanctions of $1,820 because the Court finds no good cause for Dr. Li’s failure to appear at the first deposition, which also appears motivated primarily by his demand for payment in advance. Moreover, Dr. Li’s conduct in this matter has been unreasonable and constitutes an abuse of the discovery process, necessitating this motion and warranting sanctions. However, the Court stays this additional award of sanctions of $1,820. If Dr. Li complies with this order, this portion of the sanctions award will be vacated, meaning that Dr. Li need not pay the remaining $1,820 in sanctions.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The Court grants Defendants’ motion to compel Dr. Li’s deposition. The deposition shall occur on or before January 10, 2020, unless Defendants stipulate to a deposition date beyond this time period. The Court orders that Dr. Li may not condition his attendance upon receiving payment in advance. However, the Court orders Defendants to provide a time estimate to Dr. Li. If Defendants fail to do so, and as a result Dr. Li must clear his entire schedule for one day, he would be entitled to a daily fee, per Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.430(e).

The Court orders Dr. Li to pay sanctions in the amount of $500 within ten (10) days of notice of this order. The Court imposes additional sanctions of $1,820 but stays this portion of the sanctions award. If Dr. Li submits to a deposition as ordered by this Court, this award of sanctions will be vacated, meaning that he need not pay the additional $1,820. Should Defendants seek this additional $1,820 in sanctions or a monetary judgment for any unpaid sanctions, they must file a noticed motion and serve Dr. Li personally unless Dr. Li agrees to service by another means.

Defendants shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

DATED: December 19, 2019 ___________________________

Hon. Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court



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