On 05/16/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by DONNA LEE BECKER against MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL INC in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
GEORGINA T. RIZK
KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE
BECKER DONNA LEE
LONG BEACH MARRIOTT
DOES 1 TO 10
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL INC.
LAW OFFICES OF MICHELLE A. DOBSON
DOBSON MICHELE ANTOINETTE
VASQUEZ DAVIL R. ESQ.
KORNOFF ANDREW F.
11/6/2019: Notice of Motion
11/6/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities
10/30/2019: [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person - [PROPOSED ORDER] AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC (AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES) PERSO
10/18/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION OF DEFENDANT RUFFIN HOTELS DBA LONG BEACH MARRIOTT FOR ORDER TO DEEM THE TRUTH OF MATTERS SPECIFIED IN REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS, SET ONE, ADMITTED AND CONCL
5/6/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF AMENDED EXHIBIT IN SUPPORT OF PLANTIFFS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL LONG BEACH MARRIOTT TO PRODUCE PERSON MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE OR RISK MANGER OF THE LONG BEACH MARRIOTT
5/6/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANTS APPEARANCE AT DEPOSITI...)
5/7/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 05/07/2019
5/7/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)
5/16/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER) OF 05/16/2019
8/20/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -
8/22/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -
8/20/2018: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
8/20/2018: Proof of Service -
8/22/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT -
8/22/2018: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MARRIOTT'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE; DECLARATION OF NIICHELE A. DOBSON
8/22/2018: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
6/20/2018: DECLARATION OF DAVIL R. VASQUEZ
5/16/2018: SUMMONS -
Hearing05/17/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: DismissalRead MoreRead Less
Hearing02/20/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury TrialRead MoreRead Less
Hearing02/06/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Hearing01/23/2020 at 13:30 PM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary JudgmentRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 2, Kristin S. Escalante, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
DocketDeclaration (of Andrew Kornoff, Esq. In Support of Motion for Summary Judgment or in the Alternative Adjudication Against Plaintiff); Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMemorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Motion; Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 2, Kristin S. Escalante, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by Donna Lee Becker (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDEEFNDANT RUFFIN HOTELS, L.P., D/B/A LONG BEACH MARRIOT'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO TRUCE PORTIONS OF PLAINTTIFF'S OMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketDeclaration; Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMotion to Strike; Filed by Long Beach Marriott (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDECLARATION OF DAVIL R. VASQUEZRead MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Donna Lee Becker (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketORIGINAL COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGESRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Donna Lee Becker (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC706494 Hearing Date: February 07, 2020 Dept: 29
Becker v. Marriott International, Inc.
Motion by Defendant, Ruffin Hotels, LP, dba Long Beach Marriott, to Compel Plaintiff’s Response to Interrogatories; Request for Sanctions is DENIED.
The Court declines to consider Plaintiff’s opposition. The opposition was due on 1/29/2020, nine court days before the hearing, but was untimely filed on 1/31/20. Even more significantly, there is no proof of service attached showing that service of the opposition was made on the Defendant.
The Court’s file reflects that on 10/30/19, the parties stipulated to continue trial to 12/20/19, but agreed that all discovery and motion cut-off dates would not be based on the new trial date.
Motions concerning discovery must be heard on or before the 15th day prior to trial, in this case the original trial date of 11/18/19.
“(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any party shall be entitled as a matter of right to complete discovery proceedings on or before the 30th day, and to have motions concerning discovery heard on or before the 15th day, before the date initially set for the trial of the action.” Cal Code Civil Procedure § 2024.020.
The last day to hear motions concerning discovery was thus 11/4/19. The motion is untimely set for hearing after the discovery motion cut-off date.
Moving party is ordered to give notice.
Case Number: BC706494 Hearing Date: January 23, 2020 Dept: 29
Becker v. Marriott International, Inc. (dba Long Beach Marriott)
Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, for Summary Adjudication Against Plaintiff Donna Lee Becker, filed on 11/6/2019 by Defendant Ruffin Hotels L.P. dba Long Beach Marriott, is DENIED.
In the first amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on November 12, 2016, she was leaving an event at the Long Beach Marriott when she fell and sustained injuries as a result of as the result of an unpainted depression in the sidewalk and curb leading to the parking lot. Plaintiff alleges that an unpainted handicap cut out ramp in the middle of the sidewalk created a large gap that caused her to fall. Plaintiff alleges, among other things, that Defendant failed to maintain the sidewalk in a safe condition, failed to properly inspect the parking lot and sidewalk, failed to add appropriate signage or warnings to patrons of the change and gradient, failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and otherwise failed to exercise the degree of care required under the circumstances. Defendant has moved for summary judgment, contending that Plaintiff has no evidence to support her claims.
I. TIMELINESS OF MOTION
Section 437c(a)(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a motion for summary judgment “shall be heard no later than 30 days before the date of trial, unless the court for good cause orders otherwise.” The thirty days is calculated based on the new trial date, not the initial trial date. Green v. Bristol Myers Co. (1988) 206 Cal. App. 3d 604, 608; Soderberg v. McKinney (1996) 44 Cal. App. 4th 1760, 1765, fn 4; Sentry Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1989) 207 Cal. App. 3d 526, 529.
The trial date is February 20, 2020; thirty days before that date is February 21, 2020. Defendant set the motion to be heard on February 23, 2020. Defendant did not seek an order from the Court to allow the motion to be heard after the February 21, 2020 based on a showing of good cause and provides no evidence or argument for why the motion was not set to be heard in a timely manner. See Robinson v. Woods (2008) 168 Cal. App. 4th 1258, 1268 (“Unless and until the trial court found good cause, the notice of the hearing was invalid” when a hearing was set fewer than 30 days prior to trial.) This, by itself, provides a basis for denying the motion. The Court nonetheless considers the merits of the motion, and, as is set forth below, the Court concludes that Defendant has not met its initial burden. The Court thus need not consider whether there is any basis to relieve Defendant from the failure to timely file its motion.
In support of the motion, Defendant relies on the following evidence:
-- Plaintiff’s response to Form Interrogatory 12.7. Form interrogatory 12.7 asks in relevant part: “Have you or anyone acting on your behalf inspected the scene of the incident?” Plaintiff responded “No.”
-- Plaintiff’s response to Form Interrogatory 14.1. Form interrogatory 14.1 asks in relevant part: “Do you or anyone acting on your behalf contend that any person involved in the incident violated any statute, ordinance, or regulation and that the violation was a legal (proximate) cause of the incident?” Plaintiff responded “No.”
-- Plaintiff’s deposition testimony in which she was asked, “Do you have any other documents other than what has been produced to us which you believe support your contention that the defendants caused the subject accident?” and responded, “I do not have any other documents.”
-- Plaintiff’s failure to respond to Defendant’s Special Interrogatories Set One.
Defendant also claims that “Plaintiff’s responses to all of Defendant’s interrogatories were factually devoid,” but other than the interrogatories identified above, Defendant does not direct the Court to any specific interrogatory.
B. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Summary judgment is appropriate “ ‘where no triable issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ ” (Regents of University of California v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 607, 618.) “A triable issue of material fact exists if the evidence and inferences therefrom would allow a reasonable juror to find the underlying fact in favor of the party opposing summary judgment.” (Featherstone v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 1150, 1158 (Featherstone); see Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 856 (Aguilar).)
“A defendant moving for summary judgment must make a prima facie showing either that the plaintiff cannot establish one or more elements of a cause of action or that there is a complete defense to the action. [Citations.] A defendant ... may satisfy this initial burden of production by presenting evidence that conclusively negates an element of the plaintiff's cause of action or by relying on the plaintiff's factually devoid discovery responses to show that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, evidence to establish that element.” (Schmidt v. Citibank, N.A. (2018) 28 Cal.App.5th 1109, 1119; see, Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 850.) “Under the latter approach, a defendant’s initial evidentiary showing may ‘consist of the deposition testimony of the plaintiff’s witnesses, the plaintiff’s factually devoid discovery responses, or admissions by the plaintiff in deposition or in response to requests for admission that he or she has not discovered anything that supports an essential element of the cause of action’.” Leyva v. Garcia (2018) 20 Cal. App. 5th 1095, 1102–03. “In other words, a defendant may show the plaintiff does not possess evidence to support an element of the cause of action by means of presenting the plaintiff’s factually devoid discovery responses from which an absence of evidence may be reasonably inferred.” Id. (quoting Scheiding v. Dinwiddie Construction Co. (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 64, 83, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 360.)
If the defendant makes such a showing, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to present evidence showing there is a triable issue of material fact.” (Schmidt v. Citibank, N.A. (2018) 28 Cal.App.5th 1109, 1119; see, Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 850.) Unless and until a defendant meets his or her initial burden, the plaintiff has no burden to present controverting evidence. Consumer Cause, Inc. v. SmileCare (2001) 91 Cal. App. 4th 454, 468 (“There is no obligation on the opposing party . . . to establish anything by affidavit unless and until the moving party has by affidavit stated facts establishing every element . . . necessary to sustain a judgment in his favor.”)
The Court concludes that Defendant has not met its burden as the moving party to show that the plaintiff does not possess evidence to support an element of the cause of action. To prove premises liability, a plaintiff must show that a dangerous condition existed and that the defendant knew or should have known of it. Vaughn v. Montgomery Ward & Co. (1950) 95 Cal.App.2d 553, 556.
Premises liability is a common law doctrine; a plaintiff does not have to prove a violation of a statute, ordinance, or regulation in order to establish his or her claim. Thus, Plaintiff’s response to Form Interrogatory 14.1 does not establish that plaintiff does not have evidence to support an element of the cause of action.
Similarly, Plaintiff does not have to prove that she or anyone on her behalf “inspected” the site in order to prove premises liability and the Court cannot confer from the fact that Plaintiff did not inspect the site that she cannot prove the existence of a dangerous condition. Thus, Plaintiff’s response to Form Interrogatory 12.7 does not help Defendant.
Plaintiff’s response to the deposition question regarding whether she has any additional documents beyond what has already been produced is meaningless for purposes of this motion. Defendant does not provide any evidence as to what documents Plaintiff had already produced at the time of the deposition. Further, Plaintiff would not be expected to have documents in her possession, custody or control regarding whether the condition was dangerous or whether Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the condition; such documents, to the extent that they exist, would be in the possession, custody or control of Defendant. And proving a premises liability claim does not necessarily depend on the existence of documents; the absence of documents does not prove that a plaintiff could not prove a premises liability claim.
With respect to the failure to respond, Defendant has cited no authority for the proposition that the failure to provide responses to interrogatories may be treated as an admission that no responsive information exists for purposes of a summary judgment motion. Defendant essentially asks the Court to impose issue or evidentiary sanctions against Plaintiff for failure to respond to the interrogatories. In order to obtain such sanctions, a party must first file a motion to compel responses and obtain an order compelling a response. If a party violates such an order, the party can then move for sanctions, including issue and evidentiary sanctions. Here, Defendant has not obtained a court order compelling Plaintiff to provide responses for interrogatories or imposing issue or evidentiary sanctions.
With respect to Defendant’s contention that Plaintiff’s responses to the form interrogatories were generally “factually devoid,” Defendant has not met its burden. With the exception of Form Interrogatories 14.1 and 12.7, discussed above, Defendant does not point to any specific interrogatory that Defendant claims is pertinent to this motion. It is not the Court’s job to peruse Plaintiff’s interrogatory responses to determine which ones, if any, support an inference that Plaintiff does not have and cannot reasonably obtain evidence to establish an element of the premises liability claim.
In sum, Defendant has not met its initial burden as moving party. There was thus no obligation on Plaintiff to present any controverting evidence. Consumer Cause, Inc. v. SmileCare (2001) 91 Cal. App. 4th 454, 468. The Court need not even consider the evidence and arguments presented by Plaintiff in its opposing papers.
III. LATE-FILED OPPOSITION PAPERS
Plaintiff’s opposition papers were due on January 9, 2020, but they were not filed until January 17, 2020. Plaintiff’s counsel argues that the failure to timely file the papers was excused because she was on a family vacation on the date the opposition was due, but counsel provides no explanation for why the opposition papers could not have been filed before she left for vacation. In any event, Plaintiff’s request that the Court consider her late-filed papers is moot since the Court concludes that Defendant failed to meet its initial burden. The Court thus denies the motion without consideration of Plaintiff’s opposition papers.Moving party is ordered to give notice.