This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/15/2019 at 12:14:35 (UTC).

EARL BULL ET AL VS SUPERIOR MOBILITY INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/29/2017 EARL BULL filed a Personal Injury - Other Product Liability lawsuit against SUPERIOR MOBILITY INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7919

  • Filing Date:

    12/29/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Product Liability

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

BULL SANDRA

BULL EARL

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

SUPERIOR MOBILITY INC.

PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION

Defendant and Cross Defendant

PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

GRASSINI LAWRENCE P. ESQ.

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

BANASHEK MATTHEW ESQ.

 

Court Documents

COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES?STRICT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENCE; LOSS OF CONSORTIUM

12/29/2017: COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES?STRICT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENCE; LOSS OF CONSORTIUM

SUMMONS

12/29/2017: SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/24/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/24/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Unknown

6/12/2019: Unknown

Minute Order

6/12/2019: Minute Order

Unknown

6/12/2019: Unknown

Notice of Change of Firm Name

2/26/2019: Notice of Change of Firm Name

Notice

12/14/2018: Notice

STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR THE PRODUCTION AND EXCHANGE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

8/29/2018: STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR THE PRODUCTION AND EXCHANGE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Unknown

3/16/2018: Unknown

Unknown

3/16/2018: Unknown

PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION'S CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR INDEMNITY, APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT, DECLARATORY RELIEF AND CONTRIBUTION

3/16/2018: PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION'S CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR INDEMNITY, APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT, DECLARATORY RELIEF AND CONTRIBUTION

DEFENDANT PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; JURY DEMAND

3/16/2018: DEFENDANT PRIDE MOBILITY PRODUCTS CORPORATION'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; JURY DEMAND

CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)

2/21/2018: CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)

SUPERIOR MOBILTY, INC.'S ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT OF EARL BULL AND SANDRA BULL

2/21/2018: SUPERIOR MOBILTY, INC.'S ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT OF EARL BULL AND SANDRA BULL

4 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/14/2019
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 06/12/2019
  • Docketat 11:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Held

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  • 06/12/2019
  • DocketInformal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts; Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/12/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Informal Discovery Conference (IDC))); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/12/2019
  • DocketInformal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts; Filed by Superior Mobility, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Docket[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by Pride Mobility Products Corporation (Cross-Defendant); Pride Mobility Products Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 02/26/2019
  • DocketNotice of Change of Firm Name; Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketNotice (Posting Jury Fees); Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/29/2018
  • DocketSTIPULATION AND ORDER FOR THE PRODUCTION AND EXCHANGE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

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  • 08/29/2018
  • DocketStipulation and Order; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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9 More Docket Entries
  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Superior Mobility, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketSUPERIOR MOBILTY, INC.'S ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT OF EARL BULL AND SANDRA BULL

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  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketCROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 01/24/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/24/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/24/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/24/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/29/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Earl Bull (Plaintiff); Sandra Bull (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/29/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES STRICT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENT PRODUCTS LIABILITY; NEGLIGENCE; LOSS OF CONSORTIUM

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  • 12/29/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****7919    Hearing Date: May 6, 2021    Dept: 29

Earl Bull et al. V. Superior Mobility, Inc., et al

****7919

RULING on SUBMITTED MATTER:

Cross-Complainant and Cross-Defendant Superior’s Motion to Compel Further Responses, Request for Production, Set 3 is DENIED.

ALLEGATIONS AND CAUSES OF ACTION IN SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT:

This case arises from the claim of product liability in which Plaintiff, Earl Bull alleges that the Defendants, Superior Mobility, Inc. and Pride Mobility Products Corporation, caused his injuries after his new wheelchair, built by Defendants, tipped forward and ejected him while he was driving down a ramp he had used regularly in his old chair, also built by Defendants. The Plaintiff pleads causes of action for product liability.

ANALYSIS

This hearing concerns the Cross-Complainant Superior’s Motion to Compel Further Request for Production, Set 3. Trial is set for February 1, 2022. This hearing concerns the Cross-Complainant Superior’s motion for an order compelling the Cross-Complainant Pride to serve further responses to Request for Production, Set 3.

Pursuant to CCP section 2031.310, (c) “unless notice of this motion is given within 45 days of the service of the verified response, the demanding party waives any right to compel a further response to the demand.” In Opposition, Pride asserts that the last responses they have served for Superior were on July 24, 2020. (Opposition 2:7.) Superior did not file the Motion to Compel Further until December 31, 2020. This 45-day time limit is jurisdictional, and the Court has no jurisdiction other than to deny it. (Sexton v. Superior Court (1997) 58 Cal. App. 4th 403, 409-1410.)

In their Reply, Superior does not deny that they missed the 45-day time limit to file their Motion. Superior asserts that Pride attempted to conceal relevant discovery in responsive documents, and Pride should be estopped from relying on a discovery motion cut-off date. Pride cites Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 1342, 1351 (Sears) in support of their contention. Sears recognizes that through the “doctrine of equitable estoppel, one may not lull a party into inaction by words or deeds that lead to a false sense of security.” (Ibid., citing Cuadros v. Superior Court (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 671, 675.)

In the instant matter, Pride served Requests for Production set 3, Nos 1-4, an example of which called for: “All DOCUMENTS created before or after March 18, 2016 which relate to or describe how the Q6 WHEELCHAIR is supposed to be assembled before it leaves the custody and possession of PRIDE, including but not limited to assembly manuals, instruction manuals, work instructions, bulletins, drawings, blueprints, printed notes, handwritten notes, warnings, emails, memoranda, circulars, and other written communications provided to an employee or agent of PRIDE.”

This was served October 2019 and responded to by Pride in December 2019 with verified responses including an Illustrated Parts breakdown (“IPB”). Subsequently, Superior served additional Requests for Production (sets 4 and 50) wherein Pride produced a “Device History File and Device Master Record” pertinent to the Q6. These latter documents were provided by Pride on May 2020 and referred to documents entitled “work instructions.” Furthermore, Superior claims that Pride has “arbitrarily refused to produce certain work instructions Superior recently identified, which appear highly relevant to the issues in this case.” They contend these documents should have been produced in RFP, set 3.

Superior sought an informal discovery conference in January 2021 as is required in Los Angeles County Personal Injury courts pursuant to the standing order prior to moving forward on a Motion to Compel Further. At issue during the IDC in January 2021 were four sets of discovery based on the federal Quality System Regulation. According to Superior’s moving papers, in preparing for the IDC, superior’s attorneys realized that Pride had failed to identify and produce the “work instructions” requested in the Request for Further Production, set three, as revealed in connection with the documents produced in May 2020 in response to discovery set five. Superior argues that counsel “raised the issue of bringing a motion to compel further responses under such a circumstance. The court stated that a failure by the responding party to disclose and produce documents responsive to a request for production does not foreclose a motion to compel a further response, even if 45 days have elapsed.” (Motion, at p. 2.) It is noteworthy that the IDC pertained to the QSR based discovery, not set 3 of the Request for Production at issue here.

As an initial matter, even if the trial court stated that a motion to compel further would not be foreclosed during an Informal Discovery Conference, that statement does not supersede or amend the discovery code. (Sexton v. Superior Court (1997) 58 Cal. App. 4th 403, 409-1410.) In addition, the statement of law stated by the court is true—the doctrine of equitable estoppel may in some cases may estop discovery cut-off dates. However, the subject of the RFP at issue was not the subject of the IDC set for January. Thus, the IDC requirement has not been satisfied properly. Second, on its merits, the court does not find that Pride has engaged deceptive behavior or “lulled” the other side into believing they have complied.

Superior filed the Motions to Compel well past the 45-day limits pursuant to CCP section 2031.310 of the original response to the Request for Production, set 3 and even beyond the discovery cut-off date for the documents produced in May 2020, responsive to set 5. Moreover, as highlighted in Pride’s Opposition, because the RFPs at issue sought those documents “provided to an employee or agent of PRIDE,” they work instructions produced later in set 5 were not responsive.

The motion is DENIED. 

With regards to today's motion, the Motion to Compel Further, Special Interrogatories, set 3: 

This hearing concerns the Cross-Complainant Superior’s motion for an order compelling the Cross-Complainant Pride to serve further responses to Special Interrogatories, Set 3. The pending motion seeks further responses to approximately 41 interrogatories. Cross-Complainant Superior has another motion to compel further responses set for July 07, 2021.  Due to the congestion of this Court and the voluminous nature of these discovery disputes, one method for resolving these disputes is the appointment of a discovery referee.  This will advance the interests of judicial economy and lessen a substantial burden on the Court’s time and resources. 

If the parties do not consent to the appointment of a referee for these motions set for May 6, 2021 and July 7, 2021, then the Court may appoint a referee under CCP section 639(a)(5) based on a finding that it is necessary to appoint a referee to hear and determine these discovery motions and disputes and to report findings and make a recommendation.  The order should indicate that the referee is being appointed under CCP section 639(a)(5), that the need arises from the voluminous nature of the discovery, and that the subject matter is these two discovery motions.  In addition, the order should indicate the name, business address, and telephone number of the referee, the maximum hourly rate the referee may charge and, if a party requests, the maximum number of hours for which the referee may charge.  

The parties may select a referee.  Under CCP section 640, if the parties cannot agree upon a referee, then each side shall nominate three names from which the Court may select a referee.  If the parties do not nominate anyone, then under CCP section 640(b), the Court may appoint a referee.

However, if the parties argue that they are unable to pay for a discovery referee, then the Court should order the parties to meet and confer on these items and, if they cannot resolve this dispute informally, the parties may select 10 representative items for the Court to resolve.  The Court has inherent equity, supervisory and administrative powers as well as inherent power to control the litigation before it.  Cottle v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 1367, 1377.  These inherent powers are derived from the state Constitution and are not confined by or dependent on statute.  Id.  This allows California’s courts to fashion new forms of procedures when required to deal with the rights of the parties and to manage the caseload of the court.  Id.  The Court should use this authority by continuing the hearing until July 7, 2021 so that the parties may make further efforts to resolve these disputes informally and, if necessary, select 10 representative items for the Court to resolve. Additionally, the parties can utilize the Informal Discovery Conference on Calendar June 14, 2021 to resolve their discovery disputes. If the parties decide to select 10 items, then the Court should order the parties to file a joint separate statement identifying the 10 items that are still at issue no later than one week before the next hearing.  If the parties are unable to reduce substantially the numerous items at issue, the Court should advise the parties that they will be ordered to meet and confer on these issues until they are able to resolve them informally.

Therefore, the Court should refer the Plaintiff’s discovery motions to a discovery referee.   If the parties show that they cannot pay for a discovery referee, then 1) continue the hearing so that the parties may make further serious efforts to resolve the dispute informally and 2) order parties to file a joint separate statement identifying ten representative matters in dispute no later than one week before the next hearing. Moving party to give notice. 



Case Number: ****7919    Hearing Date: February 16, 2021    Dept: 29

Bull, et al  vs.  Superior Mobility, Inc., et al

Court Order Re: Continuance of the February 16, 2021 Hearing to March 11, 2021;

On the Court's own motion, the Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Compelling Cross-Complainant Pride Mobility Products Corporation's Further Responses to Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Superior Mobility, Inc.'s Requests for Production of Documents (Set 3 - mistakenly labeled as Set 2) scheduled for 02/16/2021, Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses scheduled for 02/16/2021, and Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Compelling Cross-Complainant Pride Mobility Products Corporation's Further Responses to Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Superior Mobility, Inc.'s Special Interrogatories, (Set 3) scheduled for 02/16/2021 ARE CONTINUED to 03/11/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 29 at Spring Street Courthouse.

Counsel for the Moving Party(ies) is ordered to give notice and to file proof of service of said notice.



Case Number: ****7919    Hearing Date: February 11, 2021    Dept: 29

Bull  vs.  Superior Mobility, Inc. 

Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Compelling Cross-Complainant Pride Mobility Products Corporation's Further Responses to Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Superior Mobility, Inc.'s Special Interrogatories, (Set 3) scheduled for 02/11/2021 are continued to 02/16/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 29 at Spring Street Courthouse.

The Moving Party is ordered to give notice.



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