This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/14/2020 at 23:53:40 (UTC).

EDITH ANNE PETRUCCI ET AL VS 7 ELEVEN DISTRIBUTION COMPANY

Case Summary

On 02/26/2018 EDITH ANNE PETRUCCI filed an Other - Environment lawsuit against 7 ELEVEN DISTRIBUTION COMPANY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are BARBARA A. MEIERS, GREGORY W. ALARCON, DEBRE K. WEINTRAUB, RUPERT A. BYRDSONG, KENNETH R. FREEMAN and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5450

  • Filing Date:

    02/26/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Environment

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

BARBARA A. MEIERS

GREGORY W. ALARCON

DEBRE K. WEINTRAUB

RUPERT A. BYRDSONG

KENNETH R. FREEMAN

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

PETRUCCI EDITH ANNE

PETRUCCI ROBERT

Defendants and Respondents

COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP

FONTEM US INC

COSMIC FOG VAPORS LLC

BLUE LABEL ELIXIR INC

ALMOND CORPORATION

7-ELEVEN DISTRIBUTION COMPANY

CUTTWOOD LLC

UNIQUE VAPORS

PEICK LOUIS

SMOKELESS IMAGE LLC

VAPING BIRDY LLC

VAPEWILD LLC

THE VAPE LODGE LLC

SGL GLOBAL INC.

VGOD INC.

NJOY ENDS

NJOY INC.

LOST ART LIQUIDS LLC

3 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

METZGER RAPHAEL ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP

MANNING & KASS ELLROD RAMIREZ TRESTER

BARKER DAVID E. ESQ.

HOWELL RICHARD K. ESQ.

CALL & JENSEN

ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP

TURKEN JAMES H. ESQ.

SPIEWAK S. ADAM

PISANO GEORGE A.

PATEL JAYESH ESQ.

ARNOLD KERI

BORNCAMP THOMAS

HOWELL RICHARD KEITH

MASHNEY STEPHEN B

TURKEN JAMES HENRY

PISANO GEORGE ANTHONY

MCCORMICK SEAN

SEO EDWARD W

CHRISTENSEN BROCK B

8 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED HRG ON PLTFS' MTN TO QUASH

4/21/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED HRG ON PLTFS' MTN TO QUASH

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

7/16/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

7/25/2019: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO NU MARK LLC'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION

7/29/2019: Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO NU MARK LLC'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION

PLAINTIFFS' NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR A CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER FOR JOINT LAW AND MOTION PROCEEDINGS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT; DECLARATION OF SCOTT P. BRUST

7/18/2018: PLAINTIFFS' NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR A CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER FOR JOINT LAW AND MOTION PROCEEDINGS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT; DECLARATION OF SCOTT P. BRUST

VAPING BIRDY LLC'S, ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT

7/30/2018: VAPING BIRDY LLC'S, ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFFS' SUPPLEMENTAL NOTICE OF LODGING DISCOVERY REQUESTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER REQUIRING JOINT DISCOVERY

8/14/2018: PLAINTIFFS' SUPPLEMENTAL NOTICE OF LODGING DISCOVERY REQUESTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER REQUIRING JOINT DISCOVERY

Memorandum of Points & Authorities -

10/3/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities -

Memorandum of Points & Authorities -

10/3/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities -

Reply -

10/10/2018: Reply -

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice]

1/23/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice]

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

2/28/2019: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Declaration - DECLARATION OF HASSAN ELRAKABAWY RE: APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMET

5/6/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF HASSAN ELRAKABAWY RE: APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMET

Case Management Statement

6/18/2019: Case Management Statement

PROOF OF SERVICE FOR: 1. DEFENDANT NU MARK LLC'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO STRIKE AND MOTION TO STRIKE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; ETC

4/24/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE FOR: 1. DEFENDANT NU MARK LLC'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO STRIKE AND MOTION TO STRIKE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; ETC

DEFENDANT FONTEM US, INC.'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES AND DECLARATION OF FAWN A. SCHANZ IN SUPPORT THEREOF

4/23/2018: DEFENDANT FONTEM US, INC.'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES AND DECLARATION OF FAWN A. SCHANZ IN SUPPORT THEREOF

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/27/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/12/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

589 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/01/2021
  • Hearing02/01/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/06/2021
  • Hearing01/06/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Quash OR LIMIT SUBPOENAS FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS;

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/05/2021
  • Hearing01/05/2021 at 09:00 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/25/2020
  • Hearing11/25/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/13/2020
  • Hearing11/13/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/22/2020
  • Hearing10/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/29/2020
  • Hearing09/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/22/2020
  • Hearing06/22/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Deposition Testimony

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/22/2020
  • Hearing06/22/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/22/2020
  • Hearing06/22/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department 26 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    Read MoreRead Less
905 More Docket Entries
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Edith Anne Petrucci (Plaintiff); Robert Petrucci (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Edith Anne Petrucci (Plaintiff); Robert Petrucci (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Edith Anne Petrucci (Plaintiff); Robert Petrucci (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketStatement of Damages (Personal Injury or Wrongful Death); Filed by Edith Anne Petrucci (Plaintiff); Robert Petrucci (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR TOXIC INJURIES ASSERTING CAUSES OF ACTION

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketPLAINTIFFS' STATEMENT OF DAMAGES

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketPLAINTIFFS' NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/26/2018
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Edith Anne Petrucci (Plaintiff); Robert Petrucci (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC695450    Hearing Date: March 17, 2020    Dept: 26

GIVEN THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS CRISIS, THE STANLEY MOSK COURTHOUSE WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC ON MARCH 17, 18, AND 19, 2020. NO CASES WILL BE CALLED IN DEPARTMENT 26 ON THESE DATES.

Defendants 7-Eleven and Nu Mark’s Motion For Order Governing Retention And Use Of Pathology Materials During Discovery and Defendant Nu Mark’s Motion To Compel Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci’s Further Responses To Request For Production Set Two are continued to April 30, 2020 at 8:30 am in Department 26.

When the Stanley Mosk Courthouse reopens and until further notice, telephonic appearances via CourtCall will be permitted for all matters except trials and evidentiary hearings.

Court Clerk to give notice to the moving party who is directed to give notice to all other parties.

Case Number: BC695450    Hearing Date: January 28, 2020    Dept: 26

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

Edith anne petrucci and ROBERT PETRUCCI,

Plaintiffs,

v.

7-ELEVEN DISTRIBUTION COMPANY, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: BC695450

Hearing Date: January 28, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

defendant Nu Mark llc’s motion to compel further responses to special interrogatories and request for production

Background

On February 26, 2018, Edith Anne Petrucci (“Plaintiff Edith”) and Robert Petrucci (jointly “Plaintiffs”) commenced this action against approximately seventeen companies including moving party Nu Mark LLC. (“Nu Mark”), and one individual for causing injuries to Edith Anne Petrucci arising out of the use of e-cigarettes and e-vaporizers.

On July 23, 2018, Nu Mark served Plaintiff Edith with its first set of special interrogatories, which included twenty questions, and Requests for Production, which requested 18 categories of documents. (See Defendant Nu Mark’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Special Interrogatories and Request for Production, Ex. A-B.)

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Edith served her verified responses to these special interrogatories and requests for production. (Id. at Ex. E-F.)

On October 17, 2018, Defendant Nu Mark sent a meet and confer letter to discuss thirteen of the special interrogatory responses and fourteen of the requests for production. (Id. at Ex. H.)

On October 26, 2018, Plaintiff Edith responded. (Id. at Ex. I.) On November 9, 2018, Plaintiff Edith supplemented her responses. (Id. at Ex. J.)

On November 19, 2018 – within 45 days of receiving verified, supplemental responses to the special interrogatories – Nu Mark filed the instant motion to compel further.

On March 1, 2019, with multiple motions on calendar to compel further responses, the Court directed Plaintiffs to meet and confer on a stipulation for scheduling an informal discovery conference to address these matters. (Minute Order 3/1/2019.)

On March 26, 2019, defendant Nu Mark filed a statement for the informal discovery conference.

On March 29, 2019, the Court ( the Honorable Rupert Byrdsong) recused itself on this case due to a conflict of interest. The case was transferred to Department 26, and the informal discovery conferences were canceled. (Minute Order 3/29/2019.)

Due to an inability to transfer CRS reservations from the previously assigned department, on July 9, 2019, through an amended minute order of July 3, 2019, the Court requested that the parties refile all pending motions that had been calendared in Department 28 with new court reservation system reservation numbers. (Nunc Pro Tunc Order.)

On July 29, 2019, Defendant Fontem refiled this motion with the current hearing date of January 28, 2020. On January 15, 2020, Plaintiff Edith filed her opposition. On January 21, 2020, Defendant Nu Mark filed a reply.

Legal Standard

Special Interrogatories Legal Standard

CCP § 2030.300 provides that “[o]n receipt of a response to interrogatories, the propounding party may move for an order compelling a further response if the propounding party deems that any of the following apply: (1) An answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete; [or] (2) An exercise of the option to produce documents under Section 2030.230 is unwarranted or the required specification of those documents is inadequate; [or] (3) An objection to an interrogatory is without merit or too general.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300(a).)

Notice of the motion must be given within 45 days of service of the verified response, or upon a later date agreed to in writing. Otherwise, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (CCP § 2031.310(c).) The motion must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (CCP § 2031.310(b)(2).)

The burden is on the responding part to justify any objection or failure fully to answer the interrogatories. (Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Sup.Ct. (Stendell) (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 245, 255.)

Requests for Production Legal Standard

CCP § 2031.310 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a)

(1)

(2)

(3)

(b)

(1)

(2) .

Discussion

Timeliness

“All papers opposing a motion so noticed shall be filed with the court and a copy served on each party at least nine court days [before the hearing].” (CCP § 1005(b).) Plaintiff Edith filed her opposition only eight court days before the hearing, thus rendering her opposition late. On this occasion, the Court will proceed to address the merits of the opposition to the motion to compel further despite the untimeliness of the meet and confer. However, for any future motions, the Court cautions that it will decline to consider an untimely brief will.

Meet and Confer

“A meet and confer declaration in support of a motion shall state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.” (CCP § 2016.040.)

This requirement has been satisfied. (McCormick Decl., ¶¶ 6-9.)

Special Interrogatories

The only responses at issue for Defendant Nu Mark’s first set of Special Interrogatories are the responses to special interrogatories 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14 and 16.[1]

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Edith responded to the special interrogatories with general objections and a list of boilerplate objections. Plaintiff Edith’s boilerplate objections are without merit. (See C.C.P. §2030.300(a)(3).) Moreover, Plaintiff Edith does not meet her burden of justifying the objections. (See Fairmont Insurance Company v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.) For example, with regard to Plaintiff Edith’s invasion of privacy objection, the Court finds, in balancing the competing interests, Nu Mark’s compelling interest in seeking information relevant to Plaintiff’s claimed injuries outweighs Plaintiff Edith’s right to privacy with respect to her health information. (See Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 552 (“In Hill, we established a framework for evaluating potential invasions of privacy. The party asserting a privacy right must establish a legally protected privacy interest, an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the given circumstances, and a threatened intrusion that is serious. [Citation] The party seeking information may raise in response whatever legitimate and important countervailing interests disclosure serves, while the party seeking protection may identify feasible alternatives that serve the same interests or protective measures that would diminish the loss of privacy. A court must then balance these competing considerations. [Citation]”).)

The Court will proceed to address only the objections that are of contention between the parties based on this motion and the corresponding opposition. As the responses of special interrogatories have been grouped by the parties, the Court will adopt the parties’ grouping of the responses.

Special Interrogatories 1-2:

“Identify YOUR relatives, including, but not limited to, spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, and, for each such relative, provide his or her date of birth, place of birth, date of death (if applicable), cause of death (if applicable), and YOUR relationship to each of them.” (Special Interrogatory 1.)

“For each relative identified in response to Interrogatory No. 1, identify whether he or she has used any E-VAPOR PRODUCT or smoked cigarettes, the time period of use, and any form of cancer, pulmonary or respiratory disease, or smoking-related illness, injury, disease, or medical condition that relative has or had.” (Special Interrogatory 2.)

Plaintiff Edith contends that these questions are overbroad in scope, are improperly compound, and invade the privacy of third persons.

Compound

“No specially prepared interrogatory shall contain subparts, or a compound, conjunctive, or disjunctive question” (CCP § 2030.060(f).) Since any question using an ‘and’ or ‘or’ could be compound and conjunctive this “‘rule should probably apply only where more than a single subject is covered by the question.’” (Clement v. Alegre, (2009) 177 Cal. App. 4th 1277, 1291) [quoting Weil & Brown, Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial, supra, ¶ 8:978.1, p. 8F–21] [emphasis in original].)

Because each of the special interrogatories here contains only one subject, specifically the health history of Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci’s family, the Court finds that they are not compound.

Scope

“[A]ny party 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.” (CCP § 2017.010.) “[A]n implicit waiver of a party's constitutional rights encompasses only discovery directly relevant to the plaintiff's claim and essential to the fair resolution of the lawsuit.” (Vinson v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 833, 842.) However, discovery should not be denied if the information sought has any relevance to the subject matter. Therefore, even if interrogatories are found to be “burdensome and oppressive,” the Court should not simply sustain the objection and thereby excuse any answer. Rather, the Court should limit the question to a reasonable scope. (Borse v. Sup.Ct. (Southern Pac. Co.) (1970) 7 Cal. App. 3d 286, 289.)

Discovery statutes should be construed liberally in favor of discovery. (Williams v. Sup.Ct. (Marshalls of CA, LLC) (2017) 3 Cal. 5th 531, 540-541.) As such Plaintiff, Edith fails to cite any authority that the information relating to these third parties such as an address, date of birth, and date of death, is privileged. Therefore, the Court finds that the scope is not overbroad or improperly invasive.

Nonetheless, Nu Mark’s use of the term “including, but not limited to” in special interrogatory 1 leaves uncertainty as to what other relatives Nu Mark is requesting that Plaintiff identify. As indicated in both the opposition and the reply, the Court has ruled on a substantially similar request for another defendant, and both parties will accept a ruling consistent with that. (See Opposition p.3:20-23; see also Reply p. 2:12-19.) As such, special interrogatory 1 is modified to require that Plaintiff identify only her spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, and, for each such relative, provide his or her date of birth, place of birth, date of death (if applicable), cause of death (if applicable), and Plaintiff’s relationship to each of them.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatories 1 and 2 as limited above.

Special Interrogatory 4

Special Interrogatory 4 requests that Plaintiff “[i]dentify each of YOUR current and former employers by stating the name of each employer, each job held by YOU, the job title, salary or rate of payment, dates employed, and the nature of the duties YOU performed.”

Plaintiff Edith contends that this request is overbroad but has substantively responded by providing employment information back to the year 2000. In reply, Defendant Nu Mark contends that this information is important to find other possible causes of Plaintiff’s alleged injuries in this case.

As discussed above, discovery statutes should be construed liberally in favor of discovery. (Williams, supra, 3 Cal. 5th at 540-541.) Plaintiff Edith fails to cite any authority that the information relating to her employment history is privileged. However, the Court agrees with Plaintiff that as to Plaintiff’s salary, the special interrogatory should be limited to require only disclosure of Plaintiff’s salary during her employment with each employer up to 12 years in the past. With this modification, the Court finds that the scope of special interrogatory 4 is not overbroad.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatory 4 with the modification that as to Plaintiff’s salary, Plaintiff need only disclose her salary during her employment with each employer up to 12 years in the past.

Special Interrogatories 6-7

“For each injury, illness, disease, or medical condition identified in response to Interrogatory No. 5, identify every HEALTH CARE PROVIDER (“HEALTH CARE PROVIDER” as used in these Interrogatories shall be construed broadly to include any individual engaged in the healing arts, including, but not limited to, any doctor, physician, osteopath, naturopath, dietician, psychiatrist, psychologist, dentist, nurse, surgeon, physician’s assistant, physical therapist, substance abuse counselor, acupuncturist, hypnotherapist, or any other similar or related person) who examined, treated, evaluated, or consulted with YOU or YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER(S), by stating their name and address, the dates of care or treatment, nature of care or treatment, and their medical specialty.” (Special Interrogatory 6.)

“For each injury, illness, disease, or medical condition identified in response to Interrogatory No. 5, identify every HEALTH CARE FACILITY (“HEALTH CARE FACILITY” as used in these Interrogatories includes, but is not limited to, an ambulatory surgical center, hospice, nursing home, hospital, diagnostic imaging center, a freestanding or hospital-based therapy center, clinical laboratory, home health agency, cardiac catheterization laboratory, medical equipment supplier, alcohol or chemical dependency treatment center, physical rehabilitation center, lithotripsy center, ambulatory care center, pharmacy, mental institutions, and all other institutions, organizations, and facilities where the healing arts are practiced) at which YOU were hospitalized or received care or treatment, by stating the name and address of each, dates of care or treatment, and nature of care or treatment received from each.” (Special Interrogatory 7.)

Plaintiff contends that she has properly responded by referring to already produced medical records. Plaintiff contends that a further response would require Plaintiff to make a compilation, abstract, audit, or summary of documents referring to Civil Code of Procedure § 2030.230.

Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.230 provides that “[i]f the answer to an interrogatory would necessitate the preparation or the making of a compilation, abstract, audit, or summary of or from the documents of the party to whom the interrogatory is directed, and if the burden or expense of preparing or making it would be substantially the same for the party propounding the interrogatory as for the responding party, it is a sufficient answer to that interrogatory to refer to this section and to specify the writings from which the answer may be derived or ascertained.” However, “[t]his exception applies only if the summary is not available and the party specifies the records from which the information can be ascertained. A broad statement that the information is available from a mass of documents is insufficient.” (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 784.)

Plaintiff Edith's mere reference to a mass of documents provided earlier is insufficient. However, the Court agrees that Plaintiff need not identify the nature of care or treatment rendered by each health care provider or at each health care facility as this information is readily available from the specified documents and the health records that Plaintiff has produced in response to the requests for production, and Plaintiff will also be required to identify the name and address of each provider and facility, the dates of care or treatment, and the provider’s medical specialty, all of which will enable Defendant to obtain the treatment records directly from the providers and facilities, and which will be the most accurate reflection of the nature of care and treatment provided.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatories 6-7 with the modification that Plaintiff need not identify the nature of care or treatment provided by each health care provider or facility.

Special Interrogatory 8-10

“Identify all mental or physical illnesses, injuries, diseases, and/or medical conditions suffered or incurred by YOU other than those identified in response to Interrogatory No. 5.” (Special Interrogatory 8.)

“For each mental or physical illness, injury, disease, or medical condition identified in response to Interrogatory No. 8, identify every HEALTH CARE PROVIDER who examined, treated, evaluated, or consulted with YOU or YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER(S), by stating their name and address, the dates of care or treatment, nature of care or treatment, and their medical specialty.” (Special Interrogatory 9.)

“For each mental or physical illness, injury, disease, or medical condition identified in response to Interrogatory No. 8, identify every HEALTH CARE FACILITY at which YOU were hospitalized or received care or treatment by stating the name and address of each, dates of care or treatment, and nature of care or treatment received from each.” (Special Interrogatory 10.)

Defendant Nu Mark states in its reply that it is willing to narrow special interrogatory 8 to require Plaintiff to “identify all diseases, injuries, illnesses, and other medical conditions relating to the respiratory and/or cardiovascular system in the last twenty years for which she is not seeking recovery.” (Reply p.4:13-15.)[2] The Court finds special interrogatories 8-10, as modified pursuant to Defendant’s proposal, to be proper in scope.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatories 8-10 with the limitation as stated above. As noted previously, a mere reference to a mass of provided documents is not a code complaint response.

Special Interrogatory 11

“State the name and address of each HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, pharmacy, or other establishment where YOU obtained any prescriptions or medications.” (Special Interrogatory 11.)

Plaintiff contends that this is overbroad by being unlimited in time frame and unlimited in scope by including prescription history unrelated to the injuries alleged in this suit. The Court has stated before that because medications and treatments may lead to complications many years after initial exposure, they are relevant to the case at hand. (Order 12/14/19, at p.6.) Further, Defendant Nu Mark in its reply has stated that it is willing to reduce the timeframe to the last twenty years.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatory 11 with the temporal limitation of the last 20 years.

Special Interrogatory 14

“Identify every claim made by YOU for benefits under any insurance plan or policy, or governmental program, including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, worker’s compensation, or unemployment compensation, by stating the date, place, and nature of the claim; the person, firm or corporation to whom the claim was submitted; the claim number; and the ultimate disposition of the claim, including the amount of benefits, if any, YOU received for each claim.” (Special Interrogatory 14.)

Plaintiff Edith states that this request is overbroad and seeks privileged and improper information. Defendant Nu Mark in its reply has agreed to limit this interrogatory to government or insurance claims she has made relating to her respiratory or cardiovascular system during the last twenty years. (Reply p.5: 21-23.)

With this limitation, the Court finds that this request is now proper. Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatory 14 with the above-stated limitation.

Requests for Production

The only responses at issue for Defendant Nu Mark’s Requests for Production are the responses to Requests for Production 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.[3]

Requests for Production No. 1, 4

At the hearing on this motion, Plaintiff Edith indicated that she is willing to produce her birth certificate and marriage certificate within 10 days of the hearing. Defendant stated that as long as Plaintiff Edith produces her birth certificate and marriage certificate within 10 days, Defendant will be satisfied that no further response is necessary. In light of the parties’ stipulation in court, the motion is moot as to RPD Nos. 1 and 4.

Request Nos. 5, 7

“ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO YOUR financial history, including but not limited to, securities accounts, bank accounts, loans, and credit card statements, for the last 20 years.” (Request No. 5)

“ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO any welfare benefits or claims, worker’s compensation benefits or claims, social security benefits or claims, health or disability benefits or claims, or any other governmental benefits or claims that were provided to YOU or made by or on YOUR behalf.” (Request No. 7.)

Plaintiff argues that these requests are overbroad due to their impermissible scope and timeframe. With regard to Request No. 7, Defendant Nu Mark has agreed to limit this request to just those claims related to the respiratory or cardiovascular system over the last twenty years. With this stated limitation, the Court finds that Request No. 7 is now appropriate.

With regard to Request No. 5, Defendant Nu Mark has agreed to narrow this Request to the last 10 years for records related to Plaintiff Edith’s securities accounts, bank accounts, loans, and credit card statements, and the last 20 years for records related to Plaintiff Edith’s income. However, these proposed time limitations do not cure the minimal relevance of such financial records to the extent that they do not relate to payment of medical expenses. Therefore, the Court will narrow Request No. 5 to require Plaintiff Edith to produce documents evidencing Plaintiff Edith’s payment of medical expenses arising out of the injuries allegedly caused by Defendant, including securities accounts, bank accounts, loans, and credit card statements. With this limitation, the Court finds that Request No. 5 is now proper in scope.

Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is ordered to serve further code-compliant responses to these requests with these modifications.

Request No. 8

“ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO YOUR employment history, including place, date, and type of employment; personnel and/or human resources records; description of job functions; safety, accident, disciplinary, and medical treatment reports; and records relating to military service, if any.” (Request No. 8.)

Plaintiff contends that this information is outside the scope of discovery as overbroad as Plaintiff’s employment history is not relevant to plaintiff’s claim for injury. Defendant Nu Mark contends that this information is relevant to prove if there are other possible causes to Plaintiff Edith’s alleged injuries.

As discussed above, discovery statutes should be construed liberally in favor of discovery. (Williams, supra, 3 Cal. 5th at 540-541.) Plaintiff Edith fails to cite any authority that the information relating to her employment history is privileged. However, the Court agrees with Plaintiff that with regard to human resources records and disciplinary reports, Plaintiff need only produce documents that relate to job safety issues, and with regard to medical treatment reports, Plaintiff need only produce documents that relate to medical treatment for cardiovascular and pulmonary issues. With these modifications, the Court finds that the scope is not overbroad.

Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is to provide a further code-complaint response to this request for production with the modifications noted above.

Request No. 9

“ALL DOCUMENTS, including but not limited to, claims and application forms RELATING TO any life or health insurance policies, or applications for such policies, under which YOU are or were insured.” (Request No. 9.)

Plaintiff argues that this request is overbroad due to there impermissible scope and timeframe. Defendant Nu Mark has stated that it is willing to narrow this request to just those “related to the respiratory or cardiovascular system over the last twenty years.”

With this stated limitation the Court finds that this request is now appropriate. Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is ordered to serve further code-compliant responses to this request.

Request No. 11, 12, 13, 14

Plaintiff Edith argues that she has fully responded to each of these requests by stating identically each time that “[a]fter having conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry, responding party is unable to comply with this request as she is not in possession, custody or control of documents responsive to this demand.” (Response to Request Nos. 11-14.) This is not a code-compliant response under CCP § 2031.230 as the response does not “specify whether the inability to comply is because the particular item or category has never existed, has been destroyed, has been lost, misplaced, or stolen, or has never been, or is no longer, in the possession, custody, or control of the responding party.” (CCP § 2031.230.) Nor does it “set forth the name and address of any natural person or organization known or believed by that party to have possession, custody, or control of that item or category of item.” (Ibid.)

Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is to serve further code-compliant responses to each of these requests for production., verified,

Request Nos. 17 and 18

“ALL DOCUMENTS that identify the she cause of injury for which recovery is sought in this lawsuit, including but not limited to hospital records and medical records.” (Request No. 17.)

“ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO YOUR responses to NU MARK’s Special Interrogatories to Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci, served concurrently.” (Request No. 18.)

Plaintiff has stated that she has complied with this request by stating that it will comply and that she has complied by referencing other documents. However, this fails to comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.220, which requires that “[a] statement that the party to whom a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling has been directed will comply with the particular demand shall state that the production, inspection, copying, testing, or sampling, and related activity demanded, will be allowed either in whole or in part, and that all documents or things in the demanded category that are in the possession, custody, or control of that party and to which no objection is being made will be included in the production.” (CCP § 2031.220 [emphasis added].) Plaintiff has failed to use the mandatory language verbatim of section 2031.220. As such, Plaintiff’s response does not make clear whether Plaintiff will be producing all or part of the responsive documents in her current possession, custody or control.

Accordingly, Plaintiff Edith is to provide further code-compliant responses to these requests for production.

CONCLUSIONS AND ORDER

For the foregoing reasons discussed above, Defendant Nu Mark’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Special Interrogatories is GRANTED IN PART with respect to special interrogatories 1, 2, 4, 6-11, and 14 and with the stated limitations above to special interrogatories 1, 2, 4, 6-10, 11, and 14.

Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci is ordered to serve verified, further, code-compliant responses to Nu Mark’s special interrogatories 1, 2, 4, 6-11, and 14 without objections within 30 days.

In light of the parties’ stipulation in court, Defendant Nu Mark’s Motion to Compel Further responses to Request for Production is moot as to RPD Nos. 1 and 4. Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci has indicated that she will produce her birth certificate and marriage certificate within 10 days.

Defendant Nu Mark’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Request for Production is GRANTED IN PART with respect to requests 5, 7-9, 11-14, and 17-18 and with the stated limitations above to requests for production 5, 7, 8, and 9.

Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci is ordered to serve verified, further, code-compliant responses to Nu Mark’s request for production 5, 7-9, 11-14, and 17-18, without objections within 30 days.

The Court notes that there are twelve additional motions to compel further set for hearing in this case, many of which appear to involve the same or substantially similar issues as have been litigated in the instant motions to compel further and Fontem’s motion to compel further heard on December 24, 2019. The Court is of the view that the parties should be able to resolve the remaining discovery issues without court intervention.

Accordingly, the Court hereby orders Plaintiffs to serve the instant order and the Court’s signed order filed on December 24, 2019 on all parties to this action. The Court further orders the parties to meet and confer face-to-face or by telephone regarding the disputed discovery items with a copy of the instant order and the Court’s December 24, 2019 order in front of them. If the parties fully resolve the motion, the moving party must promptly take the motion off-calendar via the Court Reservation Management System and by contacting the Court.

If the meet and confer does not resolve the motions in their entirety, the parties must file one joint statement of items remaining in dispute for each motion no later than 10 days before the hearing date.[4] For each discovery item still in dispute, the joint statement must include: (1) the text of the request or discovery item in dispute; (2) the response, answer, or objection, and any further responses already provided; (3) the moving party’s factual and legal reasons for compelling further responses, answers or production, including any reasons why discovery should be more broad than how the Court has already ruled in its December 24, 2019 order and the instant order; (4) the non-moving party’s factual and legal reasons why a further response should not be compelled, including any reasons why discovery should be more narrow than how the Court has already ruled in its December 24, 2019 order and the instant order; and (5) all other information identified in California Rule of Court 3.1345.

The joint statement must list the remaining issues in dispute, item by item, and include all of the information required above (categories 1-5, inclusive) immediately below the heading for that item of discovery. Following the listing of issues, positions and other relevant information, the parties must jointly disclose the efforts undertaken to resolve each disputed issue and why those efforts failed.

For any matters withheld on the basis of a privilege or other protection, a privilege log must be prepared, setting forth the title, subject, and nature of the claim of privilege with respect to each document. The privilege log should also include a declaration generally detailing the underlying factual predicates for each claimed privilege.

Counsel are each ordered to personally appear at 8:30 am on the continued hearing date (i.e., pursuant to CRC 3.670(e)(2) no telephonic appearance will be permitted) to meet and confer in the courthouse with the aim of fully resolving any remaining differences. Counsel must bring with them whatever materials are needed and be prepared to spend whatever time is needed after the matter is first called to make this court-ordered meet and confer session productive and successful.

Willful disobedience of the Court’s orders by failing to meet and confer in good faith will result in sanctions imposed under CCP § 2023.020 or, alternatively, under CCP § 177.5.

Plaintiffs are to serve notice of this order and the signed December 24, 2019 order on all parties and to file proof of service of such.

DATED: January 28, 2020 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The Court notes that Nu Mark has withdrawn the motion with regard to special interrogatory 16. (Reply ¶ 1:19-22.)

[2] If in the course of ongoing discovery Plaintiff Edith identifies other organ systems that have been injured as a result of Nu Mark’s conduct, Nu Mark may move at that time to broaden the scope of discovery to include those other organ systems to which Plaintiff Edith claims new injuries.

[3] The Court notes that Defendant Nu Mark has withdrawn this motion with regard to Requests for Production No. 10, 15, and 16.

[4] For the motion to compel further set for February 11, 2020, the parties must file one joint statement of items remaining in dispute for each motion no later than 4 days before the February 11, 2020 hearing date.

Case Number: BC695450    Hearing Date: December 24, 2019    Dept: 26

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

Edith anne petrucci and ROBERT PETRUCCI,

Plaintiffs,

v.

7-ELEVEN DISTRIBUTION COMPANY, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: BC695450

Hearing Date: December 24, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

defendant fontem us, inc.’s motion to compel further responses to special interrogatories (set 1: 1-16)

Background

On February 26, 2018, Edith Anne Petrucci (“Plaintiff Edith”) and Robert Petrucci (jointly “Plaintiffs”) commenced this action against approximately seventeen companies including moving party Fontem US, Inc. (“Fontem”), and one individual for damages to Edith Anne Petrucci arising out of the use of e-cigarettes and e-vaporizers.

On July 25, 2018, Fontem served Plaintiff Edith with its first set of special interrogatories, which included sixteen questions. (See Defendant Fontem’s Motion to Compel further Responses to Special Interrogatories Set 1, Exhibit A.)

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Edith served her verified responses to these special interrogatories. (Id. at Exhibit B.)

On October 22, 2018, Defendant Fontem sent a meet and confer letter to discuss eight of the special interrogatory responses. (Id. at Exhibit D.)

On October 29, 2018, Plaintiff Edith responded. (Id. at Exhibit E.) On November 9, 2018, Plaintiff Edith supplemented her responses. (Id. at Exhibit F.)

On November 19, 2018 – within 45 days of receiving verified responses to the special interrogatories -- Fontem filed this motion to compel further.

On March 1, 2019, with multiple motions on calendar to compel further responses the Court directed Plaintiffs to meet and confer on a stipulation for a stipulation for scheduling an informal discovery conference to address these matters. (Minute Order 3/1/2019.)

On March 26, 2019, defendants Costco Wholesale Corporation and Fontem US, Inc. filed a joint statement with Plaintiffs for the informal discovery conference.

On March 29, 2019, the Court recused itself on this case due to a conflict of interest. The case was transferred to Department 26, and the informal discovery conferences were cancelled. (Minute Order 3/29/2019.)

On July 9, 2019, through an amended minute order, of July 3, 2019, the Court ordered that all pending motions that had been calendared in Department 28 had to be refiled with new court reservation system reservation numbers. (Nunc Pro Tunc Order.)

On July 24, 2019, Defendant Fontem refiled this motion with the current hearing date of December 24, 2019.

On December 11, 2019, Plaintiff Edith filed her opposition. On December 17, 2019, Defendant Fontem filed a reply.

Legal Standard

CCP § 2030.300 provides that “[o]n receipt of a response to interrogatories, the propounding party may move for an order compelling a further response if the propounding party deems that any of the following apply: (1) An answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete; [or] (2) An exercise of the option to produce documents under Section 2030.230 is unwarranted or the required specification of those documents is inadequate; [or] (3) An objection to an interrogatory is without merit or too general.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300(a).)

Notice of the motion must be given within 45 days of service of the verified response, or upon a later date agreed to in writing. Otherwise, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (CCP § 2031.310(c).) The motion must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (CCP § 2031.310(b)(2).)

The burden is on the responding part to justify any objection or failure fully to answer the interrogatories. (Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Sup.Ct. (Stendell) (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 245, 255.)

Discussion

Of Defendant Fontem’s first set of Special Interrogatories, the only replies in question are for 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 14, 15, and 16. Plaintiff Edith has provided supplemental responses to questions 4, 8, and 16.

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Edith responded to the special interrogatories with general objections and a list of boilerplate objections. Plaintiff Edith’s boilerplate objections are without merit. (See C.C.P. §2030.300(a)(3).) Moreover, Plaintiff Edith does not meet her burden of justifying the objections. (See Fairmont Insurance Company v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.) For example, with regard to Plaintiff Edith’s invasion of privacy objection, the Court finds, in balancing the competing interests, Fontem’s compelling interest in seeking information relevant to Plaintiff’s claimed injuries outweighs Plaintiff Edith’s right to privacy with respect to her health information. (See Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 552 (“In Hill, we established a framework for evaluating potential invasions of privacy. The party asserting a privacy right must establish a legally protected privacy interest, an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the given circumstances, and a threatened intrusion that is serious. [Citation] The party seeking information may raise in response whatever legitimate and important countervailing interests disclosure serves, while the party seeking protection may identify feasible alternatives that serve the same interests or protective measures that would diminish the loss of privacy. A court must then balance these competing considerations. [Citation]”).)

The court will proceed to address only the objections that are of contention between the parties based on this motion filed and the corresponding opposition. As the responses of special interrogatories have been grouped by the parties, the Court will adopt the parties’ grouping of the responses.

Special Interrogatories 1-3:

Special Interrogatory 1 requests that Plaintiff “STATE all diseases, injuries, illnesses, and other medical conditions for which YOU have been treated by a HEAL TH CARE PROVIDER or at a HEAL TH CARE FACILITY in the last twenty (20) years.”

Special Interrogatory 2 requests that Plaintiff “[f]or each disease, injury, illness, or other medical condition stated in response to Interrogatory No. 1, IDENTIFY the HEALTH CARE PROVIDER and/or HEALTH CARE FACILITY that provided treatment for that disease, injury, illness, or other medical condition, as well as the date and nature of such treatment.” (Special Interrogatory 2.)

Special Interrogatory 3 requests that Plaintiff “[f]or each disease, injury, illness, or other medical condition stated in response to Interrogatory No. 1, IDENTIFY all DOCUMENTS RELATED TO such treatment.” (Special Interrogatory 3.)

Plaintiff Edith argues that these questions are overbroad in scope and are improperly compound.

Compound

“No specially prepared interrogatory shall contain subparts, or a compound, conjunctive, or disjunctive question” (CCP § 2030.060(f).) Since any question using an ‘and’ or ‘or’ could be compound and conjunctive this “‘rule should probably apply only where more than a single subject is covered by the question.’” (Clement v. Alegre, (2009) 177 Cal. App. 4th 1277, 1291) [quoting Weil & Brown, Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial, supra, ¶ 8:978.1, p. 8F–21] [emphasis in original].)

Because the special interrogatories here contain only one subject specifically medical conditions of Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci, the Court finds that they are not compound.

Scope

“[A]ny party 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.” (CCP § 2017.010.) “[A]n implicit waiver of a party's constitutional rights encompasses only discovery directly relevant to the plaintiff's claim and essential to the fair resolution of the lawsuit.” (Vinson v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 833, 842.) However, discovery should not be denied if the information sought has any relevancy to the subject matter. Therefore, even if interrogatories are found to be “burdensome and oppressive,” the Court should not simply sustain the objection and thereby excuse any answer. Rather, the Court should limit the question to a reasonable scope. (Borse v. Sup.Ct. (Southern Pac. Co.) (1970) 7 Cal. App. 3d 286, 289.)

Special interrogatory 1 seeks 20 years of all medical conditions. Fontem argues that because the complaint lists a broad variety of injuries, special interrogatory 1 is necessary to determine alternative causes of the claimed injuries. While this may explain the large scope of medical information sought, this does not explain why such an expansive time period of 20 years is required. As such the requested time period shall be reduced from 20 years to 10 years. Plaintiff Edith is to provide further code compliant responses to this special interrogatory with this modification.

Plaintiff’s Response to Special Interrogatory 2

With regard to special interrogatory 2, a response must be “as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably available to the responding party permits. If an interrogatory cannot be answered completely, it shall be answered to the extent possible.” (CCP § 2030.220(a), (b)) (emphasis added.) Here, Plaintiff Edith’s response is incomplete. Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further, code compliant responses to special interrogatory 2 with the limitation of 10 years as discussed above.

Plaintiff’s Response to Special Interrogatory 3

If a question requires reference to some other document, the document should be identified, and its contents summarized so that the answer by itself is fully responsive to the interrogatory. (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) (84 Cal. App. 3d at 783-784.) As such, the mere refence to a set of documents is insufficient. Plaintiff Edith is to provide further code compliant responses to special interrogatory 3 with the limitation of 10 years as discussed above.

Special Interrogatory 4

“STATE all diseases, injuries, illnesses, or other medical conditions for which YOU seek

recovery in this lawsuit.” (Special Interrogatory 4.)

Defendant Fontem argues that Plaintiff’s response does not make clear whether Plaintiff has listed all diseases, injuries, illnesses, or other medical conditions for which Plaintiff is seeking recovery. Plaintiff’s supplemental response does not clarify this. Plaintiff Edith must supplement her response to clarify whether she has listed all the diseases, injuries, illnesses, or other medical conditions for which she is seeking recovery at this time.

Special Interrogatory 8

“IDENTIFY all INSURANCE or BENEFITS YOU received RELATING TO any disease, injury or medical condition for which damages are sought in this lawsuit.” (Special Interrogatory 8.)

In response to special interrogatory 8, Plaintiff pointed to a production of documents given to Fontem. Plaintiff contends that the question improperly seeks to ascertain whether some parts of her expenses have been paid by collateral sources. In response, Fontem asserts that it seeks only the identity of insurers that have provided insurance or benefits to plaintiff. Plaintiff has not explained why this question “would necessitate the preparation or the making of a compilation, abstract, audit, or summary of or from the documents of the party to whom the interrogatory is directed.” (CCP § 2030.230.) Additionally, if the question requires reference to some other document, it should be identified, and its contents summarized so that the answer by itself is fully responsive to the interrogatory. (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal. App. 3d 771, 784.) Therefore, Plaintiff’s response is improper. Plaintiff Edith must identify the insurers.

Special Interrogatory 14-15

“IDENTIFY YOUR relatives, including, but not limited to, spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, and, for each such relative, provide his or her date of birth, place of birth, date of death (if applicable), cause of death (if applicable), and YOUR relationship to each of them.” (Special Interrogatory 14.)

“For each relative identified in response to Interrogatory No. 14, STATE whether he or she has used any E-VAPOR PRODUCT or TOBACCO PRODUCT and, if so, provide the identity of each such product and the period of use.” (Special Interrogatory 15.)

Plaintiff asserts that these interrogatories are outside the scope of discovery as they have nothing to do with the case at hand but rather seek information on every familial relationship and whether every family member has ever used a e-vapor product or tobacco product. Finally, Plaintiff Edith argues that special interrogatory 14 is compound as it includes multiple subparts.

Fontem asserts that special interrogatory 14 seeks information related to Plaintiff's health history, Plaintiff's tobacco, e-cigarette and e-vapor product use, and Plaintiff's awareness of tobacco product use and health risk. Further Fontem argues that this bears upon the issue of Plaintiff’s family history of health conditions.

Overbroad and Invasive

Discovery statutes should be construed liberally in favor of discovery. (Williams v. Sup.Ct. (Marshalls of CA, LLC) (2017) 3 Cal. 5th 531, 540-541.) As such Plaintiff Edith fails to cite any authority that the information relating to these third parties such as address, date of birth, and date of death, is privileged. Therefore, the Court finds that the scope is not overbroad or improperly invasive.

Plaintiff Edith is to provide verified, further code-compliant responses to special interrogatories 14 and 15.

Special Interrogatory 16

“Identify all TOBACCO PRODUCTS that YOU have ever used by stating the name of the product, the dates and length of time that YOU used each TOBACCO PRODUCT, and the amount and frequency of YOUR use of each such TOBACCO PRODUCT.” (Special Interrogatory 16.)

The only dispute remaining with regard to special interrogatory 16 is whether Plaintiff Edith has utilized any tobacco products other than Marlboro Lights and the dates of usage. Plaintiff’s supplemental response is incomplete and must be supplemented to clarify whether Plaintiff Edith has utilized any tobacco products other than Marlboro Lights and the dates of usage

CONCLUSIONS AND ORDER

Based on the reasons discussed above, Defendant Fontem’s Motion to Compel Further responses to its Special Interrogatories is GRANTED IN PART with respect to special interrogatories 1-4, 8, 14, 15, 16 and with the stated limitation on special interrogatory 1 to 10 years.

Plaintiff Edith Anne Petrucci is ordered to serve verified, further, code-compliant responses to Fontem’s special interrogatories 1-4, 8, 14, 15, and 16 without objections within 20 days

Moving Party is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.

DATED: December 24, 2019 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court