Pending - Other Pending
Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle
CHRISTOPHER K. LUI
HUANCA JOEL F.
JEHDIAN MICHAEL VAHE
10/2/2017: COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES
3/26/2019: Proof of Personal Service
3/18/2019: Minute Order
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Evelin Hernandez (Plaintiff)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSUMMONS[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Evelin Hernandez (Plaintiff)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: ****8253 Hearing Date: August 13, 2020 Dept: 28
Motion to Compel Responses to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One)
Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows. opposing papers have been filed.
On October 2, 2017, Plaintiff Evelin Hernandez (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Joel F. Huanca (“Defendant”). Plaintiff alleges negligence in the complaint for an automobile collision that occurred on October 2, 2015.
On July 6, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to compel responses to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.290 and 2031.300.
On July 7, 2020, the Court scheduled Defendant’s motions to be heard on August 13, 2020.
Trial is set for December 16, 2020.
Defendant asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Demand for Production of Documents (All Set One).
Defendant also asks the Court to impose $970 in monetary sanctions against Plaintiff for Plaintiff’s abuse of the discovery process.
If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses and for a monetary sanction. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2030.290, subd. (b).) The statute contains no time limit for a motion to compel where no responses have been served. All that need be shown in the moving papers is that a set of interrogatories was properly served on the opposing party, that the time to respond has expired, and that no response of any kind has been served. (Leach v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902, 905-906.)
Where there has been no timely response to a demand for the production of documents, the demanding party may seek an order compelling a response. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2031.300, subd. (b).) Failure to timely respond waives all objections, including privilege and work product. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2031.300, subd. (a).) Thus, unless the party to whom the demand was directed obtains relief from waiver, he or she cannot raise objections to the documents demanded. There is no deadline for a motion to compel responses. Likewise, for failure to respond, the moving party need not attempt to resolve the matter outside court before filing the motion.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subd. (a), “[t]he court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. . . . If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery is a misuse of the discovery process. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2023.010.)
Sanctions are mandatory in connection with a motion to deem matters specified in a request for admissions as true and motions to compel responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 2030.290, subd. (c), 2031.300, subd. (c), 2033.280, subd. (c).)
California Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subdivision (a) states: “[t]he court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”
The Court notes that Defendant’s reservation was for one motion: a single motion to compel responses and for sanctions, which should have been reserved as a “motion to compel discovery (not further discovery)”. Contrary to this reservation, Defendant has combined three motions into one: a motion to compel responses to Form Interrogatories (Set One), a motion to compel responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One), and a motion to compel responses to Request for Production (Set One).
Three separate hearing dates should have been reserved for these motions to compel. In the future, Defendant is ordered to obtain separate hearing reservations and pay separate filing fees. Combining multiple motions under the guise of one motion with one hearing reservation manipulates the Court Reservation System and violates California Government Code section 70617, subdivision (f). In the interest of justice, the Court will proceed to consider all of these motions. However, the Court's ruling shall be contingent upon Defendant’s proof of payment of $120 to the Court.
On March 5, 2020, Defendant served Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) on Plaintiff by U.S. mail. (Seeger Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A-C.) Defendant gave Plaintiff an extensions, providing an ultimate deadline of June 10, 2020 to provide the outstanding responses without objections. Seeger Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. D.) Defendant had not received the outstanding responses as of the time Martin L. Seeger, IV signed his declaration on July 6, 2020. (Seeger Decl., ¶ 5.)
The motions are properly granted. Moving Defendant served discovery requests and Plaintiff failed to serve responses. There is no evidence showing Plaintiff acted with a substantial justification. Similarly, there is no indication that an imposition of sanctions would be unjust.
Defendant’s request for $970 in monetary sanctions for this straight-forward motion is unreasonable. Rather, the Court finds $650 to be a reasonable amount of sanctions to be imposed against Plaintiff.
Nonetheless, there is no evidence before the court showing Counsel gave notice of the Court’s July 7, 2020 order scheduling the hearing on this motion to August 13, 2020. Unless such notice was given, the Court also finds it in the interest of justice to continue the hearing on the motion.
Unless counsel provides the court with proof of service of notice to Plaintiff of the August 13, 2020 hearing on this motion, the hearing on the motion is CONTINUED to September 28, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 28 in Spring Street Courthouse located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.
Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.
The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.
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