This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/07/2019 at 04:31:28 (UTC).

GLORIA BANDA VS FOOD 4 LESS CALIFORNIA INC

Case Summary

On 05/30/2017 GLORIA BANDA filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against FOOD 4 LESS CALIFORNIA INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3290

  • Filing Date:

    05/30/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Pomona Courthouse South

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

BANDA GLORIA

Defendants and Respondents

FOOD 4 LESS CALIFORNIA INC

DOES 1 TO 50

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

AZIZI DAVID ESQ.

AZIZI DAVID ANN

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

D'ORO FRANK J. ESQ.

D'ORO FRANK J.

 

Court Documents

Motion to Compel Discovery

11/13/2018: Motion to Compel Discovery

Motion to Compel Discovery

11/13/2018: Motion to Compel Discovery

Notice

12/31/2018: Notice

Declaration

1/8/2019: Declaration

Minute Order

1/10/2019: Minute Order

Opposition

2/4/2019: Opposition

Opposition

2/6/2019: Opposition

Unknown

2/27/2019: Unknown

Ex Parte Application

3/7/2019: Ex Parte Application

Reply

3/27/2019: Reply

Unknown

3/28/2019: Unknown

Opposition

3/29/2019: Opposition

Notice of Status Conference and Order

4/5/2019: Notice of Status Conference and Order

Notice

4/8/2019: Notice

Notice

4/8/2019: Notice

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

5/10/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

5/10/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Unknown

2/9/2018: Unknown

39 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/29/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/23/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 05/15/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/13/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 04/08/2019
  • Notice (Notice Of Change Of Hearing Date, Time And Location Re: Motion For Terminating Sanctions); Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 04/08/2019
  • Notice (Notice of Change of Hearing Date, Time, and Location Re: Motion for Protective Order); Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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67 More Docket Entries
  • 12/04/2017
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Gloria Banda (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/30/2017
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 10/30/2017
  • NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS

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  • 07/07/2017
  • ANSWER OF FOOD 4 LESS OF CALIFORNIA, INC. DBA FOOD 4 LESS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 07/07/2017
  • Answer; Filed by Food 4 Less California Inc (Defendant)

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  • 06/09/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 06/09/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Gloria Banda (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/30/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. PREMISES LIABILITY

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  • 05/30/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 05/30/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Gloria Banda (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC663290    Hearing Date: February 28, 2020    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Friday, February 28, 2020

NOTICE: OK[1]

RE: Banda v. Food 4 Less of California, Inc. (BC663290)

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY

JUDGMENT

Responding Party: Plaintiff, Gloria Banda

Tentative Ruling

Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ Motion for Summary

Judgment is GRANTED.

Background

Plaintiff Gloria Banda (“Plaintiff”) alleges that she sustained injuries in a January 13, 2017 slip and fall. On May 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. and Does 1-50 for:

  1. Negligence

  2. Premises Liability

On March 28, 2019, this case was transferred from Department 4A (personal injury hub) to this instant department.

A Trial Setting Conference is set for February 28, 2020.

Legal Standard

The purpose of a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication “is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119 [emphasis theirs].)

“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D.B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” (CCP § 437c(p(2).) “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action of a defense thereto.” (CCP § 437(p)(2).) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.” (Id. at 467; CCP § 437c(c).)

Discussion

Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less (“Defendant”) moves the court for an order

granting summary judgment in its favor and against Plaintiff pursuant to CCP § 437c on the

ground that no triable issue of material fact exists and Defendant is therefore entitled to judgment

as a matter of law.

California Rules of Court (“CRC”) 3.1116 Non-Compliance

CRC Rule 3.1116(b) provides that “[o]ther than the title page, the exhibit must contain only the relevant pages of the transcript . . .” Counsel for Defendant is admonished for failing to comply with this provision.

Evidentiary Objections

The court rules on Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections as follows: OVERRULED in full.

The court OVERRULES Defendant’s evidentiary objections in their entirety for failure to comply with CRC Rule 3.1354. (i.e., “[e]ach written objection . . . must: (2) State the exhibit, title, page, and line number of the material objected to; (3) Quote or set forth the objectionable statement or material . . .”).

Merits

On May 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendant for Negligence and Premises Liability. Plaintiff has alleged as follows: On or about January 13, 2017, Plaintiff was lawfully on Defendant’s premises, located at 615 N. Azusa Ave., West Covina, CA 91791. (Complaint, ¶6.) At such time and place, Defendant allowed a dangerous condition, which created a slip hazard, to remain on their property, which resulted in injury to Plaintiff. (Id.)

“The elements of a negligence claim and a premises liability claim are the same: a legal duty of care, breach of that duty, and proximate cause resulting in injury.” (Kesner v. Superior Court (2016) 1 Cal.5th 1132, 1158.) A plaintiff seeking recovery for negligence against a landowner must establish sufficient facts or circumstances that support an inference of a breach of duty, to defeat a defense summary judgment motion. (Buehler v. Alpha Beta Co. (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 729, 734.) It is not enough to provide speculation or conjecture that a dangerous condition of property might have been present at the time of the accident. (Ibid.)” (Howard v. Omni Hotels Management Corp. (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 403, 421.)

Furthermore, while a dangerous condition may give rise to a claim of liability, that is not the end of the analysis. “Because a landowner is not the insurer of a visitor’s safety [citation], the owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition is key to establishing liability.” (Ortega v. Kmart Corp. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1200, 1206.)

In order to impose liability for injuries suffered due to a defective condition of the premises, “the owner or occupier ‘must have either actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition or have been able by the exercise of ordinary care to discover the condition, which if known to him, he should realize as involving an unreasonable risk to invitees on his premises.’” (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at 1206.) A landowner “has an affirmative duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and therefore must inspect them or take other proper means to ascertain their condition. And if, by the exercise of reasonable care, he would have discovered the dangerous condition, he is liable.” (Swanberg, supra, 157 Cal.App.3d at 330.)

The plaintiff has the burden, at trial, of showing that the landowner had notice of the defect in sufficient time to correct it. (Id.) The plaintiff does not need to show actual knowledge where evidence, including circumstantial evidence, suggests that the condition “was present for a sufficient period of time to charge the owner with constructive knowledge of its existence.” (Id.) Each accident should be analyzed in light of its own unique circumstances. (Id. at 1207.) Therefore, “[w]hether a dangerous condition has existed long enough for a reasonably prudent person to have discovered it is a question of fact for the jury.” (Id.) Evidence that an inspection was not made within a particular period of time prior to an accident “may warrant an inference that the defective condition existed long enough so that a person exercising reasonable care would have discovered it.” (Id. at 1210.) However, if a defective condition existed for a sufficiently brief period of time, then as a matter of law a defendant did not have constructive notice of the condition. (Girvetz v. Boys’ Market, Inc. (1949) 91 Cal.App.2d 827, 831-32.)

Defendant moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff cannot establish the element of breach, specifically that Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition.

Defendant submits the following evidence: Plaintiff slipped on a liquid substance near the checkstands at Defendant’s grocery store No. 377 at on or around 5:12 p.m. ((Douglass Decl., ¶¶8(f) and 9(j)-(k), Exhs. A10 & A11.) At the time of Plaintiff’s fall, it was Defendant’s store policy at the time of the incident for specific employees to perform formal storewide sweeps and inspections within every sixty minutes which were then recorded in the Kronos System upon completion. (Douglass Decl., ¶2.) Prior to the incident, Defendant’s store employee Tifeny Yagin conducted a formal broom sweep and inspection at or around 4:28 p.m.(Id., ¶2(a), Exh. B; ¶9(A)-(D), Exhs. A1-A4.) Douglass, Defendant’s store manager, was continuously at or near the exact area of Plaintiff’s incident from 4:42 p.m. until 4:46 p.m.; during this time, the floor was clean and clear of any liquid substance. (Id., ¶¶8(b) and 9(e), Exh. A5, Amarkarian Decl., ¶8, Exh. G, 18:9-15.) Multiple store employees walked through the same area of Plaintiff’s incident from 4:46 p.m. until 5:08 p.m., without issue. (Id., 18:12-15; Douglass Decl., ¶8(d) and ¶9(f), Exh. A6.) At 5:10 p.m., two unidentified customers accompanied by minor children walked through the exact area of Plaintiff’s incident. (Douglass Decl., ¶9(h), Exh. A8.) Douglass was on duty when the incident occurred and responded to the scene of the incident. (Id., ¶6.) While at the scene, Douglass spoke with the nearby store personnel and they reported that they were not aware of the presence of the liquid substance on the floor prior to the incident occurring. (Id., ¶10.)

In response to Defendant’s Special Interrogatory No. 16 (i.e., “[s]tate each and every fact upon which you base your contention that defendant had actual notice of a dangerous condition”), Plaintiff responded: “The clear liquid which caused Plaintiff to fall was located immediately next to the cashier/bagging area where several employees, especially the cashier which completed the transaction of Plaintiff’s purchases, could have discovered, cleaned up, and/or warned of the dangerous condition.” (Amarkarian Decl., ¶¶5-6, Exhs. E & F.) In addition, Plaintiff testified to the following:

“Q. Did you hear that Hispanic man say anything about how long the water had been there?

A. No, I don’t remember that.

Q. Did you hear the Hispanic man say anything about how the water got down there?

A. No.

Q. Did you hear that Hispanic man who was working for the store say anything about the store knowing that the water was there?

A. No.

Q. Did that Hispanic man say that he knew that the water was there?

A. No . . .

Q. Did you overhear any employee of the supermarket saying that they knew that the water was on the floor?

A. No.

Q. Did you ever hear any employees of the supermarket saying how the water got on the floor?

A. No . . .” (Id., ¶4, Exh. D, 50:11-23 and 52:8-14.)

In response to Defendant’s Special Interrogatory No. 17 (i.e., “[s]tate the name and address of each and every witness that supports your contention that defendant had constructive notice of a dangerous condition”), Plaintiff responded: “Plaintiff Gloria Banda. Defendant’s store manager whose identity is unknown at this time. Defendant’s employee Cashier whose identity is unknown at this time. Discovery and investigation continuing . . .” (Id., ¶¶5-6, Exhs. E & F.) In addition, Plaintiff testified to the following:

“Q. You say you stepped in a puddle of water. Do you know how the water got on the ground?

  1. I don’t.

Q. Do you know how long the puddle of water had been on the ground before you stepped in it?

A. No. . .

Q. As you sit here today, do you have any information as to how that water got on the floor that you slipped and fell in that day?

A. No . . .

Q. And you don’t know, as you sit here today, how long that water had been on the floor before you stepped on it; correct?

A. No.

Q. So correct?

A. Correct.” (Id., ¶4, Exh. D, 51:6-11; 52:4-7 and 52:15-20.))

The court finds that Defendant has met its moving burden. Plaintiff, in turn, appears to concede the issue of actual notice by failing to address same in her opposition. Plaintiff, moreover, fails to offer up any material fact demonstrating constructive knowledge by defendant.

Plaintiff appears to argue that Defendant should have prevented her fall by installing slip resistant flooring or floor mats. However, “under current California law, a store owner’s choice of a particular ‘mode of operation’ does not eliminate a slip-and-fall plaintiff’s burden of proving the owner had knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused the accident.” (Moore v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 472, 479.)

The court therefore finds that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that Defendant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. The motion is GRANTED.


[1] The motion was filed on January 8, 2019 and originally set for hearing on March 28, 2019. On March 7, 2019, the hearing was continued by Department 4A, per moving party’s request, to May 23, 2019. Again, on March 28, 2019, this case was transferred from Department 4A to this instant department. On April 8, 2019, moving party filed and mail-served a “Notice of Change of Hearing Date, Time and Location Re: Motion for Summary Judgment,” advising therein that the hearing was rescheduled to August 19, 2019. On July 24, 2019, the court granted Plaintiff’s ex parte application to continue the hearing, at which time the hearing was rescheduled to October 23, 2019. On October 1, 2019, a joint stipulation to continue the hearing was filed; the order thereon rescheduled the hearing to February 28, 2020.

Case Number: BC663290    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

NOTICE: See below[1]

RE: Banda v. Food 4 Less of California, Inc. (BC663290)

______________________________________________________________________________

 

1. Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ MOTION TO COMPEL

FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS, SET ONE

Responding Party: Plaintiff, Gloria Banda

2. Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET TWO

Responding Party: Plaintiff, Gloria Banda

Tentative Ruling

1. Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ Motion to Compel Further

Responses to Request for Admissions, Set One is GRANTED. Sanctions are awarded

in the reduced amount of $810.00.

2. Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less’ Motion to Compel Further

Responses to Special Interrogatories, Set Two is GRANTED. Sanctions are awarded

in the reduced amount of $810.00.

Background

Plaintiff Gloria Banda (“Plaintiff”) alleges that she sustained injuries in a January 13, 2017 slip and fall. On May 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. and Does 1-50 for:

  1. Negligence

  2. Premises Liability

On March 28, 2019, this case was transferred from Department 4A (personal injury hub) to this instant department.

A Trial Setting Conference is set for February 28, 2020.

1. Motion to Compel Furthers Re: Requests for Admissions

Legal Standard

A party may move to compel further responses to requests for admission if the propounding party deems that (1) an answer to a particular request is evasive or incomplete, or (2) an objection to a particular request is without merit or too general. (CCP § 2033.290(a).) Again, the moving party must demonstrate a “reasonable and good faith attempt” at an informal resolution of each issue presented. (CCP §§ 2016.040, 2033.290(a).)

Notice of the motion must be provided within 45 days of service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or on or before any specific later date to which the parties have agreed in writing. (CCP § 2033.290(c).) The responding party has the burden of justifying the objections or failure fully to answer the requests. (Coy v. Superior Court (1962) 58 Cal.2d 210, 220-221; Fairmount Ins. Co. v. Sup. Ct. (Stendell) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.)

Motions to compel further responses must always be accompanied by a separate statement containing the requests and the responses, verbatim, as well as reasons why a further response is warranted. (California Rules of Court [“CRC”] Rule 3.1345(a).) The separate statement must also be complete in itself; no extrinsic materials may be incorporated by reference. (CRC Rule 3.1345(c).)

Discussion

Defendant Food 4 Less of California, Inc. dba Food 4 Less (“Defendant”) moves the court for an order compelling Plaintiff to provide further responses to Defendant’s Requests for Admissions, Set One, Nos. 14, 21, 23, 26 and 38.

On August 9, 2018, Defendant served the subject discovery. (Huber Decl., ¶3, Exh. A). On February 27, 2019, Plaintiff served amended responses. (Id., ¶4, Exh. B.) On March 28, 2019, Defendant’s counsel Gina Huber (“Huber”) sent Azizi a meet and confer letter, requesting further responses on or before April 5, 2019. (Id., ¶5, Exh. C.) Counsel subsequently agreed that that Plaintiff would be given until April 26, 2019 to provide further responses and that, in turn, Defendant would have until May 10, 2019 within which to file any motion to compel furthers. (Id., ¶6, Exh. D.) No further responses were provided, as of the May 10, 2019 motion filing. (Id., ¶7).

At the outset, the court is in receipt of Plaintiff’s September 5, 2019 opposition, which states merely that the parties must participate in an Informal Discovery Conference (“IDC”) prior to the hearing of any motion to compel furthers pursuant to an Amended General Order Re: Personal Injury Court Procedures. As the parties are well aware, this case was transferred from Department 4A (personal injury hub) to this instant department on March 28, 2019; accordingly, any orders issued by the personal injury courts are no longer applicable.

The discovery in issue reads as follows:

Request for Admission No. 14

Admit YOUR right shoulder calcific tendinitis was not related to the INCIDENT.

Request for Admission No. 21

Admit YOU received cortisone shorts to your right knee prior to the INCIDENT.

Request for Admission No. 23

Admit Dr. Adelaide Willis diagnosed YOU with chronic osteoporosis in 201.3

Request for Admission No. 26

Admit that any complaints of pain preexisted the INCIDENT.

Request for Admission No. 28

Admit YOU had osteoarthritis in YOUR right knee in October 20, 2014.

Plaintiff provided the following identical response to the above requests: “A reasonable inquiry concerning this matter in the particular request has been made, and the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable Plaintiff to admit or deny. This request calls for Medical expert opinion. Discovery and investigation continuing. Plaintiff reserves the right to supplement and/or amend this response.

Plaintiff’s responses reflect non-compliance with CCP § 2033.220(c) (i.e., “[i]f a responding party gives lack of information or knowledge as a reason for a failure to admit all or part of a request for admission, that party shall state in the answer that a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the particular request has been made, and that the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable that party to admit the matter”).

“A party to an action may not necessarily avoid responding to a request for admission on the ground that the request calls for expert opinion and the party does not know the answer.” (Bloxham v. Saldiner (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 729, 751.) “[S]ince requests for admissions are not limited to matters within personal knowledge of the responding party, that party has a duty to make a reasonable investigation of the facts before answering items which do not fall within his personal knowledge.’” (Smith v. Circle P Ranch Co. (1978) 87 Cal.App.3d 267, 273.) Plaintiff, moreover, has failed meet her burden of justifying her objections to the requests. Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED in full.

Defendant also seeks sanctions of $1,890.00 against Plaintiff and her attorney of record, David Azizi, Esq. (“Azizi”) of the Law Offices of David Azizi, jointly and severally [calculated as follows: 4.5 hours preparing motion, plus 1 hour reviewing opposition, plus 2 hours preparing reply, plus 3 hours attending hearing at $180.00/hour]. The court awards sanctions, but in the reduced amount of $810.00 (i.e., 3 hours preparing motion, plus 1.5 hours appearance time at $180.00/hour).

2. Motion to Compel Furthers Re: Special Interrogatories

Legal Standard

A party may move to compel further responses to interrogatories if the propounding party deems that (1) an answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete, (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. (CCP § 2030.300(a).) The moving party must demonstrate a “reasonable and good faith attempt” at an informal resolution of each issue presented. (CCP §§ 2016.040, 2030.300(b).)

Notice of the motion must be provided within 45 days of service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or on or before any specific later date to which the parties have agreed in writing. (CCP § 2030.300(c).) Again, the responding party has the burden of justifying the objections or failure fully to answer the requests. (Coy, supra, 58 Cal.2d at 220-221;

Fairmount, supra, 22 Cal.4th at 255.)

Motions to compel further responses must always be accompanied by a separate statement containing the requests and the responses, verbatim, as well as reasons why a further response is warranted. (CRC Rule 3.1345(a).) The separate statement must also be complete in itself; no extrinsic materials may be incorporated by reference. (CRC Rule 3.1345(c).)

Discussion

Defendant moves the court for an order compelling Plaintiff to provide further responses to Defendant’s Special Interrogatories, Set Two, Nos. 53, 55, 56-66 and 70-72.

On September 7, 2018, Defendant served the subject discovery. (Huber Decl., ¶3, Exh. A). After having failed to received any responses from Plaintiff, Defendant filed a “Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Responses to. . .Special Interrogatories, Set Two,” which was granted by the court on February 27, 2019. Plaintiff served verified responses to the Special Interrogatories, Set Two on March 29, 2019. (Id., ¶6, Exh. D.) On April 2, 2019, Huber sent Azizi a meet and confer letter, requesting further responses on or before April 12, 2019. (Id., ¶7, Exh. E.) Counsel subsequently agreed that that Plaintiff would be given until April 26, 2019 to provide further responses and that, in turn, Defendant would have until May 10, 2019 within which to file any motion to compel furthers. (Id., ¶8, Exh. F.) On May 7, 2019, Plaintiff’s counsel’s office advised that further responses would not be provided. (Id., ¶8, Exh. G.) On May 8, 2019, Huber sent a follow-up email to Azizi. (Id., ¶9, Exh. H.) Nothing further was received from Plaintiff’s counsel’s office prior to the filing of the motion. (Id., ¶10).

Again, the court is in receipt of Plaintiff’s September 5, 2019 opposition regarding the need for an IDC, which the court rejects for the reasons set forth above.

The discovery in issue seeks information related to the identification of body parts for which Plaintiff sought medical treatment and the specific medical treatments received by Plaintiff. Plaintiff, in response, states that she either does not recall or may/may have not received treatment. Plaintiff’s responses to the discovery in issue reflect non-compliance with CCP § 2030.220(c) (i.e., “[i]f the responding party does not have personal knowledge sufficient to respond fully to an interrogatory, that party shall so state, but shall make a reasonable and good faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry to other natural persons or organizations, except where the information is equally available to the propounding party.”) “Verification of the answers is in effect a declaration that the party has disclosed all information which is available to him. If only partial answers can be supplied, the answers should reveal all information then available to the party. If a person cannot furnish details, he should set forth the efforts made to secure the information. He cannot plead ignorance to information which can be obtained from sources under his control.” (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 782.) Here, it is unclear whether Plaintiff made any reasonable inquiry or sought to obtain records, documents, or other sources of information to provide a response to each of the interrogatories; accordingly, the motion is GRANTED in full.

Defendant also seeks sanctions of $1,890.00 against Plaintiff and Azizi, jointly and severally [calculated as follows: 4.5 hours preparing motion, plus 1 hour reviewing opposition, plus 2 hours preparing reply, plus 3 hours attending hearing at $180.00/hour]. The court awards sanctions, but in the reduced amount of $810.00 (i.e., 3 hours preparing motion, plus 1.5 hours appearance time at $180.00/hour).


[1] The motions were filed on May 10, 2019. Motion #1 was originally set for hearing on September 18, 2019; on August 14, 2019, the court advanced the September 18, 2019 hearing to August 14, 2019 and continued it to September 19, 2019, to be heard concurrently with Motion #2. On August 20, 2019, moving party filed its “Notice of Advancement and Continuance of Hearing on Defendant’s Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses;” it had been mail-served on August 19, 2019.

On September 18, 2019, the motions were rescheduled by the court to October 7, 2019. On October 7, 2019, the court continued the hearing to October 29, 2019 and ordered the parties to meet and confer no later than October 15, 2019; counsel for Plaintiff was instructed to give notice. There is no indication that Plaintiff has provided the requisite notice. The parties have not provided the court with any status update regarding any meet and confer efforts, to date (i.e., as of October 22, 2019, 10:14 a.m.).