This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/08/2019 at 05:26:13 (UTC).

GRANT RAMOS VS JESUS OLVERA

Case Summary

On 02/28/2017 GRANT RAMOS filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against JESUS OLVERA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse 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:

    ****0226

  • Filing Date:

    02/28/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

RAMOS GRANT

GUASTELLA STEPHANIE

Defendants and Respondents

OLVERA JESUS

ADEJUMO RALIAT

DOES 1-50

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

PANAH D. HESS

YAZDANPANAH HESAM DEAN

Defendant Attorney

DAILO EDWARD P

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

8/28/2018: Minute Order

Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Dismissal

10/18/2018: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Dismissal

Other -

11/19/2018: Other -

Minute Order

12/13/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

12/13/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

2/28/2019: Minute Order

Declaration re: Due Diligence

4/3/2019: Declaration re: Due Diligence

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

4/3/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Proof of Personal Service

4/3/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Minute Order

4/5/2019: Minute Order

Motion to Quash Service of Summons

5/1/2019: Motion to Quash Service of Summons

Proof of Personal Service

5/13/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Opposition

5/15/2019: Opposition

Declaration

5/15/2019: Declaration

Reply

5/20/2019: Reply

Minute Order

5/28/2019: Minute Order

Notice of Ruling

6/5/2019: Notice of Ruling

Answer

6/6/2019: Answer

7 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/06/2019
  • Answer (to Complaint); Filed by Jesus Olvera (Defendant)

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  • 06/05/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Jesus Olvera (Defendant)

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  • 05/28/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Quash Service of Summons - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 05/28/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Motion of Defendant Jesus Olvera to Quash Service of Summons)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Reply (Reply to Opposition to Motion to Quash Service of Summons for Lack of Jurisdiction on Defendant Jesus Olvera; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of Edward P. Dailo In Support Thereof;); Filed by Jesus Olvera (Defendant)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Opposition (TO MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT FOR JESUS OLVERA); Filed by Grant Ramos (Plaintiff); Stephanie Guastella (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Declaration (OF ATAOLAH A. SHAOULI RE EFFORTS TO LOCATE AND SERVE DEFENDANT JESUS OLVERA); Filed by Grant Ramos (Plaintiff); Stephanie Guastella (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Proof of Personal Service (Amended); Filed by Grant Ramos (Plaintiff); Stephanie Guastella (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/01/2019
  • Motion to Quash Service of Summons; Filed by Jesus Olvera (Defendant)

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  • 04/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (for Failure to Serve) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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12 More Docket Entries
  • 10/18/2018
  • Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Dismissal; Filed by Grant Ramos (Plaintiff); Stephanie Guastella (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/28/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4; (Trial; Order of Dismissal) -

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  • 08/28/2018
  • Minute Order

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  • 08/28/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-08-28 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/14/2018
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4; Final Status Conference (Final Status Conference; No Appearance) -

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  • 08/14/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-08-14 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/14/2018
  • Minute Order

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  • 02/28/2017
  • Complaint

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  • 02/28/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 02/28/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Grant Ramos (Plaintiff); Stephanie Guastella (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC650226    Hearing Date: March 02, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Having considered all documents submitted in support of the motion to dismiss for failure to compel with this Court’s discovery orders, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On February 28, 2017, Plaintiffs Grant Ramos (“Ramos”) and Stephanie Guastella (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jesus Olvera (”Olvera”), Raliat Adejumo and Does 1-50 alleging negligence for a car accident that occurred on March 1, 2015.

On August 28, 2018, the Court dismissed this action for Plaintiffs’ failure to appear at trial.

On December 13, 2018, the Court vacated the dismissal for Plaintiffs’ attorney’s excusable neglect.

On June 6, 2019, Defendant Olvera served Form Interrogatories and Requests for Production on Ramos. Ramos failed to provide verified responses.

On August 15, 2019, Olvera filed a motion to compel Ramos’s responses to the Form Interrogatories. On September 11, 2019, the Court granted Olvera’s motion to compel, ordering Ramos to provide verified responses within 20 days. Ramos failed to comply with the Court’s September 11, 2019 Order.

On October 15, 2019, Olvera brought a motion to dismiss this action for failure to obey a court order. On December 5, 2019, the Court denied Olvera’s motion and again ordered Ramos to serve verified responses without objections to Olvera’s Form Interrogatories within 20 days.

On January 31, 2020, Olvera filed the present motion to dismiss.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Defendant Olvera requests the Court dismiss Plaintiff Ramos’s complaint against Olvera, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 2023.030 for failure to respond to discovery despite multiple court orders to do so.

DISCUSSION

Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 governs sanctions for failure to comply with discovery requests.

To the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method or any other provision of this title, the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose the following sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process:

(d) The court may impose a terminating sanction by one of the following orders:

(1) An order striking out the pleadings or parts of the pleadings of any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process.

(2) An order staying further proceedings by that party until an order for discovery is obeyed.

(3) An order dismissing the action, or any part of the action, of that party.

(CCP § 2023.030.)

“A trial court has broad discretion to impose discovery sanctions, but two facts are generally prerequisite to the imposition of nonmonetary sanctions such as the evidence sanction imposed here: (1) absent unusual circumstances, there must be a failure to comply with a court order, and (2) the failure must be willful.” (Biles v. Exxon Mobil Corp. (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1327.) “The sanctions the court may impose are such as are suitable and necessary to enable the party seeking discovery to obtain the objects of the discovery he seeks, but the court may not impose sanctions which are designed not to accomplish the objects of discovery but to impose punishment.” (Ibid.) “Thus, when a party repeatedly and willfully fails to provide certain evidence to the opposing party as required by the discovery rules, preclusion of that evidence may be appropriate, even if such a sanction proves determinative in terminating the plaintiff's case.” (Ibid.) “But the ratio decidendi behind such cases is that a persistent refusal to comply with an order for the production of evidence is tantamount to an admission that the disobedient party really has no meritorious claim.” (Ibid. (quotations omitted).)

Defendant Olvera argues that terminating sanctions are appropriate here because of Plaintiff’s repeated failure to provide discovery responses despite two court orders to do so. Olvera states that because of the lack of discovery responses, Olvera does not know what Plaintiff Ramos’s damages are, who Ramos’s witnesses are, or what Ramos’s theory of liability is.

In an opposition filed seven days late, Ramos argues it would be excessive to issue terminating sanctions for Ramos’s failure to appear at a deposition. Unfortunately for Ramos, the present motion deals with form interrogatories, not a deposition. Ramos argues he moved out of state and was unable to communicate with counsel after being hospitalized. Ramos then asks the Court to continue this hearing 60 days to allow Ramos to provide verified responses, noting there is no evidence that Ramos’s failure to comply was willful. Ramos attaches a February 26, 2020 declaration of counsel stating counsel is “advised by Plaintiff’s mother that the Plaintiff is in the hospital at this time.”

Trial is set for March 18, 2020: 16 days from this hearing. The Final Status Conference is set for March 4, 2020: 2 days from this hearing. This case is 1098 days old and has already been dismissed once for Plaintiff’s failure to appear at trial.

Defendant Olvera has produced evidence that Plaintiff Ramos has failed to respond to a set of form interrogatories for the last nine months, despite being ordered to respond six months ago and again three months ago. Defendant Olvera’s Form Interrogatories request fundamental information about Plaintiff Ramos’s claim required for Defendant Olvera to prepare a defense, such as Ramos’s theory of liability, damages, and witnesses. The Court find Olvera has been prejudiced in his due process right to prepare his defense by Ramos’s refusal to respond to foundational discovery requests up to the final status conference.

Ramos’s counsel’s declaration that Ramos is currently in the hospital is not evidence that Ramos has been in the hospital for the last nine months. Ramos’s argument that Olvera has presented no evidence of willfulness is unavailing because Olvera has presented copious evidence of nine months of effort to get Ramos to respond to the form interrogatories. Ramos’s disobedience of, not one, but two court orders commanding discovery responses is sufficient evidence of Ramos’s willfulness in avoiding his discovery obligations. Nor does Ramos’s request for a continuance of 60 days show he has not been willful. Ramos’s 60-day continuance is farcical because the final status conference is in 2 days and trial is in 16 days; Ramos has evidenced no intention of complying with his discovery obligations. Ramos’s “persistent refusal to comply with an order for the production of evidence is tantamount to an admission that [Ramos] really has no meritorious claim.” (See Biles, supra, 124 Cal.App.4th at p. 1327.)

The Court finds that nothing short of terminating sanctions will accomplish the objects of the discovery Olvera sought from Ramos because Olvera’s discovery was on such fundamental issues as Ramos’s damages claims. Ramos must prove his damages to prevail on his sole cause of action. If the Court were merely to impose an issue sanction on damages, it would be established that Ramos has no damages and therefore could not prevail in this action. Even if the Court were merely to impose an evidence sanction on damages, it would preclude Ramos from offering evidence of his damages, Ramos would be unable to prove his damages without evidence, and so Ramos could not prevail in this action.

Granted, terminating sanctions are a harsh remedy but they are necessary to protect the due process rights of parties who have not been able to prepare their cases because the other side will not provide requested and ordered discovery. If there was ever a case that merited terminating sanctions, this is it. Ramos has deprived his opponent of essential information on fundamental issues of liability for nine months, willfully disobeying two court orders, and running the clock out until 2 days before the final status conference and 16 days before trial, with only a lame promise to respond to discovery in 60 days and no explanation whatsoever for his continuing to date disobedience of this Court’s orders and accompanying prejudice to his opponent’s right to discovery.

CONCLUSION

Defendant’s request that the Court dismiss the action of Plaintiff Grant Ramos against Defendant Jesus Olvera pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 2023.030 is GRANTED.

Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC650226    Hearing Date: December 05, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to Dismiss

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On February 28, 2017, Plaintiffs Grant Ramos and Stephanie Guastella (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jesus Olvera and Raliat Adejumo (“Defendants”) alleging negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on March 1, 2015.

On June 10, 2019, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Stephani Guastella and Defendant/Cross-Defendant Raliat Adejumo seeking indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief.

On September 11, 2019, the Court ordered: (1) Plaintiff Grant Ramos to serve verified responses without objections to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera’s Form Interrogatories (Set One) within 20 days of the order, (2) Plaintiff Grant Ramos to pay monetary sanctions to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera within 30 days of the order, and (3) Plaintiff Stephanie Guastella to provide corrected verifications within 10 days.

On September 13, 2019, the Court entered default against Defendant/Cross-Defendant Raliat Adejumo with regard to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera’s cross-complaint.

On October 15, 2019, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030.

On November 18, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on the motion to dismiss to December 5, 2019 because counsel for Plaintiff was not on Court Call when this case was called despite checking in at 1:30 p.m.

Trial is set for March 18, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera (“Moving Party”) asks the Court to impose terminating sanctions against Plaintiff Grant Ramos for a failure to comply with a September 11, 2019 Court order requiring Plaintiff Grant Ramos.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 provides that, “[t]o the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method . . . , the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose . . . [monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating] sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process . . . .” California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010 provides that “[m]issues of the discovery process include, but are not limited to, the following: . . . (g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery. . . .

A court may not issue a terminating sanction for failure to pay a monetary discovery sanction.  (Newland v. Superior Court (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 608, 610, 615.)  Rather, a monetary sanction order is enforceable as a money judgment under the Enforcement of Judgments Law, California Code of Civil Procedure sections 680.010, et seq. Id. at p. 615.)

DISCUSSION

On September 11, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff Grant Ramos to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Party’s Form Interrogatories (Set One) within 20 days of the order and to pay monetary sanctions to Moving Party within 30 days of the order.  (Dailo Decl., ¶ 6.)  Plaintiff Ramos had not responded to any discovery nor paid the ordered sanctions as of the time Edward P. Dailo signed his declaration on October 14, 2019.  (Dailo Decl., 8.)

The Court finds terminating sanctions are not appropriate.  It is true that Plaintiff Ramos has disobeyed a Court order.  Plaintiff Ramos does not dispute this.  However, issuing the ultimate sanction for a failure to abide by an order to compel responses to initial discovery is too harsh a punishment for the violation at hand.  Further, the Court cannot issue terminating sanctions for failing to pay monetary sanctions.  (Newland, supra, 40 Cal.App.4th at pp. 610, 615.)  In sum, the Court finds that terminating sanctions are not necessitated by this relatively minor disobedience.

That said, Plaintiff Ramos’ failure to abide by a Court order is serious.  His failure to comply with the September 11, 2019 Court order has deprived Moving Party of evidence and the monetary sanctions to which he is entitled.  The Court finds it necessary to again order Plaintiff Ramos to abide by the September 11, 2019 order or potentially face further and more serious consequences, from additional monetary sanctions through dismissal of this action.

The motion is DENIED.

Plaintiff Ramos is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Party’s Form Interrogatories (Set One), as referenced in the Court’s September 11, 2019 order, within 20 days of this ruling.

Plaintiff Ramos is also ordered to pay Moving Party $282.50, as referenced in the Court’s September 11, 2019 order, within 30 days of this ruling.

If Plaintiff Ramos fails to comply with these Court orders, the Court may impose additional sanctions on him, from additional monetary sanctions through dismissal of this action.

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC650226    Hearing Date: November 18, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to Dismiss

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On February 28, 2017, Plaintiffs Grant Ramos and Stephanie Guastella (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jesus Olvera and Raliat Adejumo (“Defendants”) alleging negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on March 1, 2015.

On June 10, 2019, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Stephani Guastella and Defendant/Cross-Defendant Raliat Adejumo seeking indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief.

On September 11, 2019, the Court ordered: (1) Plaintiff Grant Ramos to serve verified responses without objections to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera’s Form Interrogatories (Set One) within 20 days of the order, (2) Plaintiff Grant Ramos to pay monetary sanctions to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera within 30 days of the order, and (3) for Plaintiff Stephanie Guastella to provide corrected verifications within 10 days.

On September 13, 2019, the Court entered default against Defendant/Cross-Defendant Raliat Adejumo with regard to Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera’s cross-complaint.

On October 15, 2019, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030.

Trial is set for March 18, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant/Cross-Complainant Jesus Olvera (“Moving Party”) asks the Court to impose terminating sanctions against Plaintiff Grant Ramos for a failure to comply with a September 11, 2019 Court order requiring Plaintiff Grant Ramos.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 provides that, “[t]o the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method . . . , the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose . . . [monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating] sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process . . . .” California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010 provides that “[m]issues of the discovery process include, but are not limited to, the following: . . . (g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery. . . .

A court may not issue a terminating sanction for failure to pay a monetary discovery sanction.  (Newland v. Superior Court (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 608, 610, 615.)  Rather, a monetary sanction order is enforceable as a money judgment under the Enforcement of Judgments Law, California Code of Civil Procedure sections 680.010, et seq. Id. at p. 615.)

DISCUSSION

On September 11, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff Grant Ramos to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Party’s Form Interrogatories (Set One) within 20 days of the order and to pay monetary sanctions to Moving Party within 30 days of the order.  (Dailo Decl., ¶ 6.)  Plaintiff Ramos had not responded to any discovery nor paid the ordered sanctions as of the time Edward P. Dailo signed his declaration on October 14, 2019.  (Dailo Decl., 8.)

The Court finds terminating sanctions are not appropriate.  It is true that Plaintiff Ramos has disobeyed a Court order.  Plaintiff Ramos does not dispute this.  However, issuing the ultimate sanction for a failure to abide by an order to compel responses to initial discovery is too harsh a punishment for the violation at hand.  Further, the Court cannot issue terminating sanctions for failing to pay monetary sanctions.  (Newland, supra, 40 Cal.App.4th at pp. 610, 615.)  In sum, the Court finds that terminating sanctions are not necessitated by this relatively minor disobedience.

The Court finds an additional monetary sanction is appropriate.  Plaintiff Ramos’ failure to abide by a Court order is serious.  His failure to comply with the September 11, 2019 Court order has deprived Moving Party of evidence and money to which he is entitled.  The Court finds it necessary to again order Plaintiff Ramos to abide by the September 11, 2019 order or potentially face further consequences, including monetary through terminating sanctions.

The motion is DENIED.

Plaintiff Ramos is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Party’s Form Interrogatories (Set One), as referenced in the Court’s September 11, 2019 order, within 20 days of this ruling.

Plaintiff Ramos is also ordered to pay Moving Party $282.50, as referenced in the Court’s September 11, 2019 order, within 30 days of this ruling.

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.