On 10/05/2017 HONEY MAE ALBERTO filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against DANIELLE BREE JOHNSON. 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.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
CHRISTOPHER K. LUI
ALBERTO HONEY MAE
DOES 1 TO 20
JOHNSON DANIELLE BREE
HIGGINS RONALD J.
HIGGINS RONALD JOSEPH
3/20/2019: Minute Order
6/5/2019: Minute Order
10/5/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: 1. NEGLIGENCE A. PERSONAL INJURY B. PROPERTY DAMAGE
at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (for Failure to File Proof of Service of Summons) - Not Held - Continued - Party's MotionRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Not Held - Continued - Party's MotionRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal for Failure to File Proof o...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by HONEY MAE ALBERTO (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: 1. NEGLIGENCE A. PERSONAL INJURY B. PROPERTY DAMAGERead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC678418 Hearing Date: January 21, 2020 Dept: 28
Motion to Quash Subpoenas (x6)
Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.
On October 5, 2017, Plaintiff Honey Mae Alberto (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Danielle Bree Johnson (“Defendant”) alleging negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on October 16, 2015.
On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to quash five deposition subpoenas pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1987.1.
Trial is set for September 30, 2020.
Plaintiff asks the Court to quash, or in the alternative, issue protective orders regarding three deposition subpoenas Defendant issued to Plaintiff’s employers and three deposition subpoenas Defendant issued to Plaintiff’s medical providers.
Plaintiff also asks the Court to issue $2,460 in monetary sanctions against Defendant for bringing this motion.
California Code of Civil Procedure section 1987.1, subdivision (a) states, “[i]f a subpoena requires the attendance of a witness or the production of books, documents, or other things before a court, or at the trial of an issue therein, or at the taking of a deposition, the court, upon motion reasonably made by any person described in subdivision (b), or upon the court’s own motion after giving counsel notice and an opportunity to be heard, may make an order quashing the subpoena entirely, modifying it, or directing compliance with it upon those terms or conditions as the court shall declare, including protective orders. In addition, the court may make any other order as may be appropriate to protect the person from unreasonable or oppressive demands, including unreasonable violations of the right of privacy of the person.”
“[U]pon motion reasonably made by the party, judges may rule upon motions for quashing, modifying or compelling compliance with, subpoenas.” (Lee v. Swansboro Country Property Owners Ass'n (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 575, 582-583.)
“[P]laintiffs are ‘not obligated to sacrifice all privacy to seek redress for a specific [physical,] mental or emotional injury’; while they may not withhold information which relates to any physical or mental condition which they have put in issue by bringing [a] lawsuit, . . . they are entitled to retain the confidentiality of all unrelated medical or psychotherapeutic treatment they may have undergone in the past.” (Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal.3d 844, 864 (citation and footnote omitted).) However, “. . . privacy interests may have to give way to [an] opponent’s right to a fair trial. Thus courts must balance the right of civil litigants to discover relevant facts against the privacy interests of persons subject to discovery.” (Vinson v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal.3d 833, 842.)
In making an order pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1987.1, “the court may in its discretion award the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in making or opposing the motion, including reasonable attorney's fees, if the court finds the motion was made or opposed in bad faith or without substantial justification or that one or more of the requirements of the subpoena was oppressive.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 1987.2, subd. (a).)
On October 21, 2019, Defendant issued subpoenas to (1) Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP; (2) Total Chiropractic & Wellness Center; (3) Diagnostic Imaging Network; (4) The Law Offices of James P. Cooper III, Esq.; and (5) Glendale University College of Law. (Higgins Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. 1-8.)
The subpoena to Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP; The Law Offices of James P. Cooper III, Esq.; and Glendale University College of Law seek all of Plaintiff’s employment documents. (Id.) The subpoenas to Total Chiropractic & Wellness Center and Diagnostic Imaging Network seek all of Plaintiff’s medical and billing documents. (Id.)
Plaintiff argues the subpoenas seeking medical and billing records are overbroad because they are not limited in time. The Court agrees. There are no facts showing documents that predate the October 16, 2015 collision are discoverable. As such, a protective order limiting discoverable medical and billing records from October 16, 2015 to the present day is properly issued.
Plaintiff also argues that the employment subpoenas are overbroad because they have no bearing in this case. Plaintiff must have forgotten that she has claimed damages for a loss of earnings and earning capacity in her complaint. As such, these records are discoverable. Nevertheless, they are not discoverable in their entirety. These subpoenas are not limited in time and seek more than just Plaintiff’s pay stubs. Thus, a protective order limiting these subpoenas to documents showing Plaintiff’s earnings within the two years prior to the October 16, 2015 collision and to the present day is properly issued.
Plaintiff further argues that the subpoenas seeking medical and billing records are overbroad because they seek information regarding Plaintiff’s medical history that is unrelated to Plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff raises no specific concerns of particular documents that must be protected by a protective order.
The Court agrees with Plaintiff, however, limiting subpoenas to seek documents relating to specific injuries is not practical. Medical facilities generally do not have doctors and lawyers reviewing documents before serving them to a subpoenaing party. The more practical way of protecting Plaintiff’s privacy interests is by requiring the parties’ counsel, who are officers of the Court, to destroy documents in their files that are undisputedly undiscoverable.
Sanctions are not appropriately imposed. Plaintiff brought this motion to quash subpoenas that were proper, to a degree.
The motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
The Court orders the subpoenas Defendant has issued to Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP; The Law Offices of James P. Cooper III, Esq.; and Glendale University College of Law shall be limited by a protective order. These subpoenas shall be limited to documents showing Plaintiff’s compensation between October 16, 2013 to the present day.
Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is DENIED.
Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of this ruling.