This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/11/2020 at 08:46:43 (UTC).

JANE DOE VS CHRISTOPHER BROWN ET AL

Case Summary

On 05/09/2018 JANE DOE filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against CHRISTOPHER BROWN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are HOLLY E. KENDIG and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5683

  • Filing Date:

    05/09/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

HOLLY E. KENDIG

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

JANE DOE

DOE JANE

Defendants and Respondents

BROWN CHRISTOPHER

DOE X

DOES 1 THROUGH 50

GRISSOM LOWELL JR.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

ALLRED GLORIA ESQ.

MOCHKATEL RENEE

GOLDBERG NATHAN

ALLRED GLORIA RACHEL ESQ.

CHEUNG CHRISTINA

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

GERAGOS & GERAGOS LAW OFFICES OF

QASSIM SETARA

MEISELAS BENJAMIN JARED

HUANTE BULMARO

MODABBER ZIA F

AZARI SARA

HILL JOANNA MICHELLE

BERK BLAIR BERNHOLZ

HARRIS EUGENE PATTERSON

 

Court Documents

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

2/28/2020: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

3/2/2020: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Notice of Ruling

3/3/2020: Notice of Ruling

Order - ORDER PROPOSED ORDER RE EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

2/4/2020: Order - ORDER PROPOSED ORDER RE EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

Notice - NOTICE OF COURT ORDER RE: PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO COMPEL THE DEPOSITION OF DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHER BROWN, APPOINT A REFEREE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

2/7/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF COURT ORDER RE: PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO COMPEL THE DEPOSITION OF DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHER BROWN, APPOINT A REFEREE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

2/3/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE HEARING DATE ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

1/27/2020: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/24/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHER BROWNS DEPOSITION, APPOINT A REFEREE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

12/17/2019: Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHER BROWNS DEPOSITION, APPOINT A REFEREE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION PLAINTIFFS EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT GRISSOM TO SIGN A CAL. CODE CIV. PROC. 1985.3

12/18/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION PLAINTIFFS EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT GRISSOM TO SIGN A CAL. CODE CIV. PROC. 1985.3

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

7/2/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/3/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Case Management Statement

4/10/2019: Case Management Statement

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

11/5/2018: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

12/12/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

STIPULATION AND PROTECTIVE ORDER - CONFTDINTIAL DESIGNATION ONLY

9/28/2018: STIPULATION AND PROTECTIVE ORDER - CONFTDINTIAL DESIGNATION ONLY

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

6/8/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE & OSC RE PROOF OF SERVICE

5/23/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE & OSC RE PROOF OF SERVICE

109 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Final Status Conference ((JT 04/27/20)) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 03/23/2020
  • Docketat 11:43 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 03/23/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/09/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Not Held - Continued - Ex Parte Motion

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  • 03/09/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Not Held - Continued - Ex Parte Motion

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Christopher Brown (Defendant)

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Christopher Brown (Defendant)

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  • 03/02/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Held

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140 More Docket Entries
  • 07/27/2018
  • DocketDECLARATION OF MALLORY WHITELAW IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT S DEMURRER

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  • 07/06/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/06/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/23/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE & OSC RE PROOF OF SERVICE

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  • 05/23/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/09/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. SEXUAL BATTERY IN VIOLATION OF CAL. CIV. CODE 1708.5 ;ETC

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  • 05/09/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/09/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC705683    Hearing Date: March 02, 2020    Dept: 26

ZIA MODABBER, JOANNA HILL, AND KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN’S motion to be relieved as counsel for defendant

Defense counsels, Zia Modabber, Joanna Hill, and Katten Muchin Rosenman (“Counsel”), move to be relieved as counsel for Defendant Christopher Brown (“Client”). On January 27, 2020, Counsel filed the instant motion to be relieved as counsel.

Counsel have filed a form MC-051 and MC-052 and have lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 pursuant to CRC Rule 3.1362.

The MC-052 form states that Counsel served Client via mail at Client’s last known mailing address, which Counsel state they have been unable to confirm is current after mailing with return receipt requested, calling client’s last known number, contacting client’s transactional attorneys, contacting Client’s personal manager, and through internet searches to confirm the address or to see if Client had moved. In an additional declaration filed on January 27, 2020 attached as Attachment 2 to Counsel’s Declaration, Counsel Modabber states that on January 27, 2020, she confirmed Defendant’s “current home address with his long time transactional attorneys.” Ms. Modabber also states that she was last personally at Mr. Brown’s home on November 7, 2019.

In a supplemental declaration filed January 31, 2020, Counsel state the following: On January 27, 2020, Counsel mailed their Motion and supporting documents to Defendant’s house located at 19602 S. Citrus Ridge Drive, Tarzana, CA 91356 via Fedex overnight delivery. On January 28, 2020, Counsel received confirmation that the package was received and signed for by an “Aleggins” at 9:08 AM. On January 30, 2019, Fedex informed Counsel’s office was informed that on January 29, 2020, FedEx went back to Defendant’s house to make another delivery for someone else. While FedEx was there, the security guard at Defendant’s house advised the Fedex delivery person that all packages should go to Defendant’s “attorneys” and returned to the delivery person the contents of the package, (which had been removed from the FedEx envelope) containing Katten’s Motion that had been signed for on January 28

Counsel state that Client has not met his material obligations under the terms of the attorney-client relationship and has rendered it unreasonably difficult to carry out the representation effectively.

Before the March 2, 2020 hearing, Counsel are ordered to file and serve:

  1. a supplemental declaration that (i) identifies by name Defendant’s “long time transactional attorneys” with whom Counsel spoke on January 27. 2020 and who confirmed that “19602 S. Citrus Ridge Dr. Tarzana, CA 91356” is a current address for Defendant during the January 27, 2020 conversation and (ii) explains whether the January 27, 2020 attempted delivery with return receipt requested was only via FedEx or also by U.S. Postal mail service with return receipt requested and whether Counsel’s office received the green return receipt postcard from the U.S. Postal Service if the January 27, 2020 delivery was effected also via U.S. Postal mail service; and

  2. a revised proposed order on form MC-053 described below; and

  3. proofs of service of the supplemental declaration and revised proposed order.

Based on the notice of motion and the declaration filed by counsel, the Court is inclined to grant the motion. However, Counsel must clarify the record by electronically filing and serving the supplemental declaration above. Also, the proposed order lodged with the Court has not been completed at all. Counsel must also electronically file and serve a revised proposed order before the hearing on this motion. The revised order must list

- In Item 6: Client’s current address, telephone number, and email; as well as the address, telephone number, and email for Defendant’s transactional attorneys who confirmed Defendant’s address by conversation with Moving Counsel on January 27, 2020.

- In item 7 (next scheduled hearing): “Final Status Conference set for April 14, 2020 at 9:00 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012.”

- In item 5 (additional hearings): “Motion to Compel Consent to Release Cellphone Records – set for May 19, 2020 at 8:30 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012”

- In Item 9: “Trial set for April 27, 2020 at 9:30 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012.”

______________________________________________________________________________________

Blair Berk’s Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel for Defendant

Defense counsel, Blair Berk (“Counsel”), moves to be relieved as counsel for Defendant Christopher Brown (“Client”). On January 28, 2020, Counsel filed the instant motion to be relieved as counsel.

Counsel has filed a form MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 pursuant to CRC Rule 3.1362.

The MC-052 form states that Counsel served Client via mail at Client’s last known mailing address, which Counsel states she has been unable to confirm is current after mailing with return receipt requested, calling Client’s last known number, contacting Client’s day-to-day manager Ant Wilson, and through internet searches to confirm the address to see if Client had moved.

In a supplemental declaration filed January 28, 2020, Counsel Blair Berk states the following: On January 28, 2020, Counsel’s office delivered her Motion and supporting documents via overnight mail with return receipt requested to Defendant’s house located at 19602 S. Citrus Ridge Drive, Tarzana, CA 91356. The only way that Berk communicated with Defendant was through his day-to-day longtime manager Ant Wilson. Defendant’s current home address is readily available online. On January 15, 2020, Counsel also confirmed Defendant’s address with Ant Wilson. Counsel’s recent attempts to send documents to Defendant’s house for personal service have been unsuccessful because Defendant’s home is located behind a gate, and no one at Defendant’s home would agree to sign to accept service.

Counsel states that Client has not met his material obligations under the terms of the attorney-client relationship and has rendered it unreasonably difficult to carry out the representation effectively.

Before the March 2, 2020 hearing, Counsel is ordered to file and serve:

  1. a supplemental declaration that (i) provides the contact information (phone number, address, and email address) for Defendant’s manager Ant Wilson with whom Counsel spoke on January 15. 2020 and who confirmed that “19602 S. Citrus Ridge Dr. Tarzana, CA 91356” is a current address for Defendant during the January 15, 2020 conversation; (ii) explains whether the January 28, 2020 delivery with return receipt requested was via U.S. Postal Mail and/or FedEx or other means, whether the January 28, 2020 delivery was successful, including whether Counsel ever received the return receipt that she requested, whether the package was delivered or returned, and the circumstances of the package’s return if it was returned; and

  2. a revised proposed order on form MC-053 described below; and

  3. proofs of service of the supplemental declaration and revised proposed order.

Based on the notice of motion and the declaration filed by counsel, the Court is inclined to grant the motion. However, Counsel must clarify the record by electronically filing and serving the supplemental declaration above. Also, the proposed order lodged with the Court has not been completed at all. Counsel must also electronically file and serve a revised proposed order before the hearing on this motion. The revised order must list:

- In Item 6: Client’s current address, telephone number, and email; as well as the address, telephone number, and email for Defendant’s transactional attorneys who confirmed Defendant’s address by conversation with Moving Counsel on January 27, 2020.

- In item 7 (next scheduled hearing): “Final Status Conference set for April 14, 2020 at 9:00 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012.”

- In item 5 (additional hearings): “Motion to Compel Consent to Release Cellphone Records – set for May 19, 2020 at 8:30 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012”

- In Item 9: “Trial set for April 27, 2020 at 9:30 am at 111 N. Hill St., Dept. 26, L.A., CA 90012.”

Case Number: BC705683    Hearing Date: February 04, 2020    Dept: 26

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

jane doe,

Plaintiff,

v.

Christopher brown; lowell grissom jr.; doe x; and DOES 1-50

Defendants.

Case No.: BC705683

Hearing Date: February 4, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

plaintiff’S motion to compel THE DEPOSITION OF defendant Christopher brown, appoint a referee, and request for sanctions

Background

Plaintiff Jane Doe (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant motion to compel the deposition of Defendant Christopher Brown (“Defendant Brown”) appoint a referee, and request for sanctions on December 17, 2019.[1] On January 17, 2010, Defendant Brown filed an opposition. On January 28, 2020, Plaintiff filed a reply.

Legal Standard

Pursuant to CCP § 2025.450, if after service of a deposition notice, a party to the action, without having served a valid objection, fails to appear for examination, or proceed with it, or to produce for inspection any document, the party giving notice may move for an order compelling the deponent’s attendance and testimony, and the production for inspection of any document. (CCP § 2025.450(a).) A motion to compel the deposition of a party to the action must be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration, or, when the deponent failed to attend the deposition, a declaration stating that the petitioner has contacted the deponent to inquire about the nonappearance. (CCP § 2025.450(b)(2).)

Discussion

Motion to Compel Deposition

Plaintiff began requesting dates for a deposition of Defendant Brown on November 7, 2018. (Cheung Decl. ¶ 3.) The parties agreed initially to set Defendant Brown’s deposition for February 6, 2019. However, Defendant Brown obtained new counsel on February 1, 2019. (Id. ¶¶ 6-8.) After giving Defendant Brown’s new counsel six weeks to “catch-up” on the case, Plaintiff requested new deposition dates. (Id. ¶ 9.) The parties agreed to set Defendant’s Brown’s deposition for October 23, 2019. (Id. ¶ 13.) Two days before, Defendant Brown rescheduled due to being exhausted from touring. (Id. ¶ 15, Ex. A.) The deposition was rescheduled for December 11, 2019 as this was Defendant Brown’s earliest availability. (Id. ¶ 16, Ex. B.) On December 4, 2019, Defendant Brown’s counsel stated that Defendant Brown would be invoking a blanket 5th Amendment objection to the deposition and that the deposition should be taken off calendar to avoid wasting time. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18, Ex. C.) Defendant Brown’s counsel stated that Defendant Brown would still be available for deposition. (Ibid.) However, on December 6, 2019, Defendant Brown’s counsel advised that Defendant Brown was in route to Saudi Arabia for a live performance and would not be back for the deposition. (Id. ¶ 19, Ex. D.)

In opposition, Defendant Brown does not contest these issues or even argue that a deposition should not be compelled. In light of the evidence and argument presented, Plaintiff’s motion to compel the deposition of Defendant Brown is GRANTED.

Sanctions

Plaintiff requests sanctions under Code of Civil Procedure §§ 2023.010 and 2023.30 for misuse of discovery against both Defendant Brown and Defendant Brown’s Counsel.

“The 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.”  (CCP § 2023.030.)

Against Defendant Brown

Here the Court finds that Defendant Brown has deliberately avoided his deposition, and Defendant’s egregious conduct constitutes a misuse of discovery. Even Defendant’s counsel does not dispute that Defendant’s conduct warrants sanctions against Defendant Brown. (See Opposition p.1:18-19.) The Court however finds that the amount requested -- $14,145 – is unreasonable in light of the simple nature of this motion. The Court finds that the amount of $2,500 more accurately reflects the filing fees and attorney’s fees reasonably incurred for preparation and filing of the instant motion and reply papers and appearance at the hearing.

Against Defendant Brown’s Counsel

Defendant Brown’s Counsel contends that sanctions against counsel is improper because there is no evidence to support the claim that Defendant Brown’s counsel advised Defendant Brown not to appear at the December 11, 2019 deposition. (See Opposition p.1:15-16.) However, Defendant’s Counsel fails to address the reason Plaintiff is seeking sanctions against Defendant’s counsel, which is for raising non-meritorious objections to the entirety of the deposition.

Prior to Defendant Brown’s failure to appear at the December 11, 2019 deposition, Defendant Brown’s counsel stated that Defendant brown would assert a blanket Fifth Amendment Privilege objection to the deposition. (Cheung Decl. ¶¶ 17-18, Ex. C.) This is an improper use of discovery. (CCP § 2023.010(e).) “[B]lanket refusal to provide information is unacceptable. [Defendant] must claim the privilege with specific reference to the particular testimony sought.” (Blackburn v. Superior Court (1993) 21 Cal.App.4th 414, 431.) Even Defendant Brown’s Counsel’s later response still violates this fundamental tenet by advising that Defendant Brown would invoke privilege to each and every question presented. (Cheung Decl. Ex. D.) The Fifth Amendment privilege must be invoked with specific reference to a particular question. Further, the attempts to use this privilege to avoid a deposition by stipulation is a misuse of discovery. (Ibid.) Accordingly, Defendant Brown’s counsel is also liable for misuse of discovery.

As stated above however, the Court finds the requested fees to be unreasonable due to the simple nature of this motion. The Court finds that the amount of $2,500 is more appropriate.

Request for Discovery Referee

Plaintiff requests a discovery referee for this deposition. While it is within the Court’s discretion to appoint a referee[2], the Court finds that a discovery referee would be improper at this juncture. If Defendant asserts unmeritorious claims of privilege at his deposition, then Plaintiff may file a Motion to Compel Further Responses to particular questions.

CONCLUSIONS AND ORDER

Plaintiff’s motion to compel the deposition of Defendant Christopher Brown is GRANTED. Defendant Christopher Brown is ordered to appear for deposition within ten (10) days of notice of this order at a date, time, and location noticed by Plaintiff.

Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is GRANTED. Defendant Christopher Brown and his counsel Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP are jointly and severally liable for payment of monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,500.00 to Plaintiff, by and through counsel, within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

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

DATED: February 4, 2020 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] As the instant motion is a discovery motion, California Rules of Court 2.551 does not apply, and Plaintiff was not required to follow the procedure set forth in Rule 2.551 to seek leave of court to file this motion under seal. (CRC 2.550(a)(3).) Plaintiff publicly filed the redacted version of this motion on December 17, 2019. However, Plaintiff failed to file the unredacted version of the motion until January 30, 2020. For any future discovery motion or other motion to be filed under seal, a copy must be lodged with the Court on the same day as the public filing of the unredacted motion, or the motion will be taken off calendar.

[2] “When the parties do not consent, the court may, upon the written motion of any party, or of its own motion, appoint a referee[.]” (CCP § 639.)