This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/25/2019 at 05:00:24 (UTC).

JANICE KROK VS CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD

Case Summary

On 02/15/2018 a Other - Other Judicial Review case was filed by JANICE KROK against CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2553

  • Filing Date:

    02/15/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Other Judicial Review

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

JAMES C. CHALFANT

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

KROK JANICE

Interested Parties

DOES 1 TO 100

CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

8/28/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE

8/30/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE

Request for Judicial Notice

7/26/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Brief - BRIEF PETITIONER'S SUPPLEMENT TO HER OPENING BRIEF

7/26/2019: Brief - BRIEF PETITIONER'S SUPPLEMENT TO HER OPENING BRIEF

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING CITY'S REQUE...)

5/28/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING CITY'S REQUE...)

Other - - OTHER - DECISION ON MOTION TO COMPEL ANSWERS TO INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION: GRANTED; MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED: DENIED, BUT SANCTIONS IMPOSED

5/28/2019: Other - - OTHER - DECISION ON MOTION TO COMPEL ANSWERS TO INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION: GRANTED; MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED: DENIED, BUT SANCTIONS IMPOSED

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STIPULATION TO CONTINUE MOTIONS TO COMPEL AND TRIAL

5/2/2019: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STIPULATION TO CONTINUE MOTIONS TO COMPEL AND TRIAL

Motion for Order - MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING CITY'S REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION, SET I, ADMITTED AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

4/12/2019: Motion for Order - MOTION FOR ORDER DEEMING CITY'S REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION, SET I, ADMITTED AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL PETITIONER/PLAINTIFF JANICE KROK'S RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE), SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE), AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) AND CORRESP

4/12/2019: Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL PETITIONER/PLAINTIFF JANICE KROK'S RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE), SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE), AND REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) AND CORRESP

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO COMPEL

4/24/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO COMPEL

Notice of Ruling

1/17/2019: Notice of Ruling

Ex Parte Application - Ex Parte Application for order continuing hearing date on petition for writ of mandate and related pre-hearing deadlines as stipulated by parties

12/28/2018: Ex Parte Application - Ex Parte Application for order continuing hearing date on petition for writ of mandate and related pre-hearing deadlines as stipulated by parties

CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT -

5/23/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT -

Minute Order -

5/24/2018: Minute Order -

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME

4/6/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME

CITY'S ANSWER TO VERIFIED PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE ADMINISTRATIVE MANDATE AND COMPLAINT FOR RELIEF

3/16/2018: CITY'S ANSWER TO VERIFIED PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE ADMINISTRATIVE MANDATE AND COMPLAINT FOR RELIEF

NOTICE OF TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE & ATTACHED ORDERS THEREON

3/12/2018: NOTICE OF TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE & ATTACHED ORDERS THEREON

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

2/22/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

19 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/10/2020
  • Hearing03/10/2020 at 13:30 PM in Department 85 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Petition for Writ of Mandate

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/06/2020
  • Hearing02/06/2020 at 09:30 AM in Department 85 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Compliance with Court Order

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/13/2019
  • DocketMotion to Compel (Responses To Form Interrogatories); Filed by City of West Hollywood (Real Party in Interest)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/24/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 85, James C. Chalfant, Presiding; Hearing on Petition for Writ of Mandate - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/30/2019
  • DocketNotice (OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE); Filed by City of West Hollywood (Real Party in Interest)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/28/2019
  • Docketat 2:00 PM in Department 85, James C. Chalfant, Presiding; Court Order

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/28/2019
  • DocketStipulation and Order (To Continue Petition Hearing Date); Filed by City of West Hollywood (Real Party in Interest)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/28/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/30/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 85, James C. Chalfant, Presiding; Hearing on Petition for Writ of Mandate - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketBrief (Petitioner's Supplement to her Opening Brief); Filed by Janice Krok (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
34 More Docket Entries
  • 03/12/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE & ATTACHED ORDERS THEREON

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/12/2018
  • DocketNotice of Trial Setting Conference and Attached Orders Thereon; Filed by Janice Krok (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/22/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Janice Krok (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/22/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/20/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE & ATTACHED ORDERS THEREON

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/20/2018
  • DocketNotice of Trial Setting Conference and Attached Orders Thereon; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/20/2018
  • DocketNotice of Trial Setting Conference and Attached Orders Thereon; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketPetition; Filed by null

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketVERIFIED PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE/ADMINISTRATIVE MANDATE CCP 1085, 1094.51 AND COMPLAINT FOR RELIEF

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BS172553    Hearing Date: February 06, 2020    Dept: 85

Janice Krok v. City of West Hollywood, et al., BS172553

Tentative decision on motion to compel compliance with court order: granted without sanctions

Respondent City of West Hollywood (“City”) moves for an order compelling Petitioner Janice Krok (“Krok”) to comply with the court’s May 28, 2019 order and provide responses without objection to the City's General Form Interrogatories (Set One), Special Interrogatories (Set One), and Requests for Production (Set One).

The court has read and considered the moving papers, opposition, and reply,[1] and renders the following tentative decision.

A. Statement of the Case

1. Petition

Petitioner Krok commenced this proceeding on February 15, 2018. The verified Petition alleges causes of action for traditional and administrative mandamus, civil rights violation of 42 U.S.C. section 1983, “injunction against civil rights”, due process, excessive fines under the 8th Amendment, due process based on “vested rights”, and declaratory relief. The Petition alleges in pertinent part as follows.

The City’s Code Compliance Division issued an administrative citation (“Citation”) to Krok alleging that on January 4, 2018 she committed a short-term rentals violation at the property located at 8752 Rangely Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90048 (“Property”). The Citation fine is $44,200, and the administrative fee is $50. The Citation ordered Krok to pay the total $44,250 fee by February 15, 2018 or late fees will be added to the base fine. The late fee terms are as follows: If payment is made between February 15 and March 21, 2018, the total fine increases by 150% to $66,350. If payment is made after March 22, 2018, the total fine increases by 200% to $88,450.

Krok alleges that the base fine is an excessive penalty on its face and as applied to her. The late fees also are an excessive penalty on their face and as applied to Krok.

For Krok to appeal the Citation and obtain a hearing, the City requires her to deposit the full amount due under the Citation -- i.e. $44,250. This is a violation of due process and not a proper pre-hearing deprivation of property.

Respondents' actions constitute a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that they failed to proceed in the manner required by law and its decision is not supported by substantial evidence.

Respondent's failure to perform its ministerial duty to provide due process and not impose an excessive fine, in violation of the United States and California constitutions, has damaged Krok in an amount to be proven.

2. Course of Proceedings

On May 28, 2019, the court granted the City’s motion to compel responses to interrogatories and request for production, giving Krok 30 days to respond. The court denied the City’s motion for an order deeming its request for admission admitted because responses have been provided and waived the objections to those responses. The court awarded sanctions against Krok in the amount of $3,889.60 ($1,944.80 for the motion to compel and $1,944.80 for the motion to deem requests for admissions admitted).

The court stayed all non-mandamus claims and ordered that all discovery not subsumed within the mandamus claims shall cease.

B. Applicable Law

A defendant may propound interrogatories, a document inspection demand, or requests for admission to a party without leave of court at any time (CCP §§ 2030.020(a), 2031.020(a), 2033.020(a)), and a plaintiff may propound them without leave of court at any time that is 10 days after the service of the summons. CCP §§ 2030.020(b), 2031.020(b), 2033.020(b). Unless a supporting declaration is attached (CCP §§2030.030(c), 2033.050), the interrogatories/requests for admission generally may only consist of 35 specially prepared interrogatories/requests for admission and any additional number of official form interrogatories. CCP §§ 2030.030(a)(1), 2033.050.

If a party to whom the discovery requests have been directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling response to the interrogatories/inspection demand, or an order deeming the truth of any matters specified in the requests deemed admitted. CCP §§ 2030.290(b), 2031.300, 2033.280(b). To succeed on the motion, the time in which to respond (30-35 days, depending on whether the 5-day extension for service by mail of CCP §1013 applies), must have expired. CCP §§ 2030.290, 2031.260, 2033.250. Furthermore, there is no “meet and confer” requirement where there has been no response. CCP §§ 2030.290, 2031.300, 2033.280; Leach v. Superior Court, (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902-905-906; Demyer v. Costa Mesa Mobile Home Estates, (1995) 36 Cal. App. 4th 393, 395.[2] There is no time limit on making the motion. Brigante v. Huang, (1993) 20 Cal. App. 4th 1569, 1584.

The prevailing party on a motion to compel responses or to have requests deemed admitted is entitled to an award of monetary sanctions unless the court finds that the losing party acted with “substantial justification” or that the circumstances make the imposition of sanctions unjust. CCP §§2030.290(c), 2031.300(c), 2033.280(c).

Additionally, where no responses to a request for admissions have been timely filed, the propounding party may move for an order deeming the requests admitted, as well as requesting sanctions pursuant to CCP section 2023. CCP §2033(k).

If a party then fails to obey an order compelling further response to interrogatories, the court may make those orders that are just, including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction, or a terminating sanction. CCP §2030.290(e).

A trial court may order a party, the party's attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. CCP §128.5.

C. Statement of Facts

1. The City’s Evidence

On November 9, 2018, the City propounded to Krok the City's General Form Interrogatories (Set One), Special Interrogatories (Set One), and Requests for Production (Set One). Donegan Decl. ¶3, Exs. B-D.

On May 28, 2019, the court adopted its tentative ruling regarding the City's Motion to Compel Interrogatories and Motion for Order Deeming City's Request for Admissions. Donegan Decl. ¶2, Exs. A, E.

On June 27, 2019, the City received Krok’s responses to the discovery responses. Donegan Decl. ¶4, Exs. F-H. After the City and Krok met and conferred, Krok served supplemental responses on or about August 27, 2019. Donegan Decl. ¶5, Exs. I-K.

Pursuant to the court's August 28, 2019 order, counsel for the City and Krok met face-to-face on October 8, 2019 to discuss the deficient discovery responses. Donegan Decl. ¶6. The parties were unable to reach an agreement as Krok’s position was that the court's order did not require them to respond to the City's discovery because it concerned non-mandamus causes of action. Donegan Decl. ¶6.

Counsel for the City, Patrick Donegan (“Donegan”) spent 5.5 hours drafting the instant motion and anticipates spending another hour drafting the reply and 1.5 hours attending the hearing. Donegan’s hourly rate for this matter is $272 per hour. Donegan Decl. ¶7.

Counsel for the City, Trevor Rusin (“Rusin”) spent 5.2 hours drafting/editing the instant motion and anticipates spending another hour drafting/editing the reply. Donegan Decl. ¶8. Rusin’s hourly rate for this matter is $272 per hour. Donegan Decl. ¶8.

The City’s total anticipated expenditure is $4,297.60. Donegan Decl. ¶8.

2. Krok’s Evidence

On October 8, 2019, Krok’s counsel, Andrew B. Kavros (“Kavros”) met and conferred with the City’s counsel. Kavros Decl. ¶2. During that meeting, there was a disagreement as to what the court ordered at the May 28, 2019 hearing. Kavros Decl. ¶3. Kavros understood that all discovery unrelated to the writ cause of action was stayed and that Krok was not required to answer it. Kavros Decl. ¶3. The City’s counsel understood that all the discovery was required to be answered and that all future discovery unrelated to the writ was stayed. Kavros Decl. ¶3. At this impasse, Kavros stated that the reporter’s transcript from the motion to compel hearing was needed to discern what the court ordered because the minute order did not clear up the different understandings. Kavros Decl. ¶3.

The City’s counsel volunteered to obtain the transcript and to provide Kavros a copy. Kavros Decl. ¶4. Kavros and the City’s counsel agreed that the meet and confer session would be continued pending review the reporter's transcript. Kavos Decl. ¶4. All counsel further agreed that Krok would provide answers to all outstanding discovery if the transcript showed that his understanding was incorrect. Kavros Decl. ¶4.

Kavros agreed to extensions for any further motion to compel to October 30 and November 13, 2019, as the City informed him it was still attempting to obtain the transcript. Kavros Decl. ¶5, Ex. B.

Kavros received the instant motion on November 14, 2019. Between November 14 and 26, 2019, he telephoned the City’s counsel numerous times and left voicemails without response. Kavros Decl. ¶5. On November 26, 2019, Kavros sent a letter to the City’s counsel objecting to the motion as premature and requesting that it be taken off calendar so the meet and confer session could resume. Again, he received no response. Kavros Decl. ¶5, Ex. C. The first time Kavros saw the reporter’s transcript was when he reviewed the instant motion. Kavros Decl. ¶6.

Kavros’s hourly rate for compensation is $400. Kavros spent 3 hours drafting his letter dated November 26, 2019, making telephone calls to the City’s counsel between November 14 and 26, 2019, and preparing the opposition. Kavros Decl. ¶7. Kavros anticipates spending another 1.5 hours appearing for the hearing and requests a total of $1,800 in attorney fees. Kavros Decl. ¶7.

3. Reply Evidence

On October 8, 2019, the City’s counsel met and conferred with Kavros. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶¶ 2-3. The City’s counsel argued that the reporter’s transcript from the May 28 hearing would not support Krok’s position and, even if Krok’s position was correct, the discovery was related to the writ action. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶3.

At the conclusion of the meet and confer, there was no agreement to continue the meet and confer and no promise by the City to provide the transcript to Krok. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶4. The City was adamant that the meet and confer would not indefinitely be continued as the City was cognizant of its deadline to file its second motion to compel. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶4. Krok always had the opportunity to order the reporter’s transcript herself. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶4.

On November 13, 2019, the last day for the City to do so per the parties’ agreement, the City filed this second motion to compel. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶5. At that time, the earliest hearing date was February 6, 2020. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶5. In response to Kavros’ November 26, 2019 letter demanding that the City withdraw the motion, the City’s counsel telephoned Petitioner's counsel and left a message. Donegan Reply Decl. ¶6.

D. Analysis

The City moves for an order compelling Krok to comply with the court’s May 28, 2019 order and provide responses without objections (i.e., answers) to the City’s General Form Interrogatories (Set One), Special Interrogatories (Set One), and Requests for Production (Set One). The City also moves for terminating sanctions and $4,297.60 in reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. See CCP §2030.290(c) (monetary, evidentiary, and terminating sanctions available where party fails to obey order compelling answers).

Petitioner Krok does not address the underlying issue and instead argues that the City’s motion is premature and filed in bad faith.

The City provides evidence demonstrating that Krok refused to comply with the court’s order and respond to the City’s discovery requests with objections after the parties conferred regarding the issue. Mot. at 5-6; Reply at 2; Donegan Decl. Exs. F-K. Krok maintained that the court’s order did not require her to respond to discovery for non-mandamus claims and was therefore justified in objecting to the discovery requests. Donegan Decl. Exs. I-K.

The City attaches the reporter’s transcript from the May 28 hearing and shows that Krok’s interpretation is incorrect. Mot. at 5. The court specifically stated that the order would compel answers to the discovery the City had already propounded. Donegan Decl. Ex. E. The City argues that Krok has refused to comply with the court’s order and should be subject to terminating and monetary sanctions for her refusal. Mot. at 8-9; Reply at 5.[3]

Krok does not dispute that she did not comply with the court’s order or that her position is unsupported in light of the reporter’s transcript. Krok argues that the City acted in bad faith by filing the instant motion because the parties agreed to continue the October 8, 2019 meet and confer so that the City could provide Krok with the transcript. Opp. at 3-4; Kavros Decl. ¶¶ 3-4. Krok also asserts that the parties agreed that Krok would provide answers to the outstanding discovery should her position be shown incorrect. Kavros Decl. ¶4. Krok provides evidence that the City never provided the transcript as agreed and instead filed the instant motion without conferring with her counsel. Krok’s counsel saw the transcript for the first time in the instant motion. Kavros Decl. ¶¶ 5-6.

The City argues the motion is not premature because it was filed on the last date before the deadline and it was concerned that it would not receive the discovery responses before the filing deadline for its opposition brief in the mandamus action. Reply at 4-5. The City asserts that it never agreed to continue the meet and confer session, and never agreed to provide the reporter’s transcript to Krok. Reply at 4; Donegan Reply Decl. ¶4.

The City’s position is undermined by Krok’s evidence, which demonstrates that the City’s counsel twice sought an extension of time for a second motion to compel so that it could obtain the reporter’s transcript and prove Krok’s position wrong. Kavros Decl. Ex. B. There seems little reason why the City could not have asked for a third extension – which Krok would freely have given – for its motion.

It seems plain that the City wanted to ensure that it had discovery answers in time for its mandamus opposition, and so it filed the second motion without a resolution of the discovery controversy. The City does not explain, however, the date on which it received the reporter’s transcript (it is attached to the motion as Exhibit E), why it did not provide the transcript to Kavros, and why it did not respond to Kavros’ objection that the motion was premature. Ex. C. The result is that the court has been forced to address a motion that never should have been heard.

The City’s motion is granted to compel Krok to provide answers without objection to the discovery requests, an order that is unnecessary because Krok has agreed to do so. Kavros Decl. ¶4. Krok must provide the answers within seven calendar days. Sanctions against Krok are inappropriate as she acted with substantial justification. She would have complied with the court’s May 28 order had she received clarification from the reporter’s transcript. The motion would not have been unnecessary had the City conferred with Krok after receiving the transcript.[4]

E. Conclusion

The City’s motion is granted. Krok must provide the answers within seven calendar days. No sanctions are imposed.

In reply, the City seeks to continue the trial in this case. This is not a proper way to seek a trial continuance, but the court will discuss the trial date with counsel. The City also notes that Krok failed to pay the earlier sanctions award of $3889.60. The court issues sanctions orders to be collectible as a judgment. If Krok does not pay forthwith, the City has all post-judgment collection remedies available to it.


[1] The footnotes in the City’s papers do not meet the 12-point requirement in CRC 2.104 and have not been considered.

[2]The non-responding party waives any right to exercise the option to produce writings in lieu of responses (for interrogatories), as well as any objection to the discovery request, including one based on privilege or on the protection for attorney work product (CCP §2018.030). CCP §§ 2030.290(a), 2031.300(a), 2033.280(a). Also, unverified responses are tantamount to no responses at all. Appleton v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 632, 636.

[3] The City’s reply inconsistently argues that the court should not grant the request for terminating sanctions while also arguing that they should be granted. Reply at 2, 4.

[4] Krok makes a cursory request that the City should pay her reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to CCP section 128.5. Opp. at 4-5. A trial court may order a party, the party's attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. CCP §128.5. The City faced a filing deadline for the instant motion and had a legitimate concern about receiving the discovery materials before its opposition brief was due. The motion is not frivolous or made in bad faith and Krok’s request for sanctions is denied.