This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/18/2020 at 10:53:05 (UTC).

JESSICA KRAMER VS WARREN PROPERTIES 2021 OLIVE

Case Summary

On 11/13/2017 JESSICA KRAMER filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against WARREN PROPERTIES 2021 OLIVE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RALPH C. HOFER, MARC D. GROSS and RICHARD J. BURDGE JR.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3176

  • Filing Date:

    11/13/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RALPH C. HOFER

MARC D. GROSS

RICHARD J. BURDGE JR.

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

KRAMER JESSICA

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 50

WARREN PROPERTIES 2021 OLIVE

2021 OLIVE

WARREN PROPERTIES INC.

WARREN PROPERTIES INC.LLC DBA 2021 OLIVE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

TOVEG ISAAC ESQ.

ISAAC TOVEG LAW OFFICES OF

TOVEG ISAAC

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

KIMBALL TIREY & ST. JOHN LLP

TRUONG TIFFANY DANG

GORDON ELI A

BOOTH EILEEN T

BOOTH EILEEN THERESA

YANG JASON

CAUDILL JR. O. BRANDT

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW COURT ORDER CONTINUING CIVIL, TRIA...)

4/20/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW COURT ORDER CONTINUING CIVIL, TRIA...)

Notice of Ruling

2/26/2020: Notice of Ruling

Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT

2/25/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT

Substitution of Attorney

11/12/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES TO FO...)

11/8/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES TO FO...)

Answer

10/15/2019: Answer

Proof of Personal Service

10/7/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY;)

7/30/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY;)

Response - RESPONSE PLAINTIFF KRAMER RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEF. MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

6/28/2019: Response - RESPONSE PLAINTIFF KRAMER RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEF. MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

Response - RESPONSE PLAINTIFF KRAMER'S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEF. DEMURRER

6/28/2019: Response - RESPONSE PLAINTIFF KRAMER'S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEF. DEMURRER

Declaration - DECLARATION OF SAGE S STONE

5/28/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF SAGE S STONE

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ELI A. GORDON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

5/31/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ELI A. GORDON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES TO SP...)

4/26/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES TO SP...)

Response - RESPONSE KRAMER, JESSICA RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO COMPEL SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

4/15/2019: Response - RESPONSE KRAMER, JESSICA RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO COMPEL SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

Separate Statement

3/21/2019: Separate Statement

Notice of Ruling

2/11/2019: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Status Conference re: Mediation and Discovery;)

11/8/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Status Conference re: Mediation and Discovery;)

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES EN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF COMPLAINT

2/21/2018: MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES EN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF COMPLAINT

149 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/22/2021
  • Hearing02/22/2021 at 09:00 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Jury Trial

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  • 02/11/2021
  • Hearing02/11/2021 at 09:00 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Final Status Conference

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  • 01/08/2021
  • Hearing01/08/2021 at 09:00 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication

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  • 07/17/2020
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication (filed on behalf of Defendant Warren Properties, Inc. dba 2021 Olive) - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 07/13/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 07/02/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 06/23/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order (to continue hearing); Filed by Warren Properties, Inc.LLC dba 2021 Olive (Defendant)

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  • 06/23/2020
  • DocketStipulation - No Order (To Continue Heraing of Defendant's Motion for Summary Adjudication from 7/13/2020 to 1/08/2021;)

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  • 06/23/2020
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Continued Hearing Date); Filed by Warren Properties, Inc.LLC dba 2021 Olive (Defendant)

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  • 06/16/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Mandatory Settlement Conference) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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210 More Docket Entries
  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketPoints and Authorities; Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent

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  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketDemurrer; Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by JESSICA KRAMER (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint)

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER

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  • 11/13/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC683176    Hearing Date: November 08, 2019    Dept: NCD

TENTATIVE RULING

Calendar: 9

Date: 11/8/19

Case No: BC 683176 Trial Date: February 4, 2020

Case Name: Kramer v. Warren Properties, Inc.

MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES (2)

Moving Party: Plaintiff Jessica Kramer

Responding Party: Defendant Warren Properties, Inc.

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Further Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One

Further Responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One

CHRONOLOGY

Date Discovery served : October 4, 2018

Date Responses served: December 7, 2018, no verifications

Verifications received: July 15, 2019

Date Motion served: August 26, 2019

Meet and Confer? Ok, Exhibit 6

FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

Plaintiff Jessica Kramer alleges that in October of 2015 she contracted to rent a residence in Burbank from defendants Warren Properties, Inc. and 2021 Olive. Plaintiff alleges that defendants breached the implied warranty of habitability by causing and then later failing to correct substandard conditions at the premises, including water leaks and sewer leaks. Plaintiff alleges that she was unaware of the defective sewer and plumbing pipes upon leasing the property, as such issues were not apparent on a reasonable inspection of the unit, and that she notified management of the problems, but defendants failed to properly repair.

Plaintiff alleges that due to the failure to properly repair the plumbing the sewer flooded the unit for a substantial amount of time, as a result of which plaintiff slipped and fell and sustained injuries, and that defendants made only superficial repairs to the walls and did not adequately treat and remediate mold from further infesting the residence.

Plaintiff also alleges that a co-tenant at the premises engaged in sexual assault and harassment, and that the landlord had long had knowledge about that misconduct but delayed in doing anything to address the situation.

ANALYSIS:

Procedural

Motions Untimely

The opposition argues that the motions must be denied as not timely brought.

CCP § 2030.300(c) permits a propounding party to move for an order compelling further responses to interrogatories. This subdivision provides:

“Unless notice of this motion is given within 45 days of the service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or on or before any specific later late to which the propounding party and the responding party have agreed in writing, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response to the interrogatories.”

This time provision is considered mandatory, what is characterized as “quasi-jurisdictional,” so that failure to file within the 45 day time limit is held to render the court “without authority to rule on a motions to compel other than to deny them.” Sexton v. Superior Court (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1410. In Sexton, the Second District held the burden is on the moving party to show the motion is timely, and noted that when the Legislature amended the discovery provisions in 1986, it specifically eliminated a prior statutory provision which permitted the court discretion to extend time for making motions to compel further answers to interrogatories. Now, the court noted, the statutory language “could not be clearer.” Sexton, at 1409.

The moving papers indicate that the responses originally provided to plaintiff on December 7, 2018 were accompanied by a letter from prior counsel for defendant stating “The verifications to the response will follow shortly.” [Toveg Decl., Ex. 1].

Plaintiff then indicates that “Plaintiff did not receive the verifications from defendants until July 15, 2019 as a courtesy copy in the mail.” [Toveg Decl. ¶ 3]. The reply attaches an email from counsel for plaintiff in which he informs counsel for defendant that “Defendant did mail the verification by themselves on July 12, 2019 some without any attachments.” [Reply Toveg Decl., Ex. 8].

Plaintiff argues that the verifications were mailed on July 12, 2019, so that 45 days from this date was August 26, 2019, the date the notice of motion was served and filed. Permitting an additional five days for service by mail would further support the argument that the motions were timely filed.

Defendant in opposition argues that defendant served its verifications on December 10, 2018, so that the deadline to move to compel was January 29, 2019, permitting an additional five days for mailing. Defendant submits the declaration of its former counsel, Eli Gordon, of Kimball, Tirey & St. John, LLP, who states, “On December 10, 2018, my office overnighted to plaintiff’s counsel verifications to the response to form interrogatories with a letter. A true and correct copy of the letter and accompanying verifications is attached hereto as Exhibit B.” [Gordon Decl.¶ 3]. The letter states it is “Sent Via Overnight,” is signed by Tiffany D. Truong, and states, “Please find enclosed are the signed Verifications for the discovery regarding the above matter.” [Gordon Decl., Ex. B]. Verifications are attached, executed on December 6, 2018. [Gordon Decl., Ex. B].

The reply again reiterates that no such verifications were received at the time; the verifications were received in July of 2019, although the verifications did have the December 6, 2018 date. Plaintiff’s counsel also argues that no mention of this December 10 letter was made during meet and confer emails prior to the filing of the motion. However, it appears that current counsel, Jason Yang, did take the position that the deadline to compel further responses to this particular discovery had long passed. [Yang Decl., Ex. C; Toveg Decl., Ex. 7].

The court must accordingly weigh this evidence, as if the verifications were served in December of 2018, these motions are untimely and should not be considered by the court, other than to deny them.

On the one hand, it would appear that plaintiff’s counsel is adamant that he did not receive the December 10, 2018 letter, and did not receive copies of any verifications until July of 2019. It would also appear that former counsel Gordon does not have personal knowledge concerning a letter executed by another attorney, Truong, and defendant has not offered her declaration, or attempted by Gordon’s declaration to create a business records exception to the obviously hearsay problem with the letter. The court finds that plaintiff has sufficiently established that the verifications were not served until July, 2019, and will consider the motion on its merits.

On the other hand, there is no objection to the court’s consideration of the December 10, 2018 letter, and it would appear to be the only documentary proof of when any service took place, as counsel for plaintiff has not submitted, for example, a cover letter or other materials showing when the July, 2019 “receipt” of the verifications with other documents in this matter occurred, and plaintiff admits that the verifications served in July were in fact dated December 6, 2018. In addition, it appears from the meet and confer correspondence that plaintiff’s counsel was anticipating supplemental responses would be served, and may have begun to panic once this possibility no longer seemed to be available to extend the deadline. However, the court does not find THE defendant’s evidence on this issue more credible. Therefore the court does not deny the motions as untimely.

 

Meet and Confer

Defendant in opposition also argues that plaintiff’s motion should be denied for failure of plaintiff to meet and confer in good faith prior to filing the motions.

Under CCP § 2030.300, a where a party brings a motion to compel a further response to interrogatories such a motion “shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.

Section 2016.040 requires:

“A meet and confer declaration in support of a motion shall state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.”

A meet and confer may be deemed sufficient where there is an indication that counsel reasonably believed further attempts to informally resolve the matter would be futile. See, e.g. Obregon v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 424, 431. A determination of whether an attempt at informal resolution is adequate is within the discretion of the trial court, and will be disturbed only for abuse of discretion. Stewart v. Colonial Western Agency, Inc. (2001, 2nd Dist.) 87 Cal.App.4th 1006, 1016-1017 . The factors to be considered in making this determination include whether the dispute arises in a larger, more complex discovery context, the history of the litigation, the nature of the interaction between counsel, the nature of the issues, the type and scope of discovery requested and the prospects for success, as well as any circumstances or time pressures to prepare for an impending trial. Stewart, at 1016-1017.

Defendant in opposition appears to concede that detailed correspondence was sent, basically setting forth the separate statements here, and addressing each issue presented by the motions. [Toveg Decls., Exs. 6]. Defendant argues that this correspondence was sent on August 23, 2019, demanding a response by August 26, 2019, which was unreasonable. The meet and confer was not ideally timed here, but as pointed out in the reply, it appears from defendant’s counsel’s response to the meet and confer that defendant was taking the clear position that further responses would not be forthcoming to the discovery defendant believed had been responded to with verifications so that any motions to compel would be untimely. [Toveg Decl., Ex. 7].

It is fairly clear that the parties had reached an impasse here, and the deadline to move to compel as perceived by plaintiff’s counsel was quickly approaching. It is also not clear that any further meet and confer could have avoided the motions, as defendant continues to take the position that the motions are untimely, and has, in fact entirely failed to address the merits of the motions. The motions are not denied for failure to appropriately meet and confer.

Substantive

Under CCP § 2017.010, “any party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action...if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” The section specifically provides that “Discovery may relate to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or of any other party to the action,” and that discovery may be obtained “of the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter, as well as of the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any document, electronically stored information, tangible thing, or land or other property.”

CCP § 2030.300(a) provides that if the party propounding interrogatories deems that an objection “is without merit or too general” or that “an answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete”, “the propounding party may move for an order compelling a further response...”

If a timely motion to compel has been filed, the burden is on the responding party to justify any objection or failure to fully respond to discovery. Coy v. Superior Court (1962) 58 Cal.2d 210, 220-221. The granting or denial of a motion to compel is in the discretion of the trial court. Coy, at 221-222. A court should generally consider the following factors:

The relationship of the information sought to the issues framed in the pleadings;

The likelihood that disclosure will be of practical benefit to the party seeking discovery;

The burden or expense likely to be encountered by the responding party in furnishing the information sought.

Columbia Broadcast System, Inc. v. Superior Court (1968) 263 Cal.App.2d 12, 19.

Here, the oppositions do not address the substance of the motions, so defendant has failed to meet the burden of justifying responses and objections. The motion accordingly is granted, and further responses ordered to be served.

Moreover, a review of the separate statements shows that the Form Interrogatories and Special Interrogatories at issue are largely appropriate contention interrogatories, with responses consisting of boilerplate objections, and statements that defendant has no personal knowledge to respond, terms such as “Incident” are not clear, and that discovery is ongoing. Such boilerplate objections are not appropriate.

Further responses, without objection, are ordered to be served.

ordered to be served.

Sanctions

Moving party seeks sanctions.

CCP § 2030.300 (d) provides that the court “shall impose a monetary sanction...against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a further response to interrogatories, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”

Under CCP § 2023.010, misuse of the discovery process includes “(d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery.”; “(e) Making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery”; and “(f) Making an evasive response to discovery.” Where there has been a misuse of the discovery process, under Section 2023.030(a), 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.”

In this case, if the motion is granted, defendant has made evasive responses to interrogatories, and interposed objections it has failed to justify, and has made these motions necessary.

The court in such a case should award sanctions in favor of the moving party. The sanctions sought are $3,810 and $3,850, although the declarations support only the $3,810 award, so only that maximum should be awarded. The requests include 1 hour at $300 for each motion to review some unidentified “motion,” when plaintiff is the moving party here, so that time should not be awarded. The sanctions sought appear to be generally very high for motions of this nature, which were largely cut and pasted from each other. A significantly reduced sum of sanctions may be awarded in the amount of $2,000.00 per motion plus costs in the amount of $60.00.

If the court denies the motions as untimely, no sanctions should be awarded.

RULING:

Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Defendant Warren Properties, Inc. is ordered to serve further verified responses to Form Interrogatories Nos. 15.1, 16.4 and 17.1, without objection, which provide all information requested. The court has considered the asserted objections and finds they are without merit, and that the opposition fails to justify them, and the court therefore overrules all objections, so that further responses are to be served without objections. The court does not find acceptable a response that discovery is continuing.

Further responses to be served within ten days.

Monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,000.00 [$3,810 requested] plus the $60.00 filing fee are awarded against defendant Warren Properties, Inc., and defendant’s attorney of record, jointly and severally, payable within 30 days. CCP sections 2030.300(d), 2023.010(e) and (f), 2023.030(a).

GRANTED. Defendant Warren Properties, Inc. is ordered to serve further verified responses to Special Interrogatories Nos. 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25 and 26, without objection, which provide all information requested. The court has considered the asserted objections and finds they are without merit, , and that the opposition fails to justify them, and the court therefore overrules all objections, so that further responses are to be served without objections.

Further responses to be served within ten days.

Monetary sanctions in the amount of $2000.00 [$3,850 requested] plus the $60.00 filing fee are awarded against defendant Warren Properties, Inc., payable within 30 days. CCP sections 2030.300(d), 2023.010(e) and (f), 2023.030(a).