This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/04/2022 at 08:48:05 (UTC).

JOANNA ELLIOTT VS PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 02/09/2021 JOANNA ELLIOTT filed a Labor - Wrongful Termination lawsuit against PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is YOLANDA OROZCO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5234

  • Filing Date:

    02/09/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Wrongful Termination

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

YOLANDA OROZCO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant

ELLIOTT JOANNA

Cross Plaintiffs and Defendants

WAVE ENTERPRISES INC.

WAVE PROPERTY INC.

WAVE SERVICES INC.

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

SHEGERIAN CARNEY RICHARD

HAMIDEH BASSIL

Defendant Attorney

CHANG KAITLYN

Other Attorneys

REED ROBERT WILLIAM

 

Court Documents

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

6/4/2021: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

Reply - REPLY DEFENDANTS REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS DEMURRER OF PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

12/27/2021: Reply - REPLY DEFENDANTS REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS DEMURRER OF PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE - BY DEFENDANT...)

1/4/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE - BY DEFENDANT...)

Answer

1/14/2022: Answer

Notice of Ruling

1/14/2022: Notice of Ruling

Cross-Complaint

1/14/2022: Cross-Complaint

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

3/14/2022: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Notice - NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE

3/14/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE

Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS FOR AN ORDER QUASHING OR LIMITING DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS SERVED ON THIRDPARTY (1) DR. MIGUEL GO

8/20/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS FOR AN ORDER QUASHING OR LIMITING DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS SERVED ON THIRDPARTY (1) DR. MIGUEL GO

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF KAITLYN CHANG IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH DEFENDANTS SUBPOENAS TO (1) DR. MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D.; (2) LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDIC

8/20/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF KAITLYN CHANG IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH DEFENDANTS SUBPOENAS TO (1) DR. MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D.; (2) LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDIC

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF KAITLYN CHANG IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH DEFENDANTS SUBPOENAS TO (1) DR. MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D.; (2) LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDIC

8/24/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF KAITLYN CHANG IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH DEFENDANTS SUBPOENAS TO (1) DR. MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D.; (2) LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDIC

Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND FOR SANCTIONS

8/24/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND FOR SANCTIONS

Notice - NOTICE THAT SHE WILL NOT BE WITHDRAWING HER FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH, SET FOR SEPTEMBER 2ND AND 3RD, AND HER MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER, SET FOR SEPTEMBER 8TH, BUT THAT THE ONLY REMAINING ISS

8/26/2021: Notice - NOTICE THAT SHE WILL NOT BE WITHDRAWING HER FOUR MOTIONS TO QUASH, SET FOR SEPTEMBER 2ND AND 3RD, AND HER MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER, SET FOR SEPTEMBER 8TH, BUT THAT THE ONLY REMAINING ISS

Reply - REPLY CONSOLIDATED IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN ORDER QUASHING OR LIMITING DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS SERVED ON THIRD-PARTIES

8/26/2021: Reply - REPLY CONSOLIDATED IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN ORDER QUASHING OR LIMITING DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS SERVED ON THIRD-PARTIES

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER STIPULATION TO CONTINUE THE HEARINGS ON PLAINTIFFS MOTIONS TO QUASH RECORDS SERVED ON LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D., RAYMOND S

8/27/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER STIPULATION TO CONTINUE THE HEARINGS ON PLAINTIFFS MOTIONS TO QUASH RECORDS SERVED ON LONG BEACH MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, MIGUEL GONZALEZ, M.D., RAYMOND S

Reply - REPLY M4PO REPLY (ELLIOTT)

8/31/2021: Reply - REPLY M4PO REPLY (ELLIOTT)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER BY PLAINTIFF AND REQUE...)

9/8/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER BY PLAINTIFF AND REQUE...)

Notice of Ruling

9/9/2021: Notice of Ruling

60 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/03/2022
  • Hearing10/03/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 09/21/2022
  • Hearing09/21/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 08/05/2022
  • Hearing08/05/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

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  • 03/14/2022
  • DocketNotice (of Motion and Motion to Strike); Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/14/2022
  • DocketDemurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/14/2022
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Pepperdine University (Defendant); Wave Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Wave Services, Inc. (Defendant) et al.

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  • 01/14/2022
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Pepperdine University (Defendant); Wave Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Wave Services, Inc. (Defendant) et al.

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  • 01/14/2022
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Pepperdine University (Defendant); Wave Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Wave Services, Inc. (Defendant) et al.

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  • 01/04/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (- by Defendants to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint) - Held

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  • 01/04/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - by Defendant...)); Filed by Clerk

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82 More Docket Entries
  • 04/14/2021
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike (of Plaintiff's Complaint -[Res ID: _5264]); Filed by Pepperdine University (Defendant); Wave Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Wave Services, Inc. (Defendant) et al.

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  • 03/18/2021
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/18/2021
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/18/2021
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/18/2021
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/10/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Joanna Elliott (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******5234 Hearing Date: September 8, 2021 Dept: 31

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS IS GRANTED IN PART. Background

On February 9, 2021, Plaintiff JoAnna Elliott (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action against Defendants Pepperdine University (“Pepperdine”), Wave Enterprises, Inc., Wave Service, Inc., Wave Property Inc., and Does 1 through 100. On June 04, 2021, Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), asserting causes of action for:

(1) Discrimination in Violation of the FEHA;

(2) Hostile Work Environment Harassment in Violation of the FEHA;

(3) Retaliation in Violation of the FEHA;

(4) Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation in Violation of FEHA;

(5) Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process in Violation of FEHA;

(6) Failure to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation in Violation of the FEHA;

(7) Discrimination and Retaliation for Accommodation Request in Violation of the FEHA;

(8) Whistleblower Retaliation in Violation of Labor Code ; 1102.5;

(9) Whistleblower Retaliation in Violation of Labor Code ; 6310;

(10) Whistleblower Retaliation in Violation of Labor Code ; 6311;

(11) Whistleblower Retaliation in Violation of Labor Code ; 232.5;

(12) Violation of Labor Code ; 1197.5;

(13) Interference with CFRA Leave;

(14) Wrongful Termination of Employment in Violation of Public Policy;

(15) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; and

(16) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress.

On May 24, 2021, Plaintiff moved to quash four deposition subpoenas for production of business records issued by Defendant Pepperdine. The following day, on May 25, 2021, Plaintiff moved for a protective order against Defendant Pepperdine for its purported discovery abuses associated with interrogatories that it propounded on Plaintiff. Thereafter, on August 27, 2021, the parties informed the Court that they have informally resolved the issues raised in Plaintiff’s pending discovery motions. Thus, the only issue remaining is Plaintiff’s requests for sanctions asserted in each motion.

Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure 1987.1 states, “[w]hen 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, …, upon motion reasonably made by the party, the witness, or any consumer described in Section 1985.3, 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 such terms or conditions as the court shall declare, including protective orders.”

“The court shall limit the scope of discovery if it determines that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness of that discovery clearly outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The court may make this determination pursuant to a motion for protective order by a party or other affected person. This motion shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.” ; (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2017.020(a).) ; ; ; “The court, for good cause shown, may make any order that justice requires to protect any party or other natural person or organization from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.” (Code of Civ. Proc. ; 2031.060.)

Discussion

Because the parties have informally resolved the substantive issues raised in Plaintiff’s discovery motions, the Court shall only determine whether Plaintiff is entitled to sanctions. Specifically, Defendant Pepperdine has agreed to withdraw the subpoena to Raymond Silkman, DDS. (Reply (Quash) at pg. 1.) As to the remaining three subpoenas, the parties have agreed to limit the scope of the subpoenas. (Id.) With regard to the motion for protective order, Defendant Pepperdine has agreed to reduce the number special interrogatories to 48. (Opposition at pg. 6.)

Sanctions

In the motions to quash the deposition subpoenas as well as the motion for protective order, Plaintiff seeks monetary sanctions against Defendant Pepperdine. The Court shall address each in turn.

First, in all four motions to quash, Plaintiff argues that Defendant Pepperdine engaged in the misuse of the discovery process pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure ; 2023.030(a) by failing to meet and confer and by propounding subpoenas that sought irrelevant documents. (Motion to Quash at pg. 9.)

Code of Civil Procedure ; 2023.030(a) authorizes sanctions for misuse of discovery, which includes, inter alia: persisting without substantial justification and over objections to obtain irrelevant information, failing to respond or submit to an authorized method of discovery; making an evasive response to discovery; making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery; making or opposing, unsuccessfully and without substantial justification, a motion to compel or to limit discovery; and failing to meet and confer. (Code Civ. Proc. ;; 2023.010(a), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i).)

The Court finds that sanctions are warranted against Defendant Pepperdine based on the subpoena propounded on Dr. Silkman, which has been withdrawn. It was due to Defendant Pepperdine’s failure to meet and confer that necessitated Plaintiff to file her motions. (Reed Decl. ¶¶3-4.) Had the parties met and conferred, Defendant Pepperdine likely would have realized before the informal discovery conference that subpoenaing Plaintiff’s dentist would not produce any relevant information. (Reply at pg. 3.) In connection with this motion, Plaintiff seeks $1,560 in monetary sanctions against Defendant Pepperdine and its counsel for the $60 filing fee as well as 1 hour in researching, preparing, and drafting the motion and an anticipated 1 hour spent reviewing and analyzing the opposition and preparing for the hearing at a rate of $750 per hour. Under the circumstances, the Court finds that the amount of sanctions is reasonable. Thus, the Court awards sanctions in the amount of $1,560 against Defendant Pepperdine and its counsel of record, jointly and severally.

Because the parties were able reach an agreement in limiting their scope as to the remaining subpoenas, the Court declines to find that sanctions are warranted because Defendant Pepperdine was justified in pursuing subpoenas that would lead to relevant information.

Second, Plaintiff seeks $3,560 in monetary sanctions against Defendant Pepperdine and its counsel because her motion was opposed without substantial justification pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure ;; 2031.60(h) and 2017.020(b). (Motion for Protective Order at pg. 14.) Also, Plaintiff asserts that sanctions are warranted because Defendant Pepperdine University has abused the discovery process by propounding duplicative discovery. In its opposition, Defendant Pepperdine asserts that the motion is moot because the parties significantly reduced the number of interrogatories. Thus, the Court finds that Defendant Pepperdine’s opposition was made with substantial justification. However, the Court does find that Defendant Pepperdine’s earlier service of 112 special interrogatories which required Plaintiff to file the instant motion was oppressive, which constitutes an abuse of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2023.010(c).) Thus, the Court finds that sanctions are warranted under the circumstances.

Plaintiff bases the sanction amount of $3,495 on the $60 filing fee, 2.5 hours spent preparing and drafting the motion, and the anticipated 2 hours spent reviewing the opposition, drafting a reply, and preparing and appearing at the hearing at a rate of $750 per hour. The Court finds that the amount of sanctions associated with the motion for protective order is excessive and therefore unreasonable. The Court thus awards reduced sanctions against Defendant Pepperdine and its counsel, jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,935 for 1.5 hours drafting the motion, 1 hour spent reviewing the opposition, drafting the reply and appearing for the hearing at a rate of $750 per hour, plus the $60 filing fee.

Conclusion

Defendant Pepperdine and its counsel of record are ordered to pay monetary sanctions in the combined amount of $3,495.00 to Plaintiff within 30 days of this order.

Plaintiff to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All masking protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.


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