This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/12/2019 at 17:51:20 (UTC).

JOHN WOODWARD ET AL VS LOWES HOME CENTERS LLC ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/27/2017 JOHN WOODWARD filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against LOWES HOME CENTERS LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GREGORY W. ALARCON. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8500

  • Filing Date:

    12/27/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GREGORY W. ALARCON

 

Party Details

Petitioners and Plaintiffs

WOODWARD JOHN

STONES TAMMY

Defendants and Respondents

LOWE'S HOME CENTERS LLC

DOES 1 TO 25

XPO LAST MILE INC

ESPINAL TRUCKING LLC

XPO LAST MILE INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorneys

JT LEGAL GROUP APC

AVANESIAN MICHAEL

MEGERDICHIAN ANI

Defendant Attorneys

DUBRAWSKI PETER ANDREW

RAWLINS CHARLYNN

RICHARDS EDWIN J. JR

 

Court Documents

DEFENDANT ESPINAL TRUCKING, LLC?S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

2/1/2018: DEFENDANT ESPINAL TRUCKING, LLC?S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

7/13/2018: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER BY LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, LLC TO COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

7/13/2018: NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER BY LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, LLC TO COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

DECLARATION OF LISA R. HSIAO IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, LLC'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

7/13/2018: DECLARATION OF LISA R. HSIAO IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, LLC'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Notice

10/11/2018: Notice

Notice

10/11/2018: Notice

Order

10/15/2018: Order

Unknown

10/15/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

10/15/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

10/15/2018: Unknown

Certificate (name extension)

10/15/2018: Certificate (name extension)

Unknown

10/15/2018: Unknown

Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (C.C.P., ? 170.6)

10/30/2018: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (C.C.P., ? 170.6)

Unknown

12/6/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

12/6/2018: Minute Order

Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

12/6/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

12/13/2018: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Unknown

12/26/2018: Unknown

30 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/05/2019
  • DocketAmended Complaint (2nd); Filed by Tammy Stones (Plaintiff); John Woodward (Plaintiff); John Woodward (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 06/05/2019
  • DocketAmended Complaint 2nd; Filed by Tammy Stones (Plaintiff); John Woodward (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2019
  • DocketNotice of Ruling (Ruling Re Defendants Lowe's Home Centers, LLC, XPO Last Mile, Inc., and Espinal Trucking, LLC's Demurrer and Motion to Strike Portions of the First Amended Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/06/2019
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 61; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 05/06/2019
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 61; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Held

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  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketCase Management Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/29/2019
  • DocketReply (in Support of Demurrer to First Amended Complaint); Filed by Espinal Trucking LLC (Defendant); Lowe's Home Centers LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/29/2019
  • DocketReply (in Support of Motion to Strike Portions of First Amended Complaint); Filed by Espinal Trucking LLC (Defendant); Lowe's Home Centers LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/23/2019
  • DocketOpposition (to motion to strike Plaintiffs' first amended complaint); Filed by Tammy Stones (Plaintiff); John Woodward (Plaintiff)

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41 More Docket Entries
  • 02/01/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT ESPINAL TRUCKING, LLC S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 01/08/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons

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  • 01/08/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 01/04/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/04/2018
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by John Woodward (Plaintiff); Tammy Stones (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/04/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/04/2018
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by John Woodward (Plaintiff); Tammy Stones (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/27/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 12/27/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR (1) NEGLIGENCE; ETC

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  • 12/27/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by John Woodward (Plaintiff); Tammy Stones (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****8500    Hearing Date: April 27, 2021    Dept: 61

Defendant Espinal Trucking, LLC’s Motion to Compel Real and Personal Property Inspection is DENIED. Sanctions are awarded against Plaintiffs’ counsel in the amount of $2,705.00.

I. MOTION TO COMPEL INSPECTION

Defendant moves for an order compelling Plaintiffs to make their subject real property and personal property, which they allege was damaged by Defendants’ conduct, available for inspection under Code of Civil Procedure ;; 2031.300 and 2031.320. (Motion at p. 2.) The former section authorizes a motion to compel when a party to whom discovery is propounded “fails to serve a timely response to it” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2031.300, subd. (a)), and the latter authorizes a motion when a party “fails to permit the inspection” of property or documents “in accordance with that party’s statement of compliance. (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2031.320, subd. (a).)

Espinal served a demand to inspect the property on February 16, 2021, scheduling the inspection to take place on March 18, 2021. (Motion Exh. B.) When Espinal attempted to confirm the date the day before it was due to take place, Plaintiff delayed responding, and notified Espinal of the cancellation late that evening, causing Espinal to incur expert fees. (Grochow Decl. ¶¶ 8–11, Exh. F.)

Plaintiffs in their notice of non-opposition contend that they were not aware of the earlier inspection, that they shortly after gave Espinal dates for inspection, and that an inspection is now scheduled for May 21, 2021. (Avanesian Decl. ¶¶ 3–4.)

Espinal in reply argues that the notice of inspection was personally served on Plaintiffs’ counsel after several attempts to meet and confer, meaning that they were likely on notice of the inspection. (Reply at p. 3.) Espinal also argues that Plaintiffs did not provide alternate dates until after the motion was filed. (Reply at p. 4.)

The evidence here suggests that Plaintiffs’ failure to appear for their inspection was the product of attorney error, and they attempted to rectify the error by providing dates shortly after the motion was filed, before the opposition was due, and that an inspection date is now scheduled. Because a date for inspection has been agreed to by the parties, there is no need for a court order granting the motion.

Espinal asks for sanctions in the amount of $4,602.50, under Code of Civil Procedure ;; 2031.300, subd. (c) and 2031.320, subd. (b). Although the motion is properly denied because of the party’s belated agreement on dates, this does not prevent an award of sanctions under CRC Rule 3.1348, which allows for sanctions when the provision of belated responses renders the motion moot.

The court finds that Espinal is entitled to reimbursement of the expert fees incurred by Plaintiffs’ cancellation, amounting to $2,705.00. (Grochow Decl. ¶¶ 10–12.) However, as the primary relief demanded by this motion was furnished by the parties’ good faith agreement on inspection, Espinal is not entitled to the $1,997.50 (representing 6.5 hours of attorney work at $235 per hour) incurred in preparing the motion. Sanctions are accordingly awarded in the amount of $2,705.00 against Plaintiffs’ counsel.

Defendant to provide notice.



Case Number: ****8500    Hearing Date: March 9, 2021    Dept: 61

Defendants Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, XPO Last Mile, Inc., and Espinal Trucking, LLC’s Motion for Protective Order is GRANTED in part. Defendants need not produce a PMK for the 15th-16th topics of the depositions notices. The motion is otherwise DENIED. No sanctions are awarded.

Defendants Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, XPO Last Mile, Inc., and Espinal Trucking, LLC’s Motion for Leave to Conduct Mental Examination of Plaintiff Tammy Stones is GRANTED.

Defendant to provide notice.

I. MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

“The court, for good cause shown, may make any order that justice requires to protect any party, deponent, or other natural person or organization from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2025.420, subd. (b).)

The basis for the present motion for a protective order is as follows. Plaintiffs noticed Defendants’ persons most knowledgeable to appear for deposition on January 25, 2021, specifying deposition dates on February 8, 9, and 10, 2021. (Motion Exh. K.)

The notices contained 16 identical categories of inquiry issued to each defendant, which, broadly summarized, related to (1) the retention and production of documents in this case, (2) the process of the washing machine installation and the defects observed, (3) the failure rates and training related to washing machine installation generally, and (4) communications related to this case.(Motion Exh. K.)

Defendants through correspondence with Plaintiffs took issue with the breadth or vagueness of the categories, such as Topics 13 and 14, which asked when the deponent entities learned of the lawsuit and the third amended complaint. (Motion at p. 9.) Defendants also object to Topics 15-16, which ask for communications between Defendants and others regarding the litigation, specifically including communications “between counsel.” (Motion at p. 9.) But Plaintiffs ignored Defendants’ efforts to meet and confer on these issues.

Defendants also object that deposition categories which seek information on Defendants’ processes and policies related to the machines at issue seek trade secret information, for which Plaintiffs have refused to accept any accommodation. (Motion at pp. 11–14.)

The precise protective order that Defendants ask for this would include the following: (1) an order that the depositions be taken on dates other than those noticed, (2) that Defendants be excused from any non-appearance on the currently noticed dates, (3) that Plaintiffs meet and confer with Defendants on their objections, (4) that a protective order be issued protecting the confidentiality of Defendants’ materials, and (5) that Plaintiffs meet and confer as to the availability of the pertinent parties for depositions.

There is merit to Defendants’ objection to the 15th-16th topics of inquiry listed in the deposition notices, which specifically asks for communications between the responding party and their counsel. But the other topics, while curiously framed, are not so ambiguous that designating a PMK is impossible or unreasonable.

Moreover, this court cannot now create a confidential protective order based on the materials that Defendants present here. The party asserting trade-secret objections has the burden to establish their existence and operation. (Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. v. Superior Court (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1384, 1390.) A “trade secret” is “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (1) [d]erives independent economic value . . . from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and (2) [i]s the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” (Civ. Code ; 3426.1, subd. (d).) Here, Defendants present no evidence that the topics or documents that Plaintiffs seek here implicate trade secrets.

At bottom, this motion is about Plaintiffs’ failure to respond to Defendants’ efforts to meet and confer before proceeding with depositions. Although Defendants repeatedly asked Plaintiffs to narrow their categories, and to discuss a protective order for confidential materials, Plaintiffs ignored their entreaties and merely repeated requests for dates of deposition. Defendants’ evidence of email correspondence through last year to the present corroborates their arguments, and Plaintiffs have submitted no opposition to rebut them. But this is of little help to Defendants when their substantive objections are unsupported.

The motion is therefore GRANTED only in part, in that Defendants need not produce a PMK for the 15th-16th topics of the depositions notices. The motion is otherwise DENIED.

II. MOTION TO CONDUCT MENTAL EXAMINATION

“If any party desires to obtain discovery by a physical examination other than that described in Article 2 (commencing with Section 2032.210), or by a mental examination, the party shall obtain leave of court.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.310, subd. (a).) “A motion for an examination under subdivision (a) shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, scope, and nature of the examination, as well as the identity and the specialty, if any, of the person or persons who will perform the examination. The motion shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.” (Id. subd. (b).)

“The court shall grant a motion for a physical or mental examination under Section 2032.310 only for good cause shown.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.320, subd. (a).) Section 2032.320 subdivision (b) requires a motion for an IME to specific “the time, place, manner, conditions, scope, and nature of the examination . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.310 subd. (b).) Moreover, An order granting a physical or mental examination shall specify the person or persons who may perform the examination, as well as the time, place, manner, diagnostic tests and procedures, conditions, scope, and nature of the examination.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2032.320, subd. (d).)

The California Supreme Court has held that a prior, but substantially similar, statute allowing for IMEs “defines a showing of ‘good cause’ as requiring that the party produce specific facts justifying discovery and that the inquiry be relevant to the subject matter of the action or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” (Vinson v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal.3d 833, 840.)

Defendants argue that good cause exists to compel the independent mental examination here, since Plaintiffs have disclosed in discovery that they attribute pain, suffering, and emotional distress to the failure of the washing machine at issue in this case. (Motion Exh. B, C.) The examiner is to be Stephanie D. Peters, Ph.D. (Proposed Order.) The location is to be 3415 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 1100, Los Angeles, California. (Proposed Order.) The interview may take place on either March 15 or March 31, 2021. (Proposed Order.)

The substance of the desired examination is as follows. It is to consist of 3.5 to 5 hours of a clinical interview, and 1.5 to 2.5 hours of psychological testing. The clinical interview shall cover present illness, past medical history, past psychiatric history, developmental history, social history, occupational history, family history, legal history, and mental status examination. The psychological testing will include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2, and may include the Beck Depression Inventory II and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. (Proposed Order.)

The motion has thus shown good cause for the examination, and it complies with the requirements of Code of Civil Procedure ; 2032.320. Plaintiffs in opposition do not contest Defendants’ showing of good cause, and identify no procedural infirmity with the motion.

The motion for IME is therefore GRANTED.



Case Number: ****8500    Hearing Date: September 14, 2020    Dept: 61

Defendants Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, XPO Last Mile, Inc., and Espinal Trucking, LLC’s unopposed Motion to Compel Compliance with Deposition Subpoena to Non-Party Ioan Campeanu, M.D. is GRANTED.

  1. MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE WITH SUBPOENA

“If a subpoena requires the attendance of a witness or the production of books, documents, electronically stored information, 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.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 1987.1, subd. (a).)

Defendants move to compel compliance with a deposition subpoena issued to non-party Ioan Campeneau, M.D., a psychiatrist treating one or both the Plaintiffs. (Motion at p. 3.) Defendants claim the subpoena is necessary to evaluate Plaintiffs’ claims for emotional distress injuries. (Motion at p. 3.) However, Campeneau did not appear for deposition, and Defendants took a certificate of non-appearance. (Grochow Decl. ¶ 6.) Neither Campeneau nor Plaintiffs have filed an opposition to this motion.

The court concludes that Defendants have shown good cause for the discovery sought, and Plaintiffs have failed to raise any arguments in opposition thereto. The motion is therefore GRANTED.

Defendants to provide notice.



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