This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/02/2021 at 11:33:28 (UTC).

JUAN ANTONIO LOPEZ BELTRAN VS JULIE ANNA HOPKINS SORENSON, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 01/21/2020 JUAN ANTONIO LOPEZ BELTRAN filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against JULIE ANNA HOPKINS SORENSON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are THOMAS D. LONG, CHARLES C. LEE and YOLANDA OROZCO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******2633

  • Filing Date:

    01/21/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

THOMAS D. LONG

CHARLES C. LEE

YOLANDA OROZCO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

LOPEZ BELTRAN JUAN ANTONIO

Cross Plaintiffs, Cross Defendants and Defendants

HOPKINS SORENSON JULIE ANNA

LOPEZ SERGIO

IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT INC. A CORPORATION

SORENSON SCOTT

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SAADIAN BOBBY

Cross Plaintiff, Cross Defendant and Defendant Attorneys

ASH PAUL

BUCHNER TEANNA L.

DANISHWAR MARYAM

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PRO...)

8/16/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PRO...)

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

8/16/2021: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Order - ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SANCTIONS

8/16/2021: Order - ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SANCTIONS

Motion for Sanctions

7/23/2021: Motion for Sanctions

Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORTS MOTION FOR SANCTIONNS PURSUANT TO SECTION 128.7; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF DANIEL DESANTIS

8/3/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORTS MOTION FOR SANCTIONNS PURSUANT TO SECTION 128.7; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF DANIEL DESANTIS

Reply - REPLY DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC.S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 128.7

8/9/2021: Reply - REPLY DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC.S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 128.7

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

7/6/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 07/01/2021

7/1/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 07/01/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

7/1/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

6/23/2021: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

6/23/2021: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice of Ruling

5/25/2021: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ...)

5/24/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ...)

Reply - REPLY DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS REPLY IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION

5/24/2021: Reply - REPLY DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS REPLY IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION

Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS NOTICE OF MOTION & MOTION FOR TERMINATING, ISSUE, EVIDENTIARY, AND/OR MONETARY SANCTIONS FOR

5/17/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS NOTICE OF MOTION & MOTION FOR TERMINATING, ISSUE, EVIDENTIARY, AND/OR MONETARY SANCTIONS FOR

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO EX PARTE

5/20/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO EX PARTE

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION; DECLARATION OF MARYAM DANISH

5/20/2021: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC. AND SERGIO LOPEZS EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION; DECLARATION OF MARYAM DANISH

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION

5/21/2021: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE TO CONTINUE THE HEARING DATE ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTION

64 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/06/2022
  • Hearing06/06/2022 at 09:30 AM in Department 56 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 05/24/2022
  • Hearing05/24/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 56 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 08/16/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions (Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 08/16/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions (Motion for Terminating, Issue, Evidentiary, and/or Monetary Sanctions for Willful Suppression of Evidence and/or Spoliation of Evidence) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Code of Civil Pro...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketOrder (Re: Motions for Sanctions); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/09/2021
  • DocketReply (DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC.S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 128.7); Filed by IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC., a corporation (Defendant); Sergio Lopez (Defendant)

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  • 08/03/2021
  • DocketOpposition (PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT?S MOTION FOR SANCTIONNS PURSUANT TO SECTION 128.7; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF DANIEL DESANTIS, ESQ); Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/23/2021
  • DocketMotion for Sanctions; Filed by IDAHO MILK TRANSPORT, INC., a corporation (Defendant); Sergio Lopez (Defendant)

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87 More Docket Entries
  • 02/25/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/04/2020
  • DocketClerk of Court Notice of Clerical Error and Correction ((Summons)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/21/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/21/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/21/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/21/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: 20STCV02633 Hearing Date: August 16, 2021 Dept: 56

\r\n\r\n

SUPERIOR\r\nCOURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

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FOR\r\nTHE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

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\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Juan Antonio\r\n Lopez Beltran,

\r\n

Plaintiff,

\r\n

vs.

\r\n

\r\n

Julie Anna Hopkins Sorenson, et al.

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

Defendants.

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\r\n
\r\n

\r\n CASE NO.: 20STCV02633

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[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

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MOTIONS FOR SANCITONS

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Date: August 16, 2021

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Time: 8:30 a.m.

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Dept. 56

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MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff\r\nJuan Antonio Lopez Beltran

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RESPONDING PARTY: Defendants\r\nIdaho Milk Transport, Inc. and Sergio Lopez

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The Court has considered the moving,\r\nopposition, and reply papers.

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BACKGROUND

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This matter arises from a motor\r\nvehicle collision that occurred on March 2, 2019 (the “Incident”). The Incident\r\ninvolved Plaintiff and Defendant Sergio Lopez, while he was working for Idaho\r\nMilk Transport, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”).

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Plaintiff moves the Court for\r\nterminating, issue, evidentiary, and/or monetary sanctions.

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DISCUSSION

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Motion for Terminating,\r\nIssue, Evidentiary, and/or Monetary Sanctions

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Legal\r\nStandard

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The\r\ncourt, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after\r\nopportunity for hearing, may impose monetary, issue, evidence, and/or\r\nterminating sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse\r\nof the discovery process. (Code Civ.\r\nProc., § 2023.030 subd. (a)-(d).)

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\r\n\r\n

The\r\ndiscovery remedies set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure\r\nsection 2023.030 “provide a substantial deterrent to acts of spoliation,\r\nand substantial protection to the spoliation victim.” (Cedars-Sinai\r\nCenter v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1, 17.) “Spoliation\r\nof evidence means the destruction or significant alteration of evidence or the\r\nfailure to preserve evidence for another\'s use in pending or future\r\nlitigation. [Citations] Such conduct is condemned because\r\nit ‘can destroy fairness and justice, for it increases the risk of an\r\nerroneous decision on the merits of the underlying cause of\r\naction. Destroying evidence can also increase the costs of litigation as\r\nparties attempt to reconstruct the destroyed evidence or to develop other\r\nevidence, which may be less accessible, less persuasive, or\r\nboth.’ [Citation] While there is no tort cause of\r\naction for the intentional destruction of evidence after litigation has\r\ncommenced, it is a misuse of the discovery process that is subject to a broad\r\nrange of punishment, including monetary, issue, evidentiary, and terminating\r\nsanctions. [Citations] A terminating sanction is appropriate in\r\nthe first instance without a violation of prior court orders in egregious cases\r\nof intentional spoliation of evidence.” (Williams v. Russ (2008)\r\n167 Cal.App.4th 1215, 1223.)

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To\r\nobtain discovery sanctions based on the spoliation of evidence, the moving\r\nparty must make a prima facie showing that the opposing party\r\ndestroyed evidence causing “a substantial probability of damaging the moving\r\nparty’s ability to establish an essential element of his claim or\r\ndefense.” (Id. at 1227.) If the moving party meets this\r\ninitial burden, the burden shifts to the responding party to show that the\r\nmoving party has not been prejudiced by the loss of evidence. (Id.\r\nat 1223.) “Discovery sanctions are intended to remedy discovery abuse, not to\r\npunish the offending party. Accordingly, sanctions should be\r\ntailored to serve that remedial purpose, should not put the moving party in a\r\nbetter position than he would otherwise have been had he obtained the requested\r\ndiscovery, and should be proportionate to the offending party\'s\r\nmisconduct. [Citation.]” (Ibid.)

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Sanctions for Spoliation

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Plaintiff contends that sanctions should be imposed\r\non Defendants because they failed to preserve evidence of the event data\r\nrecorder (the “Recorder”) of Defendants’ vehicle (the “Vehicle”). Plaintiff represents\r\nthat within 18 days of the incident, he sent a preservation letter to\r\nDefendants’ insurance carrier to preserve all electronic data and evidence of\r\nthe Vehicle. (DeSantis Decl., ¶\r\n3.) On March 20, 2020, Plaintiff served\r\nwritten discovery to obtain information from the Recorder. (DeSantis Decl., ¶ 4.) The parties agreed to inspection of the\r\nVehicle on December 14, 2020, but this inspection was cancelled by Defendants\r\nbecause the Vehicle had not returned from its last route. (DeSantis Decl., ¶ 6.) The inspection was rescheduled for January\r\n14, 2021, and at that inspection, Plaintiff’s expert was unable to download the\r\ndata from the information relating to the Incident because it had been\r\nerased. (DeSantis Decl., ¶ 10.)

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Plaintiff contends that Defendants failed to\r\npreserve the evidence because the evidence was detrimental to their position. Plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert\r\nrepresents that the Recorder would have yielded the most accurate data for\r\nreconstructing the Incident. (Morales\r\nDecl. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff further contends\r\nthat it will be unable to establish that issues relating to speed, break\r\napplication, acceleration application, and perception-reaction time. (Morales Decl., ¶ 12.)

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Plaintiff has failed to meet his burden of showing that\r\nhis ability to establish an essential element of his claim or defense has been\r\ndamaged. Plaintiff’s causes of action\r\nare for negligence and negligence per se, and Plaintiff failed to discuss how his\r\ninability to obtain the information from the Recorder will prevent him from\r\nestablishing any of the elements of either of his causes of action. In addition, as testified to by Plaintiff’s own\r\nexpert, Robert Morales, it is unknown if an event was recorded in the Recorder\r\nat the time of the Incident, or if an event relating to the Incident was erased\r\nright after the Incident, when the Vehicle was driven off the scene. \r\n(Danishwar Decl., ¶ 7, Ex. C.) Further, it is unknown if an event\r\nexisted that related to the Incident from the time of the Incident until 18\r\ndays after the Incident, when Defendants received a notice to preserve evidence\r\nof the Vehicle. (Id.) Accordingly, there is no evidence that\r\nDefendants engaged in “egregious” behavior that would prevent Plaintiff from a\r\nfair trial.

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Issuing\r\nterminating, issue, or evidentiary sanctions to any degree would punish\r\nDefendants. These sorts of sanctions are detrimental and, as implied\r\nabove, do not match the detriment Plaintiff has suffered in Plaintiff’s\r\ninability to obtain information relating to the Incident from the Recorder. \r\nPlaintiff may ask the trial court to allow a jury instruction inferring that\r\nPlaintiff’s inability to download the information from the Recorder was\r\nunfavorable to Defendants. (See, e.g., Cedars-Sinai Medical\r\nCenter v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1, 11-12.)

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Plaintiff’s Motion for terminating,\r\nissue, evidentiary, and monetary sanctions is DENIED. Defendants’ Request for Sanctions is DENIED.

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Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Code\r\nof Civil Procedure Section 128.7

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Legal Standard

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CCP section 128.7 states that the Court\r\nmay impose sanctions on a party or attorney that presents a pleading, petition,\r\nmotion, or other similar papers in the following circumstances:

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1) the document is presented primarily for\r\nan improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or\r\nneedless increase in the cost of litigation.

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2) the claims, defenses, and other legal\r\ncontentions therein are not warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous\r\nargument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the\r\nestablishment of new law.

\r\n\r\n

3) the allegations and other factual\r\ncontentions have no evidentiary support;

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4) the denials of factual contentions are\r\nnot warranted on the evidence.

\r\n\r\n

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CCP\r\nsection 128.7 permits the Court to impose monetary sanctions on an attorney or\r\nan unrepresented party that violates any one of these\r\nrequirements. (Eichenbaum v. Alon (2003) 106 Cal App 4th\r\n967, 976.) CCP § 128.7 does not require a finding of\r\nsubjective bad faith, but it only requires a\r\nfinding that the conduct is objectively unreasonable. (In\r\nre Marriage of Reese & Guy (1999) 73 Cal. App. 4th 1214,\r\n1221.)

\r\n\r\n

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Under CCP § 128.7,\r\na court may impose sanctions if it concludes a pleading\r\nwas filed for an improper purpose or was indisputably without merit, either\r\nlegally or factually. (Bucur v. Ahmad (2016) 244\r\nCal.App.4th 175, 189-90.) A claim is\r\nfactually frivolous if it is “not well grounded in fact” and is legally\r\nfrivolous if it is “not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for\r\nthe extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.” (Id.) In\r\neither case, to obtain sanctions, the moving party must show the party\'s\r\nconduct in asserting the claim was objectively unreasonable. (Id.) A\r\nclaim is objectively unreasonable if “any reasonable attorney would agree that\r\n[it] is totally and completely without merit.” (Id.) However,\r\n“section 128.7 sanctions should be ‘made with restraint,’ and are not\r\nmandatory even if a claim is frivolous.” (Peake v. Underwood (2014)\r\n227 Cal.App.4th 428. at 448.)

\r\n\r\n

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The\r\nLegislature enacted section 128.7 based on rule 11 of the Federal Rules of\r\nCivil Procedure (“FRCP”) Rule 11. (Musaelian v. Adams (2009)\r\n45 Cal.4th 512, 518, fn. 2.) As a result, federal case law\r\nconstruing FRCP Rule 11 is persuasive authority on the meaning of\r\nCCP § 128.7. (Guillemin v. Stein (2002) 104\r\nCal.App.4th 156, 168.) Under FRCP Rule 11, even though an action may\r\nnot be frivolous when it is filed, it may become so if later-acquired evidence\r\nrefutes the findings of a prefiling investigation and the attorney continues to\r\nfile papers supporting the client\'s claims. (Childs v. State\r\nFarm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (5th Cir.1994) 29 F.3d 1018, 1025.) As\r\na result, a plaintiff\'s attorney cannot “just cling tenaciously to the\r\ninvestigation he had done at the outset of the litigation and bury his\r\nhead in the sand.” (Id.) This requires an attorney\r\nto conduct a reasonable inquiry to determine if his or her client\'s claim\r\nwas well-grounded in fact and to take into account the adverse\r\nparty\'s evidence. (Id.)

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In\r\naddition, CCP § 128.7(c)(1) requires that a motion for\r\nsanctions be made separately from other motions and that notice of the motion\r\nmust be served, but not filed with the Court, unless, within 21 days after\r\nservice of the motion, the challenged paper is not withdrawn. This 21-day\r\ntime period is known as a "safe harbor" period and its purpose is to\r\npermit an offending party to avoid sanctions by withdrawing the improper\r\npleading during the safe harbor period. (Li v. Majestic\r\nIndustry Hills LLC (2009) 177 Cal. App. 4th 585, 591.) This\r\npermits a party to withdraw a questionable pleading without penalty, thus\r\nsaving the court and the parties time and money litigating the pleading\r\nas well as the sanctions request. (Id.) “[N]otice of motion shall be served as\r\nprovided in Section 1010, but shall not be filed with or presented to the court\r\nunless, within 21 days after service of the motion, or any other period as the\r\ncourt may prescribe, the challenged paper, claim defense, contention,\r\nallegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected.” (CCP §128.7(c)(1).) “Notices must be in writing, and the notice\r\nof a motion, other than for a new trial, must state when, and the grounds upon\r\nwhich it will be made, and the papers, if any, upon which it is to be\r\nbased. If any such paper has not\r\npreviously been served upon the party to be notified and was not filed by him,\r\na copy of such paper must accompany the notice.” (CCP § 1010.)

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Motion for Sanctions

\r\n\r\n

Defendants move the Court for sanctions under CCP section 128.7\r\non the ground that Plaintiff’s Motion\r\nfor terminating, issue, evidentiary, and monetary sanctions was based on false\r\nallegations and baseless speculative statements.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Having reviewed and considered Plaintiff’s Motion\r\nfor terminating, issue, evidentiary, and monetary sanctions, the Court finds\r\nthat it was not factually or legally frivolous. \r\nAs set forth above, there is case law that warrants imposing discovery\r\nsanctions when a party has engaged in spoliation of evidence. In addition, the facts presented suggest that\r\nit was unclear whether there were events in the Recorder that related to the\r\nIncident, and while not strongly supported, Plaintiff reasonably argued that\r\nDefendants engaged in the spoliation of evidence because they failed to\r\npreserve evidence from the time of the Incident until the Vehicle was\r\ninspected. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s\r\nmotion was not totally and completely without merit.

\r\n\r\n

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Defendants’ Motion is therefore Denied.

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Moving\r\nParty is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

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Parties who intend to submit on this\r\ntentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed\r\nby the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email\r\nand there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

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Dated this 16th day of August 2021

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Hon. Holly J.\r\n Fujie

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Judge of the\r\n Superior Court

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Case Number: 20STCV02633    Hearing Date: May 6, 2021    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

JUAN ANTONIO LOPEZ BELTRAN, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

JULIE ANNA HOPKINS SORENSON, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

AND RELATED CROSS ACTIONS

CASE NO.: 20STCV02633

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Date: May 6, 2021

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Juan Antonio Lopez Beltran

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Julie Hopkins-Sorensen (erroneously sued and served as Julie Anna Hopkins-Sorenson) (“Sorensen”)

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging causes of action for: (1) negligence; and (2) negligence per se.

Plaintiff filed a motion for a protective order (the “Motion”) limiting the number of physical medical examinations that Plaintiff be required to undergo. The Motion is made on the grounds that Defendants Sergio Lopez (“Lopez”) and Idaho Milk Transport, Inc. (“IMT”) each intend to have Plaintiff examined by their own medical expert when Sorensen has already noticed an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) of Plaintiff[1]. The Motion asserts that here is no reason for Plaintiff to be subjected to three IMEs as to his spine. Plaintiff contends that a protective order is appropriate because Lopez and IMT are both claiming their own independent right to have Plaintiff undergo an IME.

MEET AND CONFER

The meet and confer requirement has been met.

DISCUSSION

Under Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.010 any person may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or to the determination of any motion made in that action, if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Discovery may relate to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.010.) 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. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.020(a).) The Court may make such determination pursuant to a motion for protective order by a party or other affected person. (Id.)

Code Civ. Proc. § 2032.220(a) provides that in any case in which a plaintiff is seeking recovery for personal injuries, any defendant may demand one physical examination of the plaintiff if both of the following conditions are satisfied: (1) the examination does not include any diagnostic test or procedure that is painful, protracted, or intrusive; and (2) the examination is conducted at a location within 75 miles of the residence of the examinee. A party seeking a protective order must show good cause for whatever order is sought. (Nativi v. Deutshe Bank National Trust Co. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 261, 318.) In law and motion practice, factual evidence is supplied to the court by way of declarations. (Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 216, 224.)

The Court finds that Plaintiff has not met his burden under Nativi in showing that the issuance of a protective order is warranted. The declaration presented in support of the Motion lacks any facts showing good cause for issuance of the requested protective order. Although the lack of good cause is dispositive of the Motion, the Court will address an additional reason why a protective order is not warranted. Sorensen is not represented by the same counsel as either IMT or Lopez. While Plaintiff contends that he should have to undergo only one IME, the Court finds that Code Civ. Proc. § 2032.220(a) provides that any defendant in an action can demand an IME of a plaintiff. Here, Plaintiff is seeking damages for personal injuries, and three different defendants are seeking an IME of Plaintiff. Section 2032.220(a) clearly allows for each defendant—IMT, Lopez, and Sorensen—to seek separate IMEs of Plaintiff. The Court finds that Plaintiff’s argument that each defendant has aligned interests is not persuasive given that: (1) the basis as to Sorenson’s alleged liability is different from that of IMT and Lopez; and (2) Sorensen is not represented by the same counsel as either IMT or Lopez.

The Motion is therefore DENIED in its entirety.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Court strongly encourages that appearances on all proceedings, including this one, be made by LACourtConnect if the parties do not submit on the tentative.  If you instead intend to make an appearance in person at Court on this matter, you must send an email by 2 p.m. on the last Court day before the scheduled date of the hearing to SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 6th day of May 2021

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The Motion asserts that Plaintiff did not appear for the IME noticed by Sorensen due to the fact that Lopez and IMT are also seeking respective IMEs of Plaintiff.

Case Number: 20STCV02633    Hearing Date: April 14, 2021    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

JUAN ANTONIO LOPEZ BELTRAN, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

JULIE ANNA HOPKINS SORENSON, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

AND RELATED CROSS ACTIONS

CASE NO.: 20STCV02633

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Date: April 14, 2021

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTIES: Defendants and Cross-Complainants Idaho Milk Transport, Inc. (“IMT”) and Sergio Lopez (“Lopez”)

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Juan Antonio Beltran Lopez

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging causes of action for: (1) negligence; and (2) negligence per se.

Defendants filed a cross-complaint alleging causes of action for: (1) implied indemnity; (2) equitable indemnity; (3) contribution; (4) declaratory relief; and (5) apportionment.

On February 26, 2021, Defendants filed a motion for a protective order[1] (the “Motion”) and request that the Court issue an order prohibiting Plaintiff—through counsel, their agents, servants, and representatives—from engaging in discovery regarding IMT’s corporate policies and driver histories, specifically as to the depositions noticed for the Person Most Knowledgeable (“PMK”) of IMT. Defendants also request monetary sanctions against Plaintiff and his attorney of record in the amount of $2,260.00.

MEET AND CONFER

The meet and confer requirement has been met.

DISCUSSION

Generally, a deponent seeking a protective order will be required to show that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness involved clearly outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. (Emerson Electric Co. v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1101, 1110.) Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.420 allows any deponent or any other affected natural person or organization to move for a protective order and such protective order may include one or more of the following directions: (1) that the deposition not be taken at all; (2) the method of discovery be interrogatories to a party instead of an oral deposition; (3) that certain matters not be inquired into; (4) that the scope of the examination be limited to certain matters; or (5) that the deposition be taken at a different time. Good cause must be shown for the issuance of a protective order under Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.420. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.420(b).) In law and motion practice, factual evidence is supplied to the court by way of declarations. (Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 216, 224.)

Initially, the Court finds that although the Motion seeks a protective order as to a deposition, Defendants failed to bring their motion under Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.420, which is the statute addressing protective orders in the deposition context[2]. While the Motion is brought under Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.020 and Code Civ. Proc. § 2019.030(a)(2), such sections state that the Court can limit the scope of discovery through a motion for a protective order. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2017.020(a).) The Notice of Motion states that a protective order should issue based on Code Civ. Proc. § 1987.1, however, such Code section is concerned with quashing a deposition subpoena and not with a protective order.

Therefore, to seek a protective order, Defendants were required to move for such order under Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.420, which Defendants did not. Even considering for purposes of argument that Defendants did move properly for a protective order under said Code section, the declaration of Maryam Danishwar in support of the Motion would be insufficient because it does not make a proper showing of good cause as it fails to state specific facts for the issuance of such order under Calcor. In sum, Defendants failed to meet the good cause requirement because the declaration is void of any facts as to why the discovery sought by the deposition at issue is intrusive, burdensome, oppressive, or invades any purported right to privacy.

Due to the failure of Defendants to meet the good cause requirement and to carry their burden under Emerson Electric, the Court need not address Defendants’ request for monetary sanctions.

The Motion is therefore DENIED in its entirety.

Moving parties are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Court strongly encourages that appearances on all proceedings, including this one, be made by LACourtConnect if the parties do not submit on the tentative.  If you instead intend to make an appearance in person at Court on this matter, you must send an email by 2 p.m. on the last Court day before the scheduled date of the hearing to SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 14th day of April 2021

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The Motion was noticed for a date of April 14, 2021 in Department 31 of this Court. On March 9, 2021, however, Department 31 of this Court transferred this action to Department 56. The March 9, 2021 minute order from Department 31 transferring this action stated that any pending motions or hearings would be reset, continued, or vacated at the direction of Department 56. The electronic reservation number on the Motion ends in 6544; however, the electronic reservation number for the hearing on the Motion for Protective Order ends in 0803. On March 11, 2021, a Notice of Continuance was issued, and such notice stated that the hearing on the motion for protective order—which was previously set for hearing on April 14, 2021 in Department 31—was now reset for that same date in Department 56. While Plaintiff also filed a motion for protective order on October 14, 2020, no reset hearing date was calendared for Plaintiff’s motion and thus such motion: (1) does not have a set hearing date; and (2) will not be analyzed in this ruling.

[2] The Notice of Motion does not address such statute, however, the memorandum of points and authorities in support of the Motion does reference such section. (Motion at 9:27-10:1.) Defendants should have stated such statute in their Notice of Motion because a notice of motion must state the grounds upon which a motion is made under Code Civ. Proc. § 1010.

Case Number: 20STCV02633    Hearing Date: March 9, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – CENTRAL DISTRICT

JUAN ANTONIO LOPEZ BELTRAN,

Plaintiff,

v.

JULIE ANNA HOPKINS SORENSON, ET AL.,

Defendants.

Case No.: 20STCV02633

ORDER TRANSFERRING COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT

INITIAL NOTE: This is not a tentative ruling. It is being posted with the tentative rulings to give Counsel notice not to appear. This is a final order and the case is being transferred.

After review of the court file, the Court makes the following order:

Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court has determined that the above entitled action is complicated based upon the number of pretrial hearings and/or the complexity of the issues presented.

AT THE DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT 1:

This case is hereby transferred and reassigned to the following Independent Calendar Court in THE CENTRAL DISTRICT, JUDGE HOLLY FUJIE presiding in DEPT. 56 of the STANLEY MOSK Courthouse, for all purposes except trial. Department 1 hereby delegates to the Independent Calendar Court the authority to assign the cause for trial to that Independent Calendar Court.

Any pending motions or hearings, including trial and status conferences, will be reset, continued or vacated at the direction of the newly assigned Independent Calendar court.

UPON RECEIPT OF THIS NOTICE, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF SHALL GIVE NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES OF RECORD.

COUNSEL ARE TO NOTE THAT EVEN IF THE CASE SUMMARY STILLS SHOWS DEPARTMENT 31 WITH FUTURE HEARINGS, COUNSEL ARE TO CONSIDER THEM TO BE OFF CALENDAR UNTIL THE NEW COURT SAYS OTHERWISE.

DATED: March 9, 2021 ___________________________

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: 20STCV02633    Hearing Date: February 19, 2021    Dept: 31


Case Number: 20STCV04047    Hearing Date: February 19, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SELVINE ARAMOVNA SARKISYAN,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MARIAM HAKOBYAN, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

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)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: 20STCV04047

[TENTATIVE] ORDER FINDING DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT MOOT

Dept. 31

3:30 p.m.

February 19, 2021

 

Defendant, Mariam Hakobyan (“Defendant”) filed the instant demurrer and motion to strike on 1/11/21. The demurrer and motion to strike are directed at Plaintiff’s original complaint, which Plaintiff filed on 1/31/20. On 2/05/21, Plaintiff filed the operative First Amended Complaint rendering the demurrer and motion to strike moot.

Therefore, the demurrer and motion to strike are moot and taken off-calendar.

Defendant is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

 

Dated this 19th day of February, 2021

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

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