This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/25/2022 at 13:10:36 (UTC).

LAZARO PEDROZA-GARCIA VS DOMINIC JOHN MESSIHA ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/26/2017 LAZARO PEDROZA-GARCIA filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against DOMINIC JOHN MESSIHA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MICHAEL E. WHITAKER and STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7457

  • Filing Date:

    04/26/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MICHAEL E. WHITAKER

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PEDROZA-GARCIA LAZARO

Defendants

HWANG YONG O.

MESSIHA DOMINIC JOHN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorney

SANDERS MARSHALL C. ESQ.

Defendant Attorneys

SULLIVAN PAUL F.

MARKARIAN LOUISA

Other Attorneys

SULLIVAN PAUL FRANCIS ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER)

6/5/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER)

Notice of Ruling

6/14/2019: Notice of Ruling

Motion to Continue Trial Date

7/11/2019: Motion to Continue Trial Date

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL)

8/6/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL)

Motion for Protective Order

9/9/2019: Motion for Protective Order

Declaration - DECLARATION IN RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

9/20/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION IN RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

9/20/2019: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Notice of Motion

10/17/2019: Notice of Motion

Substitution of Attorney

10/23/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

10/25/2019: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Objection to Application to be Relieved as Attorney on Completion of Limited Scope Representation

10/25/2019: Objection to Application to be Relieved as Attorney on Completion of Limited Scope Representation

Objection - OBJECTION MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

10/28/2019: Objection - OBJECTION MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

10/28/2019: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Motion for Protective Order

10/28/2019: Motion for Protective Order

Notice of Ruling

10/29/2019: Notice of Ruling

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL FOR ATTORNEY MARS...) OF 11/01/2019

11/1/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL FOR ATTORNEY MARS...) OF 11/01/2019

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL FOR ATTORNEY MARS...)

11/1/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL FOR ATTORNEY MARS...)

Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

11/1/2019: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

192 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 08/08/2022
  • Hearing08/08/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 07/25/2022
  • Hearing07/25/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 05/11/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/29/2022
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 04/29/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/29/2022
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Dominic John Messiha (Defendant)

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  • 04/27/2022
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 04/27/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/26/2022
  • DocketMotion in Limine (DEFENDANTS MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 2 TO EXCLUDE ANY REFERENCE TO INSURANCE ANDOR EXCHANGE INFORMATION); Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 04/26/2022
  • DocketMotion in Limine (DEFENDANTS MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 3 TO PREVENT PLAINTIFF OR PLAINTIFFS WITNESSES FROM PROVIDING ANY EXPERT TESTIMONY ANDOR PRECLUDE THE PLAINITFF FROM CALLING ANY EXPERT WITNESSES); Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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293 More Docket Entries
  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 07/19/2017
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Yong O. Hwang (Defendant)

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  • 04/26/2017
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 04/26/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/26/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****7457 Hearing Date: March 3, 2022 Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties are encouraged to meet and confer concerning this tentative ruling to determine if a resolution may be reached. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution and a party intends to submit on this tentative ruling, the party must send an email to the Court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating that party’s intention to submit. The email shall include the case number, date and time of the hearing, counsel’s contact information (if applicable), and the identity of the party submitting on this tentative ruling. If the Court does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may place the motion off calendar or adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court. If all parties do not submit on this tentative ruling, they should arrange to appear in-person or remotely (which is highly encouraged). Further, after the Court has posted/issued a tentative ruling, the Court has the inherent authority to prohibit the withdrawal of the subject motion and adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPT:

32

HEARING DATE:

March 3, 2022

CASE NUMBER:

****7457

MOTIONS:

Motion to Exclude Expert Witnesses

MOVING PARTIES:

Defendants Yong O. Hwang and Dominic John Messiha

OPPOSING PARTY:

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia

MOTION

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia sued Defendants Yong O. Hwang (“Hwang”) and Dominic John Messiha (“Messiha”) (collectively, “Defendants”) based on a motor vehicle collision. Defendants move separately and on independent grounds to exclude Plaintiff’s designated experts from presenting evidence at trial. Plaintiff opposes the motions.

Hwang objects to Plaintiff’s opposition as untimely, among other things. All papers opposing a motion must be filed with the court and a copy served on each party at least nine court days before the hearing. (Code Civ. Proc., 1005, subd. (b).) The Court notes Plaintiff filed his oppositions on February 18, 2022, or eight court days before the hearing. Plaintiff thus filed his oppositions one court day late. The Court further notes that despite the procedural deficiency, Defendants have nevertheless filed replies to Plaintiff’s oppositions with full briefing on the merits. The Court therefore finds Defendants will not be prejudiced by the Court’s consideration of Plaintiff’s oppositions, and exercises its discretion to do so. The Court overrules Hwang’s remaining procedural objections to Plaintiff’s oppositions.

ANALYSIS

Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.300 provides, in relevant part, “on objection of any party who has made a complete and timely compliance with Section 2034.260, the trial court shall exclude from evidence the expert opinion of any witness that is offered by any party who has unreasonably failed to do any of the following: (a) List that witness as an expert under Section 2034.260. (b) Submit an expert witness declaration ….” (Code Civ. Proc., 2034.300, subds. (a), (b).) Put simply, a court must exclude the expert opinion of any expert that a party “unreasonably failed” to designate.

In the interest of clarity, the Court sets forth the timeline of events preceding the motions as it understands them to be from the parties’ filings. On September 20, 2021, Messiha served a demand for exchange for expert witnesses on all parties, electronically. (Declaration of Paul F. Sullivan, Exhibit A.) Messiha noticed the parties’ exchange for October 12, 2021. Hwang subsequently served a demand for exchange for expert witnesses on all parties on September 22, 2021, electronically. (Declaration of Louisa Markarian, Exhibit A.) Defendants timely served their expert witness designations on all parties on October 12, 2021, electronically. Plaintiff timely served his designation of experts upon Messiha on October 12, 2021, electronically. (Declaration of Paul F. Sullivan, Exhibit B.) Plaintiff did not serve his designation of experts on Hwang on that date. Hwang disputes whether Plaintiff served his expert witness designation on Hwang on October 13, 2021, by electronic transmission.

Plaintiff’s October 12, 2021 expert witness designation listed twelve experts and failed to distinguish between retained and non-retained experts or provide any expert witness declarations as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.260, subdivision (c). (See Declaration of Paul F. Sullivan, Exhibit B.) Hwang served a subsequent demand for exchange of expert witnesses on all parties on November 9, 2021, electronically. (Opposition, Exhibit D.) Hwang noticed the exchange for February 3, 2022. Plaintiff served an amended designation of expert witnesses on all parties on February 3, 2022, electronically. (Reply of Messiha, Exhibit B.) Plaintiff thereafter served a second amended designation of expert witnesses on all parties on February 24, 2022, electronically. (Reply of Messiha, Exhibit B.)

Once a party serves a demand for exchange of expert witness information, all parties are obligated to exchange information concerning their expert trial witnesses mutually and simultaneously. (Code Civ. Proc., 2034.210, subd. (a).) Thus, to the extent Hwang served a second demand for an exchange of expert witness information for February 3, 2022, the Court finds Messiha’s September 20, 2021 demand for exchange of expert witness information to be the operative demand that obligated all parties to exchange their expert witness information on October 12, 2021.

  1. MESSIHA

Messiha moves to exclude Plaintiff’s proposed expert witnesses from producing evidence at trial for Plaintiff’s unreasonably failure to comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.260, subdivision (c). That section provides as follows:

“If a witness on the list is an expert as described in subdivision (b) of Section 2034.230, the exchange shall also include or be accompanied by an expert witness declaration signed only by the attorney for the party designating the expert, or by that party if that party has no attorney. This declaration shall be under penalty of perjury and shall contain all of the following:

(1) A brief narrative statement of the qualifications of each expert.

(2) A brief narrative statement of the general substance of the testimony that the expert is expected to give.

(3) A representation that the expert has agreed to testify at the trial.

(4) A representation that the expert will be sufficiently familiar with the pending action to submit to a meaningful oral deposition concerning the specific testimony, including an opinion and its basis, that the expert is expected to give at trial.

(5) A statement of the expert's hourly and daily fee for providing deposition testimony and for consulting with the retaining attorney.”

(Code Civ. Proc., 2034.260, subdivision (c).) The Court finds Plaintiff’s October 12, 2021 expert witness designation fails to comply with these requirements. Plaintiff does not offer any argument or explanation as to why he did not include the required declarations. Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiff has unreasonably failed to submit any expert witness declarations as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.260, subdivision (c).

  1. HWANG

Hwang moves to exclude Plaintiff’s proposed expert witnesses from producing evidence at trial for Plaintiff’s unreasonable failure to timely exchange his expert witness designation. According to counsel for Hwang, Louisa Markarian (“Markarian”), Hwang sent a meet and confer letter to Plaintiff on October 14, 2021, informing Plaintiff that Hwang had not received Plaintiff’s expert witness designation, and requesting a copy of such designation with proof of timely service if any such designation had, in fact, been timely served. (Declaration of Louisa Markarian, 5.) Markarian states that, as of the filing date of the motion, Plaintiff has not responded to the meet and confer letter. (Declaration of Louisa Markarian, 6.)

In opposition,[1] Plaintiff states he has not responded to the meet and confer because (1) it was sent to him via electronic transmission and he is a self-represented litigant who has not consented to service by electronic means, and (2) Markarian responded to Plaintiff’s October 13, 2021 email to Markarian which provided Plaintiff’s expert witness designation. (See Opposition, Exhibit C.)[2]

First, the Court notes that no express consent is required from Plaintiff to receive communications from other parties, such as meet and confer efforts. Such communications are not subject to the service requirements as contemplated by California Rules of Court, rule 2.251, just as Plaintiff would not be required to file notice of express consent to receive communications from Hwang by telephone. Second, the Court finds Exhibit C to Plaintiff’s opposition offered by Plaintiff as proof of Markarian’s receipt of Plaintiff’s expert witness designation fails to establish what Plaintiff purports. The Court finds Plaintiff does not otherwise offer argument or explanation as to why Plaintiff did not timely serve his expert witness designation on Hwang on October 12, 2021. Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiff has unreasonably failed to timely designate his expert witnesses.

To the extent Plaintiff contends any deficiencies noted by Hwang and Messiha have been cured by Plaintiff’s subsequent service of his amended expert witness designations, the Court finds those amended expert witness designations to be invalid. Plaintiff must first seek leave of Court to amend his expert witness designation under Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.610.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Therefore, the Court grants Defendants’ respective motions per Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.300, and orders that Plaintiff is precluded from presenting any expert related evidence including expert witness testimony and reports at the time of trial.

Defendants shall give notice of the Court’s rulings, and file proofs of service of such.


[1] Plaintiff claims that the Court ordered all discovery closed as of September 20, 2021. Plaintiff is correct in noting that the September 20, 2021 minute order states that “all discovery remains closed.” But that statement does not accurately reflect the Court’s ruling of September 20, 2021. Consequently, the Court has corrected the September 20, 2021 minute order to reflect the Court’s ruling that “Non-expert discovery remains closed. Expert discovery and the pre-trial motion cut off dates shall be associated with the new trial date.”

[2] As to the second point, the Court finds Plaintiff’s contention and Exhibit C to be specious at best.



Case Number: ****7457 Hearing Date: January 21, 2022 Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties are encouraged to meet and confer concerning this tentative ruling to determine if a resolution may be reached. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution and a party intends to submit on this tentative ruling, the party must send an email to the Court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating that party’s intention to submit. The email shall include the case number, date and time of the hearing, counsel’s contact information (if applicable), and the identity of the party submitting on this tentative ruling. If the Court does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may place the motion off calendar. If all parties do not submit on this tentative ruling, they should arrange to appear in-person or remotely (which is highly encouraged). Further, after the Court has posted/issued a tentative ruling, the Court has the inherent authority to prohibit the withdrawal of the subject motion and adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

December 16, 2021 – Continued to January 21, 2022

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTIONS

Motions to Compel Discovery Responses; Request for Monetary Sanctions

MOVING PARTIES

Defendants Yong Hwang and Dominic John Messiha

OPPOSING PARTY

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia

MOTION

Defendants Yong Hwang (“Hwang”) and Dominic John Messiha (“Messiha”) (collectively, “Defendants”) move separately to compel responses from Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia to certain discovery requests Defendants propounded on Plaintiff.

Hwang moves to compel Plaintiff’s responses to: (1) Special Interrogatories, set two (“SROG); (2) Supplemental Interrogatories, set one (“Supp. ROG”); (3) Request for Production of Documents, set two (“RPD”); and (4) Supplemental Request for Production, set one (“Supp. RPD”). Messiha moves to compel Plaintiff’s responses to: (1) Supplemental Interrogatory, set two (“Supp. ROG2”) and (2) Supplemental Demand for Production, set two (“Supp. RPD2”). Defendants seeks monetary sanctions.

Plaintiff opposes the motions.

ANALYSIS

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.290, subdivision (a), “[i]f a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response . . . [t]he party to whom the interrogatories are directed waives any right to exercise the option to produce writings under Section 2030.230, as well as any objection to the interrogatories, including one based on privilege or the protection for work product[.]” (Code Civ. Proc., 2030.290, subd. (a).)

Similarly, under Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.300, subdivision (a), “[i]f a party to whom a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling is directed fails to serve a timely response to it . . . [t]he party to whom the demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling is directed waives any objection to the demand, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product[.]” (Code Civ. Proc., 2031.300, subd. (a).)

Hwang served the SROG, Supp. ROG, RPD, and Supp. RPD on Plaintiff on July 19, 2021, electronically. Plaintiff’s responses to Hwang’s discovery requests were thus due by August 20, 2021.

Messiha served the Supp. ROG2 and Supp. RPD2 on Plaintiff on July 7, 2021, electronically. Plaintiff’s responses to Messiha’s discovery requests were thus due by August 10, 2021. As of the filing date of the motions, Defendants have not received responses from Plaintiff. Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiff has failed to serve timely responses to the SROG, Supp. ROG, RPD, Supp. RPD, Supp. ROG2, and Supp. RPD2.

In opposition, Plaintiff argues he did not receive service of Messiha’s discovery requests on July 7, 2021, as the proofs of service indicate. Plaintiff further objects to Messiha’s motions for Messiha’s failure to serve them on Plaintiff’s “limited scope” counsel, Robert K. Kent (“Kent”). The proofs of service filed in connection with Messiha’s motions indicate service upon Kent by electronic transmission on November 16, 2021. But Plaintiff does not advance competent evidence demonstrating Kent did not receive notice of the motions or that service upon Kent was improper. The Court notes it previously continued the hearing on the motions to permit Defendants an opportunity to respond to Plaintiff’s untimely opposition, as well as permit Plaintiff an opportunity to file the attachments referenced, but not included in, the opposition. Plaintiff has not filed those attachments. Accordingly, the Court overrules Plaintiff’s objections to the service of Messiha’s discovery requests and motions.

Defendants request monetary sanctions in connection with the motions. The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the subject discovery requests to be an abuse of the discovery process, warranting monetary sanctions. (See Code Civ. Proc., 2023.010, subd. (d); 2030.290, subd. (c); 2031.300, subd. (c), and 2033.280, subd. (c).) Thus, the Court will impose monetary sanctions against Plaintiff as follows: (1) to Hwang in the amount of $1,440, which represents six hours of attorney time to prepare the motions and replies, and attend the hearing at $200 per hour, plus the filing fees at $60 per motion; and (2) to Messiha in the amount of $820, which represents four hours of attorney time to prepare the motions and replies, and attend the hearing at $175 per hour, plus the filing fees at $60 per motion.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Therefore, the Court grants Defendants’ motions to compel Plaintiff’s responses to the SROG, Supp. ROG, RPD, Supp. RPD, Supp. ROG2, and Supp. RPD2 per Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.290 and 2031.300, and orders Plaintiff to serve verified responses to the SROG, Supp. ROG, RPD, Supp. RPD, Supp. ROG2, and Supp. RPD2, without objections, within 30 days of notice of the Court’s orders.

Further, the Court orders Plaintiff to pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $1,440 to Hwang, by and through counsel for Hwang, and $820 to Messiha, by and through counsel for Messiha, within 30 days of notice of the Court’s orders.

Defendants shall provide notice of the Court’s orders and file a proof of service of such.



Case Number: ****7457 Hearing Date: January 18, 2022 Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties are encouraged to meet and confer concerning this tentative ruling to determine if a resolution may be reached. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution and a party intends to submit on this tentative ruling, the party must send an email to the Court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating that party’s intention to submit. The email shall include the case number, date and time of the hearing, counsel’s contact information (if applicable), and the identity of the party submitting on this tentative ruling. If the Court does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may place the motion off calendar. If all parties do not submit on this tentative ruling, they should arrange to appear in-person or remotely (which is highly encouraged). Further, after the Court has posted/issued a tentative ruling, the Court has the inherent authority to prohibit the withdrawal of the subject motion and adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

January 18, 2022

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTION

Motion to Exclude Expert

MOVING PARTY

Defendant Yong Hwang

OPPOSING PARTY

None

Defendant Yong Hwang moves to exclude any expert evidence proffered at trial by Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia based on Plaintiff’s failure to respond to Defendant’s demand for exchange of expert witness information. Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion.

Defendant’s proof of service filed in connection with the motion is defective for two reasons. First, it is unclear from the proof of service which documents Defendant purports to have served on Plaintiff.

Second, the proof of service indicates Defendant served notice of the motion on Plaintiff by electronic transmission on November 2, 2021. Plaintiff is a self-represented litigant. Self-represented parties must affirmatively consent to electronic service by serving and filing a notice so stating. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.251, subd. (c)(3)(B).) Absent such affirmative consent, self-represented parties must be served with documents by nonelectronic means. (Code Civ. Proc., 1010.6, subd. (d)(4), 1011, subd. (b); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.253, subd. (b)(2)-(3).) The Court finds that Plaintiff has not filed and served a notice affirmatively consenting to electronic service. Accordingly, the Court finds Defendant’s service by electronic transmission on November 2, 2021, to be procedurally deficient per Code of Civil Procedure section 1011, subdivision (b).

The Court therefore denies Defendant’s motion as procedurally defective. Defendant shall provide notice of the Court’s ruling and file a proof of service of such.



b'

Case Number: ****7457 Hearing Date: December 16, 2021 Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties are encouraged to meet and confer concerning this tentative ruling to determine if a resolution may be reached. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution and a party intends to submit on this tentative ruling, the party must send an email to the Court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating that party’s intention to submit. The email shall include the case number, date and time of the hearing, counsel’s contact information (if applicable), and the identity of the party submitting on this tentative ruling. If the Court does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may place the motion off calendar. If all parties do not submit on this tentative ruling, they should arrange to appear in-person or remotely (which is highly encouraged). Further, after the Court has posted/issued a tentative ruling, the Court has the inherent authority to prohibit the withdrawal of the subject motion and adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

December 16, 2021

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTIONS

Motions to Compel Discovery Responses; Request for Monetary Sanctions

MOVING PARTIES

Defendants Yong Hwang and Dominic John Messiha

OPPOSING PARTY

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia

Defendants Yong Hwang (“Hwang”) and Dominic John Messiha (“Messiha”) (collectively, “Defendants”) move separately to compel responses from Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia to: (1) Request for Production of Documents, set two (“RPD”); (2) Supplemental Request Production of Documents, set one (“Supp. RPD”); (3) Special Interrogatories, set two (“SROG);

Supplemental Interrogatories, set one (“Supp ROG”); (4) Supplemental Demand for Production, set two (“Supp. RPD2”); and (5) Supplemental Interrogatory, set two (“Supp. ROG2”). Defendant seeks monetary sanctions in connection with the motions. Plaintiff opposes the motions.

The Court notes Plaintiff filed his opposition on December 7, 2021, or 7 court days before the hearing on the motions. Per Code of Civil Procedure section 1005, subdivision (b), Plaintiff was required to file and serve the opposition no less than 9 court days before the hearing on the motions. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 1005, subd. (b).) The Court therefore finds Plaintiff’s opposition to be untimely.

Defendants object to Plaintiff’s opposition for failure to comply with California Rules of Court, rule 3.1113. But the Court further finds Plaintiff’s opposition to be in substantial compliance with California Rules of Court, rule 3.113, and overrules Defendants’ objection on that basis.

Notwithstanding, as Defendants have not filed replies addressing the merits of Plaintiff’s opposition, the Court continues the hearing on the motions to permit Defendants a full and fair opportunity to respond to Plaintiff’s opposition. The Court also notes Plaintiff failed to include the exhibits referenced in his opposition.

Therefore, the Court continues the hearing on Defendants’ motions to January 21, 2022, at 1:30 P.M. in Department 32 at Spring Street Courthouse. Plaintiff shall file and serve an amended opposition to include the missing exhibits referenced in Plaintiff’s opposition on or before December 30, 2021. Defendants shall file and serve replies, if any, on or before January 12, 2022.

Defendants shall provide notice of the Court’s orders and file a proof of service of such.

'


Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: May 17, 2021    Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept32@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 in-person or remotely.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

May 17, 2021

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTION

Motion for Terminating Sanctions

MOVING PARTY

Defendant Dominic John Messiha

OPPOSING PARTY

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia

MOTION

Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) moves to dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garica (“Plaintiff”) as a terminating sanction. In the alternative, Defendant seeks monetary sanctions.

ANALYSIS

The court has discretion to impose terminating sanction when a party willfully disobeys a discovery order. (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 2023.010, subd. (g), 2030.290, subd. (c).) The court may impose a terminating sanction by striking a party’s pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2023.030, subd. (d)(1).)

In its order of January 14, 2021, the Court ordered Plaintiff to submit to a medical examination on February 17, 2021. (See January 14, 2021 Minute Order.) On that date, Plaintiff appeared for the examination with his wife, Lauren Swerdloff, M.D. (“Swerdloff”). However, in its order of March 20, 2020, the Court entered a protective order, precluding Swerdoff from attending Plaintiff’s medical examination. (See March 20, 2020 Minute Order.) Further, Plaintiff represented that he was not feeling well, and would undergo a test for COVID-19. When Defendant inquired about Plaintiff’s COVID-19 test, Plaintiff produced an order for a test from Swerdloff, but no results. (Declaration of Elizabeth Villarreal, Exhibit P.) To date, Plaintiff has not appeared for a medical examination. Plaintiff has disobeyed this Court’s order of January 14, 2021.

In opposition, Plaintiff advances his own declaration. In it, Plaintiff states that he was exposed to COVID-19 via a friend, and was running a fever at the time of the examination. Plaintiff advances test results, which show that he took a test for the virus on February 18, 2021, the day after Plaintiff was supposed to appear for the examination. (Declaration of Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia, Exhibit 1.)

It is clear from the evidence before the Court that Plaintiff violated the Court’s order of January 14, 2021. Nonetheless, it is not clear that Plaintiff’s violation was willful, as Plaintiff apparently had symptoms of COVID-19 on the date of this examination. As such, the Court continues the matter to June 11, 2021 at 1:30 P.M. to provide Plaintiff with an opportunity to comply with this Court’s order and submit to a medical examination. The parties are to meet and confer regarding a suitable date for Plaintiff’s examination prior to that date. The Court gives notice that if Plaintiff again fails to appear for a medical examination prior to the continued hearing date, the Court may impose terminating and/or monetary sanctions.

Defendant is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: April 15, 2021    Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept32@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 in-person or remotely.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

April 15, 2021

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTION

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

MOVING PARTY

Attorney David R. Olan of Olan Law Corporation

OPPOSING PARTY

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia

MOTION

Attorney David R. Olan of Olan Law Corporation (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”). Plaintiff opposes the motion.

ANALYSIS

Counsel has filed forms MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 as required. (Cal Rules of Court, rule 3.1362.) The basis for this motion is that the relationship between Plaintiff and Counsel has broken down This is a proper basis for withdrawal. Further, while Plaintiff purports to oppose the motion, Plaintiff states in his opposition that he does not want Counsel to represent him in this matter. (See Declaration of Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia, ¶ 12.) The Court therefore grants the motion.

Counsel should note that Counsel will remain attorney of record until Counsel files with the Court proof of service of the signed order on Plaintiff. Counsel must serve a copy of the signed order (form MC-053) on Plaintiff within 10 days of the hearing on the motion.



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: April 1, 2021    Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept32@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 in-person or remotely.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

April 1, 2021

CASE NUMBER

****7457

MOTION

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

MOVING PARTY

Attorney David R. Olan

OPPOSING PARTY

None

MOTION

Attorney David R. Olan of Olan Law Corporation (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”).

ANALYSIS

Counsel has filed forms MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 as required. (Cal Rules of Court, rule 3.1362.) The basis for this motion is difficulties in the relationship between Plaintiff and Counsel. This is a proper basis for withdrawal. However, Counsel has not filed proof of service of the motion on Plaintiff. As such, the Court denies the motion without prejudice.

Counsel is to give notice, and file proof of service of such.



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: January 14, 2021    Dept: 32

 

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 32

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominc john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: January 14, 2021

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion for terminating sanctions

Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) moves to dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”) as a terminating sanction over his failure to attend a medical examination. Defendant also seeks issue or evidentiary sanctions over this issue. However, Defendant does not identify any Court order that Plaintiff violated. The Court never ordered Plaintiff to attend a medical examination but rather issued a protective order precluding his wife from attending the examination. Defendant never sought an order compelling Plaintiff to attend a medical examination, so Defendant has no basis to seek sanctions at this point.

In the alternative, Defendant moves for an order compelling Plaintiff to attend a medical examination. A defendant is entitled to one physical examination of the plaintiff in a personal injury action on demand. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.220, subd. (a).) In this case, Plaintiff has repeatedly failed to attend duly noticed medical examinations. Defendant noticed a medical examination for October 16, 2019. (Declaration of Paul F. Sullivan, ¶ 3.) The examination was re-noticed for December 18, 2019, and then for February 18, 2020. (Id., ¶ 8.) After the Court granted the protective order on March 20, 2020, Defendant re-noticed the examination for July 15, 2020. (Id., ¶ 10.)

On July 13, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel indicated that she never received the notice and the examination could not go forward because “the city has been shut down again.” (Id., Exh. H.) Defendant had to re-notice the examination for October 1, 2020. (Id., ¶ 12.) Shortly before the examination, Plaintiff’s counsel notified Defendant’s counsel that the examination needed to be rescheduled due to Plaintiff being “unreachable.” (Id., ¶ 13.) Based upon the foregoing, Defendant repeatedly noticed the examination of Plaintiff, but Plaintiff has not yet submitted to the examination. Therefore, the motion is granted.

Defendant seeks sanctions against Plaintiff. The Court finds that Plaintiff’s failure to submit to an independent medical examination was an abuse of the discovery process and imposes monetary sanctions. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.410.) The Court orders Plaintiff to pay Defendant sanctions in the amount of $2,261.25, which the Court finds fair and reasonable in consideration of the record.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion for terminating sanctions is denied. Defendant’s motion for issue and evidentiary sanctions is denied. Defendant’s motion to compel a medical examination is granted. Plaintiff shall appear for a medical examination within thirty (30) days of notice of this order unless the parties stipulate to a different date. Plaintiff (but not Plaintiff’s counsel) shall pay sanctions in the amount of $2,261.25 within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

DATED: January 14, 2021 ___________________________

Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: March 12, 2020    Dept: 32

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 32

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: March 12, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) following a motor vehicle collision. Defendant moves for a protective order to preclude Plaintiff’s wife, Lauren Swerdloff, M.D. (“Swerdloff”) from attending Plaintiff’s independent medical examination. The Court continued the hearing so Plaintiff could file an opposition. Now, the Court denies the motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

“The attorney for the examinee or for a party producing the examinee, or that attorney’s representative, shall be permitted to attend and observe any physical examination conducted for discovery purposes, and to record stenographically or by audio technology any words spoken to or by the examinee during any phase of the examination.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2032.510, subd. (a).) The observer “shall not participate in or disrupt” the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (b).) If the observer participates in or disrupts the examination, the party that requested the examination may seek a protective order. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (e).)

DISCUSSION

Code of Civil Procedure section 2032.510 authorizes “[t]he attorney for the examinee . . . or that attorney’s representative shall be permitted to attend and observe any physical examination conducted for discovery purposes, and to record stenographically or by audio technology any words spoken to or by the examinee during any phase of the examination.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2032.510.) Plaintiff’s counsel has selected Plaintiff’s wife, Dr. Lauren Swedloff, who is a medical doctor, as his observer.

Defendant focuses on two issues. First, Defendant argues that Dr. Lauren Swedloff is Plaintiff’s treating physician, and it would be inappropriate to have a trial witness act as an observer. The Code of Civil Procedure does not limit the selection of an observer, and Dr. Swedloff is a medical professional. The Court is not concerned that observing the examination would influence Dr. Swedloff’s testimony because she would have access to the defense expert’s report and opinions anyway through discovery. Nor is the Court concerned that Dr. Swedloff might provide opinion testimony at trial based upon her observations of the defense medical examination. The Court is not aware of any authority prohibiting any observer from being designated as an expert and testifying that the defense medical expert did not conduct the examination correctly. In that sense, Dr. Swedloff occupies the same shoes as any observer.

Second, Defendant argues that Dr. Swedloff has been disruptive in the past, specifically, at a vehicle inspection. A medical examination is different from a vehicle inspection. The Code of Civil Procedure states that a medical observer may “attend and observe.” It does not permit the medical observer to communicate or play an active role in the examination. Provided Dr. Swedloff respects her role and does not communicate with, or interrupt, the defense medical examiner, she may serve as an observer.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Based upon the foregoing, Defendant’s motion is denied. Defendant shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

DATED: March 12, 2020 ___________________________

Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: February 07, 2020    Dept: 32

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 32

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: February 7, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

NOTICE

This motion will be heard on Friday, February 7, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. (and not 1:30 p.m.)

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”) filed this action againt Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) following a motor vehicle collision. Defendant moves for a protective order to preclude Plaintiff’s wife, Lauren Swerdloff, M.D. (“Swerdloff”) from attending Plaintiff’s independent medical examination. Plaintiff has not opposed the motion, which is granted.

LEGAL STANDARD

“The attorney for the examinee or for a party producing the examinee, or that attorney’s representative, shall be permitted to attend and observe any physical examination conducted for discovery purposes, and to record stenographically or by audio technology any words spoken to or by the examinee during any phase of the examination.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 2032.510, subd. (a).) The observer “shall not participate in or disrupt” the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (b).) If the observer participates in or disrupts the examination, the party that requested the examination may seek a protective order. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (e).)

DISCUSSION

The Court granted Plaintiff’s counsel’s motion to be relieved on November 1, 2019, and there is no indication that Plaintiff has retained new counsel. Because Plaintiff is self-represented, he is not entitled to have a representative present. Section 2032.510 only authorizes the attorney or the attorney’s representative to attend. Not only is the plain language of the statute clear, the intent supports the Court’s interpretation. The purpose of the statute is to permit the individual prosecuting the case to observe the examination for benefit at trial. In the case of a self-represented party, the person prosecuting the case (Plaintiff) will be present. Therefore, Plaintiff is not entitled to have a representative. Should Plaintiff retain counsel before the examination, the Court would reconsider this issue.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion for protective order is granted. Defendant is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.

DATED: February 7, 2020 ___________________________

Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: November 01, 2019    Dept: 5

 

ORDER #1 of 2

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: October 31, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) following a motor vehicle collision. Defendant moves for a protective order to preclude Plaintiff’s wife, Lauren Swerdloff, M.D. (“Swerdloff”) from attending Plaintiff’s independent medical examination. The motion is continued.

LEGAL STANDARD

A party who submits to an independent medical examination is entitled to have the party’s attorney, or a representative of the party’s attorney, attend the examination to observe and record the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (a).) The observer “shall not participate in or disrupt” the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (b).) If the observer participates in or disrupts the examination, the party that requested the examination may seek a protective order. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (e).)

DISCUSSION

The Court must continue the hearing on this motion because Plaintiff’s counsel is moving to be relieved. Although the Court issued a tentative order granting the motion, Plaintiff’s counsel will remain as counsel-of-record until the Court signs the order and counsel serves the order on all parties. In the interim, Plaintiff (not Plaintiff’s counsel) has filed an opposition to the pending motion, even though he is not yet a self-represented party. Therefore, the Court continues the hearing on this motion to afford Plaintiff an opportunity to hire new counsel or prepare to act as a self-represented litigant. Regardless whether Plaintiff retains new counsel or acts as a self-represented party, he may file a supplemental opposition, and Defendant may file a reply brief, within statutory time periods.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion for a protective order is continued to January 3, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. Plaintiff’s counsel shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

 

ORDER #2 of 2

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: October 31, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion to be relieved as counsel

Attorney Marshall C. Sanders (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”).  The motion is granted.

Counsel has filed forms MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 as required.  (Cal Rules of Court, rule 3.1362.) The basis for this motion is a breakdown in the relationship between Counsel and Plaintiff. This is a proper basis for withdrawal.  Accordingly, the motion is granted.

Counsel should note that the order will become effective upon the filing of proof of service of a signed copy of the orders on Plaintiff.  Counsel will remain the attorney of record until Counsel files with the court proof of service of the signed order.



Case Number: ****7457    Hearing Date: October 31, 2019    Dept: 5

The hearings on the motions in Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia v. Dominic John Messiha are continued from October 31, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. to November 1, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.  The Court posts these tentative orders in advance of the hearing. 

 

ORDER #1 of 2

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: October 31, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion to be relieved as counsel

Attorney Marshall C. Sanders (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”).  The motion is granted.

Counsel has filed forms MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 as required.  (Cal Rules of Court, rule 3.1362.) The basis for this motion is a breakdown in the relationship between Counsel and Plaintiff. This is a proper basis for withdrawal.  Accordingly, the motion is granted.

Counsel should note that the order will become effective upon the filing of proof of service of a signed copy of the orders on Plaintiff.  Counsel will remain the attorney of record until Counsel files with the court proof of service of the signed order.

ORDER #2 of 2

lazaro pedroza-garcia,

Plaintiff,

v.

dominic john messiha, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****7457

Hearing Date: October 31, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lazaro Pedroza-Garcia (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Dominic John Messiha (“Defendant”) following a motor vehicle collision. Defendant moves for a protective order to preclude Plaintiff’s wife, Lauren Swerdloff, M.D. (“Swerdloff”) from attending Plaintiff’s independent medical examination. The motion is continued.

LEGAL STANDARD

A party who submits to an independent medical examination is entitled to have the party’s attorney, or a representative of the party’s attorney, attend the examination to observe and record the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (a).) The observer “shall not participate in or disrupt” the examination. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (b).) If the observer participates in or disrupts the examination, the party that requested the examination may seek a protective order. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2032.510, subd. (e).)

DISCUSSION

The Court must continue the hearing on this motion because Plaintiff’s counsel is moving to be relieved. Although the Court issued a tentative order granting the motion, Plaintiff’s counsel will remain as counsel-of-record until the Court signs the order and counsel serves the order on all parties. In the interim, Plaintiff (not Plaintiff’s counsel) has filed an opposition to the pending motion, even though he is not yet a self-represented party. Therefore, the Court continues the hearing on this motion to afford Plaintiff an opportunity to hire new counsel or prepare to act as a self-represented litigant. Regardless whether Plaintiff retains new counsel or acts as a self-represented party, he may file a supplemental opposition, and Defendant may file a reply brief, within statutory time periods.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion for a protective order is continued to January 3, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. Plaintiff’s counsel shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.



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