This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/01/2023 at 04:17:28 (UTC).

MARGARITA BARRIOS VS JOSE MERCADO, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 07/22/2019 MARGARITA BARRIOS filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against JOSE MERCADO,. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are THOMAS D. LONG and AUDRA MORI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5310

  • Filing Date:

    07/22/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

THOMAS D. LONG

AUDRA MORI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BARRIOS MARGARITA

Defendants

WEST CENTRAL PRODUCE INC.

MERCADO JOSE AKA JOSE ESQUIVAL MERCADO

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

KINGSTON PAUL ALEXANDER

Defendant Attorneys

STARINIERI TERESA M.

DOTY EMILY KATE

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT) OF 12/05/2022

12/5/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT) OF 12/05/2022

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT)

12/5/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT)

Notice of Settlement

12/5/2022: Notice of Settlement

Notice of Rejection Of Electronic Filing

6/6/2022: Notice of Rejection Of Electronic Filing

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [NOTICE OF REJECTION OF ELECTRONIC FILING]

7/6/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [NOTICE OF REJECTION OF ELECTRONIC FILING]

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DUE TO DEFENSE COUNSELS MATERNITY LEAVE

7/8/2022: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DUE TO DEFENSE COUNSELS MATERNITY LEAVE

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DUE TO DEFE...)

7/12/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DUE TO DEFE...)

Notice of Change of Firm Name

1/13/2022: Notice of Change of Firm Name

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CHANGE OF EMAIL ADDRESS

2/2/2021: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CHANGE OF EMAIL ADDRESS

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DISMISS

1/11/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DISMISS

Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF DISCOVERY ORDERS, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR EVIDENTIARY SANCTIONS; DECLARATION OF EMILY K. DOTY

1/12/2021: Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF DISCOVERY ORDERS, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR EVIDENTIARY SANCTIONS; DECLARATION OF EMILY K. DOTY

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO DISMISS; TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)

1/19/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO DISMISS; TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO DISMISS; TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE) OF 01/19/2021

1/19/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO DISMISS; TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE) OF 01/19/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

1/7/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

Motion to Dismiss

8/27/2020: Motion to Dismiss

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

6/24/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES; HEAR...)

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM

6/26/2020: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM

Notice of Ruling

6/29/2020: Notice of Ruling

26 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/27/2023
  • Hearing06/27/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff); Vacate Future Dates: No; Settlement Type: Unconditional; Set Hearing and Generate Notice?: No

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 06/27/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 31

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order Re: Notice of Settlement)

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Notice of Settlement) of 12/05/2022; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Final Status Conference scheduled for 12/08/2022 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 31 Not Held - Advanced and Vacated on 12/05/2022

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  • 12/05/2022
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Jury Trial scheduled for 12/22/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 31 Not Held - Advanced and Vacated on 12/05/2022

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  • 07/12/2022
  • DocketUpdated -- Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial due to Defense Counsels Maternity Leave: Filed By: Jose Mercado (Defendant),West Central Produce, Inc. (Defendant); Result: Granted; Result Date: 07/12/2022

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  • 07/12/2022
  • DocketFinal Status Conference scheduled for 12/08/2022 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 31

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  • 07/12/2022
  • DocketJury Trial scheduled for 12/22/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 31

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65 More Docket Entries
  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketFinal Status Conference scheduled for 01/04/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 3 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 01/18/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal scheduled for 07/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff); As to: Jose Mercado (Defendant); West Central Produce, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff); As to: Jose Mercado (Defendant); West Central Produce, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff); As to: Jose Mercado (Defendant); West Central Produce, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/22/2019
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Margarita Barrios (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******5310    Hearing Date: January 19, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MARGARITA BARRIOS,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

JOSE MERCADO, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: *******5310

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF DISCOVERY ORDERS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR EVIDENTIARY SANCTIONS

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

January 19, 2021

  1. Background

    Plaintiff Margarita Barrios (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants, Jose Mercado and West Central Produce, Inc. (collectively, “Defendants”) for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident.

    On 1/28/20, Defendants filed motions to compel responses to form interrogatories, special interrogatories, and request for production of documents with the noticed hearing date set for 3/25/20. However, Based on current conditions, including, but not limited to, the spread of COVID-19, the motions to compel were ultimately continued to 6/24/20. (Min. Orders 3/20/20 and 4/15/20.) Both the 3/20/20 and 4/25/20 Minute Orders concerning the continuances ordered the moving party, Defendants, to give notice. (Ibid.) The motions were heard on heard on 6/24/20, where the motions were granted and Plaintiff ordered to serve verified responses to form interrogatories, special interrogatories, and RPDs, without objections, within ten days. (Min. Order 6/24/20.) In addition, sanctions of $740 were imposed against Plaintiff, and Plaintiff was ordered to pay the sanctions within 20 days. (Ibid.) On 6/26/20, Defendants filed and served Notice of Ruling on Defendants’ Motion to Compel on Plaintiff.

    Defendants now move for terminating sanctions against Plaintiff for Plaintiff’s violation of the 6/24/20 Order. Plaintiff opposes the motion, and Defendants filed a reply.

  2. Motion for Terminating Sanctions

  1. Parties’ Positions

    Defendants contend Plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed with prejudice because of Plaintiff’s violation of the court’s 6/24/20 Order. Defendants assert Plaintiff has not complied with any part of the Order, which has severely prejudiced Defendants by precluding Defendants from obtaining basic information regarding Plaintiff’s damages claims. Alternatively, Defendants contend evidentiary sanctions should be ordered, including, excluding evidence of any medical bills or income loss claimed as damages.

    In opposition, Plaintiff asserts her counsel fell behind on discovery matters because of serious health concerns. Moreover, Plaintiff asserts that after the subject motions to compel were continued from their original hearing date of 3/25/20, and ordered Defendants’ counsel to give notice, Plaintiff did not get notice of the continued hearing date. When the court granted the motions on 6/24/20, Plaintiff asserts she did not have notice of the hearing date. Plaintiff further contends she only received an electronic copy of the instant motion to an improper email address but was never served through mail. Plaintiff avers that she only learned of the 6/24/20 Order and prior continuances after her counsel checked the court’s records in anticipation of the Final Status Conference set for 1/7/21.

    In reply, Defendants contend, first, Plaintiff’s opposition is untimely. Second, Defendants contends that pursuant to Emergency Rule 12, they properly called Plaintiff’s counsel to ask for an email address to serve Plaintiff with the 6/24/20 Order Notice of Ruling. Third, Defendants assert they properly served the instant motion on Plaintiff through electronic service. Fourth, Defendants state they do not have copies of the minute orders continuing the motions to compel, and Defendants learned of the continuances when preparing for the hearings. Finally, Defendants contend Plaintiff must comply with the court’s 6/24/20 Order.

  2. Untimeliness of Opposition

    Plaintiff filed her opposition to the motion on 1/11/21. However, nine court days before this hearing, which is when any opposition was due, was 1/5/21. The opposition is thus untimely. Nonetheless, Defendants do not identify any prejudice suffered by the untimely opposition nor contend they did not have sufficient time to respond in their reply. Therefore, the court exercises its discretion in considering the opposition.

  3. Analysis

    Code of Civil Procedure ; 2023.030 gives the court the discretion to impose sanctions against anyone engaging in a misuse of the discovery process. A court may impose terminating sanctions by striking pleadings of the party engaged in misuse of discovery or entering default judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2023.030(d).) A violation of a discovery order is sufficient for the imposition of terminating sanctions. (Collison & Kaplan v. Hartunian (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1611, 1620.) Terminating sanctions are appropriate when a party persists in disobeying the court's orders. (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 795-796.)

    A terminating sanction is a "drastic measure which should be employed with caution." (Deyo, 84 Cal.App.3d at 793.) "A decision to order terminating sanctions should not be made lightly. But where a violation is willful, preceded by a history of abuse, and the evidence shows that less severe sanctions would not produce compliance with the discovery rules, the trial court is justified in imposing the ultimate sanction." (Mileikowsky v. Tenet Healthsystem (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 262, 279-280.) While the court has discretion to impose terminating sanctions, these sanctions "should be appropriate to the dereliction and should not exceed that which is required to protect the interests of the party entitled to but denied discovery." (Deyo, 84 Cal.App.3d at 793.) "[A] court is empowered to apply the ultimate sanction against a litigant who persists in the outright refusal to comply with his discovery obligations." (Ibid.) Discovery sanctions are not to be imposed for punishment, but instead are used to encourage fair disclosure of discovery to prevent unfairness resulting for the lack of information. (See Midwife v. Bernal (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 57, 64 [superseded on other grounds as stated in Kohan v. Cohan (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 967, 971].)

    Here, Defendants, in their reply, admit they did not give notice of the 6/24/20 hearing date as ordered. Consequently, the court finds Plaintiff did not have notice of the 6/24/20 hearing where the motions to compel were granted. Although it appears Plaintiff may have received notice of the ruling after the hearing, Plaintiff did not have notice of the hearing or an opportunity to contest the motions. Given these facts, the court finds terminating sanctions unduly harsh and unwarranted at this time.

    What is more, imposing terminating sanctions against Plaintiff when Plaintiff did not have actual or constructive notice of the discovery motions would be void. (Lovato v. Santa Fe Internat Corp. (1984) 151 Cal.App.3d 549, 553; see also Higgins v. Kay (1914) 168 Cal. 468, 471-72 [“The rule is that in any proceeding of a judicial character, one whose rights or interests may be affected by action against him therein is entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard, and that a failure to accord him that right amounts to lack of due process of law…”].)

    Defendants further request monetary sanctions for bringing the instant motion. However, because the motion is denied, the court finds monetary sanctions unwarranted.

    Based on the foregoing, Defendants motion to dismiss the complaint for violation of discovery orders is denied. This denial is without prejudice to any subsequent motion for evidentiary or issue sanctions Defendants may seek if Plaintiff fails to provide proper discovery responses.

    Defendants are 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 January, 2021

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: *******5310    Hearing Date: June 24, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MARGARITA BARRIOS,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

JOSE MERCADO, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: *******5310

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ UNOPPOSED MOTIONS TO COMPEL

Dept. 31

10:00 a.m.

June 24, 2020

Defendants propounded form interrogatories, special interrogatories, and RPDs on Plaintiff on 10/23/19. To date, Plaintiff has not served responses. Defendants therefore seek an order compelling Plaintiff to respond, without objections, to the outstanding discovery and to pay sanctions.

As an initial note, Defendants reserved these motions as motions to compel further, as opposed to initial, responses. The Court asks Defense Counsel to ensure motions are properly reserved in the future, as proper reservation categories ensures a smooth flow of court operation.

Defendants’ motions are granted. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses to form interrogatories, special interrogatories, and RPDs, without objections, within ten days. CCP ;;2030.290(a),(b), 2031.300(a),(b).

Sanctions are mandatory. ;;2030.290(c), 2031.300(c). Defendants seek sanctions in the amount of $710/motion. Defense Counsel bills at the rate of $155/hour. The Court awards one hour to prepare each motion to compel. The Court awards the requested two hours of appearance time, but only awards the time once. The Court awards a total of four hours of attorney time at the rate of $155/hour, for a total of $620 in attorneys’ fees. The Court also awards two filing fees of $60 each (Defendant seeks filing fees of $90 each, but this is incorrect), or $120 in costs.

Sanctions are sought and imposed against Plaintiff only and not against her attorney of record; she is ordered to pay sanctions to Defendants, by and through counsel of record, in the total amount of $740, within twenty days.

Defendants are 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 parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely. 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.

Dated this 24th day of June, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



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