This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/30/2019 at 06:55:53 (UTC).

MARTHA ESTERLINE VS JEFFREY C CHONG ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/15/2017 MARTHA ESTERLINE filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against JEFFREY C CHONG. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6851

  • Filing Date:

    12/15/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

ESTERLINE MARTHA

Defendants and Respondents

CHONG JEFFREY C. MD

CENTURY MEDICAL GROUP

DOES 1 TO 50

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

GAMBARDELLA STEVEN C. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

SUMMONS

12/15/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE

12/15/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/15/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Martha Esterline (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/15/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 12/15/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC686851    Hearing Date: February 07, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion to Compel Responses to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One)

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On December 15, 2017, Plaintiff Martha Esterline (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jeffrey C. Chong, M.D. and Century Medical Group.  The complaint alleges medical malpractice for a failure to diagnose cancer between April 2011 and September 2016.

On January 6, 2020, Defendant Jeffrey C. Chong, M.D. filed motions to compel Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.290 and 2031.300. 

Trial is set for July 20, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Defendant Jeffrey C. Chong, M.D. (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production of Documents (All Set One) due to Plaintiff’s failure to serve timely responses.

Moving Defendant also asks the Court to impose $3,390 in monetary sanctions against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel of record for their abuse of the discovery process.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses and for a monetary sanction. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.290, subd. (b).) The statute contains no time limit for a motion to compel where no responses have been served. All that need be shown in the moving papers is that a set of interrogatories was properly served on the opposing party, that the time to respond has expired, and that no response of any kind has been served. (See Leach v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902, 905-906.)

Where there has been no timely response to a demand for the production of documents, the demanding party may seek an order compelling a response. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2031.300, subd. (b).) Failure to timely respond waives all objections, including privilege and work product. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2031.300, subd. (a).)  Thus, unless the party to whom the demand was directed obtains relief from waiver, he or she cannot raise objections to the documents demanded. There is no deadline for a motion to compel responses. Likewise, for failure to respond, the moving party need not attempt to resolve the matter outside court before filing the motion.

Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subd. (a), “[t]he court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. . . . If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery is a misuse of the discovery process.  (Code of Civ. Proc. § 2023.010.)

Sanctions are mandatory in connection with motions to compel responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”  (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.290, subd. (c), 2031.300, subd. (c).)

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subdivision (a) states: “The court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”

DISCUSSION

On August 29, 2019, Moving Defendant served Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) on Plaintiff by U.S. mail.  (All Three Declarations of Ronan J. Duggan (“Duggan Decl.”), ¶ 3, Exh. A.)  Moving Defendant granted four extensions for Plaintiff to provide the outstanding responses, providing an ultimate deadline of 5 p.m. on December 16, 2019.  (Duggan Decl., ¶ 4-7, Exh. B-E.)  Plaintiff had not provided the outstanding responses as of the signing of Ronan J. Duggan’s declarations on January 6, 2020.  (Duggan Decl., ¶ 8.)

The Court finds the motions are properly granted.  Moving Defendant served the discovery on Plaintiff and Plaintiff failed to timely respond.

Moving Defendant’s request for $3,390 in sanctions for these nearly duplicative and straight-forward motions is unreasonable.  Rather, the Court finds $550 to be a reasonable amount of sanctions to be imposed against Plaintiff and her counsel, jointly and severally, for filing the unopposed moving papers.

CONCLUSION

The motions are GRANTED.

Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Request for Production (All Set One) within 20 days of this ruling.

Plaintiff and her counsel of record are ordered to pay $550, jointly and severally, to Moving Defendant within 30 days of this ruling.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.