This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 02/10/2021 at 14:10:11 (UTC).

MARY JOCELYN MCPHERSON VS THE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND ENTERPRISE, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 03/12/2019 MARY JOCELYN MCPHERSON filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against THE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND ENTERPRISE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are SAMANTHA JESSNER, THOMAS D. LONG and GREGORY KEOSIAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******8732

  • Filing Date:

    03/12/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

SAMANTHA JESSNER

THOMAS D. LONG

GREGORY KEOSIAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

MCPHERSON MARY JOCELYN

Defendants

NESBITT GERMAINE

BERGER LUCILLE

THE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND ENTERPRISE

MARTIN KENDALL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MCINTIRE CHRISTOPHER ANTHONY

Defendant Attorney

DE LA TORRE MONNETT G

 

Court Documents

Case Management Order

9/28/2020: Case Management Order

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE; HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTH...)

9/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE; HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTH...)

Declaration - DECLARATION OF MONNETT G. DE LA TORRE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS'' REPLY BRIEF

9/21/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF MONNETT G. DE LA TORRE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS'' REPLY BRIEF

Case Management Statement

9/10/2020: Case Management Statement

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 07/29/2020

7/29/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 07/29/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

7/29/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

1/14/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...) OF 06/08/2020

6/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...) OF 06/08/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...)

6/8/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...)

Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES

6/18/2020: Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE TRANSFER TO DEPARTMENT 1, STANLEY MOSK COURTHO...) OF 07/23/2020

7/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE TRANSFER TO DEPARTMENT 1, STANLEY MOSK COURTHO...) OF 07/23/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE REASSIGNMENT TO INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT)

7/24/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE REASSIGNMENT TO INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT)

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT FIRST

6/17/2019: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT FIRST

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

4/11/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

PI General Order

4/2/2019: PI General Order

Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

3/12/2019: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

Civil Case Cover Sheet

3/12/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint

3/12/2019: Complaint

25 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/07/2022
  • Hearing06/07/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 05/31/2022
  • Hearing05/31/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 03/30/2022
  • Hearing03/30/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Post-Mediation Status Conference

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  • 09/28/2020
  • Docketat 2:00 PM in Department 61, Gregory Keosian, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 09/28/2020
  • Docketat 2:00 PM in Department 61, Gregory Keosian, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Held

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  • 09/28/2020
  • Docketat 2:00 PM in Department 61, Gregory Keosian, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Held

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  • 09/28/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling (Ruling Re Defendants The School of Arts and Enterprise, Kendall Martin, Germaine Nesbitt, and Lucille Berger's Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Admission and Form Interrogatories No. 17.1 and 217.1); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/28/2020
  • DocketCase Management Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/28/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Hearing on Motion to Compel Furth...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/25/2020
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses (Motion To Compel Further Responses To Defendants' Requests For Admissions (Set One) And Form Interrogatories 17.1 And 217.1) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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33 More Docket Entries
  • 04/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/02/2019
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/02/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order] and Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/12/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/12/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Mary Jocelyn McPherson (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STCV08732    Hearing Date: September 28, 2020    Dept: 61

Defendants The School of Arts and Enterprise, Kendall Martin, Germaine Nesbitt, and Lucille Berger’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Admission and Form Interrogatories No. 17.1 and 217.1 is GRANTED as to Requests for Admission No. 19–22 and 24, and Form Interrogatories No. 17.1 and 217.1 for the same requests. The motion is DENIED as to Request No. 14.

The court DENIES sanctions.

  1. MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER

“Any party may obtain discovery . . . by propounding to any other party to the action written interrogatories to be answered under oath.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.010(a).) If a propounding party is not satisfied with the response served by a responding party, the former may move the court to compel further interrogatory responses. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300; Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 403.) The propounding party must demonstrate that the responses were incomplete, inadequate or evasive, or that the responding party asserted objections that are either without merit or too general. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300(a)(1)–(3); Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc., supra, 148 Cal.App.4th at 403.)

A motion to compel further responses to requests for admissions may be made on the grounds that an answer is incomplete or evasive, or an objection is without merit. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.290, subd. (a)(1)–(2).)

Defendants move to compel a further response Request for Admission No. 14, 19–22, and 24, and Form Interrogatories No 17.1 and 217.1, which asked for facts and evidence supporting each response to a request for admission that was not an unqualified admission. Plaintiff denied each of the requests at issue here.

Defendants seek a further respose to Request No. 14, which asked Plaintiff to admit that she “chose to resign” from School. (Separate Statement at p. 2.) Plaintiff responded that she tendered her resignation only after being on medical leave arising from Defendants’ alleged misconduct, and after School terminated her medical insurance. (Separate Statement at p. 3.) Although Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s stance is illogical because her factual statement indicates she “chose” to resign, her response is in line with her theory that she did not freely choose to resign, but was constructively discharged through Defendants’ conduct. (Motion at p. 4.) No further response is required.

Requests No. 19–22 asked Plaintiff to admit that School had accommodated Plaintiff’s requests for leave at various instances. (Separate Statement at pp. 5–13.) Although Plaintiff denied each request, in her responses to interrogatories requesting facts justifying same, she stated as to each: “This responding party does not recall each incident of leave and the terms thereof and without specific dates this responding party is unable to respond.” (Separate Statement at pp. 5–14.)

These responses to the requests were improper. If Plaintiff had no informational basis upon which to admit or deny the requests, the Discovery Act provides a means to communicate that lack of knowledge, as one of the permissible responses to request for admission is to “[s]pecify so much of the matter involved in the request as to the truth of which the responding party lacks sufficient information or knowledge.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.220, subd. (b)(3).) Any such statement must likewise include a statement in the answer that “a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the particular request has been made, and that the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable that party to admit the matter.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.220, subd. (c).) Despite Plaintiff’s reliance on a lack of information in her interrogatory responses to these same requests, she proffered no such statements in her responses to the requests themselves. This was improper, and a further response is required.

Plaintiff counters that her responses were “in no way . . . unequivocal” because she provided her denials “subject to and without waiving” her objections. (Opposition at p. 6.) Yet this misunderstands how admissions work. A denial subject to objections is an unequivocal denial. (See American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees v. Metropolitan Water Dist. (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 247, 268 [holding that denials subject to objections “addressed the requests in their entirety, leaving no aspect of the requests for admission unresolved and nothing to be addressed by the trial court in a motion to compel further responses. This is so, despite the Local's boilerplate statement ‘w]ithout waiving these objections,’ because the Local then went on to flatly ‘Deny’ each request at issue. The MWD properly construed such responses as unequivocal denials and expended time and effort proving the truth of the matters to the trial court.”).) Plaintiff’s argument merely underscores the impropriety of her responses here.

Plaintiff now argues that the requests were so vague and ambiguous that no response was required. Those statements that Plaintiff was asked to admit were: that School “accommodated multiple medical requests YOU submitted throughout YOUR employment”; that School “accommodated YOUR request for intermittent leave to care for YOUR daughter during YOUR employment”; that it “accommodated YOUR request for leave associated with YOUR high risk pregnancy during YOUR employment”; and that it “as an accommodation invoked a ‘special circumstances provision of the union contract’ to allow YOU to take YOUR intermittent leave in hourly increments.” (Separate Statement at pp. 5–13.) The court finds that these requests are not ambiguous such that Plaintiff could not answer.[1] The motion is GRANTED as to Requests No. 19–22.

Request No. 24 asked Plaintiff to admit that she “continued to extend YOUR medical leave through March 30, 2018, when it was exhausted.” (Separate Statement at p. 15.) Plaintiff denied this request, and in response to the accompanying interrogatories, stated: “This responding party was terminated on March 31, 2016, and therefore was unable to remain on any form of leave.” (Separate Statement at p. 16.) The court agrees with Defendants that Plaintiff’s response is inadequate. She relies on the pseudo-logic that if she was terminated on March 31, there could have been no leave to exhaust after that time. (Opposition at p. 7.) This ignores that the request asks her to admit the exhaustion of leave on March 30, the day before she contends she was terminated on March 31. Even by Plaintiff’s logic the request is apt, and a further response must be provided.

Defendants’ motion to compel further responses is GRANTED as to Requests for Admission No. 19–22 and 24, and Form Interrogatories No. 17.1 and 217.1 for the same requests. The motion is DENIED as to Request No. 14.

  1. SANCTIONS

Statute provides that the court shall impose sanctions upon a party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further response to interrogatories, requests for production of documents, or requests for admission, absent substantial justification otherwise. (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.300, subd. (d); 2031.310, subd. (h); 2033.290, subd. (d).)

Sanctions are DENIED.


[1] Although the requests evidently do not define what a “special circumstances provision” is, Plaintiff references her collective bargaining agreement in her FAC as a basis to show she was not an at-will employee. (Complaint ¶ 5.) There thus exists a basis to admit or deny the requests.

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