This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/20/2022 at 15:41:29 (UTC).

MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY VS GARY SCHWARTZ

Case Summary

On 05/07/2020 MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against GARY SCHWARTZ. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are AUDRA MORI, THOMAS D. LONG and CHARLES C. LEE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7378

  • Filing Date:

    05/07/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

AUDRA MORI

THOMAS D. LONG

CHARLES C. LEE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY

Defendant

SCHWARTZ GARY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CASTRONOVO TOD MICHAEL

Defendant Attorney

MATUSEK HENRY JOHN II

 

Court Documents

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF COURT'S CONTINUANCE OF MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES

1/6/2022: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF COURT'S CONTINUANCE OF MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE DARK COURT AND RESCHEDULING MOTION HEARINGS.) OF 12/10/2021

12/10/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE DARK COURT AND RESCHEDULING MOTION HEARINGS.) OF 12/10/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE DARK COURT AND RESCHEDULING MOTION HEARINGS.)

12/10/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE DARK COURT AND RESCHEDULING MOTION HEARINGS.)

Notice of Continuance - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF MTC RESPONDENT FURTHER RESPONSES

8/23/2021: Notice of Continuance - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF MTC RESPONDENT FURTHER RESPONSES

Notice - NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

8/23/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

5/19/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

5/19/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

5/19/2021: Separate Statement

Separate Statement

5/19/2021: Separate Statement

Opposition - OPPOSITION RESPONDENTS OPPOSITION

6/14/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION RESPONDENTS OPPOSITION

Separate Statement

6/14/2021: Separate Statement

Reply - REPLY REPLY TO "COMBINED" OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RFA #2 AND FR, #3

6/21/2021: Reply - REPLY REPLY TO "COMBINED" OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RFA #2 AND FR, #3

Separate Statement

6/21/2021: Separate Statement

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

6/28/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES; HEAR...)

Notice of Ruling

4/20/2021: Notice of Ruling

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING AND CONTINUANCE OF MOTIONS TO COMPEL RESPONDENT'S FURTHER RESPONSES TO PETITIONER'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION, SET ONE, AND FOR COSTS, INCL

2/26/2021: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING AND CONTINUANCE OF MOTIONS TO COMPEL RESPONDENT'S FURTHER RESPONSES TO PETITIONER'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION, SET ONE, AND FOR COSTS, INCL

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION

4/2/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES

4/2/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES

32 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/04/2023
  • Hearing05/04/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal

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  • 04/18/2022
  • Hearing04/18/2022 at 1:30 PM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2022
  • Hearing04/18/2022 at 1:30 PM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

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  • 01/06/2022
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Court's Continuance of Motions to Compel Further Responses); Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/10/2021
  • Docketat 10:14 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 12/10/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order Re Dark Court and Rescheduling Motion Hearings.) of 12/10/2021); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/10/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order Re Dark Court and Rescheduling Motion Hearings.)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/04/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Non-Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 10/21/2021
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 08/23/2021
  • DocketNotice (of Informal Discovery Conference); Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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48 More Docket Entries
  • 05/20/2020
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order Re Setting of Motion Pursuant to Emergency Order ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/18/2020
  • DocketMotion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/18/2020
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/07/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Mercury Insurance Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: 20STCV17378 Hearing Date: August 12, 2021 Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY,

Petitioner(s),

vs.

GARY SCHWARTZ,

Respondent(s).

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CASE NO: 20STCV17378

[TENTATIVE] ORDER CONTINUING MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES

Dept. 31

10:00 a.m.

August 12, 2021

Petitioner’s Motions to Compel Further Responses to Form Interrogatories, set two, and Request for Admissions, set two, are premature and will be continued to a new date as set forth below. The parties are ordered to participate in an Informal Discovery Conference (“IDC”) as required by the Court’s Standing Order Re: PI Court Procedures, which is available on the LA Superior Court’s website, under the Personal Injury section.

The hearing on the MTCF is continued to __________________ 10:00 a.m. in Department 31 of the Spring Street Courthouse. Moving Party is ordered to use the online reservation management system to schedule an IDC, which must go forward per the terms set forth in the Standing Order. Moving Party is ordered to use the online reservation management system to schedule an IDC, which must go forward per the terms set forth in the 9/26/19 Standing Order. The IDC must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the continued hearing date on the MTCF.

The court is hopeful the hearing on the MTCF will not be necessary. If the parties are unable to resolve all outstanding issues at the IDC, the parties must submit a joint statement of items in dispute at least two weeks prior to the continued hearing date. The joint statement must be a single document, with analysis by both parties, addressing each remaining issue.

If the above date is not convenient for the parties and/or an IDC cannot be scheduled, for whatever reason, within the necessary time period, Moving Party must use the online reservation system to promptly continue the hearing on the motion to a date at least two weeks after the IDC. The court notes this is the second continuance of the subject motions. If moving party does not schedule an IDC prior to the continued hearing date, the court will take the motions off-calendar.

Petitioner is ordered to give notice.

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

Dated this 12th day of August, 2021

Hon. Teresa Sanchez-Gordon

Judge of the Superior Court

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Case Number: 20STCV17378    Hearing Date: April 16, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY,

Petitioner(s),

vs.

GARY SCHWARTZ,

Respondent(s).

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CASE NO: 20STCV17378

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES; ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS

Dept. 31

10:00 a.m.

April 16, 2021

 

  1. Background

    Petitioner, Mercury Insurance Company (“Petitioner”) filed this petition to commence and enforce discovery against Respondent, Gary Schwartz (“Respondent”) in connection with an uninsured motorist claim.

    Petitioner filed the instant motions to compel further responses to special interrogatories, set one, and request for admissions, set one. On 2/19/21, the parties participated in an informal Discovery Conference (“IDC”) regarding the subject discovery dispute; however the matters were not resolved. The parties were to meet and confer further to see if they could agree to further discovery requests and responses to resolve the issues. (Min. Order 2/19/21.)

    On 4/2/21, Respondent filed an opposition providing that following the IDC, the parties agreed to proceed with different discovery requests. Respondent asserts he has served objection free responses to new discovery requests and expects the motions to be withdrawn. Respondent avers he is a licensed California attorney who believes he lost income as a result of his injuries and believes he raised objections in good faith to the subject discovery. Further, Respondent contends his objections to the original requests were meritorious and that he responded with all required information.

    Petitioner, in reply, contends the responses to the discovery remain deficient.

  2. Motions to Compel Further Responses

    Discovery procedures available to the parties in uninsured motorist cases are basically the same as those available in California civil litigation, subject to certain limitations not applicable here. (Ins.C. §11580.2(f).) Jurisdiction to resolve discovery disputes (including the issuance of any orders to compel discovery) is vested in the superior court (a) in the proper county for the filing of a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist for bodily injury arising from the accident or (b) in any county specified in the policy as a proper county for arbitration or action on the policy. (See Ins.C. §11580.2(f)(1), (2); Miranda v. 21st Century Ins. Co. (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 913, 921-26.)

    The party seeking court assistance in connection with a discovery dispute need not file and serve on the other party a formal complaint. An "application to commence discovery" coupled, e.g., with a motion to compel compliance, may be filed with the court and, where the party against whom discovery is sought is represented by counsel, served upon counsel (per CCP §1015; see CCP § 1012--service on counsel by mail). (See Miranda v. 21st Century Ins. Co., supra, 117 Cal.App.4th at 927-28.)

    The superior court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and rule on discovery matters arising in a uninsured motorist arbitration. The arbitrator has no such power. (See Miranda v. 21st Century Ins. Co., supra, 117 Cal.App.4th at 924-26.)

  1. Special Interrogatories Nos 14, 15, and 17

CCP § 2030.300 states:

(a) On receipt of a response to interrogatories, the propounding party may move for an order compelling a further response if the propounding party deems that any of the following apply:

(1) An answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete.

(2) An exercise of the option to produce documents under Section 2030.230 is unwarranted or the required specification of those documents is inadequate.

(3) An objection to an interrogatory is without merit or too general.

Here, while Respondent contends that he has served objection free responses to new discovery requests- special interrogatories, set three, and requests for admissions, set two- Respondent does not cite any authority for the proposition that these new requests moot the original requests served on Respondent. Special interrogatories, set one, Nos. 14, 15, and 17 request:

14. State the name and address of each client whom you contend discontinued the use of your services due to injuries sustained as a result of the February 4, 2019 accident.

15. State the name and address of each prospective client whom you contend you did not provide legal services to due to injuries sustained as a result of the February 4, 2019 accident.

17. Identify with sufficient particularity so that a notice to produce could be prepared all writings that support your contention that you sustained a loss of income as a result of the February 4, 2019 accident.

(Mot. Exh. A.)

In response to special interrogatories 14 and 15, Respondent responded, “Objection. Attorney-Client privilege. Without waiving objections, Claimant is uncertain as to which clients discontinued the use of his services due to injuries sustained as a result of the accident on February 4, 2019,” and “Objection. This interrogatory calls for speculation. Claimant does not know which clients declined his services due to the accident versus other reasons,” respectively.

Petitioner argues that this refusal to provide responsive information without explanation of what measures Respondent took to obtain the information is insufficient.

As to special interrogatory No. 14, to the extent Respondent objects the requested information is protected by the attorney-client privilege, it is not enough for a party to assert that something is protected as privileged, but rather the burden is on the party asserting the objection to prove the preliminary facts that show the attorney-client privilege applies. (Mize v. Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. Co. (1975) 46 Cal.App.3d 436, 447; see also Denari v. Superior Court (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1488, 1494-95 [It is the burden of the objecting party to support the applicability of a particular privilege].) On its face, this interrogatory requests information concerning the identity of individuals Respondent claims discontinued his services because of the underlying accident, it is not requesting information concerning any communication between Respondent and any clients. Consequently, Respondent does not meet his burden of showing the discovery implicates the attorney-client privilege.

To the extent Respondent asserts he is uncertain which clients discontinued use of his services due to the injuries sustained as a result of the subject accident, he “should set forth the efforts made to secure the information. He cannot plead ignorance to information which can be obtained from sources under his control.” (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 782.) Thus, Respondent must provide a further response to special interrogatory 14 clearly answering the interrogatories, clearly stating no such information exists, or clearly explaining he cannot fully respond. (Id.; see also CCP § 2030.220.)

The motion to compel further responses to special interrogatory 14 is granted. Respondent must provide a further response within 20 days.

Similarly, as to special interrogatory 15, while Respondent asserted he does not know which clients declined his services due to the accident, if Respondent cannot furnish the information requested, he must set forth the efforts made to obtain that information. (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 782.)

The motion to compel further responses to special interrogatory 15 is granted. Respondent must provide a further response within 20 days.

As to special interrogatory 17, concerning Respondent’s lost income claim, Respondent objected the interrogatory was vague and ambiguous and that it requires an expert opinion. However, the interrogatory is not vague and ambiguous and clearly asks Respondent to identify all writings that support his loss of income claim. Moreover, Respondent fails to explain why an expert is needed to identify documents that support his claim. Any information relating to Respondent’s claim for lost income is necessarily in Respondent’s control, and Respondent fails to otherwise meaningfully articulate why this is not the case.

The motion to compel further responses to special interrogatory 17 is granted. Respondent must provide a further response within 20 days.

  1. Request for Admissions Nos. 7 and 13

Plaintiffs move to compel further responses to Request for Admission (“RFAs”) Nos. 7 and 13, which request Respondent admit, “Following the accident of February 4, 2019, you did not inform any of your clients that you were experiencing memory lapses,” and “As practicing attorney you had an ethical duty to inform any existing clients of any memory impairment which you believed affected your ability to provide legal services to your client which you had contracted to perform,” respectively. Respondent objected to both RFAs asserting they sought to intrude on the attorney-client privilege.

RFA 7, on its face, clearly concerns communications Respondent may have had with his clients concerning Respondent’s representation. Furthermore, although Petitioner asserts the information is not privileged, Petitioner does not explain why information concerning the potential communications is relevant as to Respondent’s claims in this matter.

Therefore, the motion to compel further responses to RFA 7 is denied.

As to RFA 13, an interrogatory is not objectionable because it requires application of law to facts. (CCP § 2033.010.) Furthermore, the RFA on its face does not request any information concerning communications between Respondent and any clients. The scope of permissible discovery is broad, and as Petitioner contends, the RFA may be relevant to determining whether Petitioner missed out on work as an attorney and lost income as he alleges.

The motion to compel further responses to RFA 13 is granted. Respondent must provide a further response within 20 days.

Sanctions are mandatory. (CCP §§ 2030.300(b), 2033.290(d).) Although Respondent argues the parties did not sufficiently meet and confer, the parties participated in an IDC and met and conferred before and after but were unable to resolve the issues. Petitioner requests sanctions of $1,515 for the motion to compel further responses to special interrogatories, and $1,080 for the motion to compel further responses to RFAs. The court awards Petitioner two hours for the special interrogatories motion, one hour for the RFAs motion because it is granted only in part, 1.5 hours for both replies, and one hour to appear at the hearing- but awards this time only once- all at the requested rate of $170, for a total attorney’s fees award of $935. Further, the court awards Petitioner 2 two motion filing fees of $60, or $120 total, as costs.

Petitioner does not identify any conduct by Respondent warranting sanctions against Respondent personally. Sanctions are imposed against Respondent’s counsel only. Respondent’s counsel is ordered to pay sanctions to Petitioner, by and through its attorney of record, in the total amount of $1,055.00, within twenty days.

Petitioner is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.orgIf 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 16th day of April, 2021

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

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