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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/30/2021 at 00:27:39 (UTC).

MICHAEL ROBERTS VS MARIO SANCHEZ, JR.

Case Summary

On 03/19/2019 MICHAEL ROBERTS filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MARIO SANCHEZ, JR. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI, HOLLY E. KENDIG and THOMAS D. LONG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******9428

  • Filing Date:

    03/19/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JON R. TAKASUGI

HOLLY E. KENDIG

THOMAS D. LONG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ROBERTS MICHAEL

Defendant

SANCHEZ MARIO JR.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ELKIN MICHAEL

Defendant Attorneys

MEZA MARIO STEPHEN

HERRERA ALEJANDRO H.

 

Court Documents

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF UPDATED ELECTRONIC SERVICE LIST

5/17/2021: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF UPDATED ELECTRONIC SERVICE LIST

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MICHAEL ELKIN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF MICHAEL ROBERTSS REPLY TO DEFENDANT MARIO SANCHEZ JR.S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR TERMINATING AND MONETARY SA

8/14/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MICHAEL ELKIN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF MICHAEL ROBERTSS REPLY TO DEFENDANT MARIO SANCHEZ JR.S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR TERMINATING AND MONETARY SA

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE RESCHEDULING HEARINGS PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY O...) OF 08/17/2020

8/17/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE RESCHEDULING HEARINGS PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY O...) OF 08/17/2020

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

4/17/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE CONTINUANCE OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY OR...)

Motion for Terminating Sanctions

4/3/2020: Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ALEJANDRO H. HERRERA, ESQ.

11/22/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ALEJANDRO H. HERRERA, ESQ.

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

10/31/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

General Denial

10/15/2019: General Denial

Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

10/28/2019: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

10/28/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFF MICHAEL ROBERTS' OPPOSITION TO THE DEMURRER OF DEFENDANT MARIO SANCHEZ JR. TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

8/14/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFF MICHAEL ROBERTS' OPPOSITION TO THE DEMURRER OF DEFENDANT MARIO SANCHEZ JR. TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE)

8/27/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE) OF 08/27/2019

8/27/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE) OF 08/27/2019

Notice - NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL

5/29/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL

PI General Order

3/26/2019: PI General Order

Civil Case Cover Sheet

3/19/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

3/19/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

40 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/15/2022
  • Hearing03/15/2022 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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  • 05/17/2021
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Updated Electronic Service List); Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/18/2021
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/16/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/10/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an Order to Show Cause re Contempt Against Defendants for their Willful Disobedience of this Court's Order) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 12/10/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for an Order to S...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/08/2020
  • DocketEx Parte Application (for an Order to Show Cause re Contempt Against Defendants for their Willful Disobedience of this Court's Order); Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/08/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/08/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (of Michael Elkin in Support of Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for Order to Show Cause re Contempt Against Defendant Mario Sanchez Jr., and His Attorneys of Record); Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/02/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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45 More Docket Entries
  • 05/29/2019
  • DocketNotice ( of Unavailability of Counsel); Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2019
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike; Filed by Mario Sanchez, Jr. (Defendant)

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  • 05/17/2019
  • DocketDeclaration (of Alejandro Herrera); Filed by Mario Sanchez, Jr. (Defendant)

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  • 03/27/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order] and Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/19/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/19/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/19/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/19/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Roberts (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STCV09428    Hearing Date: October 28, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MICHAEL ROBERTS,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MARIO SANCHEZ, JR., et al.,

Defendant(s).

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Case No.: 19STCV09428

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, ISSUE AND EVIDENTIARY SANCTIONS

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

October 28, 2020

  1. Background Facts

    Plaintiff, Michael Roberts filed this action against Defendant, Mario Sanchez, Jr. for damages arising out of an automobile accident and subsequent assault.

    Plaintiff propounded form interrogatories on Defendant on 7/26/19. Defendant initially served nothing but objections to the form interrogatories, but Defendant ultimately agreed to serve supplemental responses on or before 10/11/19, which he did. Plaintiff continued to believe many of the responses were deficient, and Plaintiff wrote a meet and confer letter. Plaintiff scheduled an IDC for 10/28/19; Defendant failed to appear, and the Court took the IDC off calendar. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel further responses to the form interrogatories. Defendant opposed the motion, and on 12/10/19, the court granted the motion to compel further and ruled as follows:

    At this time, Plaintiff moves to compel supplemental responses to form interrogatories 4.1, 12.1- 12.7, 13.1-13.2, 16.1, 16.2, 16.10, 20.2, and 20.4-20.11.

    Defendant opposes the motion, arguing it is moot in light of the 10/11/19 supplemental responses. However, the motion is based on the deficiency of the 10/11/19 responses, expressly acknowledges receipt of those responses, and was filed on 10/31/19; thus, the motion is clearly not moot.

    Defendant next argues the motion should be denied because Plaintiff did not make a serious effort to meet and confer prior to filing the motion. Plaintiff mailed a detailed meet and confer letter to Defendant on 10/14/19. Plaintiff’s attorney declares there was no response. Plaintiff also scheduled an IDC, which Defendant chose not to attend. Defendant does not mention or address the failure to attend the IDC in the opposition. Defendant failed to demonstrate any deficiency in the meet and confer efforts; on the contrary, it was Defendant who failed to engage in the necessary meet and confer.

    The separate statement shows the form interrogatory responses remain deficient. Defendant is ordered to serve supplemental responses, without objections, addressing each defect set forth in the separate statement, within twenty days. The Court notes that Defendant failed to justify his objections, and the burden was on him, in opposition to the motion, to do so. Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.

    Sanctions are sought and imposed against Defendant and his attorneys of record, jointly and severally. They are ordered to pay sanctions to Plaintiff, by and through his attorney of record, in the total amount of $2180 within twenty days.

    (Min. Order 12/10/19.)

    Plaintiff now moves for terminating, or alternatively issue or evidentiary sanctions, against Defendant for Defendant’s failure to comply with the court’s 12/10/19 Order.

  2. Parties’ Positions

    Plaintiff asserts that to date Defendant has refused to provide substantive and complete responses to form interrogatories 4.1, 12.1- 12.7, 13.1-13.2, 16.1, 16.2, 16.10, 20.2, and 20.4-20.11, and that Defendant has not paid the sanctions payment ordered. Plaintiff contends he attempted to meet and confer with Defendant regarding the responses, but that Defendant’s counsel only provided that he believed the responses had been served without providing proof of such. When Plaintiff’s counsel asked for an email copy of the responses, none were provided. Plaintiff argues that because Defendant has failed to comply with the 12/10/19 Order, further sanctions are appropriate. In particular, Plaintiff avers that issue and evidentiary sanctions are insufficient because the imposition of such is equivalent to a determination of Plaintiff’s claims and excluding the requested evidence would only benefit Defendant.

    In opposition, Defendant argues that the responses to the subject interrogatories have been served on Plaintiff on multiple occasions, with the most recent date being 8/6/20. Defendant asserts that Plaintiff is merely refusing to acknowledge service of the discovery responses in hopes it benefits him. Further, Defendant argues that Plaintiff filed the instant motion without attempting to meet and confer and resolve the issues with Defendant.

    Plaintiff, in reply, contends the responses Defendant allegedly serveD are not substantive and do not address the issues Defendant was ordered to address. Plaintiff asserts the responses fail to provide Plaintiff with any new information, and Defendant has failed to provide a full response to each interrogatory. In addition, Plaintiff contends he did not receive timely responses to the discovery as ordered, and that after Plaintiff requested a copy of the alleged responses on 2/13/20 by email, Defendant failed to provide a copy of any responses. Moreover, Plaintiff contends although he did meet and confer with Defendant, he was not required to do so prior to filing the instant motion.

  3. Terminating Sanctions

    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, Defendant’s proof of service attached to the interrogatory responses that alleges the responses were served on 12/27/19, is not signed. Rather, the signature line merely contains a notation stating, “on file.” (Opp. Herrera Decl. Exh. A.) Further, while the responses were allegedly served on 12/27/19, the proof of service provides that it was executed on 12/23/19, which is four days before the responses were served. (Ibid.) Defendant fails to offer any explanation for this discrepancy.

    Defendant’s evidence at most shows that the responses were served on Plaintiff on 8/6/20, approximately four months after Plaintiff filed the instant motion. (See Herrera Decl. Exhs. A-C.) Additionally, the court notes there is no requirement to meet and confer prior to filing a motion for terminating sanctions, especially whereas here the responding party fails to serve discovery responses in compliance with a court order. Nonetheless, although Defendant contends that Plaintiff failed to meet and confer prior to filing this motion, Plaintiff communicated with Defendant regarding the discovery responses on 2/13/20 and 2/14/20, and requested proof of the responses, (Mot. Exh. 9), but Defendant did not respond to the request until 8/6/20.

    Consequently, although Defendant introduces evidence the responses were prepared in December 2019, Defendant fails to establish that the responses were served prior to 8/6/20.

    Moreover, Defendant fails to respond or address the inadequacy of many of the discovery responses. In particular, pursuant to the 12/10/19 order, the responses to form interrogatories 4.1, 12.1, 12.6, 16.1-16.2, 20.2-20.11 are incomplete, evasive, and deficient. For example, Defendant fails to provide the policy number, a telephone number and name for each insured person, and the limits of coverage for the policy as required by interrogatory 4.1. As to the other above referenced interrogatories, Defendant merely asserts Defendant does not have sufficient personal knowledge to answer the discovery requests. Defendant, however, fails to offer any justification for why he cannot answer simple questions concerning the vehicle involved in the incident (interrogatory 20.1), describe the area where the incident occurred, (interrogatories 20.3-20.7), or state how the incident occurred or whether Defendant’s vehicle had any sort of malfunction (interrogatories 20.8-20.10). (See Pl.’s Separate Statement.)

    Nevertheless, Defendant did technically provide complete responses to form interrogatories 12.2-12.5, 12.7, 13.1-13.2, and 16.10. In light of Defendant’s partial compliance, the court finds terminating sanctions unduly harsh at this time. However, because of Defendant’s failure to fully comply with the 12/10/19 Order, and general lax history of complying with his discovery obligations, the court finds imposition of evidentiary sanctions appropriate.

    The court issues the following evidentiary sanctions barring Defendant from:

  1. Presenting any witnesses, including Defendant, at trial;

  2. Presenting any reports, any evidence derived from any reports and barring Defendant from calling any witnesses involved in creating any reports related to the accident;

  3. Presenting any evidence regarding third party liability;

  4. Presenting any evidence and/or witnesses regarding Plaintiff’s injuries;

  5. Presenting any evidence and/or witnesses disputing Plaintiff’s contentions regarding the location of the accident and position of the vehicles involved;

  6. Presenting any evidence and/or witnesses disputing Plaintiff’s contentions regarding the location of the accident, the traffic control devices at the location, and position of the vehicles involved;

  7. Presenting any evidence and/or witnesses regarding how the incident occurred;

  8. Presenting any evidence and/or witnesses regarding vehicle defects and malfunctions.

    Furthermore, because Defendant’s failure to timely comply with the 12/10/19 Order gave rise to Plaintiff’s need to file this motion and incur the expense of doing so, the court also imposes monetary sanctions. Plaintiff is awarded 3 hours for preparing the motion, one hour for preparing the reply, and one hour for attending the hearing all at the rate of $300 per hour, for a total attorney’s fees award of $1,500.00. Further, Plaintiff is awarded the $60 motion filing fee in costs.

    Sanctions are sought and imposed against Defendant and his attorney of record, jointly and severally. They are ordered to pay sanctions to Plaintiff, by and through his attorney of record, in the total amount of $1,560.00, within twenty days. Defendant is admonished that further failure to abide with the court’s orders can result in further sanctions, including terminating sanctions.

    Plaintiff 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 28th day of October, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: 19STCV09428    Hearing Date: December 10, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MICHAEL ROBERTS,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MARIO SANCHEZ, JR., et al.,

Defendant(s).

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Case No.: 19STCV09428

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES; IMPOSING SANCTIONS

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

December 10, 2019

Plaintiff, Michael Roberts filed this action against Defendant, Mario Sanchez, Jr. for damages arising out of an automobile accident and subsequent assault. Plaintiff propounded RFAs and form interrogatories on Defendant on 7/26/19. Defendant initially served nothing but objections to the form interrogatories. Defendant ultimately agreed to serve supplemental responses on or before 10/11/19, which he did. Plaintiff continued to believe many of the responses were deficient, and Plaintiff wrote a meet and confer letter. Plaintiff scheduled an IDC for 10/28/19; Defendant failed to appear, and the Court took the IDC off calendar.

At this time, Plaintiff moves to compel supplemental responses to form interrogatories 4.1, 12-1-12.7, 13.1-13.2, 16.1, 16.2, 16.10, 20.2, and 20.4-20.11.

Defendant opposes the motion, arguing it is moot in light of the 10/11/19 supplemental responses. However, the motion is based on the deficiency of the 10/11/19 responses, expressly acknowledges receipt of those responses, and was filed on 10/31/19; thus, the motion is clearly not moot.

Defendant next argues the motion should be denied because Plaintiff did not make a serious effort to meet and confer prior to filing the motion. Plaintiff mailed a detailed meet and confer letter to Defendant on 10/14/19. Plaintiff’s attorney declares there was no response. Plaintiff also scheduled an IDC, which Defendant chose not to attend. Defendant does not mention or address the failure to attend the IDC in the opposition. Defendant failed to demonstrate any deficiency in the meet and confer efforts; on the contrary, it was Defendant who failed to engage in the necessary meet and confer.

The separate statement shows the form interrogatory responses remain deficient. Defendant is ordered to serve supplemental responses, without objections, addressing each defect set forth in the separate statement, within twenty days. The Court notes that Defendant failed to justify his objections, and the burden was on him, in opposition to the motion, to do so. Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255.

Sanctions are appropriate. Plaintiff seeks sanctions in the amount of $700/hour. The Court reduces this to $200/hour, which is more in line with what attorneys typically charge in the personal injury courts. The Court awards two hours to meet and confer, 1.6 hours to attend the IDC, four hours to draft the moving papers, one hour to draft the reply, and two hours to appear at the hearing, for a total of 10.6 hours of attorney time at the rate of $200/hour, or $2120 in attorneys’ fees. The Court also awards the $60 filing fee.

Sanctions are sought and imposed against Defendant and his attorneys of record, jointly and severally. They are ordered to pay sanctions to Plaintiff, by and through his attorney of record, in the total amount of $2180 within twenty days.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept3@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.

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