On 11/28/2018 MONA MIRAKHOR filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against LYFT, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are LAURA A. SEIGLE and EDWARD B. MORETON. The case status is Other.
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Spring Street Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
LAURA A. SEIGLE
EDWARD B. MORETON
MILLMAN MICHAEL LEE
SAMUELS DAVID MICHAEL
HAAS TODD R
BLACKBURN ANDREW J.
HANFF ROBERT ATLEE
10/26/2020: Request for Dismissal
9/10/2020: Request - REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM MANDATORY ELECTRONIC FILING AND SERVICE
7/10/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER RE MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT...)
6/22/2020: Request for Dismissal
4/15/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: COVID-19)
4/15/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: COVID-19) OF 04/15/2020
4/29/2020: Notice of Rejection - Pleadings
4/29/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [NOTICE OF REJECTION - PLEADINGS]
3/18/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)
4/3/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 04/03/2020
3/2/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion
2/10/2020: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts
1/21/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT "FURTHER DISCOVERY"))
5/2/2019: Demand for Jury Trial
5/2/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury
DocketNotice of Settlement (of Entire Case); Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 11:00 AM in Department 27, Edward B. Moreton, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 27, Edward B. Moreton, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (the Cross-Complaint for Failure to Prosecute) - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Armando Marquez (Cross-Complainant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 27, Edward B. Moreton, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - HeldRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (JOINT TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE STATEMENT); Filed by Lyft, Inc (Defendant); Laini Deskin (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMemo: Trial Setting Conference request to Set Case for Trial; Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketOrder (of Exemption from Electronic Filing and Service); Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Armando Marquez (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Armando Marquez (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Armando Marquez (Cross-Complainant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Lyft, Inc (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by Lyft, Inc (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Lyft, Inc (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Mona Mirakhor (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: 18STCV06380 Hearing Date: July 07, 2020 Dept: 27
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT
LYFT, INC. et al.,
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE FROM DEFENDANT LYFT, INC.; REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS
July 7, 2020
On Novembr 28, 2018, plaintiff Mona Mirakhor (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against defendant Lyft, Inc. (“Defendant”) arising from a June 1, 2017 automobile accident. Plaintiff propounded Form Interrogatories on August 7, 2019. Unverified responses were served on October 28, 2019. Plaintiff now moves for an order compelling a further response to: Form Interrogatories Nos. 2.11, 4.1, 7.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 14.1, 14.2, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, and 20.2 . (Notice of Motion ¶ 8.)
Plaintiff also: (1) requests verifications for the responses and moves for an order finding that the responses served on October 28, 2019 were non-responses because of a failure to verify the responses; (2) requests the objections to the interrogatories are deemed waived; (3) seeks monetary sanctions in the amount of $9,500, (4) requests evidentiary sanctions, (5) moves for an order sending this case to a settlement department, and (6) requests an order continuing trial. As a threshold matter, the last three items are improperly requested in this Motion.
Plaintiff’s Motion is defective because it fails to provide a separate statement identifying Defendant’s responses that are at issue. However, Plaintiff filed a Separate Statement on December 10, 2019 and the responses that appear to be at issue are attached as Exhibit 2 to the Separate Statement filed on December 10, 2019. The Court addresses the two issues raised in Plaintiff’s Motion: (1) whether a verification is needed, and (2) whether a further response should be compelled.
Plaintiff argues that, per Appleton v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 632, 636, a response without verification is tantamount to no response at all. The Court notes that no verification was attached, but finds that the responses were timely and rejects Plaintiff’s characterization of this Motion as a motion to compel initial responses.
However, per Blue Ridge Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 339, 344-345, the portion of discovery responses that consists of objections need not be verified; it need only be signed by the attorney of record for the responding party, which the responses herein were. Only the portion of the responses that includes substantive information needs to be verified.
Food 4 Less Supermarkets, Inc. v. Superior Court (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 651 is instructive. The plaintiff therein filed a motion to compel further responses, arguing that certain objections asserted by the defendants in their responses were improper, and also that the responses were unverified. The trial court treated the motion as one to compel initial responses and granted it in light of the lack of verifications. The trial court held that lack of verifications rendered the responses “tantamount to no response at all,” such that all objections were waived. The court of appeals reversed. It held:
What then is the appropriate procedure if a party tenders a hybrid response containing objections and fact-specific responses? Given our analysis, there is no need to verify that portion of the response containing the objections. Thus, if the response is served within the statutory time period, that portion of the response must be considered timely notwithstanding the lack of verification. The omission of the verification in the portion of the response containing fact-specific responses merely renders that portion of the response untimely and therefore only creates a right to move for orders and sanctions under subdivision (k) of section 2031 as to those responses but does not result in a waiver of the objections made.6 The only situation in which lack of verification could both render the response untimely and result in a waiver of objections under subdivision (k) is when the initial unverified response contains no objections. And in a different factual vein, subdivision (k) could result in a waiver of objections if the party fails to file any response within the statutory time period. Neither of the latter two situations is present here.
Applying these principles to the present proceeding, we conclude that the trial court proceeded contrary to law. Defendants did serve their responses within the statutory time period. The lack of verification did not render their objections untimely. The trial court therefore erred in finding defendants had waived their objections and in imposing monetary sanctions upon defendants. The trial court should have instead ruled upon the merits of the motion plaintiff had actually filed seeking to compel further responses. We will issue a peremptory writ of mandate requiring the trial court to do so.
The court of appeals essentially held that where, as here, the responding party provides responses that consist of both objections and substantive responses, the proper motion to be filed is a motion to compel further responses, not a motion to compel initial responses.
Accordingly, the Court finds that Defendant did not waive their objections, but orders Defendant to provide verifications for the substantive portions of the responses.
As to whether a further response is necessary, the Court analyzes the discovery requests at issue as follows:
Form Interrogatory 2.11: This interrogatory asks whether Defendant was acting as an agent or employee for any person at the time of the Incident and to provide the name, address, telephone number of that person and a description of its duties. Defendant responded that this interrogatory is not applicable because Defendant is a corporation. This is nonresponsive. Defendant must provide a substantive response without objections.
Form Interrogatory 4.1: This interrogatory requests information about insurance coverage Defendant may have at the time of the Incident. Defendant asserts objections but also chooses to reserve its right under Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.230 and refers Plaintiff to the declaration page for the applicable insurance policy and provides the Bates number for those pages. This is sufficient.
Form Interrogatory 7.2: In response to this interrogatory, Defendant refers Plaintiff to its Response to Form Interrogatory No. 7.1. Plaintiff does not state why this response is insufficient.
Form Interrogatory Nos. 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5: Defendant agreed to produce documents as permitted in section 2030.230 and sufficiently identifies Bates numbers for the documents. Defendant also states that further documents will be produced upon entry of a protective order. The Court denied a stipulation and protective order on March 12, 2020 because it did not refer to Cal. Rules of Court 2.550 and 2.551 for filing under seal. Insofar that Plaintiff is requesting an order compelling production of documents, that order would be premature as Defendant has agreed to produce documents after a protective order is in place.
Form Interrogatory No. 14.1: Defendant states that discovery is continuing and that a supplemental response will be provided at a later time. The Court does not see how this response is deficient.
Form Interrogatory No. 14.2: Defendant agreed to produce documents as permitted by section 2030.230 and sufficiently identifies Bates numbers for the documents.
Form Interrogatory Nos. 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6: These interrogatories seek responses regarding Plaintiff’s injuries. Defendant objected on the grounds that they sought expert opinion and were premature. Defendant also stated that it had not yet determined whether and to what extent Plaintiff was injured by the accident. Defendant also states it is a corporation and was not at the scene of the accident. Defendant states that if it later makes determinations about Plaintiff’s injuries, then it will supplement its responses. This response is insufficient.
If the responding party lacks personal knowledge sufficient to respond, he or she may so state, but only after making a reasonable and good faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry to other persons or organizations, except where the information is equally available to the propounding party. (See Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants, 148 Cal. App. 4th 390, 406 (2007).) If an interrogatory cannot be answered completely, it shall be answered to the extent possible.” (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2030.220(a), (b).) If a party is unable to obtain information, it must specify why the information is unavailable and what efforts he or she made to obtain it. See Deyo v. Kilbourne, 84 Cal. App. 3d 771, 782 (1978).)
Interrogatories directed to a corporation or other entity require it to disclose information known to all persons in its employ, not merely the particular officer or agent designated to verify the responses: “While a corporation or public agency may select the person who answers interrogatories in its behalf, it has a corresponding duty to obtain information from all sources under its control—information which may not be personally known to the answering agent.” (Gordon v. Sup.Ct. (U.Z. Mfg. Co.), 161 Cal. App. 3d 157, 167-168 (1984)
In its responses to Form Interrogatories 16.2 - 16.6, Defendant did not state what information is unavailable and what efforts it has made to obtain it. Accordingly, a further response must be provided.
Form Interrogatory No. 20.2: Defendant agreed to produce documents as permitted by section 2030.230 and sufficiently identifies Bates numbers for the documents.
Moving party to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.
Dated this 7th day of July 2020
Hon. Edward B. Moreton, Jr.
Judge of the Superior Court
Case Number: 18STCV06380 Hearing Date: January 21, 2020 Dept: 27
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT’S RESPONSES TO DISCOVERY; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS
On November 28, 2018, plaintiff Mona Mirakhor filed this action against defendant Lyft, Inc., Laini Deskin, and Armando Marquez for injuries sustained in an automobile accident when Plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by a worker for Lyft. On July 9, 2019, Marquez filed a cross-complaint against Deskin and Lyft.
On December 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Plaintiff Separate Statement of the Disputed/Contested Interrogatories.” The document did not list a hearing date. On December 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Supplemental Declaration by Plaintiff in Support of Motion to Compel Interrogatories” with a December 30, 2019 hearing date. Plaintiff served only Lyft’s attorney and not Marquez’ attorney. On December 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Notice of Continuance/Discovery Motion/Failure to Answer Interrogatories,” stating that the motion to compel would be heard on January 21, 2020. This document contains a proof of service showing service on Lyft’s attorney but not Marquez’ attorney. The document attaches a notice of motion to compel signed on December 11, 2019. Plaintiff had not previously filed this notice of motion.
In sum, the motion to compel was not properly and timely filed, and Plaintiff did not serve all parties who have appeared in this action. In particular, no proof of service shows that Marquez received timely notice of the January 21, 2020 hearing date.
In addition, in the separate statement, Plaintiff argues that the responses to the interrogatories are inadequate. Plaintiff first needs to schedule an Informal Discovery Conference, which the parties need to attend, before this motion can be heard.
For these reasons, the motion to compel is DENIED. Plaintiff is to first schedule an IDC. If the parties do not resolve the dispute at the IDC, then Plaintiff may file a motion to compel with timely and adequate notice to all parties who have appeared in this case.
Moving party to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.
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