This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/02/2021 at 09:59:42 (UTC).

RACHEL INGRAM, ET AL. VS HKA ELEVATOR CONSULTING, INC., A CORPORATION, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 09/30/2019 RACHEL INGRAM filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against HKA ELEVATOR CONSULTING, INC , A CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DANIEL M. CROWLEY and YOLANDA OROZCO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******4756

  • Filing Date:

    09/30/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DANIEL M. CROWLEY

YOLANDA OROZCO

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

INGRAM RACHEL AN INDIVIDUAL

INGRAM ISAAC AN INDIVIDUAL

INGRAM ISAAC

Defendants and Cross Defendants

ABM INDUSTRIES INC. A CORPORATION

CITY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF BUILDING AND SAFETY ELEVATOR DIVISION

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ELEVATOR AND SAFETY UNIT

HKA ELEVATOR CONSULTING INC. A CORPORATION

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES INC. A CORPORATION

OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY A CORPORATION

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

STATE OF CALIFORNIA DIVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ELEVATOR UNIT

ABM INDUSTRIES INC.

PFEIFER WIRE ROPE & LIFTING TECHNOLOGY INC.

OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY

WIRE ROPE WORKS MESSILOT LTD.

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION

HKA ELEVATOR CONSULTING INC.

SANDERS JERRY

Cross Plaintiff and Defendant

ABM INDUSTRIES INC.

Cross Defendants and Defendants

PFEIFER WIRE ROPE & LIFTING TECHNOLOGY INC.

OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY

WIRE ROPE WORKS MESSILOT LTD.

HKA ELEVATOR CONSULTING INC.

5 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

KIDD NORMANDY

Defendant and Cross Defendant Attorneys

MCDONALD SHEILA

BAKER THOMAS WINFIELD

GOLODNITSKA VALERIA

KELLY DANIEL JAMES

MILLER STACEY ANN

MOSS BRIAN T.

STACY PETER L.

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

MOSS BRIAN T.

 

Court Documents

Notice of Change of Firm Name - NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS

6/22/2021: Notice of Change of Firm Name - NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS

Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL DEFT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8 (REQUEST FOR ELEVATOR MAINTENANCE MANUAL)

2/2/2021: Motion to Compel - MOTION TO COMPEL DEFT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8 (REQUEST FOR ELEVATOR MAINTENANCE MANUAL)

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF NORMANDY KIDD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAMS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8 (REQU

2/2/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF NORMANDY KIDD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAMS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8 (REQU

Separate Statement

2/2/2021: Separate Statement

Case Management Order

2/5/2021: Case Management Order

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

2/5/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Motion to Be Admitted Pro Hac Vice

2/5/2021: Motion to Be Admitted Pro Hac Vice

Application to be Admitted Pro Hac Vice

2/5/2021: Application to be Admitted Pro Hac Vice

Cross-Complaint

2/5/2021: Cross-Complaint

Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts - INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS PLAINTIFFS INFORMAL DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR IDC SET FOR FEBRUARY 19, 2021

2/10/2021: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts - INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS PLAINTIFFS INFORMAL DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR IDC SET FOR FEBRUARY 19, 2021

Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

2/10/2021: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

2/16/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Notice - NOTICE OF CHANGE OF TIME

2/17/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CHANGE OF TIME

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

2/19/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING OF UNREDACTED DECLARATION OF NORMANDY KIDD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAM'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST

3/3/2021: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING OF UNREDACTED DECLARATION OF NORMANDY KIDD IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAM'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY TO FURTHER RESPOND TO REQUEST

Notice - NOTICE OF CHANGE IN MOTION HEARING DATE AND NOTICE OF CORRECTION OF COURTHOUSE LOCATION IN PRIOR NOTICE OF MOTION FOR PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAMS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPAN

3/4/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CHANGE IN MOTION HEARING DATE AND NOTICE OF CORRECTION OF COURTHOUSE LOCATION IN PRIOR NOTICE OF MOTION FOR PLAINTIFF RACHEL INGRAMS MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT OTIS ELEVATOR COMPAN

Answer

3/9/2021: Answer

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE ADMITTED PRO HAC VICE)

3/10/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO BE ADMITTED PRO HAC VICE)

93 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/23/2022
  • Hearing05/23/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 05/09/2022
  • Hearing05/09/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing - Other Post MSC Status Conference

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

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  • 06/22/2021
  • DocketNotice of Change of Firm Name (AND EMAIL ADDRESS); Filed by HKA Elevator Consulting, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 06/18/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses (to Request for Production No. 8 (Request for Elevator Maintenance Manual) and Request for $10,628.75 in Monetary Discovery Sanctions) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 04/26/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Otis Elevator Company (Defendant)

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  • 04/23/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Seal (Otis Elevator Company's Proprietary Records) - Held

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  • 04/23/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Seal Otis Elevator Company's Proprietary...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/13/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling ((Date: 04/09/2021)); Filed by Rachel Ingram (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/09/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses (to Request for Production No. 8 (Request for Elevator Maintenance Manual) and Request for Sanctions) - Held - Motion Granted

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109 More Docket Entries
  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Isaac, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/21/2019
  • DocketSummons (on First Amended Complaint); Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Isaac, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/21/2019
  • DocketAmended Complaint (1st); Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Rachel Ingram (Plaintiff); Isaac Ingram (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 11/05/2019
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees (by Plaintiffs); Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/29/2019
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/29/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Isaac, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Isaac, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Rachel, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff); Isaac, Ingram, an individual (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STCV34756    Hearing Date: April 23, 2021    Dept: 31

DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SEAL IS GRANTED.Relevant Background

On September 30, 2019, Plaintiffs Rachel Ingram and Isaac Ingram filed the instant action against HKA Elevator Consulting, Inc.; ABM Industries, Inc.; Otis Elevator Company; United Technologies Corporation; City of Los Angeles; City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Elevator Division; County of Los Angeles; County of Los Angeles Elevator and Safety Unit; State of California; State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Elevator Unit; and Does 1 through 110. On November 21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). The FAC asserts causes of action for:

(1) Negligence;

(2) Negligence – Common Carrier;

(3) Premises Liability;

(4) Negligent Products Liability – Failure to Warn;

(5) Strict Products Liability – Manufacturing Defect;

(6) Strict Products Liability – Design Defect;

(7) Government Code § 815 et seq.;

(8) Government Code § 815 et seq. – Premises Liability; and

(9) Loss of Consortium.

On December 16, 2020, pursuant to a stipulation by Plaintiffs; Otis Elevator Company (hereinafter “Defendant”); HKA Elevator Consulting, Inc.; ABM Industries, Inc.; ABM Industry Groups, LLC; and Federal Construction Group, the Court entered a Protective Order regarding Defendant’s Otis Maintenance Management System (“OMMS”) Procedures. On February 2, 2021, Plaintiff Rachel Ingram (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) filed a motion to compel Defendant to provide a further response to her Request for Production of Documents, Set One, Request No. 8 related to Defendant’s OMMS Procedures (“Motion to Compel Further”). Along with her moving papers, on March 3, 2021, Plaintiff lodged conditionally under seal the unredacted Declaration of Normandy Kidd, which attached as Exhibits 16 and 17 parts of Defendant’s OMMS Procedures.

Defendant now moves for an order sealing two items: page 2 of Exhibit 16 and Pages Bates-Labeled OTIS00666-00700 of Exhibit 17, attached to the Declaration of Normandy Kidd in support of Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further.

Legal Standard

California Rules of Court, Rule 2.550(c) states that “[u]nless confidentiality is required by law, court records are presumed to be open.” A party may move to seal records pursuant to California Rules of Court Rules 2.550-2.551. “A party requesting that a record be filed under seal must file a motion or an application for an order sealing the record. The motion or application must be accompanied by a memorandum and a declaration containing facts sufficient to justify the sealing.” (CRC Rule 2.551(b)(1).)

The court may order that a record be filed under seal only if it expressly finds facts that establish:

(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record;

(2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record;

(3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed;

(4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and

(5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest.

(CRC Rule 2.550(d).)

Discussion

Defendant moves for an order sealing two items:  page 2 of Exhibit 16 and Pages Bates-Labeled OTIS00666-00700 of Exhibit 17, attached to the Declaration of Normandy Kidd in support of Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further.

Defendant asserts that on the exhibits constitute proprietary, confidential, and business sensitive information of Defendant, the improper dissemination of which could result in grave, irreparable competitive harm to Defendant. Defendant contends that OMMS Procedures constitute a library of Defendant’s confidential, proprietary maintenance procedures to be performed on elevators or escalators and the steps each procedure entails. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 3, Frye Decl. ¶ 9.) Defendant argues that it has invested considerable time and expense to develop, test, analyze, distribute, and protect its trade secrets including the OMMS Procedures. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 3, Frye Decl. ¶ 6.) Defendant asserts that through its intellectual property, including the OMMS Procedures, Defendant has gained a competitive advantage in manufacturing, servicing, and repairing of elevator and escalator systems. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 3; Frye Decl. ¶ 7.) Defendant contends that to maintain its competitive economic advantage, Defendant’s trade secrets are disclosed only to authorized individuals or entities and are limited in distribution to authorized individuals or entities. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 3; Frye Decl. ¶ 7.) Defendant argues that making those materials publicly available would negate years of research Defendant has dedicated to achieving its competitive advantage and nullify Defendant’s extraordinary efforts to preserve its trade secrets as well as represent irreparable harm to Defendant. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 5; Frye Decl. ¶ 4-11.) Defendant asserts that moreover, the OMMS Table of Contents and excerpts of the OMMS Procedures at issue are materials marked “Confidential” pursuant to the December 15, 2020 Protective Order.

Defendant further contends that the relief sought is narrowly tailored. Defendant argues that it seeks only to seal page 2 of Exhibit 16 and excerpts of its proprietary OMMS Procedures, Bates-Labeled OTIS00666-00700 of Exhibit 17 to the Declaration of Normandy Kidd. Defendant asserts that all other moving papers and exhibits have been publicly filed and the request for removal of certain pages of only two exhibits has been narrowly tailored so that only the minimum amount of information nis kept out of the public file.

Defendant finally contends that no less restrictive means exists to achieve the overriding interest of protecting Defendant’s confidential, proprietary information. Defendant argues that there is no other means by which Defendant can ensure that its confidential information is in the Court’s record without it being publicly available.

Plaintiff does not oppose the sealing of the requested documents.

The Court finds that there exists an overriding interest in the confidentiality of the Defendant’s OMMS Procedures given their proprietary nature, that the overriding interest supports sealing the record, and that a substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed.

Competitive harm may serve as an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record. (Universal City Studios v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1273, 1285-1286.) Moreover, the information is already subject to a Protective Order which supports the conclusion that the documents should be sealed. (See, e.g., Overstock.com, Inc. v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 471, 484 [“As a practical matter, this has meant documents subject to a protective order often remain outside public purview on a ‘good cause’ showing akin to that which supported issuance of the protective order in the first place.”] [citing Phillips v. General Motors Corp. (9th Cir.2002) 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 [“When a court grants a protective order for information produced during discovery, it already has determined that ‘good cause’ exists to protect this information from being disclosed to the public by balancing the needs for discovery against the need for confidentiality.”]].) Additionally, the “enforcement of binding contractual obligations not to disclose” can form the basis of an order to seal. (NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178, 1207 fn. 46.) Here, the Protective Order that was entered by the Court was stipulated to by the parties in this action.

The Court further finds that the proposed sealing is narrowly tailored in that only page 2 of Exhibit 16 and excerpts of its proprietary OMMS Procedures, Bates-Labeled OTIS00666-00700 of Exhibit 17 to the Declaration of Normandy Kidd are to be sealed rather than the entire Declaration of Normandy Kidd, and that no less restrictive means exists to achieve the overriding interest.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s unopposed motion to seal is GRANTED.

Conclusion

Defendant’s motion to seal is GRANTED. The Court will direct the Clerk of Court to comply with this Order.

Moving party is to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

Case Number: 19STCV34756    Hearing Date: April 9, 2021    Dept: 31

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS IS GRANTED.Relevant Background

On September 30, 2019, Plaintiffs Rachel Ingram and Isaac Ingram filed the instant action against HKA Elevator Consulting, Inc.; ABM Industries, Inc.; Otis Elevator Company; United Technologies Corporation; City of Los Angeles; City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Elevator Division; County of Los Angeles; County of Los Angeles Elevator and Safety Unit; State of California; State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Elevator Unit; and Does 1 through 110. On November 21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). The FAC asserts causes of action for:

(1) Negligence;

(2) Negligence – Common Carrier;

(3) Premises Liability;

(4) Negligent Products Liability – Failure to Warn;

(5) Strict Products Liability – Manufacturing Defect;

(6) Strict Products Liability – Design Defect;

(7) Government Code § 815 et seq.;

(8) Government Code § 815 et seq. – Premises Liability; and

(9) Loss of Consortium.

Plaintiff Rachel Ingram (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) now moves to compel Defendant Otis Elevator Company (hereinafter “Defendant”) to provide a further response to her Request for Production of Documents, Set One, Request No. 8.

Legal Standard

A motion to compel further responses to a demand for inspection or production of documents (“RFP”) may be brought based on: (1) incomplete statements of compliance; (2) inadequate, evasive or incomplete claims of inability to comply; or (3) unmerited or overly generalized objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310(c).)

Motions to compel further responses must always be accompanied by a meet-and confer-declaration (Code Civ. Proc., § 2016.040) demonstrating a “reasonable and good faith attempt an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.” (Id., §§ 2030.300(b), 2031.310(b)(2), 2033.290(b).) They must also be accompanied by a separate statement containing the requests and the responses, verbatim, as well as reasons why a further response is warranted. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1345(a).) The separate statement must also be complete in itself; no extrinsic materials may be incorporated by reference. (Id., rule 3.1345(c).)

Discussion

Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant to provide a further response to her Request for Production of Documents, Set One, Request No. 8.

Plaintiff argues that this lawsuit arises out of an incident in the Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles on November 14, 2018 wherein Plaintiff boarded Elevator number 11 and it suddenly dropped after the governor cable unraveled, causing the elevator to violently fall. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff asserts that she suffered orthopedic injuries and a brain injury, and continues to suffer today. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff contends that the elevators in the Roybal Federal Building were initially installed in the early 1990s. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff argues that between 2013 and 2016, Defendant participated in a “modernization” project of Elevator number 11. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff contends that the governor cable from the original installation of the elevators was never replaced until after the subject incident. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff argues that at the time of the subject incident, Defendant performed elevator maintenance services for the Roybal Federal Building elevators. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 3.)

Plaintiff asserts that on December 23, 2019, Plaintiff propounded her Request for Production of Documents, Set One which included the following request:

REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8

Any and all elevator maintenance manuals in effect at the time of the SUBJECT INCIDENT for the SUBJECT ELEVATORS.

(Kidd Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. 1.)

Plaintiff contends that on February 14, 2020, Defendant objected to the request as “vague and ambiguous” and stating that the request “incorrectly assumes that such a document exists” and “Otis . . . cannot comply with the request.” (Kidd Decl. ¶ 5, Exh. 2.) Plaintiff argues that from February 24, 2020 to June 24, 2020, the parties met and conferred regarding supplemental document production. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 6-16.) Plaintiff asserts that on June 24, 2020, Plaintiff filed an IDC form per court instruction and the Court set the IDC for November 9, 2020. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 16-17.) Plaintiff contends that from June 8, 2020 through October 20, 2020, Defendant did not contact Plaintiff to discuss any of the outstanding discovery issues. (Kidd Decl, ¶ 18.) Plaintiff argues that ultimately, on November 6, 2020, three days before the IDC, Defendant supplemented its discovery requests. (Kidd Decl, ¶ 20, Exh. 15.) Plaintiff asserts that in the supplemental response to Request No. 8, Defendant changed its answer and admitted that a document exists but refused to produce it without a protective order in place. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 20, Exh. 15.)

Plaintiff contends that in an effort to resolve the issue informally, Plaintiff agreed to sign a stipulation for a protective order the elevator maintenance manual and the IDC was continued to December 10, 2020 for the parties to meet and confer regarding the protective order. (Kidd Decl, ¶ 21.) Plaintiff argues that the Court was reluctant to sign the protective order but eventually signed the order on December 16, 2020. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 23.)

Plaintiff asserts that counsel then attempted to meet and confer regarding the supplemental production and Defendant’s position that it did not believe it had to produce the entirety of the manual. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 24.) Plaintiff contends that counsel agreed to review the table to contents of the elevator maintenance manual and let Defendant know what initial pages seemed to be of interest based solely on guessing what the actual pages discussed from the table of contents description. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff argues that on December 29, 2020, counsel sent over limited page requests after looking at the table of contents. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 26.) Plaintiff asserts on January 12, 2021, Defendant responded and refused to produce even half of the requested pages. (Kidd Decl, ¶ 27, Exh, 17.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant also asserted brand new objections not included in either the initial response or the supplement response. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 27, Exh. 17.) The objections asserted were: (1) the manual pages withheld are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence; (2) the page are not relevant; (3) the request is unduly burdensome, oppressive, and harassing; and (4) that Defendant reserved the right to request another protective order as to the manual. (Kidd Decl. ¶ 27, Exh. 17.)

Plaintiff argues that good cause exists to compel a further response to Request No. 8 as the entire manual is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence as all of the component parts of an elevator work together. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant has not admitted that it is liable for this incident and so information about how this specific elevator works and how it is maintained by Defendant will certainly be gleaned from a review of the manual by Plaintiff and her experts and is important. Plaintiff contends that she must prove her case at trial and needs to be given access to the maintenance manual documents regarding this specific elevator.

In opposition, Defendant argues that it acknowledges that certain portions of its proprietary, confidential document known as Otis Maintenance Management System Procedures (the “manual”) might constitute discoverable information responsive to Plaintiff’s Request No. 8. (Frye Decl. ¶ 3-11.) Defendant asserts that the manual sought by Plaintiff contains a compilation of maintenance and repair methods and techniques for elevator and escalator systems which have been developed over a period of years. (Frye Decl. ¶ 9.) Defendant contends that it has invested considerable time and expense to develop, test, analyze, distribute and protect its trade secrets including the manual. (Frye Decl. ¶ 6.) Defendant argues that it has taken extensive steps to ensure that its trade secrets, including specific information contained in the manual requested in this case, which are not available to, or generally known in the industry, are not disclosed to unauthorized individuals or entities. (Frye Decl. ¶ 6.) Defendant asserts that the production of the entirety of these materials would negate years of research Defendant has dedicated to achieve its competitive advantage and nullify Defendant’s extraordinary efforts to preserve its trade secrets as well as represent irreparable harm to Defendant. (Frye Decl. ¶ 10.)

Defendant argues that it complied with Plaintiff’s original request based on the table of contents by producing the following pages: 11-12, 14, 18, 20-22, 25, 28, 31, 74-77, 102-105, 111-113, 118-125 and 161-166. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 12.) Defendant asserts that these pages include but are not limited to the Otis Elevator’s maintenance procedures in connection with governor ropes, the only component part at issue in the present lawsuit. Defendant contends that Defendant requested to meet and confer with Plaintiff regarding the following pages of the manual on the grounds of relevance as the information contained within those pages was not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence: 13, 15-17, 19, 23-24, 26-27, 39- 30, 32-33, 101, 106-110, 114-117 and 146-148. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 13.) Defendant argues that pages 13, 15- 17, 19, 23-24, 26-27, 39-30, 32-31 and 146-148 concern wholly unrelated equipment, such as hydraulic elevators (the subject elevator is a traction elevator), escalators, and lifts. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 13.) Defendant asserts that similarly, pages 106-110 and 114-117 concerned either unrelated equipment (e.g. escalators) or did not constitute maintenance tasks, subject of Plaintiff’s Request No. 8. (Golodnitska Decl. ¶ 13.)

Defendant contends that Plaintiff has not demonstrated the requisite good cause warranting the production of the entire manual. Defendant argues that its confidential, proprietary manual contains information concerning maintenance procedures for various component parts of elevator and escalator systems, many of which are wholly irrelevant to the instant litigation. (Frye Decl. ¶¶ 3-11.) Defendant asserts that the only elevator component part relevant in the present action is the Subject Elevator’s car governor rope.

In reply, Plaintiff argues that the standard by which a document is discoverable does not require Plaintiff to prove why each page of a manual it has never seen is relevant or irrelevant to the instant litigation. Plaintiff asserts that she is also not required to rely upon her adversary to provide what pages it thinks Plaintiff should need to prove her case. Plaintiff contends that she is particularly suspicious of her adversary’s true motivation in withholding the manual as (1) Defendant initially stated in its verified response that it did not even possess the manual sought, (2) Defendant completely stopped communicating about this manual for months until about 3 weeks before the Informal Discovery Conference, (3) after Defendant asked Plaintiff to sign a protective order stipulation before producing the document, Defendant decided to change its position and refuse to produce the document in full.

Plaintiff argues that she has come to learn throughout this litigation and the recent depositions, that this maintenance manual is vitally important to maintenance of the elevators in the Roybal courthouse building, including the subject elevator, as it provides step by step instructions as to what an elevator mechanic should do when inspecting and maintaining these elevators. Plaintiff asserts that additionally, Plaintiff also has good reason to believe that this manual provides guidance on how usage of the elevator should be documented by the mechanic or Otis employee, and what types of maintenance records should be maintained by the Otis mechanic actually inspecting/maintaining the elevator. Plaintiff contends that she believes the manual also includes regulations for the mechanic/Otis employee as to what documentation should be provided to the elevator inspector (in this case Defendant HKA) and/or to the main maintenance contractor (in this case Defendant ABM).

The Court finds that Plaintiff has established good cause for the production of further responses to Request No. 8. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments the car governor rope is not the only information relevant in this action. As noted by Plaintiff, all of the component parts of an elevator work together. Moreover, information about how Defendant maintains other escalators or types of elevators may be relevant to whether Defendant properly maintained the subject elevator. The Court thus finds that all of the information in the manual is thus reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Plaintiff is not required to rely on Defendant’s judgment about what parts of the manual are relevant to her action. Plaintiff has identified a specific document that she seeks and has established its relevance. Notably, Defendant does not argue that the document is privileged, only that it contains proprietary, confidential information. As to Defendant’s concerns about preserving its proprietary and trade secret information, it is undisputed that a Protective Order was entered in this action on December 16, 2020 related to the instant manual. The Court finds that the Protective Order is sufficient to protect Defendant’s information and interests.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses to Request No. 8 is GRANTED.

Sanctions

Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.310(h) provides, in relevant part: “[T]he court shall impose a monetary sanction under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2023.010) against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further response to a demand, 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.”

Plaintiff seeks sanctions against Defendant and its counsel of record, Valeria Golodnitska and Daniel Kelly of the Tucker Ellis LLP firm, in the amount of $10,628.75 consisting of 8 hours spent meeting and conferring, 2.75 hours spent attending IDCs, 8.5 hours spent preparing the moving papers, and an anticipated 3 hours spent analyzing an opposition and preparing a reply billed at a rate of $475 plus the $60 filing fee.

The Court finds that Plaintiff is entitled to sanctions as Defendant did not act with substantial justification in refusing to produce documents even after the entry of the Protective Order. Still, the Court finds that the amount of sanctions requested is excessive and unreasonable. Plaintiff is only entitled to fees related to the drafting of the instant motion. Further, Plaintiff has failed to justify the rate sought by counsel. The Court thus awards reduced sanctions in the amount of $2,335.00 consisting of 5 hours spent preparing the moving papers and 1.5 hours spent preparing the reply billed at a reasonable rate of $350 per hour plus the $60 filing fee.

Conclusion

Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses to Request No. 8 is GRANTED. The entire elevator maintenance manual or manuals shall be produced within five (5) court days. Defendant and its counsel of record are ordered to pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,335.00 to Plaintiff within thirty (30) days of this order.

Moving party to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

Case Number: 19STCV34756    Hearing Date: March 10, 2021    Dept: 31

APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO APPEAR PRO HAVE VICE IS GRANTED.             Attorney Thomas W. Baker (“Applicant”) seeks admission to appear as counsel pro hac vice to represent Defendant Otis Elevator Company (“Defendant”) in this action alongside Daniel J. Kelly, Anthony D. Brosamle, and Valeria Golodnitska of Tucker Ellis, LLP, active members of the State Bar of California. Applicant is a resident of Lakewood, Ohio and is a member in good standing in the State Court of the State of Ohio; United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio; United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio; United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; United States District Court, Central District of Illinois; and State Court of the State of Pennsylvania. (Baker Decl. ¶ 1, 3-4.) Applicant has appeared pro hac vice in California once in the past two years. (Baker Decl. ¶ 5.) Applicant’s application complies with the requirements of California Rules of Court Rule 9.40, including notice and payment of required fees to the State Bar of California.

The application is GRANTED. It is ordered that Thomas W. Baker be admitted to appear as counsel pro hac vice for the purpose of representing Defendant in this action. Applicant shall be subject to all applicable rules of this Court.

Applicant shall give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

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