This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/07/2019 at 04:29:30 (UTC).

SAMUEL CHANG VS CARMEN SOFIA DALANY ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/10/2017 SAMUEL CHANG filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CARMEN SOFIA DALANY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DENNIS J. LANDIN and CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3121

  • Filing Date:

    03/10/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DENNIS J. LANDIN

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

CHANG SAMUEL

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 25

DALANY CARMEN SOFIA

DALANY MATTHEW

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

TOPPILA BRIAN W. ESQ.

BRIAN W. TOPPILA LAW OFFICES OF

TOPPILA BRIAN WALTER

Defendant Attorney

CULLINS & GRANDY LLP

Other Attorneys

GRANDY JAMES LAWTON

 

Court Documents

Notice

10/9/2018: Notice

Request for Judicial Notice

10/9/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Request for Judicial Notice

10/9/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Ex Parte Application

12/4/2018: Ex Parte Application

Declaration

4/3/2019: Declaration

Request for Judicial Notice

4/3/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Minute Order

5/8/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/8/2019: Minute Order

Ex Parte Application

5/8/2019: Ex Parte Application

Notice of Ruling

5/13/2019: Notice of Ruling

Motion to Compel

5/14/2019: Motion to Compel

DEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

2/2/2018: DEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Minute Order

11/28/2017: Minute Order

NOTICE OF RULING ON MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES

12/1/2017: NOTICE OF RULING ON MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES PERSONAL INJURIES AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES

3/10/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES PERSONAL INJURIES AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES

PROOF OF SERVICE

8/30/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE

DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

9/1/2017: DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES FROM COMPLAINT [CCP 435 AND 436], ETC

9/1/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES FROM COMPLAINT [CCP 435 AND 436], ETC

27 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/29/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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  • 05/15/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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  • 05/14/2019
  • Motion to Compel (Answers and Production of Documents at Deposition); Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/14/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for order to continue trial) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 05/08/2019
  • at 10:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 05/08/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for order to continue trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (To Continue Trial); Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Nunc Pro Tunc Order)); Filed by Clerk

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47 More Docket Entries
  • 09/01/2017
  • NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES FROM COMPLAINT [CCP 435 AND 436], ETC

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  • 09/01/2017
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

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  • 08/30/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/30/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE

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  • 08/30/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE

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  • 08/30/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/10/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Samuel Chang (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/10/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 03/10/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES PERSONAL INJURIES AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC653121    Hearing Date: January 09, 2020    Dept: 4A

Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Having considered the moving, opposing and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On March 10, 2017, Plaintiff Samuel Chang (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Carmen Sofia Dalany and Matthew Dalany.  The complaint alleges negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on April 17, 2015.

On December 19, 2018, the Court dismissed Defendant Matthew Dalany.

On September 25, 2019, the Court compelled Defendant Carmen Sofia Dalany to: (1) terrify at a second deposition regarding a variety of questions that the Court did not sustain objections to within 15 days of the ruling, (2) produce non-privileged documents responsive to a request for production within 10 days of the ruling, (3) produce a privilege log pertaining to all documents alleged to be privileged within 10 days of the ruling, and (4) pay $1,560 jointly and severally with counsel within 30 days of the ruling.

On December 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for terminating sanctions against Defendant Carmen Sofia Dalany pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030.

Trial is set for April 27, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Plaintiff asks the Court to impose terminating sanctions against Defendant Carmen Sofia Dalany (“Defendant”) for Defendant’s failure to comply with the Court’s September 25, 2019 order.

Plaintiff also asks the Court to impose $2,560.00 in monetary sanctions against Defendant and her counsel, payable to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff further asks the Court to impose $1,500 in monetary sanctions against Defendant and her counsel, payable to the Court.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party fails to comply with a court order compelling a further response to a request for production, the court may impose monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating sanctions. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2031.310, subd. (i).) California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 provides that, “[t]o the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method . . . , the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose . . . [monetary, issue, evidence, or terminating] sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process . . . .” California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010 provides that “[m]issues of the discovery process include, but are not limited to, the following: . . . (g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery. . . .

“The trial court may order a terminating sanction for discovery abuse ‘after considering the totality of the circumstances: [the] conduct of the party to determine if the actions were willful; the detriment to the propounding party; and the number of formal and informal attempts to obtain the discovery.’” Los Defensores, Inc. v. Gomez (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 377, 390 (quoting Lang v. Hochman (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 1225, 1246). “Generally, ‘[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.’” Los Defensores, supra, 223 Cal.App.4th at p. 390 (citation omitted).)

“Under this standard, trial courts have properly imposed terminating sanctions when parties have willfully disobeyed one or more discovery orders.”  (Los¿Defensores, 223 Cal.App.4th at p. 390 (citing¿Lang, supra, 77 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1244-1246 (discussing cases));¿see, e.g.,¿Collisson¿& Kaplan v.¿Hartunian¿(1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1611, 1617-1622 (terminating sanctions imposed after defendants failed to comply with one court order to produce discovery);¿Laguna Auto Body v. Farmers Ins. Exchange¿(1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 481, 491, disapproved on other grounds in¿Garcia v. McCutchen¿(1997) 16 Cal.4th 469, 478, n. 4 (terminating sanctions imposed against plaintiff for failing to comply with a discovery order and for violating various discovery statutes).)

California Code of Civil Procedure section 177.5 states “[a] judicial officer shall have the power to impose reasonable money sanctions, not to exceed fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500), notwithstanding any other provision of law, payable to the court, for any violation of a lawful court order by a person, done without good cause or substantial justification. This power shall not apply to advocacy of counsel before the court. For the purposes of this section, the term ‘person’ includes a witness, a party, a party’s attorney, or both. Sanctions pursuant to this section shall not be imposed except on notice contained in a party’s moving or responding papers; or on the court’s own motion, after notice and opportunity to be heard. An order imposing sanctions shall be in writing and shall recite in detail the conduct or circumstances justifying the order.”

DISCUSSION

On September 25, 2019, the Court ordered granted Plaintiff’s motion to compel further discovery responses from Defendant(Hahn Decl., ¶ 4, Esh. B.)  In that order, the Court compelled Defendant to (1) testify at a second deposition regarding a variety of questions that the Court did not sustain objections to within 15 days of the ruling, (2) produce non-privileged documents responsive to a request for production within 10 days of the ruling, and (3) produce a privilege log pertaining to all documents alleged to be privileged within 10 days of the ruling.  (Ibid.One of the categories of documents the Court ordered Defendant to produce to Plaintiff included copies of Defendant’s cell phone and billing records for the ten-minute period immediately before the incident and the thirty-minute period after the incident.  (Ibid.Also in that order, the Court compelled Defendant and her counsel to pay $1,560 Plaintiff jointly and severally within 30 days of the ruling. Ibid.)

On October 4, 2019, Plaintiff and Defendant agreed for Defendant’s deposition to take place on October 9, 2019.  (Hahn Decl., 8, Exh. E.)  The deposition was rescheduled for October 10, 2019.  (Hahn Decl., 10, Exh. G.)  At that deposition, Defendant testified that she was unable to obtain the phone records the September 25, 2019 Court order compelled service of because AT&T could only provide phone records dating back to the summer of 2018.  (Hahn Decl., 11, Exh. H, pp. 241:10-241:15; 243:7-243:9.)  Defendant also testified that she did not convey to the AT&T representative that she was requesting the documents pursuant to a Court order.  (Hahn Decl., ¶ 11, Exh. H, p. 245:12-245:16.)  Defendant made this phone call to AT&T on either October 3, 2019 or October 4, 2019. Hahn Decl., ¶ 11, Exh. H, p. 244:9-244:15.)

Plaintiff argues Defendant’s efforts in obtaining her phone records cannot constitute a reasonable inquiry and a diligent search.  AT&T told Plaintiff’s legal assistant that AT&T keeps customer’s cell phone records for seven to eight years to be produced pursuant to a court order.  (Kim Decl., ¶ 3-5, 7.)  The entire process to discover this information took less than ten minutes (Kim Decl., 8.)

The Court finds terminating sanctions are improper here.  First, the Court finds that what Ms. Kim says ATT said is hearsay.  Putting that aside, however, Defendant sought the Court ordered documents from AT&T.  Defendant did not suggest that the documents sought were pursuant to a Court order.  It is unclear to the court whether a customer saying a court had ordered her to produced the records was what the ATT representative meant when she said that records could be obtained via a court order (versus an order directed to ATT).   Further, Defendant was justified in not producing a privilege log because there were no documents obtained to include in a privilege log.  As such, the Court finds Defendant had made a reasonable effort in complying with the Court’s September 25, 2019 order compelling certain cell phone records to be produced to Plaintiff.

Sanctions are not properly granted because the Court finds Defendant substantially complied with the September 25, 2019 Court order compelling the production of certain phone records.

The motion is DENIED.

Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is DENIED.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of this ruling.