This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/26/2021 at 04:32:58 (UTC).

SHIRLENE GORDON VS RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY, AN OHIO CORPORATION, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 09/30/2021 SHIRLENE GORDON filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY, AN OHIO CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******6055

  • Filing Date:

    09/30/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

GORDON SHIRLENE

Defendants

GOUDE MICHAEL

RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY AN OHIO CORPORATION

THE KROGER CO. AN OHIO CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MITCHELL TIMOTHY ESQ.

Defendant Attorney

STONE GREGORY EDWARD

 

Court Documents

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

10/1/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

9/30/2021: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

9/30/2021: Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

Complaint

9/30/2021: Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/30/2021: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Answer

12/8/2021: Answer

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [PI GENERAL ORDER], STANDING ORDER RE PI PROCEDURES AND HEARING DATES

11/1/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [PI GENERAL ORDER], STANDING ORDER RE PI PROCEDURES AND HEARING DATES

PI General Order

11/1/2021: PI General Order

Answer

10/29/2021: Answer

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

10/21/2021: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Proof of Personal Service

10/8/2021: Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service

10/8/2021: Proof of Personal Service

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

12/8/2021: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Motion to Quash

12/20/2021: Motion to Quash

Separate Statement

12/20/2021: Separate Statement

3 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/26/2024
  • Hearing09/26/2024 at 08:30 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/30/2023
  • Hearing03/30/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/16/2023
  • Hearing03/16/2023 at 10:00 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/09/2022
  • Hearing02/09/2022 at 1:30 PM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Quash Plaintiff's Motion to Quash Defendants Subpoenas

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/20/2021
  • DocketMotion to Quash (DEFENDANT?S SUBPOENA FOR MEDICAL AND EMPLOYMENT RECORDS OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER); Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/20/2021
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/08/2021
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Ralphs Grocery Company dba Ralphs Erroneously Sued As Ralphs Grocery Company, an Ohio corporation (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/08/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Michael Goede Erroneously Sued As Michael Goude (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/01/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/01/2021
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/29/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Ralphs Grocery Company dba Ralphs Erroneously Sued As Ralphs Grocery Company, an Ohio corporation (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/21/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2021
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2021
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/01/2021
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/30/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/30/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/30/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/30/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Shirlene Gordon (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******6055 Hearing Date: February 9, 2022 Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties are encouraged to meet and confer concerning this tentative ruling to determine if a resolution may be reached. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution and a party intends to submit on this tentative ruling, the party must send an email to the Court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating that party’s intention to submit. The email shall include the case number, date and time of the hearing, counsel’s contact information (if applicable), and the identity of the party submitting on this tentative ruling. If the Court does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may place the motion off calendar. If all parties do not submit on this tentative ruling, they should arrange to appear in-person or remotely (which is highly encouraged). Further, after the Court has posted/issued a tentative ruling, the Court has the inherent authority to prohibit the withdrawal of the subject motion and adopt the tentative ruling as the order of the Court.

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

February 9, 2022

CASE NUMBER

*******6055

MOTION

Motion to Quash Subpoenas;

Request for Monetary Sanctions

MOVING PARTY

Plaintiff Shirleen Gordon

OPPOSING PARTIES

Defendants Ralphs Grocery Company dba Ralphs and Michael Goede

MOTION

Plaintiff Shirleen Gordon sued Defendants Ralphs Grocery Company dba Ralphs and Michael Goede (collectively, “Defendants”) based on a slip and fall. Plaintiff moves to quash the subpoenas Defendants served on Plaintiff’s employer, Dr. Nortman, M.D. (“Nortman”) and on Plaintiff’s thirty-two medical providers (“Providers”). Defendants oppose the motion.

ANALYSIS

If a subpoena requires the production of documents, the court may quash the subpoena entirely or modify it. (Code Civ. Proc., 1987.1, subd. (a).) In ruling on a motion to quash, “the court may in its discretion award the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in making or opposing the motion, including reasonable attorney's fees, if the court finds the motion was made or opposed in bad faith or without substantial justification or that one or more of the requirements of the subpoena was oppressive.” (Code Civ. Proc., 1987.2, subd. (a).)

Current discovery standards hold that, “any party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged,[1] that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action . . . if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” (Board of Registered Nursing v. Superior Court (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 1011, 1039 (hereafter, Board of Nursing).) “To meet this [test], a party seeking to compel [the] production of records . . . must articulate specific facts justifying the discovery sought; it may not rely on mere generalities.” (Ibid.; see Johnson v. Superior Court (1968) 258 Cal.App.2d 829, 837 [finding that a subpoena was “insufficient” to compel production because it was “based wholly on the [party’s] alleged information and belief without any statement of supporting facts”].) However, “[e]ven if information is otherwise discoverable, it may be protected by a constitutional or statutory privilege[,] [including] the right to privacy . . . .” (Board of Nursing, supra, 59 Cal.App.5th at p. 1039.)

“The state Constitution expressly grants Californians a right of privacy. Protection of informational privacy is the provision's central concern. . . . The party asserting a privacy right must establish a legally protected privacy interest, an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the given circumstances, and a threatened intrusion that is serious.[2] The party seeking information may raise in response whatever legitimate and important countervailing interests disclosure serves, while the party seeking protection may identify feasible alternatives that serve the same interests or protective measures that would diminish the loss of privacy. A court must then balance these competing considerations.” (Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 552 [cleaned up].)

“Legally recognized privacy interests [include] interests in precluding the dissemination or misuse of sensitive and confidential information (‘informational privacy’) . . . .” (Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1, 35 (hereafter, Hill).) “A particular class of information is [sensitive or confidential] when well-established social norms recognize the need to maximize individual control over its dissemination and use to prevent unjustified embarrassment or indignity.” (Ibid.)

  1. EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

Plaintiff has a right of privacy in her employment records. (See Alch v. Superior Court (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1412, 1426.) “The public interest in preserving confidential, personnel information generally outweighs a private litigant’s interest in obtaining that information. A showing of relevancy may be enough to cause the court to balance the compelling public need for discovery against the fundamental right of privacy.” (Life Technologies Corp. v. Superior Court (2011) 197 Cal.App.4th 640, 652) “[O]bvious invasions of interests fundamental to personal autonomy must be supported by a compelling interest.” (Williams, supra, 3 Cal.5th at p. 557.) “Even when the balance does weigh in favor of disclosure, the scope of disclosure must be narrowly circumscribed.” (Life Technologies, supra, 197 Cal.App.4th at pp. 652-653 [emphasis original].)

Here, Defendants’ subpoena to Nortman seeks “Any and all documents and records pertaining to the employee, including but not limited to, any and all payroll records, 1099 forms if applicable, and W-2s[.]” (Declaration of Timothy Mitchell, Exhibit 1.) Plaintiff agrees her employment records concerning her wage, income, and attendance are relevant to her wage loss claim. Plaintiff argues, however, that any document in her personnel file not directly related to wages remains privileged. Specifically, Plaintiff argues her “tax documents i.e., tax returns, nor W2/W4/1099 forms nor any document attached to or part of a Tax Document, nor any document containing the Consumer’s social security number” are relevant to her wage loss claim. Plaintiff’s argument is somewhat nonsensical as these documents speak directly to Plaintiff’s wage and income, which, as Plaintiff agrees, are relevant to her wage loss claim. Accordingly, the Court denies in part Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoena to Nortman. The Court notes Plaintiff’s social security number should be redacted from documents produced in discovery. The mere presence of her social security number does not make the entire document undiscoverable.

  1. MEDICAL RECORDS

It is “well-settled” that “patients have a right to privacy with respect to information contained in . . . [their] medical records.” (Grafilo v. Wolfsohn (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 1024, 1034.) Indeed, a patient’s right to privacy “is protected by case law as well as state and federal statutes and regulations.” (County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (2021) 65 Cal.App.5th 621, 641 (hereafter, County of Los Angeles).) Additionally, “[t]he privacy interest in psychiatric records is particularly strong, and in some respects, entitled to more robust protection than other types of medical records.” (Grafilo v. Soorani (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 497, 507.)

“As one court explained in discussing the examination of medical records vis- -vis the right to privacy: the information that may be recorded in a doctor’s files is broad-ranging. The chronology of ailments and treatment is potentially sensitive. Patients may disclose highly personal details of lifestyle and information concerning sources of stress and anxiety. These are matters of great sensitivity going to the core of the concerns for the privacy of information about an individual.” (County of Los Angeles, 65 Cal.App.5th at pp. 641–642 [cleaned up].)

In Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal.3d 844, 859, it was recognized that “the filing of a lawsuit may implicitly bring about a partial waiver of one’s constitutional right of . . . privacy.” However, the California Supreme Court held that “the scope of such ‘waiver’ must be narrowly rather than expansively construed.” (Ibid.) In other words, “while [a plaintiff] may not withhold information which relates to any physical or mental condition which they have put in issue by bringing this lawsuit, they are entitled to retain the confidentiality of all unrelated medical or psychotherapeutic treatment they may have undergone in the past.” (Ibid.) Therefore, it follows that a patient cannot reasonably expect certain matters to remain private if they are related to the specific issues that the patient has himself brought before a court. On the other hand, it is objectively reasonable to expect health care records that are unrelated to a current legal dispute to remain private.

Here, the subject subpoenas served on Providers seek “[a]ny and all documents and medical records pertaining to the examination, care, diagnosis, and treatment of the patient,” without limit as to temporal scope. (Declaration of Timothy Mitchell, Exhibit 1.) Defendants assert the unlimited scope of the subject subpoenas is appropriate because Plaintiff’s discovery responses state her injuries are “without limitation” and thus all medical records relating to Plaintiff’s alleged injuries for all time, including pain and suffering due to pre-existing injuries or health conditions, are relevant. The Court disagrees.

In her discovery responses, Plaintiff represents she suffered the following injuries based upon the subject incident: headaches, low back pain, left ankle pain, emotional trauma including depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. (Declaration of David Breitburg, Exhibit A.) This representation binds Plaintiff. Accordingly, the Court limits the subpoenas for Plaintiff’s medical records to those records concerning Plaintiff’s head, back, and left ankle, as well as those concerning Plaintiff’s headaches, depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness within five years prior to the date of the subject incident. On balance, the Court finds these limits to be appropriate to protect Plaintiff’s privacy interest in her medical records not directly relevant to the issues in this action while also permitting Defendant the opportunity to conduct discovery into Plaintiff’s claimed injuries and any related pre-existing conditions.

  1. MONETARY SANCTIONS

Both parties request monetary sanctions in connection with the motion. In ruling on a motion to quash, “the court may in its discretion award the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in making or opposing the motion, including reasonable attorney's fees, if the court finds the motion was made or opposed in bad faith or without substantial justification or that one or more of the requirements of the subpoena was oppressive.” (Code Civ. Proc., 1987.2, subd. (a).) The Court declines to award such sanctions. The Court concludes that the parties had a good faith dispute as to the proper scope of the subpoenas, and neither party has acted in bad faith.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Therefore, the Court grants in part Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoenas Defendants served on Providers, and orders said subpoenas limited in scope to records pertaining to Plaintiff’s head, back, and left ankle, as well as those concerning Plaintiff’s headaches, depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness within five years prior to the date of the subject incident. The Court denies in part Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoena for employment records served on Nortman.

Plaintiff shall give notice of the Court’s ruling, and file a proof of service of such.


[1] “A patient has a statutory privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, any confidential communication between the patient and a physician, or between the patient and a psychotherapist, absent waiver or some statutory exception to the privilege. These privileges apply to discovery as well as to trial, and they preclude disclosure to the court as well as to the parties.” (Simek v. Superior Court (1981) 117 Cal.App.3d 169, 173 [cleaned up].) Specifically, the Evidence Code holds that “[t]he patient, whether or not a party, has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication between patient and physician . . . .” (Evid. Code, 994; see also Evid. Code, 1014 [“the patient, whether or not a party, has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication between patient and psychotherapist”].) However, the Evidence Code provides that “there is no privilege under this article as to any communication relevant to an issue concerning the condition of the patient if such issue has been tendered by” the patient or a patient-related party. (See Evid. Code, 996; see also Evid. Code, 1016 [regarding a patient’s emotional or mental condition].)

[2] “This initial inquiry is necessary to permit courts to weed out claims that involve so insignificant or de minimis an intrusion on constitutionally protected privacy interests as not even to require an explanation or justification by the defendant.” (Lewis v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 561, 571 [cleaned up].)


related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where THE KROGER CO. AN OHIO CORP. is a litigant

Latest cases where RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY is a litigant

Latest cases represented by Lawyer STONE GREGORY EDWARD