This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/23/2020 at 05:34:32 (UTC).

SHOHREH SAMIMI VS THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CA ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/05/2018 SHOHREH SAMIMI filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are SAMANTHA P. JESSNER, ALAN S. ROSENFIELD, YOLANDA OROZCO and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6641

  • Filing Date:

    03/05/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Other Labor

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

SAMANTHA P. JESSNER

ALAN S. ROSENFIELD

YOLANDA OROZCO

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

SAMIMI SHOHREH

Defendants, Respondents and Not Classified By Court

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF

UCLA HEALTH

DOES 1 TO 25

UCLA HEALTHCARE

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AKA UCLA HEALTH AKA UCLA HEALTHCARE

SPISSO JOHNESE

DEVASKAR UDAY

WALKER VALENCIA

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AKA AND OPERATING UNDER THE NAMES OF UCLA HEALTH AKA UCLA HEALTHCARE BOTH CALIFORNIA PUBLIC ENTITIES

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

SLAUGHTER YOLANDA A. ESQ.

MESRIANI RODNEY ESQ.

SLAUGHTER YOLANDA ANNETTE ESQ.

SHEGERIAN CARNEY R ESQ

SHEGERIAN CARNEY R. ESQ

SHEGERIAN CARNEY

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

BURKE WILLIAMS & SORENSEN LLP

ANNEET DAPHNE MARY

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND S...)

10/13/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND S...)

Notice of Related Case

9/30/2020: Notice of Related Case

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

8/28/2020: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

8/28/2020: Separate Statement

Notice - NOTICE UNAVAILABILITY--WR (SAMIMI)

4/16/2020: Notice - NOTICE UNAVAILABILITY--WR (SAMIMI)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 03/17/2020

3/17/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 03/17/2020

Motion for Leave to Amend - MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND MTN AMEND.(SAMIMI).FINAL

2/24/2020: Motion for Leave to Amend - MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND MTN AMEND.(SAMIMI).FINAL

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING AMENDED NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER ON DEFENDANTS EX-PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DATE

5/2/2019: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING AMENDED NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER ON DEFENDANTS EX-PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL DATE

Notice of Ruling

4/23/2019: Notice of Ruling

Request for Judicial Notice

2/25/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Minute Order -

9/18/2018: Minute Order -

Stipulation - No Order - Joint Stipulation to Allow Plaintiff Leave to File Third Amended Complaint

11/15/2018: Stipulation - No Order - Joint Stipulation to Allow Plaintiff Leave to File Third Amended Complaint

Complaint - Amended Complaint (2nd)

11/9/2018: Complaint - Amended Complaint (2nd)

Reply - Reply IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

10/23/2018: Reply - Reply IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

DECLARATION OF DAPHNE M. ANNEET IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

9/12/2018: DECLARATION OF DAPHNE M. ANNEET IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Minute Order -

8/28/2018: Minute Order -

PLAINTIFF SHOHREH SAMIMI'S NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL

6/7/2018: PLAINTIFF SHOHREH SAMIMI'S NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

5/30/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

104 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/05/2021
  • Hearing02/05/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

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  • 01/13/2021
  • Hearing01/13/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 01/11/2021
  • Hearing01/11/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 12/14/2020
  • Hearing12/14/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 10/13/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND SAMIMI II (SAMIMI) FINAL) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND S...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketOrder (Re: Ex Parte to Consolidate); Filed by SHOHREH SAMIMI (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/08/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND SAMIMI II (SAMIMI) FINAL) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 10/08/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND SAMIMI II (SAMIMI) FINAL) - Held - Continued

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  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application TO CONSOLIDATE SAMIMI I AND S...)); Filed by Clerk

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163 More Docket Entries
  • 05/30/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/05/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR: 1. RETALIATION IN VIOLATION OF LABOR CODE 1102.5; ETC

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  • 03/05/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 03/05/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by SHOHREH SAMIMI (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC696641    Hearing Date: June 23, 2020    Dept: 31

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND IS GRANTED.

Background

The instant action was filed on March 5, 2018. On September 13, 2019, Plaintiff Shohreh Samimi filed the Fourth Amended Complaint (“FAC”) against Defendant The Regents of the University of California, also known as and operating under the names of UCLA Health and UCLA Healthcare, and Does 1 to 25. The FAC asserts causes of action for:

  1. Whistle-Blower Retaliation in Violation of Labor Code § 1102.5;

  2. Whistle-Blower Retaliation in Violation of Government Code § 8547.10, et seq.;

  3. Whistle-Blower Retaliation in Violation of Health and Safety Code § 1278.4;

  4. Violation of FEHA;

  5. Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process in Violation of FEHA;

  6. Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation in Violation of FEHA;

  7. Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in Violation of FEHA;

  8. Violations of Business and Professions Code § 510; and

  9. Violation of Labor Code § 232.5.

Trial is currently set for October 5, 2020.

Plaintiff seeks leave to file a Fifth Amended Complaint, adding: (1) prayers for relief seeking punitive damages and attorneys’ fees pursuant to Government Code section 8547.10(c); (2) causes of action for: Violation of Government Code sections 8547.10 and 8547.11, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Negligent Supervision/Retention; and (3) Dr. Valencia Walker, Dr. Uday Devaskar, and Johnese Spisso as individual defendants.

Legal Standard

The court may, in furtherance of justice and on any proper terms, allow a party to amend any pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (a)(1); Branick v. Downey Savings & Loan Association (2006) 39 Cal.4th 235, 242.) The court may also, in its discretion and after notice to the adverse party, allow, upon any terms as may be just, an amendment to any pleading or proceeding in other particulars; and may upon like terms allow an answer to be made after the time limited by this code. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (a); Branick, supra, 39 Cal.4th at 242.) “This discretion should be exercised liberally in favor of amendments, for judicial policy favors resolution of all disputed matters in the same lawsuit.” (Kittredge Sports Co. v. Superior Court (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1045, 1047.) Leave to amend is thus liberally granted, provided there is no statute of limitations concern. (Kolani v. Gluska (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 402, 411.) The court may deny the plaintiff’s leave to amend if there is prejudice to the opposing party, such as delay in trial, loss of critical evidence, or added costs of preparation. (Id.)

Under California Rules of Court, rule 3.1324, a motion to amend a pleading before trial must (1) include a copy of the proposed amendment or amended pleading, which must be serially numbered to differentiate it from previous pleadings or amendments; (2) state what allegations in the previous pleading are proposed to be deleted, if any, and where, by page, paragraph and line number, the deleted allegations are located; and (3) state what allegations are proposed to be added to the previous pleading, if any, and where, by page, paragraph, and line number, the additional allegations are located. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1324(a).) A separate supporting declaration specifying (1) the effect of the amendment; (2) why the amendment is necessary and proper; (3) when the facts giving rise to the amended allegations were discovered; and (4) the reason why the request for amendment was not made earlier must accompany the motion. (Id., rule 3.1324(b).)

Request for Judicial Notice

The court may take judicial notice of “official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state of the United States,” “[r]ecords of (1) any court of this state or (2) any court of record of the United States or of any state of the United States,” and “[f]acts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.” (Evid. Code § 452, subds. (c), (d), and (h).)  

Defendant requests that the Court take judicial notice of a number of documents filed in this case. The request is GRANTED.

Discussion

Proposed Amendment

Plaintiff seeks leave to file a Fifth Amended Complaint, adding: (1) prayers for relief seeking punitive damages and attorneys’ fees pursuant to Government Code section 8547.10(c); (2) causes of action for: Violation of Government Code sections 8547.10 and 8547.11, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Negligent Supervision/Retention; and (3) Dr. Valencia Walker, Dr. Uday Devaskar, and Johnese Spisso as individual defendants.

Timeliness

Defendant opposes the instant motion, arguing that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed in seeking leave to add Drs. V.W., Devaskar, and CFO Spisso, and the related claims. Defendant asserts that factually, there is nothing new here. Defendant contends that Plaintiff has been fully aware of the facts underpinning her proposed whistleblower claims on or before she filed the original complaint on March 5, 2018. Defendant argues that this is evidenced by the fact that the core allegations regarding the conduct Plaintiff claims is retaliatory and/or interference have remained the same throughout the five previous iterations of the complaint. Defendant asserts that there can be no doubt that Plaintiff and her counsel have been aware of the facts that supposedly support the new claims for at least two years. Defendant contends that Plaintiff cannot offer a plausible reason why the whistleblower claims against the individual defendants could not have been pled in the original complaint or why leave to amend could not have been sought earlier during one of four prior amendments to the complaint. Defendant argues that without reasonable justification for the delay, it is within the Court’s discretion to deny the request for leave to amend.

In reply, Plaintiff argues that there has been no undue delay. Plaintiff asserts that law and motion on amendments and demurrers spanned until March 2019, when the case truly became at issue for the first time. (Reed Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff contends that thereafter, despite having served deposition notices in February 2019, as well as relentless meet and confer efforts attempting to pin down deposition dates, Plaintiff finally took her first deposition on August 2, 2019, that of Dr. Valencia Walker. (Reed Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff argues that Dr. James Washington came next on August 5, 2019, and Dr. Uday Devaskar followed on August 7, 2019. (Reed Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff asserts that thereafter, 20-or-so depositions took place, the grand majority in December 2019. (Reed Decl. ¶ 2.)

Plaintiff contends that on December 30, 2019, the parties attended mediation. (Reed Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff argues that there, a mediator’s proposal was made, and at Defendant’s request, the deadline to respond was set for January 24, 2020, during which time it was agreed that discovery would be informally stayed. (Reed Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff asserts that the case did not settle. (Reed Decl. ¶ 3.)

Plaintiff contends that in response to alleged shortcomings and holes in Plaintiff’s case claimed by Defendant during mediation, and based on information learned in the depositions and late produced documents, Plaintiff decided to amend her complaint. (Reed Decl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff argues that prior to taking the 20-depositions, Plaintiff and her counsel had a general idea of the factual basis of her claims based on her own experiences, but did not in the least have an understanding of the breadth of the underlying facts unearthed not only through depositions, but the very documents that made up the “investigation” of her, not produced until August 22, 2019. (Reed Decl. ¶ 6, Exh. 2.) Plaintiff asserts that in light of this, Plaintiff moved rather swiftly.

Plaintiff contends that given this hide the ball tactic, Plaintiff was kept in the dark for years. Plaintiff argues that having unclean hands, Defendant should be unable to hold this against Plaintiff. Plaintiff that her actions show diligence, not undue delay.

The Court finds that Plaintiff’s motion is timely. Based on the evidence before the Court, Plaintiff became aware of the facts giving rise to the amendment during depositions that took place from August through December of 2019 and at mediation on December 30, 2019. Nothing before the Court indicates that Plaintiff had knowledge of the information supporting the proposed amendment prior to that time, contrary to Defendant’s assertion. The Court thus turns to Defendant’s other arguments.

Merits of Amendment

In ruling on a motion for leave to amend the complaint, the Court does not consider the merits of the proposed amendment because “the preferable practice would be to permit the amendment and allow the parties to test its legal sufficiency by demurrer, motion for judgment on the pleadings or other appropriate proceedings.” (Kittredge, supra, 213 Cal.App.3d at p. 1048.) While the court may deny leave to amend where the proposed amendment is insufficient to state a valid cause of action or defense, such denial is most appropriate where the insufficiency cannot be cured by further amendment—i.e., where the statute of limitations has expired or the insufficiency is established by controlling caselaw. (California casualty Gen. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 274, 280-281, disapproved on other grounds in Kransco v. American Empire Surplus Lines Ins. Co. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 390.)

Defendant additionally opposes the instant motion arguing that the proposed new claims lack legal merit as Plaintiff’s claims are time barred, Defendant is not subject to liability pursuant to Government Code section 8547.1, and Government Code section 8457.11 does not provide for a remedy of punitive damages or attorneys’ fees.

As noted above, the preferable practice when a defendant opposes a motion for leave to amend on the merits of the amendment is to permit the amendment and allow the parties to test its legal sufficiency by demurrer, motion for judgment on the pleadings, or other appropriate pleadings. Accordingly, the Court does not consider the merits of Plaintiff’s proposed amendment in ruling on the instant motion for leave to amend.

Prejudice to Defendant

Defendant finally opposes the instant motion arguing that it will be substantially prejudiced if the motion is granted. Defendant asserts that as a starting point, the addition of the individual defendants and claims will require a delay in trial. Defendant contends that it will challenge the amended complaint and that it is likely that the individual defendants will do the same. Defendant argues that another round of pleading disputes creates further uncertainty, delay, and expense.

Defendant contends that the addition of new defendants and claims for damages will also necessarily result in enlarging the overall scope and pace of discovery. Defendant argues that its litigation strategy and approach to depositions has been marked and shaped by the knowledge that Plaintiff was not pursuing individual employees. Defendant asserts that the new parties will likely require significant backtracking and redoing of an elaborate deposition process that the parties negotiated to allow the individual defendants full and fair opportunity to participate in the process and to allow all of the defendants the opportunity to explore the relevant issues.

Defendant contends that while Plaintiff has enjoyed the benefit of participating in each and every deposition, the proposed individual defendants have not, at their great disadvantage. Defendant argues that the individual defendants will likely assert their right to depose any witness, once again, at great additional expense to Defendant and a delay of proceedings.

Defendant additionally asserts that in the event the Court grants Plaintiff leave to assert claims against the individual defendants, they will have the right to select representation and fully participate in the discovery process. Defendant contends that in the event each individual defendant elects to be represented by his or her own counsel, the addition of new parties and attorneys will also significantly impact the ligation timelines.

In reply, Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ claims of prejudice are unfounded or mooted. Plaintiff asserts that here, “‘if the same set of facts supports merely a different theory . . . no prejudice can result from an amendment of the pleadings.’ [Citation.]” (Garcia v. Roberts (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 900, 910.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant neither dispute this, nor do they attempt to distinguish Garcia.

Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ conclusory claim that depositions will have to be reopened is not only without merit, but ludicrous. Plaintiff asserts that this case remains a whistleblower case; the new claims are whistleblower claims. Plaintiff contends that her deposition is still open. Plaintiff argues that additionally, the amended complaint will not greatly alter the nature of the litigation, as the addition of new retaliatory theories does not change the landscape from mountain to seascape.

Plaintiff asserts that the specific prejudice claimed by Defendant has been expressly rejected by California Courts of Appeal. (Sands v. Philly (2013) 2013 WL 604469 at *11 [citing Kittredge v. Superior Court (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1045, 1048] (the fact that the amended complaint may require additional proceedings to test the new allegations is not sufficient, in itself, to show prejudice); Id. at *11 [citing Fair v. Bahktiari (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1149-1150] (prejudice to defendants from permitting amendment of complaint to allege new claim after trial could be eliminated by limited discovery into claim).) Plaintiff contends that here, the new claims against Defendant, including the new prayer for punitive damages, fall squarely within the original facts pleaded, obviating prejudice as a matter of law.

Plaintiff argues that the only arguably new claim is for IIED predicated on claims brought against Defendant Spisso based on newly discovered information previously withheld. Plaintiff asserts that she thus cannot be held responsible for any prejudice claimed thereby. Plaintiff contends that she did not know until December 17, 2019, at the earliest, of the facts that formed the theory of liability she alleges in the proposed amended complaint. Plaintiff argues that as to the claims regarding repetitive discovery, Spisso has yet to be deposed, and regardless of the disposition of this motion, certainly will be. Plaintiff asserts that no other witness related ot the meeting described in the proposed amended complaint have been deposed apart from Anahit Sarin-Gulian, whose deposition remains open.

As to Doctors Valencia Walker and Uday Devaskar, Plaintiff contends that while it is true that Walker and Devaskar have not participated in this litigation to date apart from their depositions, their interests are identical to that of Defendant, and in its opposition, Defendant has not taken the time to explain otherwise. Plaintiff argues that even assuming arguendo that there may be prejudice due to numerous deposition having been taken, either Walker or Devaskar could certainly seek leave to reopen and/or be granted the right to do so.

The Court finds that Defendant will not be prejudiced by the proposed amendment. Defendant’s argument that it will be is unpersuasive, as any party to an action in which leave to amend is granted will more than likely be required to conduct additional discovery. If such a showing of prejudice were sufficient to warrant a denial of a motion for leave to amend, no motion for leave to amend would be granted. Moreover, nothing before the Court indicates that the individual defendants’ interests would not have been protected at the depositions of the majority of the witnesses that have already been deposed. If the individual defendants desire to re-open the depositions of any particular witnesses, they may seek leave to do so.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file the Fifth Amended Complaint within five days of this order.

Stay of Depositions & Relief from Stipulated Extended Notice Period

On January 16, 2020, the Court granted Defendant’s ex-parte application to continue trial. Attached to the application was a Joint Stipulation to Continue Trial Date, Final Status Conference and Related Motion/Discovery Dates. (RJN, Exh. F.) The Joint Stipulation provides in relevant part:

[F]or good cause, the PARTIES HEREBY STIPULATE AND AGREE:

1. That the trial date be continued to October 12, 2020, or a date close in time thereafter convenient to the Court;

2. That the Final Status Conference and all motion (including trial and pre-trial) and discovery cut-off dates be continued and reset according to the new trial date.

3. In the event the Court grants the parties' request to continue the trial to October 12, 2020, Defendant agrees to afford the Plaintiff 100-days' notice on any dispositive motion filed pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437(c) instead of the 75-day notice period prescribed by the same.

(RJN, Exh. F, p. 6.)

Defendant requests, should the Court be inclined to grant the motion, that the Court stay all further depositions pending resolutions of any disputes regarding the amended pleading in order to promote judicial economy and efficiency. Defendant additionally requests that the Court issue an order relieving Defendant from the extended notice period set forth in the Joint Stipulation.

Defendant argues that it entered the Joint Stipulation and negotiated the timetable and structure therein based on the understanding that the case was at issue and all of the pleading issues had been resolved. (Anneet Decl. ¶ 8.) Defendant asserts that an order relieving Defendant from the extended notice period is necessary to ensure that the deadline to file a dispositive motion under the current briefing schedule does not run before all issues related to the amended pleading are resolved.

In reply, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s requests to stay all proceedings and for relief from stipulation were not noticed and therefore are not properly before the Court. Plaintiff asserts that despite agreements otherwise, Defendant has failed to take action on its own to attempt to protect its own interests. Plaintiff contends that in writing, Defendant promised to go in ex parte to seek relief in terms of a stay until the issues with the proposed amended complaint were resolved. (Reed Decl., Exh. 3-4.) Plaintiff argues that Defendant did not keep its word and its failure to act prejudiced Plaintiff.

The Court finds that Plaintiff has not been prejudiced by Defendant’s failure to seek the requested relief by noticed ex-parte application. Plaintiff had every opportunity to oppose the relief requested in its reply yet chose not to address the relief requested on its merits. Nothing before the Court indicates that the Joint Stipulation was not entered based on a belief that the case was at issue and that all pleading issues had been resolved. Given the Court’s disposition, granting Plaintiff’s motion to amend, the Court finds that the requested relief is appropriate and necessary to avoid any prejudice to Defendant.

All depositions are STAYED pending the resolution of any challenges to the amended pleading. If Defendants intend to file a demurrer or motion to strike, they are ordered to reserve the earliest date available on the Court’s reservation website. Defendant is further relieved from the extended notice period set forth in the Joint Stipulation.

Conclusion

Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file the Fifth Amended Complaint within five days of this order. All depositions are STAYED pending the resolution of any disputes regarding the amended pleading. Defendant is further relieved from the extended notice period set forth in the Joint Stipulation.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings by telephone. All social distancing protocols will be observed.

Moving party to give notice.