This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/22/2022 at 00:51:44 (UTC).

THOMAS HILT VS ANDY GUMP INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 08/01/2017 THOMAS HILT filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against ANDY GUMP INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are THOMAS D. LONG, DANIEL M. CROWLEY, JON R. TAKASUGI, AUDRA MORI and JILL FEENEY. The case status is Other.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9916

  • Filing Date:

    08/01/2017

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

THOMAS D. LONG

DANIEL M. CROWLEY

JON R. TAKASUGI

AUDRA MORI

JILL FEENEY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

HILT THOMAS

Defendants

ANDY GUMP INC.

"RUBEN" DRIVER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

DORDICK GARY ALAN ESQ.

DROUET BRETT CHRISTOPHER ESQ.

Defendant Attorneys

PATTON CHRISTOPHER LYNN ESQ.

PARKER AMANDA JEANNE

 

Court Documents

Request for Dismissal

5/26/2022: Request for Dismissal

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL MEDICAL ACQUISITION CO., INC.'S A...)

1/7/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL MEDICAL ACQUISITION CO., INC.'S A...)

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE PLAINTIFFS MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1 FOR AN ORDER PRECLUDING EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY THAT PLAINTIFFS FAILED TO MITIGATE THEIR DAMAGES BY NOT TREATING THROUGH INSURANCE O

2/3/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE PLAINTIFFS MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1 FOR AN ORDER PRECLUDING EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY THAT PLAINTIFFS FAILED TO MITIGATE THEIR DAMAGES BY NOT TREATING THROUGH INSURANCE O

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 13 - EXCLUDE REFERENCE TO LITIGATON PROCESS

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 13 - EXCLUDE REFERENCE TO LITIGATON PROCESS

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 12 - EXCLUDE NON-RETAINED EXPERTS

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 12 - EXCLUDE NON-RETAINED EXPERTS

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 2 - EXCLUDE GOLDEN RULE

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 2 - EXCLUDE GOLDEN RULE

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 11 - PRECLUDE CASE SPECIFIC HEARSAY PER SANCHEZ

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 11 - PRECLUDE CASE SPECIFIC HEARSAY PER SANCHEZ

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 7 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE MEDICAL EXPENSES IN EXCCESS

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 7 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE MEDICAL EXPENSES IN EXCCESS

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 9 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE NOT DISCLOSED IN DISCOVERY

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 9 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE NOT DISCLOSED IN DISCOVERY

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 8 - EXCLUDE DEFENDANTS' FINANCIAL CONDITION

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 8 - EXCLUDE DEFENDANTS' FINANCIAL CONDITION

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 10 - EXCLUDE NON-PARTY WITNESSES FROM COURTROOM

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 10 - EXCLUDE NON-PARTY WITNESSES FROM COURTROOM

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 15 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 15 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 17 - FAILURE TO MITIGATE

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 17 - FAILURE TO MITIGATE

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 1 - EXCLUDE LIABILITY INSURANCE

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 1 - EXCLUDE LIABILITY INSURANCE

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 6 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF UNPAID MEDICAL BILLS

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 6 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF UNPAID MEDICAL BILLS

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF CHRISTOPHER PATTON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION IN LIMINE NO 17 - FAILURE TO MITIGATE

2/7/2022: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF CHRISTOPHER PATTON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION IN LIMINE NO 17 - FAILURE TO MITIGATE

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 16 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF STATUTE VIOLATION

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 16 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF STATUTE VIOLATION

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 14 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENT HIRING

2/7/2022: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO 14 - EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENT HIRING

127 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/26/2022
  • DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/14/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 30, Jill Feeney, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 03/14/2022
  • DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/14/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/11/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 30, Jill Feeney, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 03/11/2022
  • DocketDESIGNATION OF VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION TESTIMONY OF DR. DON WRIGHT, ATTACHED COPY OF JUNE 19, 2020 DEPOSITION AND EXHIBIT A; Filed by Andy Gump, Inc. (Defendant); Ruben Lopez Erroneously Sued As Driver "Ruben" (Defendant)

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  • 03/11/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/10/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 30, Jill Feeney, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 03/10/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/09/2022
  • DocketJury Instructions; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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179 More Docket Entries
  • 04/24/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-04-24 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/24/2018
  • DocketMinute Order

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  • 11/16/2017
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Andy Gump, Inc. (Defendant); Ruben Lopez Erroneously Sued As Driver "Ruben" (Defendant)

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  • 11/16/2017
  • DocketDEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 10/27/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/27/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 08/03/2017
  • DocketSummons Issued; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/03/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 08/01/2017
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 08/01/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Thomas Hilt (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****9916 Hearing Date: January 7, 2022 Dept: 30

Department 30, Spring Street Courthouse

January 7, 2022

****9916

Motion to Compel Answers from Charles Perez and for Production of Documents from Medical Acquisition Company Inc. and Request for Sanctions (Unopposed)

DECISION

Defendants Andy Gump, Inc. and Ruben Lopez's unopposed Motions to Compel Answers from Charles Perez and for Production of Documents from Medical Acquisition Company Inc. and Request for Sanctions are granted.

The Court orders that Medical Acquisition Company Inc. serve verified responses without objections to the document requests within 20 days of the date of this order.

The Court further orders that within 20 days of the date of this order, Charles Perez will appear for deposition and answer the questions at issue here.

Sanctions in the amount of $2,850 are imposed jointly and severally against Medical Acquisition Company Inc. and its counsel. The sanctions are due within 20 days of the date of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice and to file proof of service of such notice within five court days of the date of this order.

Background

Plaintiff filed a claim against Defendants Andy Gump, Inc. and Ruben Lopez alleging motor vehicular negligence.

Defendants Andy Gump, Inc. and Ruben Lopez move the court for an order compelling Medical Acquisition Company, Inc. and its CEO/owner Charles Perez who was produced as the PMQ to answer deposition questions and produce documents pursuant to a deposition subpoena that was properly served on July 7, 2021. (Motion to Compel Answers, p. 2. 1). Defendants also request monetary sanctions in the amount of $12, 730.00 for willful misuse of the discovery process.

Legal Standard

CRC Rule 3.1345 states that any motion involving the content of a discovery request or the responses to such a request must be accompanied by a separate statement. The motions that require a separate statement include a motion to compel further responses to a demand for inspection of documents or tangible things and a motion to compel answers at a deposition.

“If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent’s control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.” (Code Civ. Proc., 2025.480, subd. (a).)

CCP 2025.480(b) provides: “[t]his motion shall be made no later than 60 days after the completion of the record of the deposition, and shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.”

“If a subpoena requires the attendance of a witness or the production of . . . documents . . . at the taking of a deposition, the court, upon motion reasonably made by [a party] . . . may make an order . . . directing compliance with it upon those terms or conditions as the court shall declare . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., 1987.1, subd. (a).)

Discussion

Here, Defendants have provided a separate statement with his moving papers to compel answers from MAC Inc.'s most qualified Charles Perez at deposition, in compliance with CRC 3.1345.

As set forth in the separate statement, Perez failed to answer several questions at his August 5, 2021 deposition. As a result of this failure to answer several questions at the deposition, and failure to produce a competent person most qualitied to testify, the Defendants have moved the court for an order compelling the witness' answer.

This present motion was filed on September 30, 2021, within the 60 days statutory requirement under CCP 2025.480(b), as the date of the deposition was on August 5, 2021. (See Motion to Compel Answers, 9/30/21). Defendants also exchanged meet and confer letters, pursuant CCP 2016.040 as verified by the Declaration of Patton. (See Memorandum of Points and Authorities, 9/30/21, Declaration of Patton, Exhibit 17). This court finds that the moving defendants have complied with the procedural statutory requirements of the CCP and of this court.

Substantively, Defendants allege that MAC, Inc., its attorneys, and the medical providers have acted in unison to exponentially increase the value of the Plaintiff's special damages claim for unpaid medical bills. (M of P &A, p. 2, 4). When Defendants attempted to ask MAC, Inc. if they were trying to collect on false or fraudulent medical bills during the deposition, the witness was directed not to answer. (Id). The evasive nature of the witness's responses or lack thereof warrant further answers. In the Moving Defendant's Separate Statement, for questions No. 5, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 26, 27, 31, 32, 40, and 43, the witness answered, "I don't know" and "I have no clue" to questions or transactional facts that are personally within his knowledge, or reasonably available to him. The deponent failed to answer several questions as the most qualified witness that is believed to be deponent’s control. It is generally improper for counsel to instruct a witness not to answer a question unless it pertains to privileged matters. (Stewart v. Colonial W. Agency (2001) 87 Cal. App. 4th 1006, 1015.) Witnesses are expected to endure an occasional irrelevant question without disrupting the deposition process. (Id.) The Court finds that it was improper to direct the witness not to answer questions 1, 4 to 14, 16 to 24, 26 to 29, 31 to 34, 36, 40, 41, and 43 because there is no objection that they pertain to privileged matters. Further, the Court finds that the deponent did not justify the objections based on privilege to questions 2, 3, 15, 25, 30, 35, 37, 38, 39, and 42. Similarly, the court finds that the objections to requests for production 1 through 12 are not well taken. Any claims of privilege have not been supported by a privilege log.

Code of Civil Procedure 2023.030(a) states the court shall impose a monetary sanction for one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process unless it finds the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or other circumstances making the sanction unjust. Code of Civil Procedure 2023.010 state misuses of the discovery process include “(d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (e) Making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery. (f) Making an evasive response to discovery . . .(h) Making or opposing, unsuccessfully and without substantial justification, a motion to compel or to limit discovery. . .(i) Failing to confer in good faith with an opposing party.

The Court finds the witness's failure to respond to Defendant’s deposition questions and to provide responses to document requests constitute a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendants request sanctions in the amount of $12,730.00 or $4,243.33 pro rata based on 52 hours of attorney time billed at $190.00 per hour preparing the motion to compel answers, motion to compel records, and motion to request sanctions, declaration of counsel regarding good cause, two meet and confer letters with defendants' IDC efforts with counsel, review of transcripts from Plaintiff Hilt, Dr. Regan, and Charles Perez; review of MAC, Inc.’s subpoenaed records; preparation of twenty or more exhibits; preparation of two separate statements; and a proposed order in the amount of $9,880.00. (Declaration of Defendants' Counsel Regarding Informal Discovery, p. 7). Moving Defendants anticipate spending an additional 15 hours at $190.00 in reviewing any opposition, preparing any replies, and appearing at the motion hearing for an addition cost of $2,850.00, which results in sanctions against MAC, Inc., Charles Perez, and Brett Drouet, in the total amount of $12,730.00, or approximately $4,243.33 pro rata. (Id).

The Court will use its discretion to award sanctions. However, the amount sought is excessive. The Court finds that 15 hours of attorney time at $190 per hour is a more reasonable number given the nature of the motion.

Conclusion

Defendants Andy Gump, Inc. and Ruben Lopez's unopposed Motions to Compel Answers from Charles Perez and for Production of Documents from Medical Acquisition Company Inc. and Request for Sanctions are granted.

The Court orders that Medical Acquisition Company Inc. serve verified responses without objections to the document requests within 20 days of the date of this order.

The Court further orders that within 20 days of the date of this order, Charles Perez will appear for deposition and answer the questions at issue here.

Sanctions in the amount of $2,850 are imposed jointly and severally against Medical Acquisition Company Inc. and its counsel. The sanctions are due within 20 days of the date of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice and to file proof of service of such notice within five court days of the date of this order.



Case Number: ****9916    Hearing Date: November 08, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

THOMAS HILT,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

ANDY GUMP, INC., ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: ****9916

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

November 8, 2019

1. Background Facts

Plaintiff, Thomas Hilt filed this action against Defendants, Andy Gump, Inc. and Driver “Ruben” (subsequently identified as Ruben Lopez) for damages arising out of an automobile accident.

2. Motion for Sanctions

At this time, Defendants move for sanctions against Plaintiff, contending Plaintiff’s choice to have surgery prior to a scheduled IME violated court orders and constitutes spoliation of evidence. The following issues are presented by way of the motion:

· Has Plaintiff violated any court order?

· Did Plaintiff’s pre-IME surgeries conduct constitute spoliation of evidence?

· If sanctions are imposed, what specific sanctions are appropriate?

  1. Law Governing Sanctions for Violation of a Court Order

Pursuant to Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 776, the Court should typically impose lesser sanctions prior to awarding terminating sanctions. However, there are circumstances where imposition of terminating sanctions is appropriate without first imposing issue and/or evidentiary sanctions. See Laguna Auto Body v. Farmers Ins. Exch. (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 481, 490-91.

  1. Has Plaintiff Violated a Court Order?

Defendants argue Plaintiff’s choice to under surgery prior to his scheduled IME violates a court order and is therefore sanctionable. Specifically, Defendants contend Plaintiff violated the Court’s 4/22/19 and 9/09/19 ex parte orders. See motion, page 8, line 28.

The Court’s 4/22/19 order continues the trial date, denies Defendant’s request for a protective order, and indicates, “Discovery is not extended except for Defendant’s IME on 8/06/19, expert discovery, and plaintiff’s deposition of defendant Ruben Lopez.” Defendants contend Plaintiff violated the 8/06/19 order by failing to appear at the 8/06/19 IME. This order, however, was not an order on a motion to compel an IME; this was merely an order making clear that the discovery cut-off was continued to permit the IME.

The Court’s 9/09/19 order continues the trial date and re-opens discovery per the new trial date. There is nothing in the order compelling any specific type of discovery.

Defendant has never previously brought a noticed motion to compel any discovery, and the Court has not issued an order compelling any discovery. Thus, to the extent the motion for sanctions is premised on Plaintiff’s violation of a prior order, the motion is denied.

 

  1. Law Governing Spoliation of Evidence

The intentional spoliation of evidence by a party to the litigation to which it is relevant is an unqualified wrong. (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1, 17.) Although separate tort causes of action for spoliation of evidence do not exist, there are effective non-tort remedies for this wrong. “Chief among these is the evidentiary inference that evidence which one party has destroyed or rendered unavailable was unfavorable to that party.” (Id., at p. 11; Evidence Code ; 413.) Additionally, discovery laws provide a broad range of other sanctions for the misuse of the discovery process. Destroying evidence after litigation has commenced or destruction in anticipation of a discovery request clearly constitutes a misuse of discovery within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure sections 2023.010 and 2023.030. As discussed in Cedars-Sinai, the statutory sanctions provided for misuse of the discovery process “are potent. They include monetary sanctions, contempt sanctions, issue sanctions ordering that designated facts be taken as established or precluding the offending party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, evidence sanctions prohibiting the offending party from introducing designated materials into evidence, and terminating sanctions that include striking part or all of the pleadings, dismissing part or all of the action, or granting a default judgment against the offending party.” (Cedar-Sinai, supra, at p. 12; see also Coprich v. Superior Court (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1081, 1085; R.S.Creative, supra, 75 Cal.App.4th at p. 495.)

Civil discovery practices encourage lawyers to take charge of the client's evidence, including advising the client to preserve and maintain all relevant evidence, “not only because it is right for the client to do so but because the lawyers recognize that, even if the evidence is unfavorable, the negative inferences that would flow from its intentional destruction are likely to harm the client as much or more than the evidence itself.” (Cedars-Sinai, supra, 18 Cal.4th at pp. 12-13.)

Where there is evidence of willful suppression, the court may instruct the jury: “You may consider whether one party intentionally concealed or destroyed evidence. If you decide that a party did so, you may decide that evidence would have been unfavorable to that party.” CACI 204; see also BAJI 2.03; see Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr., supra, at 11-12.

  1. Does Having Surgery Prior to an IME Constitute Spoliation of Evidence?

Defendants rely on out-of-state authority to support their position that Plaintiff’s decision to have surgery prior to an IME constitutes spoliation of evidence. Plaintiff correctly notes that there is no CA authority affirming a trial court order imposing sanctions under such circumstances.

The Court finds the more prudent route is to permit Defendants to seek a jury instruction, per the authority above, creating an adverse inference due to the surgical intervention prior to an IME. CACI 204. The Court will leave this issue to the trial court for final determination. The Court is making no determination, at this time, concerning whether or not Plaintiff acted improperly in scheduling the surgeries prior to an IME.

  1. Monetary Sanctions

The Court notes that Defendants also seek monetary sanctions. Absent a prior order granting a motion to compel, the Court is not inclined to impose monetary sanctions at this time.

  1. Conclusion

The motion for sanctions is denied. The ruling is without prejudice to Defendants’ right to raise the issue with the trial court at the time of trial, by way of a motion in limine and/or proposed jury instructions. Defendants are ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept3@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative.



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