This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/22/2022 at 13:08:00 (UTC).

WALTON LAW GROUP, P.C. VS HOPE ZARRO, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/20/2020 WALTON LAW GROUP, P C filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against HOPE ZARRO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DOUGLAS W. STERN and ROBERT S. DRAPER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0178

  • Filing Date:

    10/20/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DOUGLAS W. STERN

ROBERT S. DRAPER

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WALTON LAW GROUP P.C.

Defendants

BALL BONHOLTZER & EVANS

ANTHONY CRAWFORD & ASSOCIATES

ZARRO HOPE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

WALTON JOHN

Defendant Attorneys

TASCHNER DANA B.

KROPFF JAMES

MILNER TIMOTHY VANCE

 

Court Documents

Informal Discovery Conference

7/7/2022: Informal Discovery Conference

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE APPOINTMENT OF DISCOVERY REFEREE)

7/19/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE APPOINTMENT OF DISCOVERY REFEREE)

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

7/19/2022: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Notice of Ruling

7/7/2022: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE APPOINTMENT OF DISCOVERY REFEREE)

7/7/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE APPOINTMENT OF DISCOVERY REFEREE)

Status Report - STATUS REPORT JOINT REPORT RE: DISCOVERY .DISPUTES

6/28/2022: Status Report - STATUS REPORT JOINT REPORT RE: DISCOVERY .DISPUTES

Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

6/16/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC) _ #1 DEFT REQ & #2 PLTF REQ)

6/16/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC) _ #1 DEFT REQ & #2 PLTF REQ)

Informal Discovery Conference

6/13/2022: Informal Discovery Conference

Informal Discovery Conference

6/14/2022: Informal Discovery Conference

Informal Discovery Conference

6/7/2021: Informal Discovery Conference

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

6/9/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Notice - NOTICE OF FILING UNDER SEAL (PLAINTIFFS AMENDED RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE AND TWO)

6/11/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF FILING UNDER SEAL (PLAINTIFFS AMENDED RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE AND TWO)

Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUED INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

6/16/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUED INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

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

6/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Notice of Ruling

6/17/2021: Notice of Ruling

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF FILING UNDER SEAL (DEFENDANT HOPE ZARROS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO PRECLUDE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION; DECLARATION OF HOPE ZARRO)

7/1/2021: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF FILING UNDER SEAL (DEFENDANT HOPE ZARROS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO PRECLUDE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION; DECLARATION OF HOPE ZARRO)

Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING NOTICE OF LODGMENT OF DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL

7/15/2021: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING NOTICE OF LODGMENT OF DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL

55 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/14/2023
  • Hearing03/14/2023 at 09:30 AM in Department 78 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 02/27/2023
  • Hearing02/27/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 78 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 08/22/2022
  • Hearing08/22/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 78 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proposed Order Re Appointment of Discovery Referee

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  • 07/19/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 78, Robert S. Draper, Presiding; Status Conference (Re Appointment of Discovery Referee) - Held

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  • 07/19/2022
  • DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/19/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference Re Appointment of Discovery Referee)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/07/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 78, Robert S. Draper, Presiding; Status Conference (Re Appointment of Discovery Referee) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 07/07/2022
  • DocketInformal Discovery Conference; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/07/2022
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/07/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference Re Appointment of Discovery Referee)); Filed by Clerk

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68 More Docket Entries
  • 02/11/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Hope Zarro (Defendant)

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  • 12/10/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Anthony Crawford & Associates (Defendant)

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  • 11/30/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Ball, Bonholtzer & Evans (Defendant)

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  • 11/25/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Hope Zarro (Defendant)

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  • 11/10/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/10/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Walton Law Group, P.C. (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: *******0178 Hearing Date: November 23, 2021 Dept: 78

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 78

WALTON LAW GROUP, P.C.;

Plaintiff,

vs.

BALL, BONHOLTZER & EVANS, et al.;

Defendants.

Case No.:

*******0178

Hearing Date:

November 23, 2021

[TENTATIVE] RULING RE:

DEfendant BALL, BONHoLTZER & EVANS’ motion to compel further Responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One, and for monetary sanctions in the sum of $2,460

The Protective Order, inclusive of recitals, is APPROVED. Defendant Ball, Bonholtzer & Evan’s motion to compel further responses to its Special Interrogatories, Set One, is DENIED as moot.

Factual Background

This is an action for declaratory relief and accounting. The Complaint alleges as follows. Plaintiff Walton Law Group, P.C. (“Walton”) represented Defendant Hope Zarro (“Zarro”) in a dog bite legal action after Zarro switched legal counsel from Defendant Crawford & Associates (“Crawford”). (Compl. ¶¶ 9-12.) Walton obtained a 998 settlement offer for Zarro, but Zarro then substituted Defendant Ball, Bonholtzer & Evans (“BBE”) before Walton could withdraw due to ethical concerns about Zarro. (Compl. ¶ 16.) The parties have failed to solidify an agreement regarding payment of legal fees owed to all counsel. (Compl. ¶¶ 21-26.)

procedural history

On October 20, 2021, Plaintiff filed the Complaint, alleging 2 causes of action:

  1. Declaratory relief

  2. Accounting

On April 5, 2021, Defendant BBE filed the instant motion to compel further responses to its Special Interrogatories, Set One, Nos. 5-9 and requested monetary sanctions against Plaintiff in the amount of $2,2460.

In an attempt to resolve this matter, Informal Discovery Conferences were held on April 20, 2021, May 12, 2021, June 9, 2021, and June 17, 2021.

On August 2, 2021, the Court denied Defendant Zarro’s Motion to Preclude Disclosure of Confidential and Privileged Information. The Court further ordered the parties to execute a stipulation and protective order and for Plaintiff to respond to the served discovery.

On November 9, 2021, Plaintiff filed its opposition.

On November 9, 2021, Defendant Zarro filed a response requesting the Court to approve the proposed Protective Order.

On November 16, 2021, Defendant BBE filed its reply.

Discussion

  1. Protective Order

Following the Court’s order on August 2, 2021, Plaintiff drafted a proposed protective order. (Opposition, Walton Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. B.) In response, Defendant Zarro revised the proposed protective order by adding six recitals, which Plaintiff rejected. (Opposition, Walton Decl. ¶ 5, Exh. C.) As framed by Defendant Zarro’s response to the instant motion, the recitals were included to state that Defendant Zarro did not want to waive any rights that she has regarding confidentiality or the attorney/client privilege.” (Response, Milner Decl. ¶ 4.) This revised protective order was signed by Defendants Zarro and BBE. (Opposition, Walton Decl. ¶ 6, Exh. D.)

The Court finds that Plaintiff’s opposition fails to articulate why these proposed recitals are improper and should not be included in the protective order. As pointed out in Defendant BBE’s reply, the prefatory recitals are neither false nor controversial. (Reply at pp. 4-5.) The Court agrees.

Accordingly, the Court approves the Protective Order proposed by Plaintiff with the addition of the six recitals included by Defendant Zarro. Plaintiff may now provide supplemental responses to SROGS Nos. 5-9.

  1. Special Interrogatories Nos. 5-9.

    The purpose of an IDC is to resolve discovery issues so the parties can move forward promptly without the time and cost required by formal motions. The motion to compel further responses to interrogatories was filed before the IDCs it is in this case and the issues were resolved at those IDCs by Plaintiff’s agreement in the Courts order that Plaintiff follow supplemental responses to interrogatory numbers 5 – 9. If BBE believes Plaintiff’s supplemental responses are defective, BBE may notify the Court to request a further IDC. Defendant’s BBE’s motion to compel further responses is denied as moot and BBE’s motion for sanctions is denied.

DATED: November 23, 2021

________________________________

Hon. Robert S. Draper

Judge of the Superior Court

'


b'

Case Number: *******0178 Hearing Date: August 2, 2021 Dept: 78

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 78

WALTON LAW GROUP, P.C.;

Plaintiff,

vs.

BALL, BONHOLTZER & EVANS, et al.;

Defendants.

Case No.:

*******0178

Hearing Date:

August 2, 2021

[TENTATIVE] RULING RE:

defendant hope zarro’s motion to PRECLUDE disclosure of confidential and PRIVILEGED information

Defendant Hope Zarro’s Motion to Preclude Disclosure of Confidential and Privileged Information is DENIED. All parties are to execute a stipulation and protective order according to this Department’s requirements that will encompass the discovery responses.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This is an action for declaratory relief and accounting. The Complaint alleges as follows. Plaintiff Walton Law Group, P.C. (“Walton”) represented Defendant Hope Zarro (“Zarro”) in a dog bite legal action after Zarro switched legal counsel from Defendant Crawford & Associates (“Crawford”). (Compl. ¶¶ 9-12.) Walton obtained a 998 settlement offer for Zarro, but Zarro then substituted Defendant Ball, Bonholtzer & Evans (“BBE”) before Walton could withdraw due to ethical concerns about Zarro. (Compl. ¶ 16.) The parties have failed to solidify an agreement regarding payment of legal fees owed to all counsel. (Compl. ¶¶ 21-26.)

procedural history

Plaintiff filed the Complaint on October 20, 2020, alleging 2 causes of action:

  1. Declaratory relief

  2. Accounting

At an IDC on June 17, 2021, this Court directed Zarro “to file a motion and brief to exclude disclosure of confidential client information by 07/01/21.”

On July 1, 2021, Zarro filed the instant Motion to Preclude Disclosure of Confidential and Privileged Information.

On July 15, 2021, Walton filed an Opposition.

On July 20, 2021, Zarro filed a Reply.

DISCUSSION

  1. MOTION TO PRECLUDE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION

In this Motion, Zarro contends that Walton’s proposed responses to discovery requests are barred by the attorney-client privilege. (Motion at p. 4.) Zarro argues that “It is HOPE ZARRO’s position that the attorney-client privilege absolutely precludes WLG from disclosing information such as is included in its proposed discovery responses. In addition, it is also ZARRO’s position that Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, as approved by the California Supreme Court, regarding confidentiality is an absolute bar to WLG revealing the information contained in WLG’s proposed discovery responses.” (Motion at p. 4.)

Evidence Code section 958 states: “There is no privilege under this article as to a communication relevant to an issue of breach, by the lawyer or by the client, of a duty arising out of the lawyer-client relationship.” (Evid. Code, ; 958.)

California courts have held that in the context of malpractice or fee dispute lawsuits, the attorney-client privilege does not apply to communications relevant to the issue of breach of duty by the attorney or client. (See, Styles v. Mumbert (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1163; Dietz v. Meisenheimer & Herron (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 771, 786.) As held by the court in Styles, an attorney “can reveal confidences to defend against a malpractice claim or in a fee dispute[.]” (Id. at 1168.)

Here, the Complaint alleges againt against Zarro, Crawford and BBE that Walton “has an enforceable lien that secures its right to recovery of fees and costs from the Zarro case” and Walton is “entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees[.]” (Compl. ¶ 29.) The Complaint also makes allegations that Zarro created ethical conflicts/conflicts of interest for Walton “and that further representation would result in violation of one or more rules of the Rules of Professional Conduct.” (Compl. ¶ 15.) The information that is the subject of this motion is directly relevant to this allegation.

Upon review of the filings from both parties and based on the above, the Court finds that that Walton may respond to the served discovery requests as proposed pursuant to a protective order.

Accordingly, the Motion to Preclude Disclosure of Confidential and Privileged Information is DENIED. All parties are to execute a stipulation and protective order according to this Department’s requirements that will encompass the discovery responses.

DATED: August 2, 2021

________________________________

Hon. Robert S. Draper

Judge of the Superior Court

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