This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/11/2019 at 01:35:44 (UTC).

ZENIA MELARA VS RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/29/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by ZENIA MELARA against RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****0090

  • Filing Date:

    03/29/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

 

Party Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff

MELARA ZENIA

Defendants and Respondents

RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY

THE KROGER CO.

DOES 1 TO 25

LOPEZ ELLIO

 

Court Documents

Notice of Lodging

2/28/2019: Notice of Lodging

Motion for Summary Judgment

2/28/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Declaration

2/28/2019: Declaration

Ex Parte Application

5/1/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

5/1/2019: Minute Order

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

6/10/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Ex Parte Application

7/1/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

7/1/2019: Minute Order

Declaration

7/9/2019: Declaration

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

7/9/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Separate Statement

7/9/2019: Separate Statement

Brief

7/9/2019: Brief

ANSWER OF RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY DBA RALPHS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

5/11/2018: ANSWER OF RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY DBA RALPHS TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/18/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/23/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/23/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

SUMMONS

3/29/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

3/29/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

8 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/09/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/09/2019
  • Brief (INDEX OF EVINDENCE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT); Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/09/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/09/2019
  • Declaration (DECLARATION OF CHRISTOFFER GADDINI); Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/01/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an Order Granting a Continuance of Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing and Filing Deadlines) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 07/01/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (for an Order Granting a Continuance of Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing and Filing Deadlines); Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/01/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/01/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for an Order Granting a Conti...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/10/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/14/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 5, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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9 More Docket Entries
  • 05/11/2018
  • Answer; Filed by Ralphs Grocery Company (Defendant)

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  • 04/23/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 04/23/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 04/23/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/23/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/18/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/18/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/29/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 03/29/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Zenia Melara (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/29/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC700090    Hearing Date: January 15, 2020    Dept: 5

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 5

zenia melara,

Plaintiff,

v.

ralphs grocery company, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: BC700090

Hearing Date: January 15, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

Motion TO ENFORCE SUBPOENA

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Zenia Melara (“Plaintiff”) filed this action after slipping and falling at a store owned and operated by Defendant Ralphs Grocery Company (“Defendant”). Defendant moves to compel third party Olympia Health Care, LLC (“Olympia”) to comply with a deposition subpoena for the production of records about Plaintiff. Specifically, Defendant seeks information concerning any sales of liens for Plaintiff’s medical bills. Olympia opposes the motion, which is denied.

LEGAL STANDARD

Code of Civil Procedure section 1987.1 provides, “If a subpoena requires the attendance of a witness or the production of books, documents, electronically stored information, or other things before a court, or at the trial of an issue therein, or at the taking of a deposition, the court, upon motion reasonably made by [a party or a witness] . . . may make an order . . . directing compliance with it upon those terms or conditions as the court shall declare, including protective orders.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1987.1.)

DISCUSSION

Defendant has demonstrated that Plaintiff’s claimed damages in this case include $49,791 in medical bills from Olympia. (Declaration of Paul J. Lipman, Exh. A.) Defendant seeks information concerning any sales of liens for Plaintiff’s medical bills, i.e., factoring agreements.

The scope of permissible discovery is broad. “[A]ny party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or to the determination of any motion made in that action, if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2017.010.) “In the context of discovery, evidence is ‘relevant’ if it might reasonably assist a party in evaluating its case, preparing for trial, or facilitating a settlement. Admissibility is not the test, and it is sufficient if the information sought might reasonably lead to other, admissible evidence.” (Glenfed Development Corp. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1113, 1117.) “Any doubts regarding relevance are generally resolved in favor of allowing the discovery.” (Mercury Interactive Corp. v. Klein (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 60, 98.) The scope of permissible discovery “is equally applicable to discovery of information from a nonparty . . . .” (Johnson v. Superior Court (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1050, 1062.)

The court in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541, stated that “a plaintiff may recover as economic damages no more than the reasonable value of the medical services received and is not entitled to recover the reasonable value if his or her actual loss was less.” (Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541, 555.) The court concluded “that when a medical care provider has . . . accepted as full payment for the plaintiff's care an amount less than the provider's full bill, evidence of that amount is relevant to prove the plaintiff's damages for past medical expenses and, assuming it satisfies other rules of evidence, is admissible at trial.” (Id. at 567.) “The probative value of such evidence in determining the reasonable value of the medical services provided an injured plaintiff is minimal.” (Moore v. Mercer (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 424, 443.) Nonetheless, as it is potentially relevant, it is discoverable.

Here, however, Olympia has demonstrated that it has “not received any payments for the services provided to Plaintiff in this case. Plaintiff remains liable for one hundred percent (100%) of [Deponent]’s billed charges and [Deponent] has not agreed to accept less than one hundred percent (100%) of its billed charges.” (Declaration of Peter Friedman, ¶ 7.) As such, Olympia has not accepted any reduced payment for Plaintiff’s medical bills, and no such discoverable information exists. Regardless, Olympia’s factoring agreements are trade secrets. Per Civil Code section 3426.1

Trade secret means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (1) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and (2) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

(Civ. Code, § 3426.1.) Olympia has advanced evidence that it has relationships with medical finance companies, which purchase accounts from Olympia. Olympia has advanced evidence that it is “able to negotiate better arrangements with such companies if the terms of its arrangements and the amounts paid to” Olympia remain confidential. Olympia has further demonstrated that fewer than six of its employees know the terms of its arrangements with medical finance companies. (Declaration of Peter Friedman, ¶¶ 5, 6.) This evidence is sufficient to show that the terms of Olympia’s agreements with medical finance companies are trade secrets, and not subject to discovery.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion to compel is denied. Defendant shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

DATED: January 15, 2020 ___________________________

Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC700090    Hearing Date: January 07, 2020    Dept: 5

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

ZENIA MELARA,

Plaintiff,

vs.

RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY dba RALPHS, et al.

Defendants.

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CASE NO.: BC700090

ORDER RE: DEFENDANT RALPHS’ MOTION TO COMPEL THIRD-PARTY OLYMPIA HEALTH CARE, LLC’S CUSTODIAN OF RECORDS TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS

Defendant Ralphs Grocery Company dba Ralphs (“Defendant”) moves to compel third-party Olympia Health Care, LLC (“Olympia”) to produce documents requested in Defendant’s subpoena. Olympia has opposed the motion. The hearing on this motion is continued from January 7, 2020, at 1:30 p.m., to January 15, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. The Court’s clerk shall provide notice.

Case Number: BC700090    Hearing Date: November 26, 2019    Dept: 5

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 5

zenia melara,

Plaintiff,

v.

ralphs grocery company,

Defendant.

Case No.: BC700090

Hearing Date: November 26, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion to set expert witness compensation

BACKGROUND

Defendant Ralph’s Grocery Company (“Defendant”) moves to set the reasonable rate of compensation for Dr. Moshe Wilker (“Wilker”), who is a treating orthopedic surgeon for Plaintiff Zenia Melara (“Plaintiff”). Plaintiff does not oppose the motion, which is granted.

LEGAL STANDARD

As a treating health care practitioner, Wilker is entitled to reasonable fees for his deposition testimony if Defendant plans to ask Wilker “to express opinion testimony, including opinion or factual testimony regarding the past or present diagnosis or prognosis made by the practitioner or the reasons for a particular treatment decision made by the practitioner . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.430, subd. (a)(2).) If so, Defendant is deposing Wilker as Plaintiff’s expert.

If a party seeks to depose an opposing party’s expert and contends that the expert’s fee is unreasonable, the deposing party may move for an order setting the compensation of that expert. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.470, subd. (a).) In connection with a motion to set the compensation of an opposing party’s expert, the moving party must provide a declaration showing a “reasonable and good faith attempt” to resolve the matter outside court. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2016.040, 2034.470, subd. (b).) Per Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.470, subdivision (b), in connection with the attempt to resolve the dispute informally, the expert or party designating the expert must provide the opposing party with: “(1) Proof of the ordinary and customary fee actually charged and received by that expert for similar services provided outside the subject litigation. [¶] (2) The total number of times the presently demanded fee has ever been charged and received by that expert. [¶] (3) The frequency and regularity with which the presently demanded fee has been charged and received by that expert within the two-year period preceding the hearing on the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.470, subd. (b).) The expert or party designating the expert must also provide that information to the Court in connection with the motion. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.470, subd. (d).) In ruling on the motion, the Court may rely on that information, as well as the fees similar experts charge to provide similar services in the area, “and any other factors the court deems necessary or appropriate to make its determination.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.470, subd. (e).)

DISCUSSION

In this case, Wilker seeks compensation of $1,500 per hour for deposition. Defendant’s counsel, Paul J. Lipman (“Counsel”), contacted Wilker to request the information set forth in Code of Civil Procedure, section 2034.470, subdivision (b). (Declaration of Paul J. Lipman, Exhibit D.) In response, Wilker provided a list of seven instances in which Wilker purportedly received payments of $1,500 for depositions. (Declaration of Paul J. Lipman, Exhibit E.) This evidence suggests that Wilker has received payments of $1,500 total per deposition, and not $1,500 per hour. Counsel states in his declaration that his office has paid orthopedic surgeons in other instances $690 per hour, $950 per hour, and $1,000 per hour. (Declaration of Paul J. Lipman, ¶¶ 7-8.) The Court concludes that Counsel has demonstrated sufficient familiarity with the fee that orthopedic surgeons typically charge to serve as expert witnesses such that his declaration is competent evidence on reasonable fees for chiropractors who serve as expert witnesses. Therefore, the motion is granted.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Defendant’s motion is granted. The Court finds that a fee of $750 per hour is reasonable for Dr. Moshe Wilker and sets the fee at that rate for his deposition. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.430, subd. (b).) Plaintiff is responsible for any compensation Wilker requires in excess of $750 per hour. (Marsh v. Mountain Zephyr, Inc. (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 289, 300.) Defendant shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

DATED: November 26, 2019 ___________________________

Stephen I. Goorvitch

Judge of the Superior Court