Judge: Douglas W. Stern, Case: BC714498, Date: 2022-08-15 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: BC714498    Hearing Date: August 15, 2022    Dept: 52

Tentative Ruling

Defendant Los Angeles Dodgers LLC’s Motion to Continue Trial

            Defendant Los Angeles Dodgers LLC moves to continue the trial set for August 31, 2022, to January 31, 2023. 

“To ensure the prompt disposition of civil cases, the dates assigned for a trial are firm.”  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(a).)  “The court may grant a continuance only on an affirmative showing of good cause requiring” it.  (Rule 3.1332(c).)  The failure of the parties and their counsel to diligently prepare for trial is not good cause to continue the trial.  (Kuhland v. Sedgwick (1860) 17 Cal. 123, 128 [“The absence of evidence is no cause for a continuance, unless reasonable diligence has been used to procure it”]; People v. Grant (1988) 45 Cal.3d 829, 844 [a defendant’s failure to diligently prepare for trial is not good cause for a continuance].) 

Defendant contends there is good cause due to an “excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts.”  (Rule 3.1332(c)(6).)  Defendant shows no diligence in conducting discovery.  Defense counsel states that the parties still need to take over 10 depositions, including “[t]he principal parties,” because “[m]ultiple efforts to take these depositions have been thwarted by the pandemic and its after-effects.”  (Jackson Decl., ¶ 2.) 

Defense counsel makes only a generic excuse.  He gives no specifics and does not show what discovery has been done and what attempts have been made to complete the remaining discovery.  This case was filed on July 17, 2018, nearly two years before the pandemic began.

Defendant also contends there is good cause because defense counsel will be trying another case from approximately July 26 to August 23.  (Jackson Decl., ¶ 3.)  Good cause to continue a trial includes “[t]he unavailability of trial counsel because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances.”  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(c)(3).)  The court finds that defense counsel Jerome M. Jackson’s unavailability until shortly before the August 31 trial date constitutes good cause for a brief continuance.

The motion is granted in part.

The court hereby continues the final status conference from August 22, 2022, to October 10, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.  The court hereby continues the jury trial from August 31, 2022, to October 26, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.