Judge: Holly J. Fujie, Case: 23STCP03349, Date: 2024-06-13 Tentative Ruling

DEPARTMENT 56 JUDGE HOLLY J. FUJIE, LAW AND MOTION RULINGS. The court makes every effort to post tentative rulings by 5.00 pm of the court day before the hearing. The tentative ruling will not become the final ruling until the hearing [see CRC 3.1308(a)(2)], and are also available in the courtroom on the day of the hearing [see CRC 3.1308(b)]. If the parties wish to submit on the tentative ruling and avoid a court appearance, all counsel must agree and choose which counsel will give notice. That counsel must 1) call Dept 56 by 8:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing (213/633-0656) and state that all parties will submit on the tentative ruling, and 2) serve notice of the ruling on all parties. If any party declines to submit on the tentative ruling, then no telephone call is necessary and all parties should appear at the hearing in person or by Court Call. Court reporters are not provided, and parties who want a record of motions and other proceedings must hire a privately retained certified court reporter.


Case Number: 23STCP03349    Hearing Date: June 13, 2024    Dept: 56

 

 

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

 

NORTH LIGHT SPECIALTY INSURANCE, et al.,

                        Petitioner,

            vs.

 

JOSE LOZANO, et al.,

                                                                             

                        Respondents.                              

 

      CASE NO.: 23STCP03349

 

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: (1) MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONDENT SARKIS LEBEDJIAN’S RESPONSE TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE; (2) MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONDENT DAVID GASPARYEN’S RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE; (3) MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONDENT DAVID GASPARYAN’S RESPONSE TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE; AND (4) MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONDENT DAVID GASPARYAN’S RESPONSE TO DEMAND FOR INSPECTION, SET ONE

 

Date: June 13, 2024

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

 

 

 

MOVING PARTIES:  Petitioner, North Light Specialty Insurance Company

 

RESPONDING PARTY:  None.

 

            The Court has considered the moving papers. No oppositions have been filed.

 

BACKGROUND

             This is a petition regarding an uninsured motorist arbitration. On September 13, 2023, Petitioner North Light Specialty Insurance Company (“Petitioner”) filed a petition against Respondents Jose Lozano, Sarkis Lebedjian (“Lebedjian”), and David Gasparyan (“Gasparyan”) (collectively, “Respondents”), for the purpose of establishing jurisdiction to hear and rule upon disputes at issue in an uninsured motorist arbitration.

           

On March 1, 2024, Petitioner moved to compel Respondent Lebedjian’s responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One. On the same date, Petitioner moved to compel Respondent Gasparyan’s responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One, and Form Interrogatories, Set One. On March 7, 2024, Petitioner moved to compel Respondent Gasparyan’s responses to Demand for Inspection, Set One. The motions are unopposed.

 

DISCUSSION

            Legal Standard

When a party fails to serve a timely response to interrogatories, the party propounding the interrogatories may move for an order compelling a response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (b).) A party who fails to provide a timely response waives any objection, including one based on privilege or work product. (Id., § 2030.290, subd. (a).) “The court shall impose a monetary sanction… against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a response to interrogatories, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Id., § 2030.290, subd. (c).)

 

When a party fails to serve a timely response to an inspection demand, the party making the demand may move for an order compelling a response to the inspection demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (b).) A party who fails to provide a timely response waives any objection, including one based on privilege or work product. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) “[T]he court shall impose a monetary sanction… against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Id., § 2031.300, subd. (c).)

 

Analysis - Lebedjian

Petitioner seeks to compel responses from Respondent Lebedjian in connection with Form Interrogatories, Set One, served on May 11, 2023. (Denny Decl., ¶ 4.) The Court finds a number of problems with this motion. First, a plaintiff may not propound discovery until 10 days after service of the summons. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.020, subd. (b) [interrogatories]; Id., § 2031.020, subd. (b) [inspection demands].) Petitioner did not file the petition for this action until September 13, 2023, more than four months after the discovery requests were served. In addition, the proof of service on Lebedjian indicates that Lebedjian was served on February 17, 2024, less than two weeks before Petitioner filed this motion. (Proof of Service (2/20/24).)

 

Moreover, the proof of service on Lebedjian is defective. Proof of service of the summons and complaint must be made on the mandatory Judicial Council Form POS-010 or a typewritten form that substantially follows Form POS-010. (Code Civ. Proc., § 410.17, subd. (f); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.150, subd. (a) [typewritten version of Form POS-010 permissible provided it follows the same format].) The proof of service on file for Respondent Lebedjian is not submitted on Judicial Council Form POS-010 or a typewritten form that follows Form POS-010. (Proof of Service (2/20/24).) The prior proof of service submitted on October 11, 2023 indicates service on Lebedjian’s purported attorney, George Jawlakian, but there is no document in the Court’s file indicating that Lebedjian’s purported attorney was authorized to accept service of the summons and petition on behalf of Lebedjian. (Proof of Service (10/11/24); Code Civ. Proc., § 410.17, subd. (d).)

 

The Court further notes that the proof of service attached to the Form Interrogatories does not indicate the manner that they were purportedly served on Lebedjian. (Denny Decl., Ex. A, p. 18 of pdf.)

 

            Based on the foregoing, the Court DENIES Petitioner’s motion to compel responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, from Respondent Lebedjian.

 

            Analysis – Gasparyan

            Petitioner’s motions to compel seek responses from Respondent Gasparyan in connection with Form Interrogatories, Set One, Special Interrogatories, Set One, and Demand for Inspection, Set One, served on May 11, 2023. (Denny Decls., ¶ 4.) The Court finds these discovery motions suffer from the same problems noted above with respect to Lebedjian, namely that they were served months before the petition was filed, (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.020, subd. (b) [interrogatories]; Id., § 2031.020, subd. (b) [inspection demands]), and the proofs of service against Respondent Gasparyan are defective, (Code Civ. Proc., § 410.17, subds. (d), (f); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.150, subd. (a).) Also, the proof of service attached to the Form Interrogatories does not indicate the manner that they were purportedly served on Gasparyan. (Denny Decl., Ex. A, p. 18 of pdf.)

Based on the foregoing, the Court DENIES Petitioner’s motions to compel responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, Special Interrogatories, Set One, and Demand for Inspection, Set One.

 

The Court further DENIES Petitioner’s requests for monetary sanctions since it did not prevail on its motions here. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (c); Id., § 2031.300, subd. (c).)

 

Petitioner is ordered to give notice of this ruling.     

 

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

 

Dated this 13th day of June 2024

 

 

 

 

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court