Judge: Kerry Bensinger, Case: 21STCV09235, Date: 2023-03-09 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21STCV09235    Hearing Date: March 9, 2023    Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA  

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT 

 

JAVIER GONZALEZ MUNOZ, 

Plaintiff, 

vs. 

 

APPLE AUTO DISMANTLING INC. DBA MR. FORD AUTO DISMANTLING, et al. 

 

Defendants. 

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      CASE NO.: 21STCV09235 

 

 

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANT APPLE AUTO DISMANTLY INC., DBA MR. FORD AUTO DISMANTLING’S MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS FROM NONPARTY CLINICA MEDICA CUZCATLAN  

 
 

Dept. 27 

1:30 p.m. 

March 9, 2023 

  1. INTRODUCTION 

On March 9, 2021, plaintiff Javier Gonzalez Munoz (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against defendants Apple Auto Dismantling, Inc. dba Mr. Ford Auto Dismantling (“Apple Auto”), and Benson’s Auto Dismantling (collectively, “Defendants”) for negligence and premises liability.  Plaintiff alleges he was lawfully on Defendants’ premises on March 19, 2019 when he attempted to use an improperly installed and defective ladder and fell. Plaintiff sustained arm and facial/nasal injuries. 

On June 14, 2022, Apple Auto served a Deposition Subpoena for the Production of Business  (“Subpoena”) on Clinica Medica Cuzcatlan (“Clinica”) seeking the production of records pertaining to Plaintiff’s care, treatment, and examination for the past ten years.  Plaintiff’s counsel served an objection to the Subpoena on September 15, 2022.  Clinica did not produce any records. 

On October 28, 2022, Apple Auto filed the instant motion to compel nonparty Clinica to comply with deposition subpoenas for the production of Plaintiff’s medical records. 

No opposition by Clinica has been filed.¿ Although Plaintiff served objections to the subpoenas, Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the current motion. 

  1. LEGAL PRINCIPLES 

A party seeking discovery from a person who is not a party to the action may obtain discovery by oral deposition, written deposition, or deposition subpoena for production of business records.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.010.)  A deposition subpoena may command: (1) only the attendance and testimony of the deponent, (2) only the production of business records for copying, or (3) the attendance and testimony of the deponent, as well as the production of business records, other documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.020.)   

A service of a deposition subpoena shall be effected a sufficient time in advance of the deposition to provide the deponent a reasonable opportunity to locate and produce any designated documents and, where personal attendance is commanded, a reasonable time to travel to the place of deposition.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.220, subd. (a).)  Personal service of any deposition subpoena is effective to require a deponent who is a resident of California to: personally appear and testify, if the subpoena so specifies; to produce any specified documents; and to appear at a court session if the subpoena so specifies.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.220, subd. (c).)  

“A written notice and all moving papers supporting a motion to compel an answer to a deposition question or to compel production of a document or tangible thing from a nonparty deponent must be personally served on the nonparty deponent unless the nonparty deponent agrees to accept service by mail or electronic service at an address or electronic service address specified on the deposition record.”¿ (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1346.)  

  1. ANALYSIS 

Apple Auto’s motion is procedurally defective.  The Subpoena was properly served by personal service and accompanied by a proof of service of a notice to the consumer.  However, the proof of service of this motion indicates Clinica was not served with written notice and all moving papers supporting the motion.  A nonparty deponent must be personally served with a written notice and all moving papers supporting the motion, unless the nonparty deponent agrees to accept service by electronic service.  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1346.)  The Court has, nonetheless, reviewed the substantive arguments.  

The Subpoena requested the following records from Clinica: 

“ALL DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS PERTAINING TO THE CARE, TREATMENT AND EXAMINATION OF JAVIER GONZALEZ MUNOZ, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY ITEMIZED STATEMENTS OF THE BILLING CHARGES, INPATIENT AND OUTPATIENT CHARTS AND RECORDS, EMERGENCY ROOM AND LAB REPORTS, RADIOLOGY REPORTS, BREAKDOWN FOR ANY CAT SCANS, X-RAYS, MRI'S TAKEN, EKG AND EMG REPORTS, PRESCRIPTION/PHARMACY RECORDS, AND ANY OTHER RECORDS PERTAINING TO JAVIER GONZALEZ MUNOZ, DOB: February 9, 1964 … FROM 1/1/2012 TO AND INCLUDING THE PRESENT.”  

 

(See Huffman Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. 1.) 

Plaintiff served objections to the deposition subpoenas.  Specifically, Plaintiff objected to the Subpoena on the grounds that (1) answering the request would result in annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, (2) the request is not limited in time or scope as to Plaintiff’s injured body parts, (3) the request, was vague, ambiguous, and unintelligible, (4) the request seeks irrelevant information, and (5) the request improperly seeks information related to collateral sources and other inadmissible and irrelevant information(Huffman Decl., ¶ 5, Ex. 2.)  Apple Auto’s counsel attempted to meet and confer with Plaintiff’s counsel, but did not receive a response.  (Huffman Decl., ¶ 6, Ex. 3.) 

Apple Auto shows there is good cause to compel the production of the requested documents.  Plaintiff claims injuries were sustained during the incident.  Therefore, Apple Auto is entitled to know the care, treatment, and examination pertaining to Plaintiff’s injuriesHowever, the Court agrees with Plaintiff’s objection that the Subpoena is not limited to Plaintiff’s injuries.   Apple Auto has not shown there is good cause to obtain all documents and records pertaining to the care, treatment, and examination of Plaintiff without any limit on scope   

  1. CONCLUSION 

Defendant Apple Auto’s motion is CONTINUED to April 12, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 27 of the Spring Street Courthouse.  Absent an agreement otherwise, Apple Auto must personally serve Clinica Medica Cuzcatlan with notice of this motion and all moving papers.  Apple Auto is ordered to file proof of service.   

Assuming personal service is completed, Plaintiff and Clinica Medica Cuzcatlan can submit any further oppositions 9 court days before the hearing, and Apple Auto can submit any further reply 5 court days before the hearing.   

Moving party to give notice.   

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  Please be advised that if you submit on the tentative and elect not toA appear at the hearing, the opposing party may nevertheless appear at the hearing and argue the matter.  Unless you receive a submission from all other parties in the matter, you should assume that others might appear at the hearing to argue.  If the Court does not receive emails from the parties indicating submission on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may, at its discretion, adopt the tentative as the final order or place the motion off calendar. 

            Dated this 9th day of March 2023  

 

  

 

 

Hon. Kerry Bensinger 

Judge of the Superior Court