Judge: Linda S. Marks, Case: 01221984, Date: 2022-08-01 Tentative Ruling

(1) Motion to Compel Further Responses to Special Interrogatories (2) Motion to Compel Further Production

(3) Motion to Compel Further Response to Requests for Admission

Meet and Confer

Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.300(a) provides that a party propounding discovery may move for an order compelling a further response if an answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete, or an exercise of the option to produce documents under Code Civ. Proc. section 2030.230 is unwarranted or the required specification of those documents is inadequate, or an objection to an interrogatory is without merit or too general. The motion must be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Code. Civ. Proc. Section 2016.040. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.300(b).)

A motion to compel further responses for requests for production has the same meet and confer requirement but is governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.310(b)(2). Similarly, a motion to compel further responses for requests for admission has the same meet and confer requirement but is governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.290(b).

Code of Civil Procedure section 2016.040 provides that “[a] meet and confer declaration in support of a motion shall state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.”

“ ‘An evaluation of whether, from the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the discovering party, additional effort appeared likely to bear fruit, should be considered. Although some effort is required in all instances [citation], the level of effort that is reasonable is different in different circumstances and may vary with the prospects for success. These are considerations entrusted to the trial court’s discretion and judgment, with due regard for all relevant circumstances.’ [Citation.]” (Clement v. Alegre (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 1277, 1293-1294.) There must be a “serious effort at negotiation and informal resolution” and “the law requires that counsel attempt to talk the matter over, compare their views, consult, and deliberate.” (Townsend v. Superior Court (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1431, 1438-1439.)

Here, the consolidated declaration of Defendants’ counsel in support of all three motions provides that Defendants sent a written meet and confer letter concerning the discovery at issue, (i.e., SROGs 1-8, 41- 48, 89-96, RFAs 11, 12, 25, 26, and RFPs 1-6, 7-15, 17-19, 22, 24-27) on 2/22/22; followed up after hearing no response on 2/27/22; received an email response by Plaintiff’s counsel on 2/28/22, suggesting an extension of the motion to compel deadline and stating he needs to review the disputed responses; followed up on 3/14/22, and followed up on 3/17/22 after hearing no response; received an email response on 3/17/22 from Plaintiff’s counsel that “disregarded both Defendants’ repeated requests for a further meet and confer discussion (rather than emails) and for a further extension of the motion to compel deadline of March 22.” (Declarations of James Hardin, ¶¶ 13-19; Exs. 9-14; ROA 31, 39, 47.) The instant three discovery motions were then filed on 3/22/22.

Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ counsel’s attempts to meet and confer appear to have been only through written communications and/or emails. There was no attempt to make a telephone call to follow-up or discuss the issues, and counsel for the parties do not appear to have sufficiently discussed the issues and the interrogatories and requests at issue in the motions. There are quite a number of interrogatories and requests at issue.

It does not appear to the Court that counsel for the parties adequately made reasonable and good faith attempts to meet and confer prior to the filing of the instant motions.


It is noted that while the instant motions were pending, new counsel, Marvin J. Straus, Esq. from Straus Meyers, LLP, substituted in for James Hardin, Esq. and David Sanford, Esq. as counsel for the moving party, Defendant, Kathleen Allison. (ROA 65, 67.) A continuance will allow for Defendant’s new counsel and Plaintiff’s counsel to meet and confer about the discovery at issue.

Tentative Ruling: The Court ORDERS counsel for the parties to meet and confer in person, by zoom or video remote technology, or over the telephone concerning the issues raised in the initial February 22, 2022 email, and the motion, and to submit a Joint Statement no later than nine (9) court days before the continued hearing date setting forth the efforts made by counsel to meet and confer, as well as stating what issues remain for the Court, or that no issues remain for the Court to resolve and that the motion is being withdrawn.

The Court will construe a failure to timely file the Joint Statement as an acknowledgment that the issues in the motions have been resolved and will take the motions off calendar.

Defendant, Kathleen Allison, to give notice.