Judge: Mark C. Kim, Case: 20STCV45208, Date: 2022-08-11 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 20STCV45208    Hearing Date: August 11, 2022    Dept: S27

Plaintiff, Jack Brown filed this action against Defendants, Daniel Capen, M.D., Philip Sobol, M.D., Healthsmart Pacific, Inc., dba Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, and Michael D. Drobot for medical malpractice and related claims.  Plaintiff filed the suit on 11/24/20. 


On 8/24/21, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to add punitive damages claim against all defendants. 


On 9/14/21, Sobol filed an answer to the complaint.  Although Capen never filed an answer to the complaint, in mid-March of 2022, Defendants, Sobol and Capen filed oppositions to the motion to add punitive damages claim to the complaint. 


On 4/04/22, the assigned personal injury court bench officer recused himself from the case, and the case was reassigned within the hub court system. 


On 4/27/22, Sobol filed a motion to compel arbitration.  The parties fully briefed the motion, but on 7/05/22, the personal injury hub court deemed the case complicated and transferred it to Department S27 for all further proceedings.  In the interim, Capen filed a demurrer to the complaint, which was also fully briefed.  Additionally, Defendant Drobot has filed a motion to quash, but opposition and reply have not yet been filed.  Notably, the entity defendants have not appeared.  Plaintiff filed proof of service of the summons and complaint on Healthsmart on 4/15/22, but it has not responded to the complaint to date.


On 7/26/22, Capen and Sobol filed a joint declaration re: scheduling.  They explain that they were unable to get hearings on their demurrer and motion to compel arbitration until well after the hearing on this motion for leave to add a punitive damages claim.  They also explain that Drobot’s hearing on his motion to quash is set for after the hearing on this motion for leave.  They ask that the defense motions be heard prior to the hearing on the motion for leave.


The Court agrees that the defense motions should be heard first.  Notably, if the case against Sobol is sent to arbitration, the Court does not want to have a binding ruling on this motion entered prior to the arbitration order. 


Counsel must appear at the hearing prepared to discuss scheduling of all pending matters.  The Court will set the pending matters expediently in connection with Counsel’s and the Court’s schedule.  The Court asks Counsel to make arrangements to appear remotely at the hearing.