Judge: Michael Shultz, Case: 19CMCV00215, Date: 2022-08-16 Tentative Ruling

INSTRUCTIONS: If the parties wish to submit on the tentative ruling and avoid a court appearance on the matter, the moving party must:

1. Contact the opposing party and all other parties who have appeared in the action and confirm that each will submit on the tentative ruling.

2. No later than 4:00 p.m. on the court day before the hearing, call the Courtroom (310-761-4302) advising that all parties will submit on the tentative ruling and waive hearing; and

3. Serve notice of the Court's ruling on all parties entitled to receive service.

If this procedure is followed, when the case is called the Court will enter its ruling on the motion in accordance with its tentative ruling. If any party declines to submit on the tentative ruling, then no telephone call is necessary, and all parties should appear at the hearing. If there is neither a telephone call nor an appearance, then the matter may either be taken off calendar or ruled on. 

TENTATIVE RULINGS -- http://www.lacourt.org/tentativeRulingNet/ui/main.aspx?casetype=civil

Case Number: 19CMCV00215    Hearing Date: August 16, 2022    Dept: A

19CMCV00215 Porfirio Zamora v. Fan Li, et al.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.




I.            BACKGROUND

This action arises from Plaintiff’s efforts to obtain a loan for $200,000 secured by real property located at 15319 California Avenue in Paramount. The First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) filed on October 5, 2020, alleges that Plaintiff believed he was borrowing money from the Li Defendants, however, Defendants allegedly tricked Plaintiff into transferring his real property by grant deed to the Li Defendants without satisfying the existing liens encumbering the property. Plaintiff alleges claims for conversion, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair business practice, and to quiet title.

            On November 10, 2021, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement of Entire Case. However, on May 26, 2022, the court granted Plaintiff’s counsel’s motion to be relieved as counsel of record. On the same date, the court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of Defendants, Christian Ruiz Briones and Casso Homes.



Defendant, Luz F. Santoyo Castillo (“Castillo”), requests an order for terminating sanctions against Plaintiff by dismissing Castillo from this action with prejudice and to impose monetary sanctions against Plaintiff. Plaintiff failed to comply with the court’s order of June 28, 2022, to serve verified responses without objections to written discovery. Plaintiff also failed to comply with an October 26, 2021, order requiring Plaintiff to appear for his deposition and provide additional discovery responses. Failure to comply with a court’s order for discovery constitutes abuse of the discovery process for which terminating and monetary sanctions are warranted.

The court’s file does not reflect that Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion, although Defendant served Plaintiff and all other parties.  




III.            DISCUSSION

On June 28, 2022, the Hon. Thomas D. Long granted Castillo’s motion compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition within 10 days. Motion, Ex. 1, page 21, ¶ 4. The court also granted Castillo’s motion compelling Plaintiff to respond without objection to Special Interrogatories, Set One; Request for Production of Documents, Set One; and Form Interrogatories, Set One. Id., page 21, ¶ 5. The Requests for Admission served on Plaintiff were deemed admitted. Id., page 22, ¶ 5. The court imposed sanctions of $305 for each motion against Plaintiff, payable to Castillo within 10 days. Id.

      Defense counsel declares that Plaintiff did not serve verified responses without objection as ordered. Declaration of Ali Z. Vaqar, ¶ 7, ¶ 19. Plaintiff also failed to appear for his deposition scheduled for July 14, 2022, and failed to pay monetary sanctions. Id., ¶ 20-21.

Refusing to comply with a court order to provide discovery constitutes an abuse of the discovery process. Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010 (g). The court may impose terminating and other sanctions against the non-complying party for such abuse by dismissing the action. Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030. Monetary sanctions are also warranted for Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the court’s order. Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030.


IV.            CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s Motion for Terminating and Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED. Defendant Castillo is dismissed from the action with prejudice. The court imposes monetary sanctions of $1,040.00 ($245 x 4 + $60) against Plaintiff payable to Defendant within 10 days. Fees were not incurred for a reply brief. The court finds that four hours to prepare the motion and appear for the hearing is reasonable.