Judge: Richard Y. Lee, Case: 30-2022-01259301, Date: 2023-05-25 Tentative Ruling

Plaintiff Michelle Toledo moves to compel further responses from Defendant General Motors LLC to RFPs (Set One). For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.


Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.310(b)(1) provides that a motion to compel further responses “shall” set forth “specific facts showing good cause justifying the discovery sought by the demand.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310(b)(1).) To establish “good cause,” the burden is on the moving party to demonstrate both: (1) relevance to the subject matter (e.g., how the information in the documents would tend to prove or disprove some issue in the case), and (2) specific facts justifying discovery (e.g., why such information is necessary for trial preparation or to prevent surprise at trial). (Glenfed Develop. Corp. v. Super. Ct. (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1113, 1117.)


Specifically, the moving party can also show good cause by “identify[ing] a disputed fact that is of consequence in the action and explain[ing] how the discovery sought will tend in reason to prove or disprove that fact or lead to other evidence that will tend to prove or disprove the fact.” (Digital Music News, supra, 226 Cal.App.4th at p. 224 [disapproved on other grounds by Williams v. Super. Ct. (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531].)


Arguments made in the moving papers or in a separate statement are insufficient to satisfy this requirement; good cause must be shown by way of admissible evidence, such as by declaration. (Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Super. Ct. (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 216, 224 [motion to compel production of documents must be supported by factual evidence by way of declarations setting forth specific facts justifying each category of materials sought to be produced; arguments in a separate statement or in briefs are insufficient].) Only if good cause is shown by the moving party does the burden then shift to the responding party to justify any objections made to document disclosure—the same as on motions to compel responses to interrogatories or deposition questions. (Kirkland v. Super. Ct. (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 92, 98.)


Here, Plaintiff fails to show good cause justifying the production of the requested documents. (See generally Goldsmith Decl.)  Counsel declares without any further explanation that “The discovery sought in this motion is routine, as demonstrated by the standing discovery orders adopted by various departments of the Orange County and Los Angeles Superior Court. Plaintiff is not suggesting that the Court is bound by any of these orders, only that the scope of these discovery requests have been extensively covered by California jurisprudence and that Defendant has no reason to claim that these requests are somehow overbroad or irrelevant,” and attaches various standing orders.  (Goldsmith Decl. ¶ 15.)   There is no explanation of how each production request falls within the “routine” discovery or how it is permissible under the various standing orders.  Furthermore, the standing orders would suggest that much of the discovery requested by Plaintiff is not routine as the attached standing orders show that courts impose document production limits of anywhere between 5-11 categories.  As evidenced by the motion, Plaintiff’s discovery consist of 40 requests. Plaintiff does not show how documents relating to other vehicles is relevant to Plaintiff’s warranty claim, or any other specific facts justifying the discovery. 


Furthermore, good cause is not apparent on the face of most of the RFPs at issue. The Complaint alleges that the subject vehicle developed various defects, including, but not limited to, defects which cause illumination of the check engine light, defects which cause engine misfire, defects which cause rough idle, defects which cause faulty fuel injectors, defects which cause fault codes for improper emissions exhaust in the vehicle’s internal computer, defects which cause faulty high pressure fuel lines, defects which cause increased brake pedal effort, and defects which cause faulty spark plugs. (See, Complaint, para. 7.)  Most of the requests are overbroad. Again, Plaintiff does not show how documents relating to other vehicles, internal documents, all documents referencing contracts between GM and dealerships, all documents referencing various policies and procedures, among others, are relevant to Plaintiff’s warranty claim, or any other specific facts justifying the discovery.


Based upon Plaintiff’s failure to establish good cause for each production demand, the Court could have denied the instant motion in full. 


However, given the fact that Defendant GM has agreed to produce or has already produced various documents responsive to various discovery requests, including Request Nos. 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33, the motion is GRANTED to the extent that Defendant has agreed to produce the above documents.  Defendant GM to provide further, verified responses, within 15 days.


All remaining requests are DENIED as Plaintiff has failed to establish good cause for the documents sought.  Because Plaintiff shows no good cause justifying the discovery, the burden does not shift to Defendant GM to justify its objections.


Moving Party to give notice.