Judge: Serena R. Murillo, Case: 19STCV03327, Date: 2022-08-15 Tentative Ruling


Communicating with the Court Staff re the Tentative Ruling 1. Please notify the courtroom staff by email not later than 9:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing if you wish to submit on the tentative ruling rather than argue the motion. The email address is SSCDEPT29@lacourt.org. Please do not use any other email address. 2. You must include the other parties on the email by "cc." 3. Include the word "SUBMISSION" in all caps in the Subject line and include your name, contact information, the case number, and the party you represent in the body of the email. If you submit on the tentative and elect not to appear at the hearing, the opposing party may nevertheless appear at the hearing and argue the motions. THE COURT WILL HEAR ARGUMENT UNLESS BOTH SIDES SUBMIT ON THE TENTATIVE.  4. Include the words "SUBMISSION BUT WILL APPEAR" if you submit, but one or both parties will nevertheless appear. 5. For other communications with Court Staff a. OFF-CALENDAR should appear in all caps in the Subject line where all parties have agreed to have a matter placed off-calendar. All counsel should be cc'ed (and where appropriate parties not represented by counsel) and the body of the email should state: (a) name and case number; (b) date of proceeding. b. CASE SETTLED should appear in all caps in the Subject line where all parties have agreed that the case has settled for all purposes. All counsel should be cc'ed (and where appropriate parties not represented by counsel) and the body of the email should state: (a) name and case number; (b) whether notice of settlement/dismissal documents have been filed; (c) if (b) has not been done, a date one year from the date of your email which will be a date set by the court for an OSC for dismissal of the case. c. STIPULATION should appear in all caps in the Subject line where all parties have stipulated that a matter before the court can be postponed. All counsel should be cc'ed (and where appropriate parties not represented by counsel) and the body of the email should state: (a) name and case number; (b) what proceeding is agreed to be postponed e.g. Trial, FSC; (c) the agreed-upon future date; (d) whether all parties waive notice if the Court informs all counsel/parties that the agreed-upon date is satisfactory. This communication should be used only for matters that are agreed to be postponed and not for orders shortening time. 6. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT ALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH COURT STAFF DEAL ONLY WITH SCHEDULING AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS AND DO NOT DISCUSS THE MERITS OF ANY CASE. (UPDATED 6/17/2020) 

IMPORTANT:  In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the Court encourages all parties to appear remotely.  The capacity in the courtroom is extremely limited.  The Court appreciates the cooperation of counsel and the litigants. 

ALSO NOTE:  If the moving party does not contact the court to submit on the tentative and does not appear (either remotely or in person), the motion will be taken off calendar.  THE TENTATIVE RULING WILL NOT BE THE ORDER OF THE COURT.

Case Number: 19STCV03327    Hearing Date: August 15, 2022    Dept: 29



Defendant Yolanda Yvette Coleman’s motion to reopen discovery is GRANTED.


Legal Standard


Except as otherwise provided, “any¿party shall be entitled as a matter of right to complete discovery proceedings on or before the 30th day, and to have motions concerning discovery heard on or before the 15th day, before the date initially set for trial of the action.”¿ (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.020(a).)¿ “[A]¿continuance¿or postponement of the trial date does not operate to reopen discovery proceedings” unless a motion to reopen discovery is filed and granted pursuant to¿CCP¿section 2024.050.¿ (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.020(b);¿Pelton-Shepherd Industries, Inc. v. Delta Packaging Products, Inc.¿(2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1568.)¿¿CCP¿section 2024.050 provides that “[o]n¿motion of any party, the court may grant leave to complete discovery proceedings, or to have a motion concerning discovery heard, closer to the initial trial date, or to reopen discovery after a new trial date has been set.”¿ (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050(a).)¿


The reopening of discovery is a matter that is committed to the trial court’s sound discretion.¿ (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050(a), (b).)¿ In exercising that discretion, the trial court considers “any matter relevant to the leave requested,” including:¿¿

1.          The necessity and the reasons for the discovery.¿¿

2.          The diligence or lack of diligence of the party seeking the discovery or the hearing of a discovery motion, and the reasons that the discovery was not completed or that the discovery motion was not heard earlier.¿¿

3.          Any likelihood that permitting the discovery or hearing the discovery motion will prevent the case from going to trial on the date set, or otherwise interfere with the trial calendar, or result in prejudice to any other party.¿¿

4.          The length of time that has elapsed between any¿date¿previously set, and the date presently set, for the trial of the action.¿¿


(Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050(b).)¿¿


A motion to reopen discovery pursuant to¿CCP¿section 2024.050 must be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration demonstrating a good faith effort at informal resolution.¿ (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050(a).)¿




I.           Necessity and Reasons for the Discovery and Defendant’s Diligence 

Defendant moves to reopen discovery, arguing that Plaintiff only recently disclosed that she was making a traumatic brain injury claim, and designated a new expert, neurologist Dr. Fisk, after the trial date was continued two times. Plaintiff’s treater, Kevin Aminian, M.D. told plaintiff to undergo an MRI in 2019. Plaintiff waited an unexplained three years before she underwent the recommended MRI and then produced the MRI one month before the July 12, 2022, trial date. Defendant must be given the equal opportunity to investigate plaintiff’s newly alleged injury. Defendant should also be given the opportunity to review plaintiff’s new MRI result, and conduct a neuropsychological examination of plaintiff. Further, the trial date was continued so that Defendant can depose two of Plaintiff’s experts, who had not appeared for their depositions.


Defendant has demonstrated that Plaintiff’s MRI result and the opportunity to conduct a neuropsychological examination, along with the expert depositions, are all necessary for this litigation.


As to diligence, Plaintiff argues that Defendant has not been diligent in conducting discovery and failed to timely designate a neurologist expert witness in the initial exchange of expert witness information. Defendant has known at least since June 10, 2019, that Plaintiff alleges that she has suffered a TBI due to this accident when Plaintiff’s Form Interrogatory Responses advised Defendant that Plaintiff’s injuries included “[c]oncussion, contusion of scalp, headache, dizziness, blurry vision” and that these injuries required “[n]eurological evaluation” that was provided by Dr. Kevin Aminian, among other evidence.

However, Defendant could not have conducted discovery relating to Plaintiff’s traumatic brain injury claim because Plaintiff did not undergo treatment that was recommended by Dr. Aminian in June 2019 until May 2022; therefore there were no records to obtain before May 2022. Further, the Court agrees with Defendant’s observation that although there may have a generic diagnosis for a blunt head injury, there was no diagnosis that plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury until June of 2022 when Plaintiff informed Defendant.

In sum, the court finds that the necessity and reasons for the discovery weigh in favor of continuing the discovery cutoff dates, and there was no lack of diligence on the part of Defendant in seeking the subject discovery.


II.          The Likelihood that Permitting the Discovery Will Prevent the Case from Going to Trial on the Date Set, Prejudice, and the Length of Time Between the Date Previously Set for Trial and the Current Trial Date 

Defendant contends that allowing the parties additional time to complete discovery will not prevent the case from going to trial or otherwise prejudice Plaintiff. 

Plaintiff argues that she would be prejudiced by continuation of the discovery cutoff date because she would have to incur additional costs.  Plaintiff does not, however, cite any legal authority to support its assertion that the fact that it would incur additional costs related to the additional discovery sought provides sufficient prejudice to warrant denial of a motion to reopen discovery. Further, Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s claim that she would have to pay the cost of additional depositions and discovery is meritless as Dr. Williams has already been designated and is on the witness list.


Accordingly, the court finds that this factor favors continuing the relevant discovery cutoff dates.   


The final factor is the length of time that has elapsed between any date previously set and the date presently set for the trial of the action.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050, subd. (b)(4).)  The parties do not raise arguments concerning this factor and the court therefore does not find that it weighs for or against continuing the discovery cutoff date.  


As such, because the factors all weigh in favor of continuing the discovery cutoff date, Defendant’s motion is granted.




Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s motion to reopen discovery is GRANTED.


Moving party is ordered to give notice.