Judge: Theresa M. Traber, Case: 21STCV20662, Date: 2023-03-01 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21STCV20662    Hearing Date: March 1, 2023    Dept: 47

Tentative Ruling

 

Judge Theresa M. Traber, Department 47

 

 

HEARING DATE:     March 1, 2023            TRIAL DATE: April 4, 2023

                                                          

CASE:                         Jerrold Robinson, by and through his successors in interest Latrice Robinson, et al. v. Royal Vista Care Center, LLC, et al.

 

CASE NO.:                 21STCV20662           

 

MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

 

MOVING PARTY:               Defendants Royal Vista Care Center, LLC, and AHMC Healthcare, Inc.

 

RESPONDING PARTY(S): No response on eCourt as of February 27, 2023

 

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS AND/OR PROCEEDINGS:

           

            This is a wrongful death and elder abuse action that was filed on June 2, 2021. Plaintiffs allege that decedent Jerrold Robinson was admitted for short-term custodial care while recovering from back surgery to Royal Vista Care Center. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants allowed the decedent to contract COVID-19 during his stay, which ultimately resulted in his death.

 

            Defendants move to continue the trial date and statutory motion and discovery cutoff dates from April 4, 2023 to a date on or after October 3, 2023.

 

TENTATIVE RULING:

 

Defendants’ motion to continue trial is GRANTED. The jury trial set for March 28, 2023 is advanced and continued to November 14, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. The March 14, 2023 final status conference is advanced to this date and continued to October 30, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. All cutoff dates are to be calculated in reference to the new trial date.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

            Defendants move to continue trial to a date on or after October 3, 2023 to permit Defendants to conduct necessary discovery to adequately prepare for trial.

 

“To ensure the prompt disposition of civil cases, the dates assigned for trial are firm. All parties and their counsel must regard the date set for trial as certain.” (Cal Rules of Court Rule 3.1332(a).) Therefore, “continuances of trials are disfavored.” (Cal Rules of Court Rule 3.1332(c).) 

 

            Defendants seek a continuance to October 3, 2023, on the grounds that, although Defendants have been diligent in conducting discovery, several sets of written discovery remain outstanding, as well as the deposition of Plaintiff Mikayla Robinson. (Declaration of Karin Lebel ISO Mot. ¶ 4.) In support of their averments of diligence, Defendants state that they have also already taken the deposition of Plaintiffs Latrice Johnson and Jerrold Johnson Jr. (Id.) Defendants further contend that multiple experts will be designated by each side, which will necessitate further time to complete expert discovery. Defendants specifically anticipate examinations by an infectious disease expert, a nursing expert, and a geriatrics expert. (Id.¶ 3.) Good cause for a continuance exists as a result of a party’s “excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts.” (Rule 3.1332(c)(6).) Accounting for Defendants’ sworn statements as to the discovery already completed, and the anticipated issues that remain outstanding, the Court is satisfied that Defendants have not yet obtained essential evidence through no fault of their own. The Court therefore finds that Defendants have shown good cause for a continuance.

 

In addition, in ruling on a motion for continuance of the trial date, other factors include, as relevant to this motion:

 

·         The proximity of the trial date. Here, the trial date is currently set for April 4, 2022, approximately one month after this motion is scheduled to be heard. 

 

·       Whether there was any previous continuance, extension of time, or delay of trial due to any party. The trial was previously continued from April 3, 2022 to the current date of April 4, 2023, by the Court on its own motion. 

 

·       The length of the continuance requested. Six months.

 

·       The availability of alternative means to address the problem that gave rise to the motion or application for a continuance. There is no feasible means to address the problem of lack of time to complete necessary discovery.

 

·       The prejudice that parties or witnesses will suffer as a result of the continuance. There does not appear to be any prejudice that would result from the continuance. 

 

·       Whether all parties have stipulated to a continuance. Plaintiffs have not stipulated to a continuance, but no opposition has been filed.

 

·       Whether the interests of justice are best served by a continuance, by the trial of the matter, or by imposing conditions on the continuance. The interests of justice would be served by allowing the parties to properly prepare for trial.

 

·       Any other fact or circumstance relevant to the fair determination of the motion or application. This action was filed on June 2, 2021 and is therefore less than two years old.

 

(Cal. Rule of Court 3.1332(d).)  Taken together, the foregoing factors do not weigh against a finding of good cause for continuance of the trial date.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Plaintiff’s motion to continue trial is GRANTED. The jury trial set for March 28, 2023 is advanced and continued to November 14, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. The March 14, 2023 final status conference is advanced to this date and continued to October 30, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. All cutoff dates are to be calculated in reference to the new trial date.

 

            Moving Party to give notice.

 

IT IS SO ORDERED.

 

Dated: March 1, 2023                         ___________________________________

                                                                                    Theresa M. Traber

                                                                                    Judge of the Superior Court

 


            Any party may submit on the tentative ruling by contacting the courtroom via email at Smcdept47@lacourt.org by no later than 4:00 p.m. the day before the hearing. All interested parties must be copied on the email. It should be noted that if you submit on a tentative ruling the court will still conduct a hearing if any party appears. By submitting on the tentative you have, in essence, waived your right to be present at the hearing, and you should be aware that the court may not adopt the tentative, and may issue an order which modifies the tentative ruling in whole or in part.