Judge: William A. Crowfoot, Case: 20STCV16665, Date: 2022-08-08 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 20STCV16665    Hearing Date: August 8, 2022    Dept: 27






















      CASE NO.: 20STCV16665




Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

August 8, 2022



On May 1, 2020, plaintiff Darryl Jones (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against defendants Stater Bros. Markets (“Defendant”) and Shawn Foster (“Foster”) (collectively, “Defendants”).  Plaintiff alleges that on May 25, 2018, he was injured when he was at Defendants’ premises to deliver a Frito Lay delivery and was injured by the roll up door.  On October 15, 2020, Plaintiff filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”).  Defendant filed an answer to the FAC on February 19, 2021.  Foster filed an answer on September 13, 2021.

Trial has been continued twice and is currently scheduled for August 23, 2022.  On June 17, 2022, Defendants filed this motion to continue the trial date, final status conference, and all related discovery and motion cut-off deadlines to a date between December 1, 2022 and the end of February in 2023, or another date convenient to the Court’s schedule.  The motion is unopposed.


Trial dates are firm to ensure prompt disposition of civil cases. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(a).) Continuances are thus generally disfavored. (See id. rule 3.1332(b).) Nevertheless, the trial court has discretion to continue trial dates. (Hernandez v. Superior Court (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1242, 1246.) Each request for continuance must be considered on its own merits and is granted upon an affirmative showing of good cause. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(c); Hernandez, supra, 115 Cal.App.4th at 1246.) Circumstances that may indicate good cause include: (1) the unavailability of an essential lay or expert witness due to death, illness, or other excusable circumstances; (2) the unavailability of a party due to death, illness, or other excusable circumstances; (3) the unavailability of trial counsel due to death, illness, or other excusable circumstances; (4) the substitution of trial counsel where there is an affirmative showing that the substitution is required in the interests of justice; (5) the addition of a new party if (A) the new party has not had a reasonable opportunity to conduct discovery and prepare for trial, or (B) the other parties have not had a reasonable opportunity to conduct discovery and prepare for trial in regard to the new party’s involvement in the case; (6) a party’s excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts; or (7) a significant, unanticipated change in the status of the case as a result of which the case is not ready for trial. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(c).)

The court must also consider such relevant factors as: (1) the proximity of the trial date; (2) whether there was any previous continuance, extension of time, or delay of trial caused by any party; (3) the length of the continuance requested; (4) the availability of alternative means to address the problem that gave rise to the motion or application for a continuance; (5) the prejudice that parties or witnesses will suffer as a result of the continuance; (6) if the case is entitled to a preferential trial setting, the reasons for that status and whether the need for a continuance outweighs the need to avoid delay; (7) the court’s calendar and the impact of granting a continuance on other pending trials; (8) whether trial counsel is engaged in another trial; (9) whether all parties have stipulated to a continuance; (10) whether the interests of justice are best served by a continuance, by the trial of the matter, or by imposing conditions on the continuance; and (11) any other fact or circumstance relevant to the fair determination of the motion or application. (Id., rule 3.1332(d).)

On 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.  This motion shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration demonstrating a good faith effort at informal resolution.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050, subd. (a).)  

The court shall take into consideration any matter relevant to the leave requested, including, but not limited to: (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, and (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, subd. (b).)


The parties agree that a continuance is necessary because: (1) counsel for Defendant has five other cases going to trial between late July and early August, (2) Foster was added as a party 9 months ago and has not had a reasonable opportunity to complete discovery and prepare for trial, and (3) mediation has been scheduled for October 6, 2022 before Edward Fernandez of Judicate West.  Plaintiff seeks to depose Defendant’s employees and conduct a site inspection while Defendants need to depose Plaintiff’s former co-workers and healthcare providers.  The Court finds good cause to continue the trial date. 


Defendant’s motion is GRANTED.  Trial is continued from August 23, 2023 to January 3, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 27.  The final status conference is continued from August 9, 2022 to December 20, 2022  at 10:00 a.m. in Department 27.  All pretrial deadlines including discovery and motion cut-off dates are to be based on the new trial date.   


Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  Please be advised that 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 matter.  Unless you receive a submission from all other parties in the matter, you should assume that others might appear at the hearing to argue.  If the Court does not receive emails from the parties indicating submission on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may, at its discretion, adopt the tentative as the final order or place the motion off calendar.