Superior Court, State of California

SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA
Department 8, Honorable Maureen A. Folan, Presiding
Lorna Delacruz, Courtroom Clerk
Keith Rowan, Court Reporter
191 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Telephone: 408.882.2180
To contest the ruling, call (408) 808-6856 before 4:00 P.M.
LAW AND MOTION TENTATIVE RULINGS
DATE: March 17, 2015
TIME: 9 A.M.
THE COURT WILL PREPARE THE ORDER ON ANY NON-CONTESTED
MATTER WHERE THE COURT ADOPTS TENTATIVE RULING
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LINE #
CASE #
CASE TITLE
RULING
LINE 1
115CV275847 S. Quach, et al vs. Bank of Click Control Line 1 for Tentative Ruling
America, N.A., et al
LINE 2
114CV271661 L. Esparza vs. Cupertino
Union School District, et
al
LINE 3
115CV276626 M. Reyes, et al vs.
Nationstar Mortgage LLC Defendant filed a Notice of Removal to
Federal Court on March 11, 2015. The Court
does not have jurisdiction to entertain
Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal. 28 USC Section
1446(6)
LINE 4
109CV153731 Hopkins & Carley vs. S.
Raissi
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114CV264839 J. Jones, et al vs. Sivision Click Control Line 5 for Tentative Rulings on
Inc., et
both matters.
Click Control Line 2 for Tentative Ruling
Moving Party’s Motion To Be Relieved As
Counsel for Sasan Raissi is UNOPPOSED
and GRANTED, good cause appearing.
SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA
Department 8, Honorable Maureen A. Folan, Presiding
Lorna Delacruz, Courtroom Clerk
Keith Rowan, Court Reporter
191 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Telephone: 408.882.2180
To contest the ruling, call (408) 808-6856 before 4:00 P.M.
LAW AND MOTION TENTATIVE RULINGS
LINE 6
114CV266569 The Patio Wine company,
LLC, et al vs. Lexington
Street Investments, LLC,
et al
Venue in this matter was transferred to Napa
County by Order dated 2-6-15 so the Court
questions whether it has jurisdiction to
entertain Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions.
Even if the Court had jurisdiction,
Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions under CCP
Section 128.5 is DENIED. CCP Section
128.5 does not apply to any form of litigation
misconduct in lawsuits filed after 1994.
General litigation conduct sanctions are
available, if at all, only under CCP Section
128.7. Olmstead v Arthur J. Gallagher & Co
(2004) 32 Cal 4th 804,807.
LINE 7
115CV275814 A. Low, et al vs. Benetech, Petitioners’ Petition and Motion to Confirm
Inc. et al
FINRA Arbitration Award is UNOPPOSED
and GRANTED, good cause appearing. The
Award is hereby confirmed in its entirety.
The Court will sign the order submitted by
moving party.
LINE 8
110CV179108 Capital One Bank (USA)
N.A. vs. M. Valle
LINE 9
The Court has not yet received
113CV247998 State Farm Mutual
documentation regarding the interest
Automobile Insurance
Company v. E. Gutierrez- calculation it requested.
Martin
Judgment’s Debtor’s Claim of Exemption is
GRANTED, in part. Judgment Debtor has
assets that are not used for the support of her
or her family in the amount of $50 each
month. Plus Judgment Debtor is paying
unsecured creditors monthly and has several
hundred dollars in a bank account. The Court
feels Judgment Debtor can pay $50 a month
towards the subject judgment.
SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA
Department 8, Honorable Maureen A. Folan, Presiding
Lorna Delacruz, Courtroom Clerk
Keith Rowan, Court Reporter
191 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Telephone: 408.882.2180
To contest the ruling, call (408) 808-6856 before 4:00 P.M.
LAW AND MOTION TENTATIVE RULINGS
LINE 10 114CV259405 R. Laton vs. B. Williams et Cross-complainants’ (“Williams”) Motion to
al
File a Supplemental Cross-Complaint is
denied without prejudice. The Williams filed
their original cross-complaint on March 14,
2014 for breach of contract and intentional
misrepresentation arising out of the landlord
tenant relationship they had with crossdefendant (“Laton”). Now, in their proposed
supplemental cross-complaint, the Williams
wish to plead new and separate causes of
actions against Laton for defamation and
trade libel arising out of Laton’s alleged poor
online reviews of the Williams’ design
business. The proposed supplemental crosscomplaint does not include the original
claims for breach of contract and intentional
misrepresentation. The Williams have
chosen the wrong vehicle to assert their new
claims. A supplemental pleading cannot be
used to allege facts constituting entirely new
causes of action. The “occurring after” facts
must supplement the cause of actions
originally pleaded. Flood v Simpson (1975)
45 Cal App 3d 644, 647. The Williams must
file a Motion for Leave to Amend their
Cross-Complaint to allege their claims for
defamation and trade libel. The Williams
are instructed to comply with the
requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure
and California Rules of Court in seeking to
amend their cross-complaint.
LINE 11 113CV247083 C. Garcia vs. Madura
Restaurant, et al
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OFF CALENDAR per Gautam Dutta
SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA
Department 8, Honorable Maureen A. Folan, Presiding
Lorna Delacruz, Courtroom Clerk
Keith Rowan, Court Reporter
191 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Telephone: 408.882.2180
To contest the ruling, call (408) 808-6856 before 4:00 P.M.
LAW AND MOTION TENTATIVE RULINGS
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Calendar line 1
Case Name: Silvie Thu-Hian Quach, et al. v. Bank of America N.A., et al.
Case No.:
1-15-CV-275847
This action arises from foreclosure proceedings initiated against real property in San
Jose (the “Property”). (Complaint, ¶¶ 7, 13.)
Plaintiff CHR Property, LLC (“CHR”) owns the Property and plaintiff Silvie Thu-Hian
Quach (“Quach”) is a member of CHR who resides at the Property. (Id., ¶¶ 7-8.) According to
the allegations of the complaint, in January of 2003, Quach mortgaged the Property in
exchange for a loan from the predecessor of defendant Bank of America, N.A. (“Bank of
America”). (Id., ¶ 9.) In 2008, she applied for a loan modification from Bank of America,
which Bank of America has yet to approve or deny. (Id., ¶ 10-11.) In 2014, Bank of America
transferred the servicing of Quach’s loan to defendant Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC
(“Specialized”). (Id., ¶ 12.) On or about December 23, 2014, a notice of trustee sale was
recorded against the Property. (Id., ¶ 13.)
On January 22, 2015, CHR and Quach (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed the present
action against Bank of America and Specialized (collectively, “Defendants”), asserting claims
for (1) violation of the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights (“HBR”) and (2) breach of contract.
Currently at issue is Defendants’ demurrer to the complaint on the grounds that Bank of
America has been misjoined (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (d)); the first and second causes
of action do not state a claim (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (e)); the complaint is vague,
ambiguous, and uncertain concerning which defendant is being sued in each cause of action
(Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (f)); and no contract supporting the second cause of action is
attached (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (g)).
I. Request for Judicial Notice
Defendants’ request for judicial notice of recorded documents associated with the
Property is GRANTED given that the authenticity of these documents is not challenged. (See
Evid. Code § 452, subd. (h) [facts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute
and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably
indisputable accuracy are an appropriate subject of judicial notice]; Fontenot v. Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 265 [“[A] court may take judicial notice of the fact of
a document’s recordation, the date the document was recorded and executed, the parties to the
transaction reflected in a recorded document, and the document’s legally operative language,
assuming there is no genuine dispute regarding the document’s authenticity. From this, the
court may deduce and rely upon the legal effect of the recorded document, when that effect is
clear from its face.”].)
II. Uncertainty
Defendants contend that the complaint is uncertain concerning which claims are alleged
against each of them. While uncertainty is a disfavored ground for a demurrer, a demurrer on
this ground may lie where multiple claims are asserted against multiple defendants and the
plaintiffs have failed to identify which claims are asserted against which defendants. (See
Williams v. Beechnut Nutrition Corp. (1986) 185 Cal.App.3d 135, 139 fn.2.) In such instances,
if a defendant cannot reasonably ascertain which issues must be admitted or denied or what
counts or claims are directed against it, the complaint will be deemed uncertain. (See id.)
The first cause of action clearly alleges that both Defendants violated the HBR.
(Complaint, ¶ 16.) On the other hand, Defendants correctly urge that the second cause of
action includes specific allegations as to Bank of America only, but sets forth general
allegations implicating Specialized as well. (See Complaint, ¶¶ 21-30.) Consequently, it
cannot be reasonably ascertained whether the second cause of action is directed towards
Specialized in addition to Bank of America.
The demurrer based on uncertainty is accordingly SUSTAINED WITH 10 DAYS’
LEAVE TO AMEND as to Specialized with regards to the second cause of action.
Defendants’ demurrer on this ground is otherwise OVERRULED.
III. Bank of America
Both of Plaintiffs’ claims arise from Defendants’ alleged initiation of the current
foreclosure proceedings. (See Complaint, ¶¶ 16, 27.) However, Bank of America assigned the
deed of trust associated with the Property to HSBC Bank, USA, National Association
(“HSBC”) in January 2013. (See Request to Take Judicial Notice ISO Defendants’ Demurrer,
Ex. C, “Assignment of Deed of Trust.”) This assignment took place several months before the
documents associated with the foreclosure at issue were recorded at HSBC’s instruction. (See
id., Ex. F, “Notice of Default and Election to Sell” dated July 2014, indicating that HSBC
should be contacted in connection with the foreclosure; Complaint, ¶ 13, Ex. A [notice of
trustee sale was recorded on December 23, 2014].)
Plaintiffs do not challenge the authenticity of the documents establishing this chain of
events, but argue without explanation that Bank of America “has continued to have an interest
in the loan.” Despite Plaintiffs’ argument, the Court may “rely upon the legal effect of the
[assignment], when that effect is clear from its face.” (Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.,
supra, 198 Cal.App.4th at p. 265.)
In light of the above, it appears that Bank of America did not initiate the foreclosure
proceedings at issue, and the complaint consequently fails to state a claim against Bank of
America. The demurrer is thus SUSTAINED WITH 10 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND as to
Bank of America. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (e).) 1
1
Defendants contend that Bank of America was misjoined to this action. (Code Civ. Proc., §
430.10, subd. (d).) However, their arguments pertain to the issue of whether Plaintiffs state a
claim against Bank of America at all, not to whether Bank of America belongs in the same
action as Specialized. Where, as here, “a right to relief was asserted against [a defendant]
arising out of the same transaction, with at least one question of law or fact common to all the
other defendants,” joinder is proper. (SEIU v. Hollywood Park (1983) 149 Cal.App.3d 745,
758 [citing Code Civ. Proc., § 379, subd. (a)(1)].)
IV. Specialized
A. The First Cause of Action for Violation of the HBR
Defendants contend that neither Plaintiff has standing to assert a claim under the HBR,
which applies only to “owner-occupied residential real property.” (Civ. Code, § 2924.15, subd.
(a).) Defendants urge that because Quach has assigned her interest in the Property to CHR, the
Property is no longer “owner-occupied.” However, the HBR defines “owner-occupied” to
mean “that the property is the principal residence of the borrower and is security for a loan
made for personal, family, or household purposes.” (Civ. Code, § 2924.15, subd. (a), italics
added.) Here, Quach alleges that she is the borrower of the mortgage loan at issue, which
Defendants do not dispute. (Complaint, ¶ 9.) Accordingly, Plaintiffs have alleged standing to
assert a claim under the HBR.
The demurrer to the first cause of action is thus OVERRULED as to Specialized.
B. The Second Cause of Action for Breach of Contract
In addition to their demurrer for uncertainty, Defendants argue that the second cause of
action does not state a claim against Specialized. Given that Plaintiffs do not allege that
Specialized was a party to the contract at issue in this claim, this argument has merit. (See
CACI 302 [existence of the contract between the parties is a required element of a claim for
breach of contract]; Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Goldman (2011) 51 Cal.4th 811, 821 [same].)
The demurrer to the second cause of action is thus SUSTAINED WITH 10 DAYS’
LEAVE TO AMEND as to Specialized on the additional ground that it fails to state a claim.
(Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (e).)
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Calendar line 2
Case Name: Leonard V. Esparza v. Cupertino Union School District, et al.
Case No.:
1-14-CV-271661
Plaintiff Leonard V. Esparza (“Esparza”) alleges that defendant Kara Butler (“Butler”),
the Principal of defendant Cupertino Union School District (“Cupertino Union”), conducted a
random, warrantless search of his luggage without his permission, violating district policy and
his civil rights. (Complaint, p. 5.) As a result of the search, criminal charges were filed against
Esparza and he incurred attorneys’ fees and fines related to those proceedings. (Id., p. 3.) On
October 9, 2014, Esparza, who is representing himself, filed this action against Butler,
Cupertino Union, Cupertino Union’s Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz, and members of
Cupertino Union’s board (collectively, “Defendants”). The complaint asserts a single claim
labeled as an intentional tort.
Currently at issue is Defendants’ demurrer to the complaint on the grounds of
uncertainty (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (f)) and failure to state a claim (Code Civ. Proc.,
§ 430.10, subd. (e)).
I. Uncertainty
The demurrer for uncertainty is OVERRULED. Defendants fail to specify in what
respects the complaint is uncertain, and Esparza’s allegations are clear enough to enable a
response. (See Khoury v. Maly’s of California, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616 [“A
demurrer for uncertainty is strictly construed, even where a complaint is in some respects
uncertain, because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.”]; Fenton
v. Groveland Community Services Dist. (1982) 135 Cal.App.3d 797, 809 [a demurrer for
uncertainty must distinctly specify how or why the pleading is uncertain, and where the
uncertainty appears], disapproved on another ground by Katzberg v. Regents of University of
California (2002) 29 Cal.4th 300, 328, fn. 30.)
II. Failure to State a Claim
As an initial matter, Defendants contend that Esparza fails to state a claim because his
complaint does not indicate that he has complied with the claim presentation requirement
governing lawsuits against public entities. However, Esparza clearly alleges that he has
complied with this requirement. (See Complaint, p. 2, ¶ 9.)
Nevertheless, Defendants correctly urge that a tort claim against a government entity
must be pleaded with specificity. (See Searcy v. Hemet Unified School Dist. (1986) 177
Cal.App.3d 792, 802 [“in California all government tort liability is dependent on the existence
of an authorizing statute or ‘enactment,’” which “must at the very least be identified”], citing
Gov. Code, § 815, subd. (a); Susman v. City of Los Angeles (1969) 269 Cal.App.2d 803, 809
[“In view of the fact that tort causes of action against public entities are now based on statute,
the general rule that statutory causes of action must be pleaded with particularity is
applicable.”].) Here, Esparza fails to identify the nature of his tort claim or the statute or
statutes that authorize it. Furthermore, Esparza fails to plead facts supporting any recognizable
tort claim. In opposition, 2 Esparza contends that a demand letter he sent to Defendants
clarifies that his claim is one for invasion of privacy. However, such a theory is not set forth in
his complaint. (See Sanchez-Scott v. Alza Pharms. (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 365, 372 [claim for
tortuous invasion of privacy on an intrusion theory “consists of two elements: ‘(1) the intrusion
into a private place, conversation or matter, (2) in a manner highly offensive to a reasonable
person’”].) Accordingly, Defendants are correct that Esparza fails to state a claim on a tort
theory.
Nevertheless, on demurrer, courts consider whether the allegations state a claim “under
any theory, regardless of the title under which the factual basis for relief is stated.” (Quelimane
Co. v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 26, 38.) The complaint must be “liberally
construed, with a view to substantial justice between the parties.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 452.)
Here, Esparza alleges that Butler’s actions violated “civil rights guaranteed by the
United States and California.” (Complaint, p. 5.) While such language may implicate various
federal or California statutory claims, again, no statutes are identified, and any such claims are
not pleaded with adequate specificity. (See Covenant Care, Inc. v. Super. Ct. (Inclan) (2004)
32 Cal.4th 771, 790 [statutory causes of action must be pleaded with particularity].) Esparza’s
complaint also suggests that Defendants’ actions may have violated the United States and
California constitutions. However, the elements of any constitutional claim are not stated in
Esparza’s complaint, which does not describe Esparza’s relationship to the Defendants, the
nature of the “luggage” that was searched, or the circumstances of the search. (See County of
Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Com. (2013) 56 Cal.4th 905, 926
[California constitutional invasion of privacy claim requires three essential elements: (1) a
legally protected privacy interest; (2) an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy; and (3)
an invasion of privacy serious in both its nature and scope]; O’Connor v. Ortega (1987) 480
U.S. 709, 719, 726 [Fourth Amendment violation requires a reasonable expectation of privacy
and an unreasonable search, considering whether the search was justified at its inception and
whether it was conducted in a manner reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that
justified it].)
In light of the above, Defendants’ demurrer is SUSTAINED WITH 10 DAYS’ LEAVE
TO AMEND for failure to state a claim. 3
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2
Esparza’s opposition papers were filed after the deadline provided by the Code of Civil
Procedure. While the Court has reviewed them, it notes that the arguments raised therein do
not form the basis for its ruling.
3
According to Defendants, the complaint demonstrates that the elements of a Fourth
Amendment claim cannot be established here. However, Defendants’ argument is based upon
asserted “allegations” by Esparza that are not actually reflected in the complaint, and which are
not appropriate subjects of judicial notice. The Court will not consider such assertions on
demurrer. Further, Esparza may be able to state a claim on another theory.
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Case Name: Jones et al v SIVISION , Inc et al.
Case Number: 114CV264839
Plaintiffs filed this Motion to Compel on February 13, 2015.
Defendants did not file a formal opposition. 4
All parties are reminded that all papers must comply with Rule of Court 3.1110(f). 5
All parties are reminded that “[a] motion concerning interrogatories, inspection demands, or
admission requests must identify the interrogatories, demands, or requests by set and number.”
Rule of Court 3.1345(d).
I.
Statement of Facts.
This dispute arises out of an employment agreement between the Plaintiffs and Defendants
where the Plaintiffs allege that they worked several months for the Defendants, and received
absolutely no compensation.
II. Discovery Dispute.
a. Deposition Request
On July 3, 2014, Plaintiffs served a Deposition Notice on Defendant Sreedhar Natarajan for
August 7, 2014. (Berman Decl., Ex. B.)
On August 4, 2014, Defendant Natarajan refused to engage in the August 7 deposition.
(Berman Decl., Ex. C.)
b. Plaintiffs’ Request for Production of Documents
On July 11, 2014, Plaintiffs served a Request for Production of Documents, Set One, on
Defendnat SiVision, and a Request for Production of Documents, Set One, on Defendant
Natarajan. (Berman Decl., Ex. E and F.)
On August 15, 2014, Defendants served their responses to Plaintiffs’ Request for Production,
Set One. (Berman Decl. Ex. E and G.) Defendants objected to answer any interrogatories
instead making five general objections that the request is: (1) vague, ambiguous, overbroad,
unduly burdensome, harassing, and oppressive, (2) fails to describe the category of documents
with reasonable particularity, (3) seeks documents that are neither relevant nor reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, (4) seeks disclosure of financial,
proprietary, and confidential information which invades the constitution and privacy rights, and
(5) seeks attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product.
c. Plaintiffs’ Interrogatories Request
On July 14, 2014 Plaintiffs served Form Interrogatories – General, Nos. 1.1, 2.1 – 2.10, 4.1 –
4.2, 12.1 – 12.3, 14,2, and 50.1 – 50.6 to Defendant Natarajan. (Berman Ex. H.) On August
“The failure to file a written opposition or to appear at a hearing or the voluntary provision of discovery
shall not be deemed an admission that the motion was proper or that sanctions should be awarded.”
Rule of Court 3.1348(b).
4
“Each exhibit must be separated by a hard 81/2 x 11 sheet with hard paper or plastic tabs extending
below the bottom of the page, bearing the exhibit designation. An index to exhibits must be provided.
Pages from a single deposition and associated exhibits must be designated as a single exhibit.”
5
18, 2014 Defendants responded with the same general objections that they served as to the
Request for the Production of Documents on August 15, 2014. (Berman Decl. Ex. I.)
III. Analysis.
A. Meet and Confer Process
A code-compliant attempt to meet and confer is an explicit prerequisite in this situation. (CCP
2031.310(b).) Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 2016.040, “a meet and confer
declaration in support of a motion shall state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt
at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.” The failure to attempt to
meet and confer where required is an explicitly named misuse of the discovery process. (See
CCP § 2023.010(i).) Here, the Court finds that the Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ counsels
sufficiently met and conferred with regard to the Deposition Request, Requests for Production
of Document, and Interrogatories Request. (See Berman Decl. Ex. I. J. and K.)
B. Deposition of Sreedhar Natarajan
Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 2025.450(a) a proponent may move for an order
compelling a deponent’s attendance and testimony at a deposition, if without having served a
valid objection under Section 2025.410 the deponent fails to appear for examination. (CCP §
2025.450(a).) Here, the Defendant made no valid objection under Section 2025.410.
Furthermore, the Plaintiffs have set forth specific facts justifying the motion to compel,
including the Defendant refusing to engage in two depositions with dates that had been set
approximately one month in advance. (See Berman Decl. Ex. C and K.)
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Deposition of Defendant Natarajan is GRANTED.
Defendant Natarajan must appear for his deposition on or before April 10, 2015
C. Defendant Responses to Request for Production of Documents, Set No. One
Under Code Civ. Proc. 2031.010, any party may obtain discovery through a demand that the
other party produce documents or permit the party making the demand inspect and copy a
document that is in possession of the other party. (See CCP 2031.010(b).) On receipt of a
response for the production of documents, the demanding party may move for an order to
compel further responses if the responses are inadequate, incomplete, evasive or without merit.
(CCP § 2031.310(a)(2-3).) Here, the Request for Production of Documents: Set One, the
Responses to these requests, and the Plaintiff’s Reasons Why a Further Response should be
Compelled are identical, except for, in some instances, the name SiVision replaces the name
Natarajan in one of the sets. For this reason the Court will analyze the Plaintiff’s Motion to
Compel as to each of the Requests only once.
The Defendants makes three arguments throughout the Requests for Production of Documents,
Set One that can be addressed as a whole. First, the Defendant objects to make of the requests
under the attorney client or work product privilege. The Plaintiffs do not seek any documents
subject to privilege, thus this objection is irrelevant. Second, Defendants object, as the
requested documents are “financial, proprietary, and confidential information.” If the
documents are confidential, the Defendants can enter into a productive order with the
Plaintiffs. Lastly, to be addressed at this time, the Defendants assert a tax privilege. A tax
privilege is not absolute and will not be upheld when the “gravamen of the lawsuit is
inconsistent with the privilege.” (Weingarten v. Superior Court (2002) 102 Cal. App. 4th 268,
274.) Here, the gravamen of the lawsuit is inconsistent with the privilege as the Plaintiffs’
allegations in the complaint involve representations of the Defendants’ that they would be able
to pay their employees and they refused to do so.
Request No. 1
Request No. 1 is a request for “All documents related to any plaintiff.” The Defendant
objected to this request on grounds including it is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and
harassing and does not describe the category of documents with reasonable particularity. (See
§ CCP 2031.030(c)(1).) The Plaintiff responds that this request is reasonably particularized
because the request identifies the specific types of documents and parties to which the
documents relate. This is incorrect. The request here is not particularized, as required under §
2031.030(c)(1).
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 1 is
DENIED.
Requests No. 2 & 3
Requests No. 2 and 3 concern all documents relating to communication with the plaintiffs. The
Defendant objected to this request on grounds including it is overbroad, unduly burdensome,
and harassing and does not describe the category of documents with reasonable particularity.
(See CCP § 2031.030(c)(1).) Furthermore, the Defendant specifically objected to this on the
grounds that Defendant “SiVision” is vague, ambiguous, and overbroad. The Plaintiffs argues
that the request is appropriate as it includes only communications to or from the Plaintiffs or
concerning the Plaintiffs. While, the Court agrees with the Plaintiff that “Defendant” is not
vague, ambiguous, or overbroad the Court does not agree with the Plaintiff that the request is
particularized as required under § 2031.030(c)(1).
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 2 and 3
is DENIED.
Requests No. 4 & 5
Requests 4 and 5 are appropriate. Here, the Defendant objects that the requests are overbroad
and that neither is calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. However, this
response is without merit as the Requests are described with reasonable particularity, including
documents related to hiring decisions and proposed or actual agreements by the Defendants
concerning the Plaintiff. Responses without merit are subject to an order compelling further
responses. (See CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 4 and 5
is GRANTED.
Requests No. 6 & 7
Requests 6 and 7 are appropriate. These requests concern documents related to insurance and
employment benefits. The Defendant’s responses are without merit as the requests are
described with reasonable particularity and are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence. (See CCP § 2017.010.) Responses without merit are subject to an order
compelling further responses. (See CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 6 and 7
is GRANTED.
Requests No. 8, 9 & 10
Requests 8, 9 and 10 are appropriate. These requests concern documents related to any
plaintiff’s job responsibilities, compensation, or job performance. The Defendant’s responses
are without merit as the requests are described with reasonable particularity and are reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. (See CCP § 2017.010.) Responses
without merit are subject to an order compelling further responses. (See CCP §
2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 8, 9
and 10 is GRANTED.
Request No. 11
Request No. 11 concerns communications between any Defendant and any payroll provider.
The Defendants object on the ground that this request is overbroad and not reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. (See CCP § 2017.010.) While the
Plaintiff could have written this request in a more narrow way, it still complies with the
requirements of § 2031.030. Furthermore, a responding party has a duty to respond in good
faith as best they can. (Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal. App. 3d. 771, 783.) Evasive and
incomplete responses are subject to an order compelling further responses. (See CCP
§2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 11 is
GRANTED
Requests No. 12 & 13
Requests 12 and 13 are appropriate. These requests concern documents related to any checks
returned because of insufficient funds or checks written by Defendant Natarajan to any
employee of SiVision. The Defendant’s responses are without merit as the requests are
described with reasonable particularity and are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence. (See CCP § 2017.010.) Responses without merit are subject to an order
compelling further responses. (See CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No.12 and
13 is GRANTED.
Requests No. 14 & 15
Requests 14 and 15 are appropriate. These requests concern communications by Defendant
promising to pay any employee of SiVision and any employment-related policy or procedure
documents. The Defendant’s responses are without merit as the requests are described with
reasonable particularity and are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence. (See CCP §2017.010.) Responses without merit are subject to an order compelling
further responses. (See CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 14 and
15 is GRANTED.
Request No. 16
Request 16 is not appropriate. This request asks for all documents related to Defendant
Natarajan’s financial information. The request is not described with reasonable particularity.
(See CCP § 2031.030(c)(1).) The Plaintiff could have specified certain types of documents or
a particularized timeline. If the Defendant were to comply with this request, he would be
required to give over all financial information he has ever accumulated. It is not limited by
time or scope.
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 16 is
DENIED.
Request No. 17
Request 17 is not appropriate. This request concerns all documents relating to Natarajan’s
divorce. This request is not described with particularity and may invade constitutional rights of
privacy. The Defendants’ response is not inadequate, incomplete, evasive, or without merit.
(CCP § 2031.310(a).) Thus, the Plaintiff has no right to demand a motion to compel.
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 17 is
DENIED.
Requests No. 18 and 19
Requests 18 and 19 are appropriate. These requests concern all documents related to an
accusation that Defendant Natarajan has hidden assets and documents seizing or placing liens
on any assets or accounts of Natarajan. The Defendant’s responses are without merit as the
requests are described with reasonable particularity and are reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence. (See CCP §2017.010.) If the Defendant is worried about
the confidentiality of these documents, he can work with the Plaintiff to enter into a protective
order.
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 18 and
19 is GRANTED.
Request No. 20
While all documents related to Defendant Sivion’s financial information is likely calculated to
lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, it is still not described with particularity. The
Plaintiff needs to “reasonably particulariz[e] each category.” (CCP § 2031.030(c)(1).)
Because the Plaintiffs’ request is overbroad, the Defendants’ objection is with merit and the
Plaintiff has no right to demand a motion to compel.
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 20 is
DENIED.
Request No. 21 through 27
Requests No. 21 through 27 are appropriate. They all relate to the formation, specific finances,
organization of the business, minutes of board meetings, votes by the board, capital structure,
and tax returns. The Defendant’s responses are without merit as the requests are described
with reasonable particularity and are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence. (See CCP §2017.010.) Responses without merit are subject to an order
compelling further responses. (See CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 21
through 27 is GRANTED.
Request No. 28
Request No. 28 is appropriate. This requests concerns any pending litigation or arbitration
against the Defendants. It is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence and it only asks for this information that has occurred since January 1, 2013. Thus,
because it is also described with reasonable particularity the Defendant’s responses are without
merit. Responses without merit are subject to an order compelling further responses. (See
CCP § 2031.310(a)(3).)
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Request No. 28 is
GRANTED.
D. Defendant Natarajan’s Responses to Form Interrogatories – General, Set No.
One
If a party demanding a response to an interrogatory deems an answer to a particular
interrogatory as incomplete or evasive, or an objection to be without merit or too general, that
party may move for an order compelling further response. (See CCP § 2030.300.) The
objecting party bears the burden of explaining and justifying any objection. (See Fairmont Ins.
Co. v. Super. Ct. (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 245, 255 (citing Coy v. Super. Ct. (1962) 58 Cal. 2d. 210,
220-221).)
Here, the boilerplate interrogatory responses served by the Defendant are evasive, incomplete,
and without merit. (CCP §2030.300(a).) The Plaintiffs’ Form Interrogatories were properly
defined, relevant, and not protected by the attorney-client or work-product privileges.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further Response to Form Interrogatories is
GRANTED.
E. Monetary Sanctions
First, the Plaintiff moves the Court to award it monetary sanctions under § 2025.450(g)(1).
Under § 2025.450(g)(1), the Court may award sanction if a motion is granted under §
2025.450(a). While the Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant consistently avoided making a date
to be available for a deposition, there is at least some evidence that the Defendant did provide a
date, and at very least was willing to work with the Plaintiff to set a date for deposition.
Therefore, the Court finds that the Defendant acted with substantial justification and will not
award attorney’s fees under this statute.
Second, the Plaintiff moves the Court to award it monetary sanctions under CCP § 2031.310.
Under Section (h) the court can only impose a monetary sanction against a party who
unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a further response. The Defendant may
have believed because he did not file an opposition to this motion, that he did “oppose” it for
purposes of this statute. However, under California Rules of Court Rule 3.1348 (a)a party that
does not file an opposition still “opposes” a motion. Here, as the Defendant hid behind
boilerplate objections (boilerplate objections are sanctionable in California (see Korea Data
Systems Co. Ltd. v. Superior Court (1997), 51 Cal.App.4th 1513)) and refused to, in good faith
produce a single document, even after agreeing to do so (See Berman Decl. Ex. J.), sanctions
are appropriate.
Accordingly, Defendants Natarajan and SiVision, jointly and severally, must pay monetary
sanctions in the amount of $4,500 within 10 days of the date of this order.
IV. Order.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Deposition of Defendant Natarajan is GRANTED. Defendant
Natarajan must appear for his deposition on or before April 10, 2015
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents as to Requests No. 4
–1 5, 18 – 19, and 21 – 28 is GRANTED. Plaintiff must produce documents thereon on
or before March 31, 2015.
The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Further Responses to Interrogatories is GRANTED.
Defendant Natajaran must provide further responses to Form Interrogatories 1.1, 2.12.10, 4.1-4.2,12.1-12.3,14.2,50.1-50.6 on or before March 31, 2014.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED. Defendants Natarajan and
SiVision, jointly and severally, must pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $4,500 within 10
days of the date of this order to plaintiff’s counsel.
Motion to Withdraw As Attorney for SiVision, Inc.
Hopkins & Carley’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel for defendant SiVision, Inc. is
UNOPPOSED and GRANTED, good cause appearing. Counsel must submit a form order for
the Court to sign. The Court did not see any proposed order in the file.
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