Case Number: BC657112    Hearing Date: January 10, 2018    Dept: 56

Case Name:                Matevosian v. Kaass Law, et al.

Case No.:                    BC657112

Matters:                      (1) Matevosian’s Motion to Compel Discovery

                                    (2) Kaass’ Motion for Protective Order

Tentative Ruling:      Both motions are granted. 

Plaintiff Vahag Matevosian filed this action against Defendants Kaass PC and Armen Kiramijyan (collectively Kaass), alleging causes of action for (1) breach of implied contract, (2) declaratory relief, (3) services rendered, (4) open book account, and (5) account stated. Kaass responded with a cross-complaint against Matevosian, alleging causes of action for (1) breach of confidentiality, (2) intentional interference with contractual relations, (3) misappropriation of trade secrets, and (4) defamation.

Matevosian Motion to Compel Further Responses to RPDs –

Matevosian moves to compel further responses to his requests for production, set one.  Matevosian argues that Kaass asserted meritless objections based on the attorney-client privilege and the privacy rights of third-parties.

The discovery propounded by Matevosian is directly relevant to the claims in the complaint.  The requests seek communications and documents relating to matters as to which Matevosian claims attorney’s fees.  Discovery is necessary to address the claims in the complaint, and relevance outweighs privacy rights.  To the extent the records contain personal information such as Social Security Numbers, banking information and healthcare information, this may be redacted.

Kaass’ wholesale refusal to produce documents based on the attorney-client privilege is misguided.  The discovery does not ask for communications between Kaass and his clients regarding their legal claims or disputes; it relates to the financial arrangements that are involved in this case. The existence of an attorney-client relationship and the fees incurred for services are not protected by privilege under the circumstances of this case.

The motion is granted, and Kaas is ordered to serve verified supplemental responses and produce responsive documents within 20 days. Matevosian is the prevailing party on this motion and seeks an award of monetary sanctions. He requests $2,060, calculated as 8 hours at $250 per hour plus $60 filing fee. This is reasonable and will be ordered.

Kaass Motion for Protective Order –

Kaass moves for a protective order regarding Matevosian’s special interrogatories, set one.  The discovery consists of 254 special interrogatories. Under CCP § 2030.030(a)(1) each party is limited to 35 special interrogatories as a matter of right. If the propounding party provides a declaration asserting that more than 35 interrogatories are required, the responding party may challenge this by motion for protective order under CCP § 2030.090(b)(2). The propounding party has the burden of justifying the number of interrogatories. See CCP § 2030.040(b).

Matevosian has not justified the large number of SIs propounded. This is not a complex case, and many of the SIs are duplicative. The motion is granted, and Kaass need not respond to the current set of SIs. Matevosian may serve a new set, limited to 35 SIs.

Kaass is the prevailing party on this motion and seeks an award of monetary sanctions. He requests $60 for the motion’s filing fee. This is reasonable and will be ordered.