Motions to Compel Further Responses to Discovery (Judge Lon Hurwitz)


Motions At Issue: (1) Motion to Compel Answers to Special Interrogatories; (2) Motion to Compel Answers to Special Interrogatories; and (3) Motion to Compel Production

RULING:

Before the court are Plaintiff’s motions to compel Defendant Houdini, Inc. to provide further responses to Special Interrogatories, Set Two, No. 2; Special Interrogatories, Set Three, Nos. 3-25; and Requests for Production, Set Two, Nos 3-4.

In support of its Opposition, Defendant requests that the Court take judicial notice of the complaint and minute order granting a motion to compel arbitration in Raymundo Hernandez v. Resource Employment Solutions, LLC, Case No. 30-2019-01084740. The Court grants this request.

The court finds that Plaintiff is generally entitled to all of the discovery at issue, including information on potential class members, payroll policies, and payroll/timekeeper information. Defendant’s objections are without merit, including the objection based on the arbitration motion in Raymundo Hernandez v. Resource Employment Solutions, LLC, Case No. 30-2019-01084740, as the arbitration motion is no longer pending. There was no discovery stay ordered by this Court. Defendant never moved for a stay. There is no record Defendant approached Plaintiff to stipulate to a stay. Instead, Defendant chose to sit on its objections without attempting to move this case forward—whether by attending an IDC to discuss the effect of Hernandez on the subject discovery, obtaining a formal stay, filing a motion for protective order, or responding to Plaintiff’s written discovery. A plaintiff may serve discovery on another party 10 days after service of the Complaint. (CCP §§ 2030.202, 2031.020.) As Plaintiff served discovery well after 10 days of service, Defendant must point to some authority for the proposition that Plaintiff’s discovery was premature and improper. Defendant has failed to do so.

Further, it appears from the Joint Status Report (ROA 185) that Houdini has its own arbitration agreement with Plaintiff, and Houdini filed its motion to compel along with the oppositions on December 22, 2022. Houdini asserted it was unclear if a stay was issued on July 13, 2022, but a simple check of the minute order from July 13, 2022, or a call to the clerk would have clarified there is no Court Order for any stay—whether it is a stay of discovery (which would not have prevented Houdini from filing a motion to compel arbitration) or a stay of the case.

Finally, CCP § 128, says a court shall stay an action “[i]f a court of competent jurisdiction . . . has ordered arbitration . . .” This Court has not ordered arbitration; CCP § 1281.4 is clearly inapplicable on its face. Defendant’s Motion to Compel Arbitration is not set to be heard until 3/10/23. This case was filed on 5/26/20; and the Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint on 7/07/20. The Motion to Compel Arbitration was not filed by the Defendant until 12/22/22, over 11 months after the filing of these Motions to Compel, and over 29 months after the filing of Defendant’s Answer.

Defendant apparently seeks to enforce a stipulation it entered into with Plaintiff regarding timing of discovery responses, but the Court also notes Defendant has already breached that agreement by failing to attend an IDC. (ROAs 230, 232, 234, Chan Decls. Ex. A p. 2:14-20.)

The Motions are Granted in their entirety. Defendant Houdini, Inc. is ordered to provide further responses within 30 days from 1/06/23.

Plaintiff’s Counsel to give notice of the Court’s ruling.