Jul 27, 2016

Wednesday, JULY 27, 2016, 3:00 p.m.
Courtroom 18 – Hon. René Auguste Chouteau
3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa


CourtCall is available for all Law & Motion appearances, EXCEPT parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption which are mandatory appearances.   Please contact CourtCall directly at (888) 882-6878.


The following tentative rulings will become the ruling of the Court unless a party desires to be heard.  If you desire to appear and present oral argument as to any motion, YOU MUST notify the Court by telephone at (707) 521-6547, and all other opposing parties of your intent to appear by 4:00 p.m. today, TuesdayJuly 26, 2016.  Parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption are exempt from this requirement.


1. SCV-255798; Myerson v. Mariani

Plaintiffs’ unopposed motion to strike and/or tax Defendant’s costs is granted.  Plaintiffs were the prevailing parties in this action and Defendant’s pre-trial offer pursuant to CCP §998 was significantly less than the amount Plaintiff John Myerson was awarded by the jury.  Therefore, Defendant is not entitled to costs. 


Additionally, Defendant’s motion to strike, or in the alternative to tax Plaintiffs’ costs is denied for the reasons stated below.


This was an unlimited civil action in which Plaintiffs were awarded $24,500 by the jury. Defendant Mariani moves to strike Plaintiffs’ costs since the verdict was below the $25,000 jurisdictional limit for unlimited cases.  Plaintiffs oppose.


Per CCP §1033(a), it is within the court’s discretion to strike Plaintiffs’ costs under the circumstances.  Subdivision (a) provides: “Costs or any portion of claimed costs shall be as determined by the court in its discretion in a case other than a limited civil case in accordance with Section 1034 where the prevailing party recovers a judgment that could have been rendered in a limited civil case.”


Plaintiff John Myerson incurred over $20,000 in past medical specials, the jury award was just under the jurisdictional limit and the award was well over the $13,000 offer to compromise made by Defendant pursuant to CCP §998.  It was not unrealistic of Plaintiffs to conclude that the amount of damages at issue would be $25,000 or more. Therefore, the court denies Defendant’s motion to strike Plaintiffs’ costs entirely.


Defendant’s alternative motion to tax Plaintiffs’ deposition costs for experts pursuant to CCP §1033.5(c)(2) is also denied.  This cost line item totaled $1,581.14 and included transcript costs for the depositions of Gary Eyer, D.C., Michael J. Star, M.D. and Vatche Cabayan, M.D. Dr. Eyer and Dr. Cabayan were Plaintiffs’ treating doctors who were deposed by Defendant at her option.  As these doctors were expected to testify at trial, it was both reasonable and necessary for Plaintiffs to obtain transcripts of their depositions.  It was also reasonably necessary for Plaintiffs to depose Defendant’s expert, Dr. Star.


Defendant requests that the Judgment entered on May 19, 2016 be corrected to reflect an award of $24,000 to Plaintiff John Francis Myerson.  The Judgment erroneously identifies $25,000 as the amount awarded to Mr. Myerson.  This clerical error shall be corrected nunc pro tunc.


Plaintiffs are to prepare a written order consistent with this ruling. 



2. SCV-256173; Hall v. Anderson

The court will grant Plaintiff’s motion to quash the deposition subpoenas if Plaintiff files a proof of service at or before the hearing demonstrating timely service of the motion on Defendant.


Plaintiff moves to quash the deposition subpoenas for production of business records issued by Defendant/Cross-Complainant Eric Anderson to the City of Healdsburg, Xorbia, Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County, Greg Walters, Pinot Vitners, Inc., Eric L. Hall and E3 Strategies, LLC.  The subpoenas include requests for financial documents, tax records, licensing documents and communications.


Plaintiff’s request for judicial notice of various filings in Defendant Eric Anderson’s bankruptcy case is granted.


Plaintiff argues the records sought are now irrelevant to this case and that the request is overbroad.  The only remaining cause of action in Anderson’s cross-complaint is his claim for quantum meruit.  The other claims were resolved as part of Anderson’s bankruptcy estate, and the defamation cause of action was sustained without leave to amend on demurrer.


Anderson’s quantum meruit cause of action is very generally alleged in the first amended cross-complaint.  Nonetheless, it appears the subpoenas seek documents unrelated and irrelevant to that one remaining cause of action.


Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion is granted if a proof of service is filed as directed above.


Plaintiff is to draft a written order consistent with this ruling.

3. SCV-257891; Brake v. Ocwen

DROPPED from calendar at the request of counsel for moving party.

4. SCV-258971; In Re: Ben R

DROPPED from calendar at the request of counsel for moving party.


© 2016 Superior Court of Sonoma County