Aug 26, 2016


FRIDAY, August 19, 2016 @ 9:30 A.M.



Tentative Rulings

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, it will be necessary for you to contact the Judicial Assistant by telephone at (707) 521-6723 by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, August 18, 2016. Any party requesting an appearance must notify all other opposing parties of their intent to appear. 


IRMO Harrington SFL-65503 

The Motion to Change Venue is GRANTED.  A fee waiver was granted previously in this case.  Transfer Fees are waived.  The case is ordered for transfer forthwith to Contra Costa County.


Lipparini v. Guevara SFL-67818 

The Motion for Protective Order is DENIED.  The Motion for discovery sanctions is DENIED.  The Court proposes that the parties stipulate to a protective order to ensure that all documents produced pursuant to the subpoena are disclosed only to the parties, their attorneys of record, retained experts and retained consultants, and that all documents be destroyed or returned at the conclusion of the case.   

As a general rule, “family law litigants are entitled to all the discovery provided by the Civil Discovery Act, Code of Civil Procedure section 2016 et seq. and that the right to discover community assets is of particular importance.”  (In re Marriage of Hixson (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 1116, 1122, citing, Schnabel v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 704, 711.)  Specifically with respect to actions for the dissolution of a marriage, “information about the value of community assets and the parties’ financial status is clearly ‘relevant’ to the spouse’s interests in obtaining a fair division of those assets and fair attorney fee and spousal support (and, in other cases, child support) awards.”  (Schnabel, supra, 5 Cal.4th at 711; see also, Fam. Code §2100, et seq.)  Specifically with respect to dissolution cases, “the court is required to balance the spouse’s need for discovery against the privacy interests of the third party.”  (Schnabel, supra, 5 Cal.4th at 714.)  In the present case, it is not disputed that Petitioner owns a 40% interest in the company SmarTest, LLC as community property.  Accordingly, as in Schnabel, Respondent is entitled to inspect the same information that Petitioner would be entitled to inspect and whatever rights Petitioner has to these records, Respondent has those same rights. It is the moving party’s initial burden to show that the requested information is “encompassed” by privacy protection and demonstrate “good cause” why a protective order is warranted.  (See, Fairmont Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2000) 22 Cal.4th 245, 255 [“the burden is on the party seeking the protective order to show good cause for whatever order is sought.”]; see also, Nativi v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 261, 318.)  Here, Petitioner has failed to meet his burden.  Moreover, even though Respondent has failed to show a “compelling interest” in the requested information, it is reasonable to conclude, based on the holding in Schnabel and the strong public policy in favor of disclosure in dissolution actions, especially with respect to information related to the value of community assets and the financial status of the parties, that there is a “compelling interest” for the compelled disclosure of the requested information.  This is especially so in light of the fact that Petitioner is a 40% owner of the company. 

This Court finds that the parties each had a reasonable ground to bring or oppose this motion and an award of attorney fees as compelled by statute would not be fair. 


Ramirez v. Pritchett SFL-73111 

The Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.  Mother and child fled to another state after a domestic violence incident.  Mother’s version of the facts is considered by this court more credible than father’s version.  The UCCJEA permits a parent to establish jurisdiction and venue in another state when fleeing from domestic violence.  Mother shall have sole legal and physical custody of the child and may remain in the sister state with the child.  There shall be no restriction on the maternal grandfather’s presence around the child.  Father may have supervised visits in the sister state at his sole cost and expense.  These orders are temporary and subject to the assertion of jurisdiction and venue by the sister state court.  The parties are aware of what state is the sister state.  To maintain confidentiality and for the safety of the child and mother the name of the sister state is not specified in this tentative ruling but it is a matter of record in the court file. 


© 2016 Superior Court of Sonoma County