For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.
As usual things are super complicated over in Lunada Bay. A couple weeks ago the plaintiffs filed this ex parte application for an order setting a hearing on something something something regarding Blakeman’s and the City Defendants’ spoliation of evidence. I can’t untangle the recursive character of the name of this thing, but essentially the plaintiffs are asking for a hearing on the issue of whether defendant Brant Blakeman and the City of PVE destroyed evidence after they weren’t allowed to any more. This request was based on text messages newly obtained out of Papayans’s cell phone.
This was opposed by Blakeman on the usual grounds and possibly also by the City Defendants.1 Blakeman’s opposition was the subject of a fine rejoinder filed by the plaintiffs. And yesterday Judge Otero filed an order ruling that the plaintiffs had raised allegations sufficient to require a hearing and told Judge Oliver to get on it. She filed her own order this morning setting a hearing date for December 6 at 1:30 p.m. Transcriptions of the orders are after the break.
Transcription of Otero’s order:
PROCEEDINGS (in chambers): ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR SETTING HEARING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS [Docket No. 508]
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Cory Spencer (“Spencer”), Diana Milena Reed (“Reed”), and Coastal Protection Rangers, Inc.’s (“CPRI”) (together, “Plaintiffs”) Ex Parte Application for Order for Setting Hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions (“Application”), filed October 30, 2017.2 Defendant Brant Blakeman (“Blakeman”) opposed the Application (“Opposition”) on November 1, 2017, and Plaintiffs replied (“Reply”) on November 7, 2017.
The Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged issues of spoliation and other behaviors by Defendant that demonstrate good cause for the opportunity to brief these issues in full, and that the extended timeline for the trial reduces the prejudice to Defendant in preparing an Opposition. Given that these issues are intertwined with ongoing discovery disputes before Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver, the Application is hereby referred to Judge Oliver for Report and Recommendation. Judge Oliver is authorized to set a briefing schedule on Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions and conduct further hearings and proceedings as may be appropriate or necessary.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Transcription of Oliver’s order:
Proceedings: (In Chambers) MINUTE ORDER SETTING BRIEFING SCHEDULE AND HEARING RE: MOTION FOR SANCTIONS 
On November 13, 2017, District Judge Otero referred to the undersigned Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application for Order for Setting Hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions (“Application”), filed October 30, 2017. Dkt. No. 520. Judge Otero’s referral order valuated the Application as a request for leave to file the Application and granted that request. Id. The referral order authorizes the undersigned to set a briefing schedule on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions and conduct further hearings and proceedings as may be appropriate or necessary. Id.
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions is set forth as exhibits to its Application, filed at Docket No. 508. Defendant Brant Blakeman and Defendant City of Palos Verdes Estates shall file their briefs in opposition to the Motion for Sanctions by November 27, 2017. Plaintiffs shall file any replies by December 4, 2017. An in-person hearing is hereby scheduled for December 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom F, 9th Floor of the Spring Street Courthouse, 312 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, California.3 Only counsel for the relevant parties are required to attend, but other parties may also attend.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Image of James Otero is © 2017 MichaelKohlhaas.Org. It’s based on a screenshot from this video right here.
- Sorry to be vague. I don’t seem to have a copy of any opposition filed by them and I can’t check PACER right this second.
- The Court notes that the proper procedure in this instance would have been for Plaintiffs to request leave to file the Application, not for an Order setting a hearing date. The Court has evaluated the Application as such a request, and GRANTS the Application on this basis.
- If any counsel for the relevant parties is unavailable for an in-person hearing at the specified time, that counsel shall contact the Court’s Courtroom Deputy immediately.