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W. Pico Furniture Co. v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California

August 3, 1961

L. A. No. 26171

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

After plaintiff furniture company brought suit against defendant loan company, it sought to have the loan company answer certain interrogatories. When the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) sustained some of the loan company's objections, the furniture company sought a writ of mandamus to compel the trial court to set aside its order.

Overview

The court held that the trial court had abused its discretion in granting several objections, stating that a question seeking information about employees who participated in the transactions at issue was relevant because it would allow the furniture company to determine which employees to depose. Furthermore, it stated, while answering some interrogatories might be burdensome, the objection of burdensomeness was valid only when the burden was such that it would result in injustice. Thus, it held, in considering the objection, the trial court should have recognized its discretionary power to grant in part and deny in part and should have balanced the purpose and need for the information against the burden that production would entail. It stated that rather than simply denying other interrogatories, which it described as "shotgun questions," in toto, the trial court could have required that they be rephrased. It held that an objection that a question was compound in form was groundless, stating that such an objection applied to oral questioning, not to a situation where the answer could be made after due time for deliberation and consultation with counsel.

Outcome

The court ordered that the trial court vacate its order sustaining the objections to certain interrogatories, directing it to reconsider the objections in light of the court's opinion.

LexisNexis® Headnotes

 

 

Civil Procedure > Appeals > Standards of Review > General Overview

HN1  Appeals, Standards of Review

An order or judgment of a trial court will be sustained, without regard to the reasons given by that court, if adequate grounds existed for the making of that order or judgment. But to invoke this rule the grounds relied on must have existed at the time the order was made in the trial court.

 

Civil Procedure > ... > Methods of Discovery > Interrogatories > General Overview

HN2  Methods of Discovery, Interrogatories

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2030 provides that a party upon whom interrogatories have been served must serve and file answers under oath within 15 days after service unless he has, within 10 days after such service, filed written objections thereto together with a notice of hearing.

 

Civil Procedure > Appeals > Standards of Review > Abuse of Discretion

Civil Procedure > Discovery & Disclosure > General Overview

HN3  Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion

The trial court has considerable discretion in matters pertaining to discovery. Such discretion will not be set aside in the absence of abuse.

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56 Cal. 2d 407 ; 364 P.2d 295 ; 15 Cal. Rptr. 119 ; 1961 Cal. LEXIS 304 

WEST PICO FURNITURE COMPANY OF LOS ANGELES, Petitioner, v. SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent; PACIFIC FINANCE LOANS, Real Party in Interest

Subsequent History:  [1]  The Petition of the Real Party in Interest for a Rehearing was Denied August 30, 1961. McComb, J., did not Participate Therein.

Prior History: PROCEEDING in mandamus to compel the Superior Court of Los Angeles County to set aside an order sustaining objections to interrogatories.

Disposition: Writ granted.