Arbitrators / Mediators

Judge Thomas P. Nugent [Ret.]

Defense oriented and should be avoided by plaintiffs. As discovery referee he made objections for the defendant that the defendant did not raise, sustained his objection and denied the motion, on the basis of his own objection. A party that fails to raise an objection waives it. Further objections are untimely, whether by the defendant or the referee.

The objections Judge Nugent raised were “vague ambiguous and unintelligible”. These are disfavored and generally not sustained even if the defendant raises them in the responses.  If it does not raise the objection, the objection is waived.

A party whose response fails to set forth a particular ground for objection waives its right to raise that objection later.
Stadish v. Sup.Ct. (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1130, 1141. 

“[T]here is no provision for filing subsequent objections. Thus, even where a timely response is made, the responding party cannot later add objections without a court order granting relief from the waiver... It is clear from the act that the Legislature intended that any and all objections are to be made at the earliest timely response.”
Scottsdale ins. Co. v. Sup. Ct., (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 263, 273. See also, Weil & Brown § 8:1101.

Judge Nugent also asserted objections that don’t exist, on behalf of a defendant that did not raise them. He objected that inspection demands were not “full and complete in and of themselves”, citing Code of Civil Procedure §2030.060 (d) which applies only to interrogatories. The “full and complete” requirement for interrogatories does not apply to inspection demands. Even if his objections were legitimate, because the defendant did not raise the objection it was waived. It is improper for a referee to raise objections on behalf of a party. Lawyers make objections, and courts rule on them. 

He reversed prior rulings, benefiting defendant, rather than enforce prior orders. When presented with the prior ruling, rather than order the defendant comply, he said his prior ruling was “inadvertent”, wasting time and effort for both parties, and charged for it. When problems arose, such as his failure to set a date for defendant's compliance, Judge Nugent was unwilling to correct his mistakes even on an informal basis. 

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