Rubin v. Ross
Rubin v. Ross
Filed 9/19/07 Rubin v. Ross CA4/2
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
JASON RUBIN, as Co-Trustee, etc., et al.,
Plaintiffs and Respondents,
Defendant and Appellant;
ROSS, ROSE & HAMMILL LLP et al.,
Objectors and Appellants.
(Super.Ct.No. INC 31863)
APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Lawrence W. Fry, Judge. Affirmed.
Robert Gentino for Defendants and Appellants.
Zemanek & Mills and Stephan A. Mills for Plaintiffs and Respondents.
Defendants David Ross and his law firm, Ross, Rose & Hammill, LLP (RRH), and their attorney, Robert Gentino, appeal a discovery order dated March 10, 2006, deeming 21 requests for admissions (RFAs) admitted against David Ross and RRH (defendants) and imposing sanctions of $9,724 against defendants and Gentino (appellants). Appellants challenge the amount of sanctions on the ground the trial court failed to reduce the amount of sanctions based on defendants properly answering 18 out of 39 RFAs. Appellants also argue the trial court failed to deduct from the requested sanctions the full amount of travel charges, and the trial court wrongly concluded defendants responses to 21 RFAs were evasive and bad faith responses. Also, Gentino complains that there was no valid basis for sanctioning him for defendants discovery responses.
We conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing monetary sanctions against appellants for providing evasive, deficient discovery responses. The monetary sanctions order is thus affirmed.
1. Factual and Procedural Background
This discovery dispute does not turn on the substantive facts of this case. Procedurally, the facts relevant to the issues are not disputed.
On April 9, 2002, a settlement agreement (the Agreement) was entered between the executor of the estate of Ysaac Ross (the Estate), Cira Tapia Ross, the surviving spouse of Ysaac Ross, David Ross, and others not party to this appeal. The Agreement provided that in exchange for a payment of $1,000,000 from Cira Ross as a gift from her community property share of the Estate, in addition to any specific bequests in Ysaac Rosss will, Ross and the others would fully release the other parties to the Agreement from all claims related to the distribution of Ysaac Rosss estate. It also provided that no party had assigned any rights, claims or causes of action that were subject to the release.
Thereafter, David Ross (Ross), on behalf of RRH, filed two creditors claims against the Estate in the amount of $1,500,000 and $26,861.72. The first claim was based upon Ysaac Rosss promise to transmit property, or equal value, to RRH upon his death in exchange for services rendered in an unrelated matter. The second claim was also based upon legal services rendered in another unrelated matter. In addition, Ross and RRH filed objections to a preliminary distribution of funds from the Estate to Cira Ross.
On April 11, 2003, Jason Rubin and Cira Ross, as co-trustees of the Cira Ross Qualified Domestic Trust (plaintiffs), filed their operative second amended complaint against Ross, RRH, and others not party to this appeal. Ross was named in causes of action for fraud and deceit and breach of contract, and both he and RRH were named in the cause of action for abuse of process. The complaint was based upon Ross and RRH having filed the two claims against the Estate and the objections to a request for preliminary distribution of funds from the Estate to Cira Rosss qualified domestic trust (to which she had assigned all of her rights in the Estate), when Ross had released the right to do so in the Agreement. Plaintiffs prayed for recovery of $250,000 in damages incurred due to Ross and RRH delaying the preliminary distribution of $10,000,000 by asserting frivolous objections.
In May 2003, plaintiffs served 81 RFAs (set 1) and form interrogatories on defendants. In June 2003, defendants served a blanket objection on the ground the proceeding was stayed pending defendants anti-SLAPP motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.Defendants claimed that they established that the complaints against them arose out of acts in furtherance of their right to petition and that the plaintiffs thereafter failed to establish a prima facie case on any of the three causes of action at issue. The trial court denied defendants motion.
Defendants appealed (Rubin v. Ross (Jan. 11, 2005, E035674) [nonpub. opn.].) In January 2005, this court affirmed the trial court ruling denying defendants anti-SLAPP motion.
After remand, defendants served blanket objections to the RFAs and, as to interrogatory No. 17.1, defendants provided a blanket response that each RFA was objectionable. The objections to the RFAs were based primarily on the failure to capitalize defined terms in the discovery requests.
Plaintiffs new attorney redrafted the RFAs and in May 2005, served 115 RFAs on defendants. It was agreed the first set was withdrawn.
In June 2005, Gentino, on behalf of defendants, sent a response to the new RFAs, objecting on the ground the set was not consecutively numbered as set No. 2, was not signed by an attorney, and the RFAs exceeded 35.
In July 2005, Gentino withdrew defendants objections and agreed to provide supplemental RFA responses. On July 26, 2005, defendants served supplemental RFA responses (115 RFAs).
Because defendants, through Gentino, did not agree to provide supplemental interrogatory responses, plaintiffs threatened to file a motion to compel further discovery responses.
In August 2005, defendants served supplemental responses to the form interrogatory No. 17.1.
On October 18, 2005, the trial court granted plaintiffs two motions to compel further responses to plaintiffs RFAs and form interrogatories. The court ordered supplemental responses within 14 days. As to each motion, the trial court awarded plaintiffs sanctions of $966 against defendants and Gentino, to be paid to plaintiffs attorney by November 8, 2005.
During the motion hearing, the trial court instructed defendants to answer the RFAs and interrogatories in a detailed good faith manner. The court warned defendants that if they failed to do so, the court would be seriously considering evidence sanctions and maybe even terminating sanctions. I will not tolerate this kind of gamesmanship. And I think that the semantics game here and the going back and forth is ridiculous. I do say that I think that plaintiff[s] ha[ve] leaned over backwards here to try to accommodate Mr. Gentino, and that accommodation has been met with more gamesmanship.
On November 8, 2005, plaintiffs attorney called defendants attorney, Robert Gentino, to request the overdue supplemental discovery responses and unpaid sanctions. In response, Gentino denounced the trial court discovery order as silly. Gentino claimed he had served the supplemental responses the previous night but plaintiffs did not receive the responses until a week later, on November 15, 2005, two weeks after the court-ordered deadline for serving supplemental responses. The proof of service was unsigned. Appellants also failed to pay the court-ordered sanctions.
Plaintiffs attorney sent Gentino a lengthy letter dated December 8, 2005, stating in detail why defendants supplemental discovery responses were deficient. The letter also stated that plaintiffs intended to file a motion requesting terminating sanctions or, alternatively, issue and evidentiary sanctions, because defendants discovery responses were still incomplete, evasive, and not sufficiently detailed, and defendants and their attorney had failed to pay the previous court-ordered sanctions.
On December 21, 2005, plaintiffs filed a motion for terminating and monetary discovery sanctions against defendants or, alternatively, for issue of evidence sanctions, an order compelling compliance with the trial courts prior discovery order, and for monetary sanctions of $10,724.
On March 10, 2006, the trial court heard and took under submission plaintiffs motion for discovery sanctions. A minute order dated March 10, 2006, states that that same day the trial court deemed 17 interrogatories admitted and took under submission additional interrogatory responses, as well as evidence sanctions.
A subsequent minute order on the matter (second minute order), also dated March 10, 2006, is not contained in the clerks transcript. However, a copy of the second minute order is attached to defendants Civil Case Information Statement, filed in this court on June 19, 2006. It states that on March 10, 2006, the trial court considered the submitted matter and ruled as follows: Courts ruling attached to Minute Order and incorporated herein by reference.  Sanctions in the amount of $9724.00 imposed on David Ross (defendant) payable to plaintiffs counsel on or before 04/10/06  Notice to be given by Clerk.
The attachment states that at the motion hearing, the trial court ruled on sanctions on defendants responses to RFAs and interrogatory No. 17.1, up to number 72 on page 26 of Plaintiffs Separate Statement. This apparently refers to the ruling contained in the first minute order on March 10, 2006.
The court further states in the second minute order, regarding the matters taken under submission, that The Court further rules in regard to Defendants answers to Plaintiffs Request for Admissions and Interrogatory 17.1 as follows:  1. The Court does not grant an evidentiary sanction in regard to Defendants responses to Request for Admissions 72, 89, 90, 92, 95, 96, 97, 103, 108, 109, 111, 113, 114.  2. The Court sanctions Defendant for his evasive and bad faith responses to Interrogatory 17.1 in regard to Request for Admissions 93, 94, 98, 99, 25, 110 by finding those Requests were admitted.  In addition, whether the Court granted an evidentiary sanction or not, the Court finds that Defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse. The Court further sanctions Defendant David Ross and his attorney $9,724 in monetary sanctions due in 30 days.  Plaintiff is to give notice.
Plaintiffs notice of the courts ruling accurately states the trial courts combined March 10, 2005, rulings. It states that the court imposed monetary sanctions against defendants and Gentino in the amount of $9,724, and evidentiary sanctions, consisting of deeming the following RFAs admitted on the ground defendants responses to form interrogatory No. 17.1 as to each RFA were evasive and bad faith responses: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 30, 31, 68, 69, 81, 84, 93, 94, 98, 99, and 110. The trial court declined to deem admitted the following RFAs: 9, 14, 35, 53, 66, 72, 89, 90, 92, 95, 96, 97, 103, 108, 109, 111, 113, and 114. According to the notice of ruling, the trial court further found that defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse.
Defendants filed a notice of appeal to the March 10, 2006, discovery order. Judgment had not yet been entered in the case.
2. Standard of Review
An award of monetary sanctions in excess of $5,000 is directly appealable as an interlocutory order under section 904.1, subdivision (a)(12). (Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 401.) [T]hose cases involving misuse of the discovery process which result in sanctions exceeding $5,000 are reviewable by direct appeal. (Rail-Transport Employees Assn. v. Union Pacific Motor Freight (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 469, 475 (Rail-Transport).) We therefore reject plaintiffs contention that the interlocutory discovery order awarding $9,724 in monetary sanctions is not appealable. We also reject plaintiffs suggestion this court disregard Rail-Transport, which holds that such an order is appealable. The decision is well reasoned and is consistent with the language of section 904.1, subdivision (a)(12), which states: (a) . . . An appeal, other than in a limited civil case, may be taken from any of the following:  . . .  (12) From an order directing payment of monetary sanctions by a party or an attorney for a party if the amount exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000).
We review the trial courts discovery order imposing the monetary sanction for abuse of discretion. (Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 1342, 1350.) All evidentiary conflicts shall be resolved in favor of the trial courts ruling (ibid.). We will reverse only if the trial courts ruling was arbitrary, capricious or whimsical[.] (Vallbona v. Springer (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 1525, 1545, quoting Do It Urself Moving & Storage, Inc. v. Brown, Leifer, Slatkin & Berns (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 27, 36.) Appellants bear the burden to affirmatively demonstrate error and, where the evidence is in conflict, this court will not disturb the trial courts findings. (Laguna Auto Body v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 481, 487, disapproved on other grounds in Garcia v. McCutchen (1997) 16 Cal.4th 469, 478, fn. 4; see also Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants, supra, 148 Cal.App.4th at p. 401.)
3. Failure to Apportion Monetary Sanctions
Citing Mattco Forge, Inc. v. Arthur Young & Co. (1990) 223 Cal.App.3d 1429, 1437 (Mattco), appellants argue that the trial court should have reduced the monetary sanctions so as to reflect the proportion of the RFAs deemed admitted, which appellants claim amounted to 55 percent of the RFAs at issue, or 21 of the 39 RFAs. Instead, the trial court awarded the entire amount of sanctions requested, minus $1,000 for travel time.
In Mattco, the court affirmed the trial court ruling granting the plaintiffs motion to compel production of eight out of 10 documents requested. The court also upheld the proportional award of discovery sanctions against the defendant based on the defendants frivolous objections to the eight requests. (Mattco, supra, 223 Cal.App.3d at p. 1437.)
Mattco is not dispositive since in Mattco, neither party raised the issue of proportioning sanctions based on the number of discovery responses deemed deficient, and thus the Mattco court did not address the issue. The Mattco court merely upheld the trial court sanction order, concluding: the trial court correctly awarded sanctions and selected an amount that was reasonable under the circumstances-four-fifths of Mattcos motion was granted and one-fourth of the amount of sanctions requested was awarded to Mattco. The result was both fair and legally correct. [Citation.] (Mattco, supra, 223 Cal.App.3d at p. 1437.)
Section 2030.290 provides that, If a party fails to serve a timely response, and the propounding party moves for and obtains a court order compelling a response, the trial court must impose a monetary sanction against the delinquent party unless that party acted with substantial justification or the sanction would otherwise be unjust. ( 2030.290, subd. (c); 2031.300, subd. (c).) In addition, if that party subsequently disobeys the courts order compelling a response, the trial court may then make those orders that are just, including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction, or a terminating sanction. [Citations.] In lieu or in addition to any of those sanctions, the trial court may impose a monetary sanction under section 2023.030. ( 2030.290, subd. (c); 2031.300, subd. (c).) Section 2023.030  authorizes a trial court to impose a monetary sanction against any party or attorney, or both, who has engaged in misuse of the discovery process. Misuses of the discovery process include, among other things, failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery; making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery; making an evasive response to discovery; and disobeying a court order to provide discovery. ( 2023.010.) (Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants, supra, 148 Cal.App.4th at pp. 404-405.)
Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the full amount of sanctions requested (minus $1,000 travel time). Since plaintiffs prevailed on their discovery motion as to a substantial number of discovery requests, they were entitled to recover sanctions against appellants ( 2030.300, subd. (e)), and the trial court was not required to reduce the amount of monetary sanctions proportional to the RFA responses the trial court deemed admitted, particularly since the court found defendants responses to interrogatory No. 17.1 were deficient as a whole.
Not only do appellants fail to cite any authority requiring the trial court to impose proportional monetary sanctions but, in addition, the trial court stated in its March 10, 2006, order that, regardless of whether the Court granted an evidentiary sanction or not, the Court finds that Defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse. The trial court also found defendants RFAs and the related form interrogatory No. 17.1 were deficient as to 21 of the 39 RFAs.
The trial courts selection of a particular discovery sanction is an exercise of discretion, subject to reversal only for manifest abuse exceeding the bounds of reason. (Kuhns v. State of California (1992) 8 Cal.App.4th 982, 988.) Here, there was no manifest abuse of discretion in awarding plaintiffs the full amount of legal fees and costs incurred in bringing their discovery motion.
4. Monetary Sanctions Based on Deficient Discovery Responses
Appellants argue the trial court erred in imposing monetary sanctions based on erroneous discovery rulings. The trial court deemed admitted 21 RFAs based on defendants evasive and bad faith responses to Interrogatory 17.1. The courts discovery order further states that monetary sanctions were awarded on the ground Defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse. The trial court stated during the lengthy discovery motion hearing, during which the trial court discussed each discovery response challenged in plaintiffs motion, that none of the discovery responses were in good faith or sufficiently detailed and the responses were crafted to be absolutely meaningless.
The court added that it had already sanctioned defendants monetarily and they did not pay the sanctions. The court noted defendants attorney, Gentino, told plaintiffs attorney the previous order was silly.  So that that shows the first amount of contempt for the Court. The court stated that it had warned defendants to answer the discovery in good faith but defendants again served deficient responses. Rather than granting a terminating sanction, the court imposed evidentiary sanctions, consisting of deeming admitted those RFAs in which defendants provided evasive responses and/or to the related No. 17.1 form interrogatory.
Section 2033.220, subdivision (a) requires that each response to an RFA be as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably available to the responding party permits. ( 2033.220, subd. (a).) Section 2033.220, subdivisions (b) and (c) further state: (b) Each answer shall:  (1) Admit so much of the matter involved in the request as is true, either as expressed in the request itself or as reasonably and clearly qualified by the responding party.  (2) Deny so much of the matter involved in the request as is untrue.  (3) Specify so much of the matter involved in the request as to the truth of which the responding party lacks sufficient information or knowledge.
(c) If a responding party gives lack of information or knowledge as a reason for a failure to admit all or part of a request for admission, that party shall state in the answer that a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the particular request has been made, and that the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable that party to admit the matter.
As to interrogatory responses, section 2030.210, subdivision (a) requires a party responding to interrogatories to provide either [a]n answer containing the information sought ( 2030.210, subd. (a)(1)), an exercise of the partys option to produce writings from which the answer can be ascertained ( 2030.210, subd. (a)(2)), or [a]n objection to the particular interrogatory ( 2030.210, subd. (a)(3)). Accordingly, a responding party generally may not respond to interrogatories just by asserting its inability to respond. (See 2030.220, subd. (c) [responding party who does not have personal knowledge sufficient to respond fully to interrogatory may so state, but must make a reasonable and good faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry to other natural persons or organizations, unless the information is equally available to the propounding party].) (Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants, supra, 148 Cal.App.4th at p. 406.)
Appellants argue that defendants responses to 18of the 21 RFAs deemed admitted were proper. Appellants do not discuss the propriety of threeRFAs deemed admitted or the adequacy of defendants responses to form interrogatory No. 17.1,as to each RFA response. We note that the evidentiary sanctions were imposed based on the evasive and bad faith responses to interrogatory No. 17.1, regarding each of the RFAs deemed admitted, not just as to defendants responses to the RFAs.
Since appellants only discuss 18 of the 21 RFAs deemed admitted and do not challenge the trial courts findings as to three RFA responses or the trial courts finding defendants No. 17.1 interrogatory responses were evasive and in bad faith, appellants forfeited such challenges in this appeal. (People v. Stanley (1995) 10 Cal.4th 764, 793; Osborn v. Hertz Corp. (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 703, 708, fn. 2.) Defendants deficient responses to the three RFA responses and to interrogatory No. 17.1 provide sufficient grounds for monetary sanctions. The trial court order states that the court granted monetary sanctions based on the finding that all of defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse. While appellants attempt to refute the trial courts findings as to some of defendants RFA responses, appellants have failed to refute the trial courts finding that Defendants responses were evasive, unintelligible and meant to confuse.
Based on our review of defendants discovery responses, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that defendants discovery responses were inadequate.
In addition, we note the instant appeal only concerns the propriety of the trial court awarding monetary sanctions under section 904.1, subdivision (a)(12). Any other issues raised in this appeal, such as whether the trial court properly ruled on each discovery response, is premature and cannot be considered until after judgment is entered in this case. ( 904.1.) We therefore will not, and need not, determine whether each of defendants numerous discovery responses is proper. For purposes of determining whether the trial court abused its discretion in awarding monetary sanctions, the record sufficiently shows defendants provided numerous deficient discovery responses, and thus there was no abuse of discretion in awarding monetary sanctions against appellants.
Appellants also argue the trial court should have deducted from the requested monetary sanctions the full amount of charges for plaintiffs attorneys travel time to and from the discovery motion hearing. Plaintiffs attorney stated in his declaration attached to plaintiffs discovery motion that plaintiffs incurred at least $8,344 for preparation of the discovery motion (29.8 hours at $280 per hour). Plaintiffs attorney further stated he anticipated spending at least six and a half hours traveling to and from the courthouse for the motion ($1,820), and at least two additional hours preparing for the hearing and preparing a reply to opposition ($560). Plaintiffs counsel concluded the total fees plaintiffs would incur for bringing the motion were $10,724.
The trial court stated during the motion hearing that the court would not include in the monetary sanctions plaintiffs attorneys travel time. The trial court asked plaintiffs attorney how much of the requested sanctions consisted of charges for traveling as opposed to bringing the motion. Plaintiffs attorney stated that $1,000 of the requested $10,724 in sanctions consisted of travel charges and $9,724 was for the motion. The court therefore deducted only $1,000 from the requested sanctions and awarded plaintiffs $9,724 against appellants.
Appellants argue that, based on plaintiffs attorneys declaration, the trial court should have deducted $1,820 (6.5 hours at $280 per hour) in travel charges from the award, rather than only $1,000. The total monetary sanctions should therefore have been $8,908, instead of $9,724.
Plaintiffs argue appellants waived this objection to the sanctions. But there was no forfeiture of the objection because the trial court did not announce its monetary sanctions ruling until after it took the matter under submission. We note, however, appellants had the opportunity to argue at the motion hearing that more than $1,000 should have been deducted for travel time. Despite defendants apparent concession at the hearing to deducting $1,000 for plaintiffs attorneys travel time, we will nevertheless consider the issue on the merits. In doing so, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in deducting only $1,000 for travel time since plaintiffs attorney told the trial court at the motion hearing that only $1,000 of the amount requested for sanctions was attributable to travel time and the remainder, $9,724, was charged for bringing the motion.
Although plaintiffs attorney stated in his declaration that he anticipated six and a half hours travel time and additional time preparing for the motion hearing and drafting a reply brief, these were estimates. The trial court thus did not abuse its discretion in relying on plaintiffs attorneys representation at the hearing of the amount charged for the motion and for travel time, as opposed to the amount estimated in the declaration.
5. Sanctions Imposed Against Attorney Gentino
Gentino argues that sanctions were improperly imposed on him, as opposed to defendants alone. The court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses . . . incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. ( 2023, subd. (b)(1).) The attorney bears the burden of proving that he did not advise the client to engage in the challenged conduct. (Ghanooni v. Super Shuttle (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 256, 261.)
Here, there were sufficient grounds for sanctioning Gentino. At the hearing, Gentino conceded he helped Ross draft the evasive, deficient responses. In addition, on November 8, 2005, when plaintiffs attorney called Gentino, to request the overdue supplemental discovery responses and unpaid sanctions, Gentino denounced the previous trial court discovery order as silly. Gentino also claimed he had served the supplemental responses the previous night but the record indicates he did not do so, and even if he did, the responses were served late and were deficient. Plaintiffs did not receive the responses until a week later, on November 15, 2005, two weeks after the court-ordered deadline for serving supplemental responses, and the proof of service was unsigned. Gentino, as well as defendants, also failed to pay the previously court-ordered sanctions. There was no abuse of discretion in sanctioning Gentino once again.
The March 10, 2006, interlocutory monetary sanctions order is affirmed. Defendants Ross and RRH are ordered to pay plaintiffs costs on appeal.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
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 Unless otherwise noted, all statutory references are to the Code of Civil Procedure.
 The March 10, 2006, minute order erroneously refers to the RFAs as interrogatories. It states: The following interrogatories deemed admitted 1 2 3 4 6 17 19 22 28 30 31 69 68 & 81-84. The reporters transcript, which takes precedent over the clerks minute order (In re Merrick V. (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 235, 248), indicates that the March 10, 2006, minute order is not only erroneous in referring to the RFAs as interrogatories, but also erroneously states interrogatories 81-84 were deemed admitted, whereas the reporters transcript states that 81 and 84 were deemed admitted.
RFAs 1, 2, 3, 4, 17, 19, 25, 28, 30, 31, 68, 81, 84, 93, 94, 98, 99, and 110.
 RFAs 6, 22, and 69.
Form interrogatory No. 17.1 states: Is your response to each request for admission served with these interrogatories an unqualified admission? If not, for each response that is not an unqualified admission:  (a) state the number of the request;  (b) state all facts upon which you base your response;  (c) state the names, ADDRESSES, and telephone numbers of all PERSONS who have knowledge of those facts; and  (d) identify all DOCUMENTS and other tangible things that support your response and state the name, ADDRESS, and telephone number of the PERSON who has each DOCUMENT or thing.