Katherine Gallo is an expert in complex discovery issues and is actively involved in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a Discovery Referee, Mediator and Arbitrator in Northern California since 1994. Ms. Gallo is known for her extensive discovery seminars, in house discovery training, and go-to blog on pre-trial discovery. Since 2010, she has authored a on discovery titled www.resolvingdiscoverydisputes.com.

Ms. Gallo has served as a court appointed or party selected private Discovery Referee or Special Master in over 250 hotly litigated matters concerning complex issues in business, construction defect (including lines and construction operations losses), insurance, employment (including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour claims), elder abuse, real property (including eminent domain, easements, and commissions), Lemon Law, personal injury and family law, many with multiple party litigants, including class actions. Well known to the judiciary, her court appointments in complex matters have come from the Superior Courts throughout the State.

Ms. Gallo has mediated or acted as a pro tem settlement judge in over 500 matters with a 90% settlement rate. Ms. Gallo takes pride in accomplishing the parties’ and the courts’ objectives with regard to impartiality, timeliness and accuracy.

Effective January 1, 2019, Code of Civil Procedure Section 2016.080 authorizes the court to conduct an informal discovery conference upon request of a party or on the court’s own motion. The statute reads:

(a) If an informal resolution is not reached by the parties, as described in Section 2016.040, the court may conduct an informal discovery conference upon request by a party or on the court’s own motion for the purpose of discussing discovery matters in dispute between the parties.


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The purpose of the “meet and confer” requirements set forth in C.C.P. §§ 2025.450(b)(2), 2025.480, 2030.300(b), 2031.310(b), 2032.250 and 2033.290 was for the lawyers to revisit their position, and in good faith, discuss a resolution in order to avoid unnecessary discovery motions.

Unfortunately, times have changed since the Discovery

 In the previous blog, Start Preparing Your Motion Because with These Responses You’re Going to Court, I used the following example as a type of response I see as a Discovery Referee:

Responding party hereby incorporates its general objections as if fully stated herein.  Responding party objects to this request to the extent it seeks information protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege and/or work product doctrine, or any other applicable privilege. Responding party objects as it invades their and third parties’ right of privacy. Responding party objects that the request fails to specifically describe each individual item sought or reasonably particularize each category of item sought. Responding party objects that it is unduly burdensome and overbroad.  Responding party objects to this request as it does not seek relevant documents or documents reasonably calculated to the discovery of admissible evidence.  Responding party objects that plaintiff has equal access to these documents.  Responding party objects that the request seeks documents already in plaintiff’s possession custody or control.  Responding party objects to this request as it seeks documents that are not within defendants’ possession, custody, or control.

Boilerplate objections are becoming more and more common in response to each of the document requests.  The above is an example of inappropriate boilerplate objections. In fact, boilerplate general objections are sanctionable in California per Korea Data Systems Co. Ltd. v. Superior Court (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1513 and may result in waivers of privilege per Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court 408 F.3d 1142, 2005 WL 1175 922 (9th Cir.2005) [trial court affirmed in holding boilerplate objection without identification of documents is not the proper assertion of a privilege.]
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Have you noticed that you are getting too many objections and very little documents to your document requests?  Have you also noticed that despite months of meet and confers you still don’t have a determination whether or not documents exist; and if they do exist, why they aren’t being produced? Is this scenario more the norm then the exception?
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