Unlike Federal Rule Civil Procedure 26(e)(1) – (2), California law does not impose a continuing duty on a party to supplement their interrogatory or document responses. Biles v. Exxon Mobil Corp. (2004) 124 CA 4th 1315. Instead, the California Discovery Act has two statutes, C.C.P. §2030.070 and C.C.P. § 2031.050, that allow the propounding party to ask for updated information “bearing on answers already made” and “later acquired or discovered documents, tangible things, land or other property.”
Personal Injury attorney Miles B. Cooper, a partner at Emison Hullverson LLP, wrote a very insightful article in the March, 2014 issue of Plaintiff Magazine on the joys and pitfalls of deposing treating physicians.
Something came up for opposing counsel at the last minute and he didn’t show. That left us – the court reporter, videographer, and me – sitting in the conference room with the treating doctor deponent, the one who had been too busy, according to his office (disinterested, I suspected) to meet me face to face. “Doctor, while you’re here,” I began . . .
I have always been a strong advocate that you should be awarded sanctions if you had to bring a motion to get the relief you were entitled to even if the other side complied prior to the hearing on the motion. However in the case of Evilsizor v. Sweeney (2014) 230 CA4th 1304, the First District Court of Appeal had an interesting take on the issue.
Recently I was contacted to help on a party’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Form Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admissions. In viewing opposing counsel’s responses to the discovery, I gazed upon the General Response and Objections preamble in absolute astonishment. It read as follows:
ANSWER: A fictional document. A non-existent objection neither based in statutory authority nor found in case law. A statement by a party during the discovery phase that they will neither be held to the Code of Civil Procedure nor the rules of evidence.
In my years as a discovery referee, I have found that lawyers have gotten into the bad habit of inserting a preamble in their responses to interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admissions. These preambles often state the obvious as to what their rights are as responding parties. However, many times these preambles state general objections to the entirety of the propounded discovery and insert rights that are contrary to the obligations of the Discovery Act, the evidence code and current case law. Even though several interrogatories, requests for documents and request for admissions may be objectionable on the same ground they may not be objected to as a group. See Hogan and Weber, California Civil Discovery (2d. ed 2009) §51…
Continue Reading What is a General Objection?
I am pleased to report that the California Judicial Council has approved for use Form Interrogatories–Construction Litigation (form DISC-005). The approved form will be on the Judicial Council website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm in December and will become effective January 1, 2013.
Continue Reading CONSTRUCTION LAWYERS–YOU CAN NOW CHECK THE BOX!!
On August 14, 2012, Judge William A. Mayhew of Stanislaw Superior Court issued his Notice of Hearing on Issues Re Remand in the case of Debra Coito v. State of California. The order requested that the following issues to be briefed: (1) Does the absolute privilege apply to all or any part of the recorded witness interviews; (2) Does the Plaintiff conted that they can make a sufficient showing of unfair prejudice or injustice under C.C.P. Section 2018.030(b) such as to allow discovery as to any of the interviews that may be found to be not absolutely privileged; and (3) As to interrogatory 12.3, does the STATE contend that answering said interrogatory would result in opposing counsel taking undue advantage of the attorney for the STATE’s industry of efforts or that answering said interrogatory would reveal the attorney of the STATE’s tactics, impressions or evaluation of the case?
Continue Reading COITO v. SUPERIOR COURT–Is It Heading Back to the Supreme Court?
Just wondering, but what does the phrase “acted with substantial justification” mean in the sanctions statute for motion to compel depo testimony, CCP 2025.480 (pdf)?
Does it mean the conduct that led the moving party to make the motion has to be substantially justified? Or does it mean the decision to make or oppose the motion to compel has to be substantially justified?
Continue Reading Acted with Substantial Justification
DILEMMA: It is 30 days before trial and you get the final responses to your propounded discovery. In reviewing responding party’s answers to supplemental interrogatories the verified response says “Responding party states that all answers to Interrogatories, Set No. One, that were previously served in this action remain the same.” Yet years have passed, records have been obtained, experts have been deposed and you know they’re lying. What do you do?
Continue Reading All Answers Remain the Same
As every lawyer is aware, a party may propound more than 35 specially prepared interrogatories or requests for admissions simply by attaching a Declaration of Necessity pursuant to C.C.P. §2030.040 and C.C.P. §2033.040 stating the reasons why they need more. See C.C.P. §2030.050 and C.C.P. §2033.050. However, when you receive more than 35 specially prepared interrogatories or requests for admissions, you should ask yourself the question “IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?”…
Continue Reading “I DECLARE, IT IS NECESSARY”