Wallet with MoneyA fellow Bay Area attorney contacted me about being sanctioned in excess of $5,000. He was mortified, as it was the first time he had ever been sanctioned and couldn’t believe the amount he was sanctioned under the circumstances. After I had spoken to him about his remedies, one being, a Writ (pdf), he wrote me the following e-mail.

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)? Continue Reading Acted with Substantial Justification

Objecting male attorney.jpgIn the spirit of my most recent blog, “OBJECTION!! There’s this case that says . . . “, here is a list of proper and improper objections to deposition questions that you should also keep in the back of your legal pad.  

OBJECTIONS TO DEPOSITION QUESTIONS

Objections to the form of questions are waived if not raised at the deposition. Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:721 (citing C.C.P. §2025.460 (pdf)(b)). 

Instructing witness not to answer is improper unless objecting on grounds of privilege. CCP §2025.460 (pdf)Stewart v. Colonial Western Agency, Inc.(2001) 87 CA4th 1006 (pdf), 10015.

Speaking objections which counsel explains his rationale for the objection is improper as it is usually used as a tactic to give the deponent a heads up that the area of questioning is dangerous and how he should answer.  This is a form of “coaching” the witness and a protective order may need to be sought.  See CEB, California Civil Discovery Practice (4th ed. 2010) §6:100. 

Continue Reading DEPOSITONS–What are the Real Objections?

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The absence of a reasonable expectation of confidentiality in the content of an independent witness’ signed or recorded verbatim statement precludes a finding of work-product protection.   That is what Petitioner Debra Coito’s Answering Brief on the Merits states in the case of Coito v. Superior Court (2010)182 Cal. App. 4th 758 (pdf) which is currently pending in the California Supreme Court. 

Continue Reading Reasonable Expectation of Confidentiality is the “Dispositive Question” for Determining the Existence of Work-Product Protection

Microphone.jpgI received a copy of Petitioner Debra Coito’s Answering Brief on the Merits in the case of Coito v. Superior Court of the County of Stanislaus which is currently pending in the California Supreme Court. As you many of you are aware, Coito v. Superior Court (2010)182 Cal. App. 4th 758 (pdf)refused to follow the 14-year old case Nacht & Lewis Architect, Inc. v. Superior Court (1996) 47 CA4th 214 (pdf) stating that witness statements are not attorney work product. Below is Petitioner’s argument that the Court of Appeal correctly held that signed or recorded verbatim statements of independent witnesses are potential evidence.

Continue Reading Signed or Recorded Verbatim Statements of Independent Witnesses are Potential Evidence

Knights Fighting.jpgOfficial Form Interrogatories–General (Disc-001)  prepared by the Judicial Council were intended to be used to cover basic matters as well as being a foundational discovery device in personal injury and contract cases.  They also contained sub-parts which were not allowed when serving special interrogatories and they were not subject to the “Rule of 35”.  See California Code of Civil Procedure §§2030.030(a)(2) and 2030.060.  Their use was usually the first volley in the discovery battle.

For years the Courts had found that the Form Interrogatories were objection proof as to form with minor exceptions.  These minor exceptions usually involved case specific issues such as  checking the box with the definition of “INCIDENT” versus creating your own definition for “INCIDENT” and cases which involve complex business transactions.   

Continue Reading Are Official Form Interrogatories Objection Proof?