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.

(b) If a party requests an informal discovery conference, the party shall file a declaration described in Section 2016.040 with the court. Any party may file a response to a declaration filed pursuant to this subdivision. If a court is in session and does not grant, deny, or schedule the party’s request within 10 calendar days after the initial request, the request shall be deemed denied.

(c)

            (1)  If a court grants or orders an informal discovery conference, the court may schedule and hold the conference no later than 30 calendar days after the court granted the request or issued its order, and before the discovery cutoff date.

            (2)  If an informal discovery conference is granted or ordered, the court may toll the deadline for filing a discovery motion or make any other appropriate discovery order.

(d) If an informal discovery conference is not held within 30 calendar days from the date the court granted the request, the request for an informal discovery conference shall be deemed denied, and any tolling period previously ordered by the court shall continue to apply to that action.

(e) The outcome of an informal discovery conference does not bar a party from filing a discovery motion or prejudice the disposition of a discovery motion.

(f) This section does not prevent the parties from stipulating to the timing of discovery proceedings as described in Section 2024.060.

(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends that date. [Emphasis added]

As stated in paragraph (b) of the statute, you must file the same type of declaration as you would for a motion to compel further responses. Your declaration should contain the following:

  1. Timeline from the request for production to the final receipt of the documents.
  2. A summary of the documents requested that are still in issue with the Request for Production of Documents and the Response attached as exhibits.
  3. A summary of the numerous meet and confer attempts with attached exhibits.
  4. A summary of any court orders regarding the document requests and any other discovery orders that have been issued against the opposing parties with attached exhibits.
  5. The flaws in the production (i.e., not responsive to the request, not categorized/or produced as kept in the normal course of business, no proper response document, garbage objections and an insufficient privilege log).

Preparing this declaration in detail will save you time if you are forced to bring a motion to compel further responses to the discovery requested.