Earlier this year, the California legislature adopted multiple changes to the Code of Civil Procedure. Given COVID-related Court shutdowns and delays, many of these new rules may have gone overlooked.
Here is a refresher on the most impactful changes:
- CCP section 2031.280(a): Now requires that “[a]ny documents or category of documents produced in response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling shall be identified with the specific request number to which the documents respond.” The rule used to require that “[a]ny documents produced in response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling shall either be produced as they are kept in the usual course of business, or be organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the demand.” Counsel receiving a voluminous document production now has firm footing to request that opposing counsel clearly identify what documents correspond to each request for production.
- CCP section 2030.210(d) and (e): Now requires counsel to provide electronic versions of interrogatories and requests for admission to the opposing party upon request. The responding party also must provide the responses in electronic format upon request. Note that this can save both parties significant time in preparing discovery “shells” and separate statements, especially for lengthy discovery requests.
- CCP section 2023.050: Sanctions are required if a party, person, or attorney produces the requested documents within 7 days of a scheduled hearing on a motion to compel. The sanctions also apply to nonparty discovery.
- CCP section 2016.090: Authorizes the court, upon stipulation of all parties, to order the exchange of initial disclosures prior to serving written discovery. The initial disclosure requirements are similar to those in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26.
Counsel would be well-advised to conduct a comprehensive review of these new rules to ensure compliance. The new rules may also provide an effective sword when dealing with opposing counsel.