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Are there any California rules/statutes that govern the granting of stays in lawsuits?

Long Beach, CA |

I had to file a legal malpractice case before completing post-conviction exoneration in order to meet the SOL. Is there a CCP I can cite in my legal argument in my stay request?

Attorney Answers 2


There are, but probably not applicable to your situation wherein you are the plaintiff in the civil action seeking to stay your own action.

Under some scenarios, a defendant in a criminal proceeding may also be a defendant in a civil lawsuit. In such case, the defendant can make a request to the court to stay discovery pending the outcome of criminal proceedings. “A party asserting the Fifth Amendment privilege should suffer no penalty for his silence.” Pacers, Inc. v. Superior Court, 162 Cal. App. 3d 686, 689 (1984).

It is often the case that the civil and criminal charges against the defendant stem from the same core set of facts. If the civil and criminal cases against such defendant are allowed to proceed abreast, that defendant will soon be faced with the untenable choice of defending himself in criminal court while facing a significant risk of losing substantial property or defending himself in civil court while facing a significant risk of losing substantial personal liberty. That forced dichotomy comports with neither governing case law nor governing statutes. (Cal. Evid. Code § 940) Therefore, the remedy is often for the court in the civil case to issue a stay of the proceedings pending a final outcome in the criminal case.

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Am I correct to understand the Court is pressuring you to prosecute your action, or have the case dismissed? The Los Angeles Superior Court "fast track" rules require most cases to reach trial within a year of action being filed. Also, Section 583.310 of the California Code of Civil Procedure requires actions to be brought to trial within 5 years of filing action, and Section 583.410 provides a Court to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute. Take a look at Section 583.350 which discusses tolling or extension of the time limit, and Section 583.420 which sets out conditions for dismissal. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.

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