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Last Day to Serve Motion Re Non-Expert Discovery in CA?

Northridge, CA |

From what I understand, discovery proceedings must be complete 30 days before initial trial date and must be heard 15 days before initial trial date, but when is the last day to serve a motion regarding discovery? 30? 16? So confused.

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Attorney answers 2


California Code of Civil Procedure section 2024.020 provides:

"(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any party shall be entitled as a matter of right to complete discovery proceedings on or before the 30th day, and to have motions concerning discovery heard on or before the 15th day, before the date initially set for the trial of the action. (b) Except as provided in Section 2024.050, a continuance or postponement of the trial date does not operate to reopen discovery proceedings."

In California, motions in the superior court generally must be served and filed at least 16 COURT days before hearing, with an additional 5 days’ notice given if served by mail within California, an additional 10 days’ notice if served outside of California, an additional 20 days’ notice if served outside the United States, or an additional 2 calendar days’ notice if served by facsimile or express mail. (Code of Civil Procedure, §1005(b).)

So what this effectively means is that your notice of any non-expert discovery motion must be served at least a month a and half before trial. However, if you are in Los Angeles Superior Court, you also have to factor in the fact that you probably won't be able to reserve a hearing date on such short notice, so you will have to go in ex parte just to get the hearing date specially set.

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.


Mr. Chen is right on point. You need to make sure you file the motion sufficiently ahead of the hearing date, giving the required notice (e.g., 16 court days plus 5 days if served by mail). Also, as noted, you need to call the department where the motion is heard to find out what that department's scheduling policiy is. Many departments require you to reserve a date and will not give you a date until far down the line. Hence, even if you meet all of the time requirements under the code, you still may not get the motion heard due to the department's own scheduling policies. If you find yourself in this predicament, you will need to move ex parte for relief.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.