Published September 28, 2012.
Effective January 1, 2013, depositions of lay witnesses under the California Code of Civil Procedure must not exceed seven hours. Luckily, there are exceptions, which are listed below as numbers 1 – 6.
Some of you will attempt to do your own research to confirm this reality because this change is monumental. This code will significantly alter the way civil litigation is conducted, and if this change isn’t noted, attorneys everywhere will be scrambling to modify their deposition plans minutes before their first deposition in 2013.
Here is what you need to know for the new-year. On September 17, 2012, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1875. This bill will add Section 2025.290 to the California Code of Civil Procedure, effective January 1, 2013.
In short, depositions of lay witnesses will be limited to seven hours. However, the court will allow additional time if a fair examination is needed, or if any deponent, person, or circumstance causes a delay. The rule is inapplicable to the following circumstances:
- If the parties have stipulated that it will not apply to the specific deposition or the entire proceeding;
- Depos of designated expert witnesses under CCP § 2034.210 – 2034.310;
- Any case designated as complex by California Rule of Court, 3.400;
- Any case brought by an employee or applicant against employer re: employment;
- Depos of persons designated “most qualified person” under § 2025.230; or
- Parties brought in after the depo was taken can notice depos subject to this section.
In order to be prepared for this rule when it goes into effect, you should attempt to obtain a stipulation before January 1, 2013, concerning any deposition scheduled on or after that date.
If you can’t get pre-approval to conduct the deposition for more than seven hours, be sure to hit all the areas that go to the heart of your case, early in the depo. Then you can decide to attempt to obtain a court order to extend it.
Written by Francois Auroux, Esq. Of Counsel at
Pyka Lenhardt Schnaider Zell, a Professional Corporation
837 N. Ross Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
T: (714) 835-9011
This article is not a complete version of the code section, and does not include all language of the statute. 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.