The timing on making motions is both a procedural and a tactical matter. Sometimes you’ll need a hearing date that’s sooner than would be normally possible, and other times you’ll want to file a notice of motion or get a hearing date that’s after the last date allowed. Here’s how to get the timing to work for you.
To get a hearing date on a motion that’s sooner than would otherwise be possible under normal procedures, you’ll either need a stipulation from the opposing party or an order shortening time from the court:
- Stipulation. The parties may agree to shorten the time necessary for a notice for the hearing of a motion. Any stipulation should be in writing. But before you seek or obtain a stipulation, contact the clerk in the courtroom where the hearing will be held to learn of any local requirements or practices on such stipulations and the early setting of a hearing. Because it’s best to have a stipulation specify the date, time, and place of the hearing, determine in advance that the court can accommodate the date, time, and place agreed on by the parties. If you reach agreement with the other parties, make sure to prepare, sign, and submit a stipulation to the court as soon as possible.
- Motion. If you can’t get the other parties to stipulate, apply to the court for an order shortening time. An application for an order shortening time must be supported by an affidavit or declaration showing good cause. Cal Rules of Ct 3.1300. In other words, you’ll need to show that the moving party would suffer some substantial prejudice or harm without the motion being heard on shortened time. Make sure that the order shortening time addresses (1) when motion papers are to be served, (2) when opposition papers are due, (3) when reply papers are due, (4) how papers are to be served (e.g., by hand delivery), and (5) the date of the hearing.
When you want to file a notice of motion or seek a hearing on a motion after the last date set by statute or rule, you’ll have to get a written extension either from opposing counsel or from the court:
- Stipulation. The parties may stipulate to extend the time to serve and file motions, or the time for hearing on a motion. It’s safest to prepare a formal stipulation, signed by both parties. Make sure to consult local court rules or policies on these stipulations, keeping in mind that they may not be favored under the delay reduction rules.
- Motion. If you can’t get a stipulation to extend the time, you’ll have to apply to the court for an extension of time. See Cal Rules of Ct 2.20. Present the application for an order extending time to the judge before whom the action, motion, or other proceeding is pending, or, if that judge is absent or unable to hear it, to another judge of the same court. Cal Rules of Ct 2.20(a). The application must disclose the nature of the case and any prior extension granted by stipulation or court order. Cal Rules of Ct 2.20(b). After the order has been signed, file it immediately and serve copies within 24 hours unless the judge has set a different time. Cal Rules of Ct 2.20(c). Be sure to consult local rules on extensions.
For everything you need to know about filing motions in California state courts, turn to CEB’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial, chap 12. And noticed motions is just one of the many topics covered in CEB’s very useful Action Guide Meeting Statutory Deadlines: During and After Litigation, a must-have tool to help manage all the deadlines encountered after a complaint is filed.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- Moving Tactically: Should You Make a Motion?
- Should I Go for (Wr)it by Noticed Motion or Alternative Writ Procedure?
- Use this Checklist for Every Declaration
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