Civil Litigation Legal Topics New Legal Developments

New Year, New Laws for Civil Litigators

The California legislature has enacted several new laws that may affect your litigation practice. Here are some of the key statutory changes you need to know about.

  • You can’t file a motion to strike or for judgment on the pleadings unless you meet and confer first.
    In another effort to get the parties to work things out, the Legislature has added meet and confer requirements for motions to strike and motions for judgment on the pleadings. Before a party may file one of these motions, it must meet and confer with the party that filed the pleading and try to resolve their objections or claims. The new sections will automatically repeal on January 1, 2021, unless the Legislature changes that. See CCP §§435.5, 439 (added by Stats 2017, ch 273, effective January 1, 2018). For all you need to know about moving to strike or for judgment on the pleadings, check out CEB’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial, chaps 24 and 27.
  • Service of process will soon reach mail drop services.
    If a person’s only known address is a private mailbox with a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA), also known as a mail drop service, a new law will permit service of process by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with the CMRA as specified under Bus & P C §17538.5. And once is enough: Service of process is effected on the first delivery attempt. See CCP §415.20 (amended by Stats 2017, ch 129, effective January 1, 2018). Everything to know about serving a summons is covered in CEB’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial, chap 17.
  • All California courts get the green light for electronic filing and service.
    The Orange County Superior Court pilot project on electronic filing and service is over and now all superior courts may, by local rule, require electronic filing and service of documents in civil actions. The conditions on electronic service (e.g., signatures, timing of filing, etc.) were also amended. The new law authorizes proof of electronic service to be filed with the court as specified. See CCP §§664.5, 1010.6, 1011, 1020 (amended by Stats 2017, ch 319, effective January 1, 2018), and CCP §1013b (added by Stats 2017, ch 319, effective January 1, 2018). Electronic filing and service is discussed in CEB’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial, chap 18.
  • Cost recovery has moved into the 21st century! Soon you can recover costs for electronic exhibits.
    The Legislature is realizing that going high tech is just another cost of litigation. Under a new law, a prevailing party may now recover costs associated with the electronic presentation of exhibits, including the costs of rental equipment and electronic formatting. As always, these costs are only allowed “if they were reasonably helpful to aid the trier of fact.” See CCP §1033.5 (amended by Stats 2017, ch 583, effective January 1, 2018). For more on cost recovery, turn to CEB’s California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial, chap 27.

Get more of these key legislative updates in CEB’s free 2017 NewsFlash! Key Statutory Developments for Civil Litigators. To keep up with all developments in civil litigation, subscribe to CEB’s OnLAW® Litigation Library—a virtual encyclopedia for litigation, full of commentary, practice advice, and sample documents.

From all of us at CEB, we wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

Check out all CEBblog™ posts on civil litigation.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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