8 Tips to Maximize Interpreter Effectiveness

Once you find a qualified interpreter, apply these eight tips to maximize the interpreter’s usefulness in court or at trial. Continue reading

Warn Your Expert Against Writing

Although in the “real world” scientists changing their minds may be the badge of intellectual honesty, in litigation the expert who backs away from a position or changes an opinion is supplying the opposition with a source of impeachment. Any time the expert makes a written record of his or her thoughts or opinions, the opposition gets a “paper trail” of potential impeachment material. To avoid this, tell your expert to keep writing to a minimum. Continue reading

Chart: Compare Summary Judgment to Other Motions

Apple to OrangeWhen considering whether to move for summary judgment or summary adjudication, always assess whether there are better procedures available for narrowing the issues or terminating the litigation. Keep the following chart handy to help you compare summary judgment and adjudication motions with alternative dispositive motions available under California law. Continue reading

Something’s Come Up: Getting a Trial Date Continuance

140044171“[T]he dates assigned for a trial are firm. All parties and their counsel must regard the date set for trial as certain.” Cal Rules of Ct 3.1332(a). But things come up, and attorneys sometimes need to request a continuance of the trial date. Here’s how it’s done. Continue reading

In Limine Motion Might Be the Perfect Tool for Trump

thinkstockphotos-122406964Trump’s attorneys used a motion in limine to keep what’s been going on with his presidential run away from the jurors in the class action against him related to Trump University. This is just the type of situation a motion in limine is perfect to address. Indeed, the greatest value of in limine motions lies in a party’s ability to confront prejudicial evidence before it’s presented at trial and comes to a jury’s attention. Continue reading

7 Grounds for Objecting During Voir Dire

Once the jury panel has been sworn, prospective jurors are selected at random, seated in the jury box, and questioned. Counsel may conduct a “liberal and probing examination” that’s calculated to discover juror bias or prejudice related to the circumstances of the case. CCP §222.5. But if opposing counsel’s questions go out-of-bounds, you need to be ready to object. Continue reading

Checklist: Moving for Summary Judgment

ThinkstockPhotos-459334539Moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication is a complicated process. You start by considering whether it’s even appropriate to make the motion. Then you review the strict timing requirements. After that comes an evaluation of the pleadings and evidence to support the motion. And then you have to prepare the moving papers. Finally, you schedule a hearing date and serve and file the moving papers. Whew! But it’s not too hard when you follow this handy checklist. Continue reading

Moving Tactically: Should You Make a Motion?

465153001Motions are tactical tools, and your decision to seek an order should be made in the context of your overall litigation plan. Always keep in mind that making a motion entails time, effort, and expense for the moving party. Is it worth it? Continue reading

To Demur or Not to Demur?

ThinkstockPhotos-476195191A demurrer can be an excellent tool to challenge the legal sufficiency of allegations in an opponent’s pleadings. In deciding whether to demur to a complaint, defense counsel should consider not only whether a demurrable defect appears on the face of the complaint, but also whether demurring is likely to be a better move than its alternatives.  Continue reading

Is It Too Risky to SLAPP Back?

ThinkstockPhotos-185824314Your client got hit with a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit, i.e., a suit with a cause of action based on your client’s act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue. You have a chance to hit back with a special motion to strike the cause of action under the anti-SLAPP statute. But should you? Continue reading