What to Do a Month Before Trial

You’re 30 days from your trial date. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve gotten this close, or maybe it’s your first time. Don’t worry—here’s a handy chart setting out what you need to do. 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

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

Use this Checklist for Every Declaration

92419672Litigators use declarations and affidavits to present facts to the judge from various types of witnesses. Their use can become routine and sometimes even sloppy. But beware: Declarations are subject to the same objections and scrutiny as testimony at trial. Here’s a checklist to help you carefully draft every declaration and avoid common omissions. Continue reading

Checklist: Does the Anti-SLAPP Statute Apply?

533402213An anti-SLAPP motion to strike is generally available when one of the causes of action in a case is based on an act of a person in furtherance of the person’s constitutional right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue. CCP §425.16(b)(1). That may sound straightforward, but it can actually be tricky to determine if the statute applies to a particular cause of action you want to attack. Here’s a handy checklist to take you through the determination of whether an anti-SLAPP motion may be on the table. Continue reading

7 Tips for Making Supporting Memos More Persuasive

Almost all motions and demurrers must be supported by a memorandum. Cal Rules of Ct 3.1113. Your supporting memorandum convinces the judge that the law and facts support the order you want. The objective is to persuade—the memo may be your main shot at doing so, as judges issue a tentative ruling or come to the hearing with a ruling in mind based on the motion and response papers. Continue reading

2 Reasons to Go for Defendant’s Default

ThinkstockPhotos-158687666A default occurs when a defendant served with a complaint doesn’t file the appropriate response within the time allowed. CCP §§585–586. After a defendant is in default, a plaintiff may file a request for entry of default and then apply for a default judgment. Here are two practical reasons to seek entry of default and default judgment. Continue reading

Checklist for Summary Judgment Reply Brief

ThinkstockPhotos-459334539You moved for summary judgment, received the opposition papers, and now it’s your turn to reply. The reply brief gives you a chance to respond to arguments raised by the opposition. Who knows? The opposition may have misconstrued legal authority, relied on inadmissible evidence, emphasized immaterial facts, or failed to follow the correct procedure. Before you start on your reply, review this checklist. Continue reading

Tentative Rulings: Contest or Concede?

200368976-001When the tentative ruling is against you, you’ve got two choices: contest or concede. Here’s the spoiler: One of these choices is generally the way to go. Continue reading

8 Questions to Ask Before Making the Move for Summary Judgment

question_133773471Once you’ve considered the pros and cons of moving for summary judgment generally, you’re ready to get down to the specifics of your case and whether a summary judgment motion is the right move for you.

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