Legal Guide – Motion to Compel Discovery in Sacramento California

By Personal Injury Lawyer Noah Schwinghamer

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Pre-Motion Requirements
    1. Timing
    2. Meet and Confer
    3. Tentative Rulings
  2. Format of Moving Papers
  3. Service and Filing
  4. Specific Motions to Compel
    1. Interrogatory Responses
    2. Deposition Testimony
    3. Document Requests / Inspection Demands
    4. Requests for Admissions
  5. Other Moving Papers
    1. Separate Statement
    2. Meet and Confer Declaration
    3. Proposed Order
    4. (Deposition Transcript)
  6. Sanctions

Pre-Motion Requirements

Timing

  • 45 Days For Written Discovery – Motions to Compel may be filed 45 days after the insufficient response. [CCP 2030.300(c) (Interrogatories);  2031.310(c) (Inspection Demands);  2033.290(c) (Requests for Admission)].
  • 60 Days for Depositions – Motions to Compel deposition answers may be filed within 60 days of the completion of the deposition transcript.  [CCP 2025.480(b).]
  • No Time Limit for No Response or Unverified Responses – An unverified response is no response at all, and there is no time limit to move to compel.   [CCP 2030.290(b) (Interrogatories);  CCP 2031.300(b) (Requests for Production);  CCP 2033.280(b) (Requests for Admission).
  • Add Time if Responding Party Served Insufficient Responses via Mail – Add 5 (mailed in CA), 10 (Mailed in US outside of CA), or 20 (mailed outside of US) days to the 45 day time limit if the responding party served their insufficient responses via mail.  Source: [CCP 1013(a)].
  • Final Deadline is 15 Days Before Initial Trial Date -  Final day to hear discovery motions, including motions to compel, is 15 days before the initial discovery deadline.  Practically this means the motion must be filed well in advance.  [CCP 2024.020(a)]

Meet and Confer

  • Must Meet and Confer Prior to Filing a Motion To Compel – The moving party must include a declaration stating facts that show a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.  [CCP 2016.040].
  • Sanctions for Failing to Meet and Confer – The court “shall” sanction the moving party if he files a Motion to Compel before attempting a “reasonable and good faith attempt” to meet and confer with the responding party.  Note, there is no meet and confer duty when no response is served.  [CCP 2023.010(i);  2023.020;  2023.030].

Tentative Rulings

  • Notice of Tentative Ruling Required in Notice – The Notice of Motion must include the following text: “”Pursuant to Local Rule 3.04, the court will make a tentative ruling on the merits of this matter by 2:00 p.m., the court day before the hearing. You may access and download the court’s ruling from the court’s website at http://www.saccourt.ca.gov. If you do not have online access, you may obtain the tentative ruling over the telephone by calling (916) 874-8142 and a deputy clerk will read the ruling to you. If you wish to request oral argument, you must contact the clerk at (916) 874-7858 (Department 53) or (916) 874-7848 (Department 54) and the opposing party before 4:00 p.m. the court day before the hearing. If you do not call the court and the opposing party by 4:00 p.m. on the court day before the hearing, no hearing will be held.””  [Sacramento Local Rule 3.04].

Format of Moving Papers

  • Fifteen (15) Page Limit on Moving Papers – [CRC 3.1113(f)]
  • Over Ten (10) Pages Requires a Table of Authorities -  [CRC 3.1113(f)]
  • Sanctions Must Be in Notice of Motion – Requests for sanctions must be included in the notice of motion, including against whom sanctions are sought.  Any award of sanctions must be supported by legal authority and a declaration stating in a non-conclusory fashion how sanctions were calculated.  [Sacramento Local Rule 3.15].
  • Exhibits Must Have Exhibit Tabs – Each exhibit needs a plastic exhibit tab.

Service and Filing

  • Personal Service Sixteen (16) Days Before Hearing – Moving papers must be served at least sixteen court days before the hearing date.  [CCP 1005(b)].
  • Add Time If Served By Mail – In addition to the 16 court days, add calendar days +5 for mail within CA, +10 for mail in US outside of CA, and +20 if mailed outside of US.  [CCP 1005(b)].
  • Add Time If Served By Fax or Express Mail – In addition to the 16 court days, add calendar days +2 for fax filing or overnight mail.  [CCP 1005(b); CRC 2.306].

Specific Motions to Compel

Interrogatory Responses

  • Grounds For Motion – A party may move to compel responses or additional responses if the responses to interrogatories are (1) incomplete, (2) evasive, or (3) an objection is made that is either too general or without merit.  [CCP 2030.300(a)].
  • Requirements for Motion – The following requirements must be fulfilled for a proper motion to compel interrogatories:
    • Identify the interrogatories in question by name and set number.  [CRC 3.1345(d)].
    • Meet and Confer Declaration Required.  [CCP 2030.300(b)].
    • Separate Statement Required. [CRC 3.1345(a)(2)].
  • Note:  No Meet and Confer or Separate Statement Required When No Responses Given.  [CCP 2030.290(b); CRC 3.1345(b)]
  • Deadline 45 days:  Motion to Compel must be filed within 45 days from insufficient response [See Above].

Deposition Testimony

  • Grounds For Motion – A party may move to compel the answer to a deposition question, or the production of documents at a deposition if the deponent either (1) does not answer a question, or (2) does not bring a document requested in the deposition notice/subpoena.  [CCP 2025.480(a)].
  • Requirements for Motion – The following requirements must be fulfilled for a proper motion to compel interrogatories:
    • Meet and Confer Declaration Required.  [CCP 2025.480(b)].
    • Separate Statement Required. [CRC 3.1345(a)(4)-(5)].
  • Adjourning Deposition - If a deponent does not answer a question asked at deposition, the deposition-taker may choose to either (1) adjourn the deposition to file a motion, or (2) complete the deposition on other matters.  Unless the answer is necessary to move forward, the latter usually is more practical.  [CCP 2025.460(d)].
  • Notice of Motion May be Given Orally at Deposition – For party witnesses, the deposing attorney may give notice of the time and place of the motion to compel orally at deposition.  For a non-party witness written notice is required.  This section is usually not practical to invoke, and notice may always be given via the usual written method.  [CCP 2025.480].
  • Deadline 60 days:  Motion to Compel must be filed within 60 days from the completion of the deposition transcript.  [See Above].

Document Requests / Inspection Demands

  • Grounds For Motion – A party may move to compel the production of documents or things if the response (1) agrees to comply, but compliance is incomplete, (2) the responding party’s indication of inability to comply is incomplete, inadequate, or evasive, or (3) an objection to a request is made that is too general or without merit.  [CCP 2031.310(a)].
  • Good Cause Required – The moving party must state “specific facts showing good cause justifying the discovery sought by the inspection demand.”.  [CCP 2031.310(b)(1)].
  • Requirements for Motion – The following requirements must be fulfilled for a proper motion to compel interrogatories:
    • Identify the interrogatories in question by name and set number.  [CRC 3.1345(d)].
    • Meet and Confer Declaration Required.  [CCP 2031.310(b)(2)].
    • Separate Statement Required. [CRC 3.1345(a)(3)].
    • Attach Deposition Transcript – Sacramento does not allow lodging of deposition transcripts with the court.  Instead, attach the cover page of the deposition (stating the party names) and the relevant pages of the deposition transcript, with relevant portions highlighted, to a supporting declaration to the motion.  [Sacramento Local Rule 3.03(f)]
  • Note:  No Meet and Confer or Separate Statement Required When No Responses Given.  [CCP 2031.320(a); CRC 3.1345(b)].
  • Deadline 45 days:  Motion to Compel must be filed within 45 days from insufficient response [See Above].

Requests for Admissions

  • Grounds For Motion – A party may move to compel responses or additional responses to Requests for Admission if (1) a response was evasive or incomplete, or (2) an objection is made that is too general or without merit.  [CCP 2033.290(a)].
  • Requirements for Motion – The following requirements must be fulfilled for a proper motion to compel interrogatories:
    • Identify the interrogatories in question by name and set number.  [CRC 3.1345(d)].
    • Meet and Confer Declaration Required.  [CCP 2033.290(b)].
    • Separate Statement Required. [CRC 3.1345(a)(1)].
  • Motion to Have Matters Deemed Admitted – If no response is given within the applicable time limit, the moving party may move to have unanswered admissions deemed admitted.  [CCP 2033.280(b)].
  • Late Responses May Provide a Remedy – Late-served responses to Requests for Admission that are in substantial compliance with CCP 2033.220 may prevent the harsh penalty of having matters deemed admitted.  However, sanctions are “mandatory” against the late responding party if the requesting party has to file a motion.  [CCP 2033.280(c)].
  • Deadline 45 days:  Motion to Compel must be filed within 45 days from insufficient response [See Above].

Other Moving Papers

Separate Statement

  • Purpose – If a Separate Statement is required, it should be filed and served with the other moving papers, and it should contain all the information necessary to understand each discovery request at issue, the response, and argument as to why additional responses are required.  Essentially, the court needs to be able to read the separate statement by itself and be able to make an informed ruling without having to reference any other documents.  [CRC 3.1345(c)].
  • Requirements – For each request at issue, the separate statement must contain “all the information necessary to understand each discovery request”  including: [CRC 3.1345].
    • Text of the request, interrogatory, or question.
    • The response and/or objections to the request.
    • Factual support and legal argument as to why an additional response should be compelled.
    • Any other text, definitions, or other information necessary to understand the above (for instance, in depositions, you may have to provide a page or two of background questions s\to frame the issues).
    • Previous questions relied on by the question at issue (for instance, if a question says, “if the response to interrogatory #1 was affirmative, please state…” you may have to include interrogatory #1 and its response for reference).
    • A summary of relevant pleadings.
    • Note: Identify the interrogatories in question by name and set number.

Meet and Confer Declaration

  • Requirements – The declaration must “state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.”  [CCP 2016.040].
  • Declaration Language – A California Declaration requires this language: “I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.”  This should be followed by the date and the declarant’s signature.  [CCP 2015.5].

Proposed Order

  • Normal Order Procedure – Normally, the prevailing party will need to prepare a proposed order, and serve it on the losing party.  The losing party then has five days to object to the form.  After the five days are up, the prevailing party is to file the proposed order, along with any objections (or a statement that no objections were received), with the court.  [CRC 3.1312].
  • May Be Submitted – The moving party on a motion to compel may submit a proposed order along with the rest of his moving papers.   [CRC 3.1113].
  • Separate Document – Do NOT staple your Proposed Order to your other moving papers.  Do NOT attach it as an exhibit.  [CRC 3.1113(m)].

(Deposition Transcript)

  • In Motions to Compel deposition testimony, do not forget to attach the relevant parts of the deposition transcript as an exhibit.  [See Above].

Sanctions

  • Authority for Court’s Sanction Power – The court may award sanctions for (1) misuse/abuse of discovery process, or (2) unsuccessfully bringing or opposing a discovery motion, (3) failure to meet and confer, (4) other specific situations.
  • Sanctions for Misuse/Abuse of Discovery – The following are considered misuse of the discovery process:  [CCP 2023.010].
    • (a) Persisting, over objection and without substantial justification, in an attempt to obtain information or materials that are outside the scope of permissible discovery.
    • (b) Using a discovery method in a manner that does not comply with its specified procedures.
    • (c) Employing a discovery method in a manner or to an extent that causes unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.
    • (d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery.
    • (e) Making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery.
    • (f) Making an evasive response to discovery.
    • (g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery.
    • (h) Making or opposing, unsuccessfully and without substantial justification, a motion to compel or to limit discovery.
    • (i) Failing to confer in person, by telephone, or by letter with an opposing party or attorney in a reasonable and good faith attempt to resolve informally any dispute concerning discovery, if the section governing a particular discovery motion requires the filing of a declaration stating facts showing that an attempt at informal resolution has been made.
  • Sanctions for Unsuccessfully Bringing or Opposing a Discovery Motion – The court has discretionary statutory authority to award sanctions for unsuccessful discovery motions:
    • Compelling Response to Interrogatories.  [CCP 2030.290(c)].
    • Compelling Further Response Interrogatories: [CCP 2030.300(d)].
    • Compelling Inspection or Production: [CCP 2031.300(c)].
    • Compelling Further Response to Inspection Demand: [CCP 2031.310(d)(h);  CCP 2031.320 (b)].
    • Compelling Further Response Request for Admission: [CCP 2033.290(d)].
    • Compelling Deponent to Answer or Produce Documents: [CCP 2025.480(f)].
  • Sanctions for Failing to Meet and Confer – The court “shall” sanction the moving party if he files a Motion to Compel before attempting a “reasonable and good faith attempt” to meet and confer with the responding party.  Note, there is no meet and confer duty when no response is served.  [CCP 2023.010(i);  2023.020;  2023.030].
  • Sanctions Must Be in Notice of Motion – Requests for sanctions must be included in the notice of motion, including against whom sanctions are sought.  Any award of sanctions must be supported by legal authority and a declaration stating in a non-conclusory fashion how sanctions were calculated.  [Sacramento Local Rule 3.15].

This page is not legal advice, and there is no guarantee that this information is up to date.  If you need legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

This page was created by and (c)  Noah Schwinghamer, a Sacramento Injury Lawyer.  If you would like to copy this information, please request permission.   Please feel free to link to this page.


Personal Injury Attorney for the Sacramento Metropolitan Area, including Alta Sierra, Alta, Antelope, Applegate, Arden Arcade, Auburn, Beale Air Force Base, Broderick, Brooks, Bryte, Cameron Park, Camino, Capay, Carmichael, Carnelian Bay, Challenge-Brownsville, Citrus Heights, Clarksburg, Colfax, Coloma, Cool, Davis, Diamond Springs, Dollar Point, Dunnigan, Dutch Flat, El Dorado County, El Dorado Hills, El Dorado, El Macero, Elk Grove, Esparto, Fair Oaks, Florin, Folsom, Foothill Farms, Foresthill, Fremont Landing, Galt, Georgetown, Gold CountryGold River, Gold Run, Granite Bay, Grass Valley, Guinda, Herald, Homewood, Isleton, Kings Beach, Knights Landing, La Riviera, Laguna, Lake Wildwood, Lake of the Pines, Lincoln, Linda, Live Oak, Sutter County, Locke, Loma Rica, Loomis, Madison, Marysville, Meadow Vista, Meyers, Natomas, Sacramento, Nevada City, Nevada County, Newcastle, North Auburn, North Highlands, Olivehurst, Orangevale, Parkway-South Sacramento, Penn Valley, Penryn, Placer County, Placerville, Plainfield, Pollock Pines, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rio Linda, Rocklin, Rosemont, Roseville, Rumsey, Sacramento County, Sacramento Valley, Sacramento, Sheridan, Placer County, Shingle Springs, South Lake Tahoe, South Yuba City, Squaw Valley, Placer County, Strawberry, El Dorado County, Sunnyside-Tahoe City, Sutter County, Sutter, Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Vista, Tierra Buena, Truckee, Twin Bridges, Vineyard, Walnut Grove, Weimar Institute Weimar, California West Sacramento, Wheatland, Wilton, Winters, Woodland, Yolo County, Yolo, Yuba City, Yuba County, Yuba–Sutter Area, and Zamora.