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APRIL 2021
 
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Court Alerts
Litigation Section Newsletter

Editors:
Brian Hershman
Staci Tomita


Litigation Executive Committee:

Officers:
Douglas N. Silverstein, Chair
Eric Y. Kizirian, Chair Elect
Brian T. Glennon, Vice Chair
Shehnaz M. Bhujwala, Secretary
Monisha A. Coelho, Immediate Past Chair

 
 
 

Thank You to Our Annual Sponsors

Thank you to our annual litigation section sponsors for their generous support of the LACBA Litigation Section.

- Berkeley Research Group
- Case Anywhere
- Coalition Court Reporters
- First Legal
- Freeman & Mills
- ILYM Group, Inc.
- JAMS
- STENO
- TM Financial Forensics

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- Click here to view the sponsors page -

 
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Court Alerts
 

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT UPDATES

Civil Jury Trial Ramp-Up Plan:

Effective April 1, Department 1 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse will serve as the central location for county-wide coordination of all Civil jury trials. Coordinated procedures seek to ensure against overcrowding in courthouses as well as for determination of how to assign the limited number of courtrooms large enough to permit social distancing. Earlier in the year, Judge Taylor created a Special Civil Jury Trial Committee chaired by Judge David J. Cowan. Based on the recommendations of Judge Cowan and the special committee, Presiding Judge Taylor announced the following factors that each judge must address before a Civil case is deemed ready for trial courtroom determination and before calling jurors: (Notice)

  • Whether a Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) or mediation has been held within the last 90 days. If none has been held within such period, Department 1 will arrange for an MSC with an available judge upon request. Parties may alternatively elect to meet with a private mediator.
  • Whether parties have agreed to a jury of fewer than 12 persons, which would allow trial to proceed in the assigned department.
  • Whether parties have agreed to a bench trial on any or all issues, which may allow avoiding jury trial altogether.
  • Whether witnesses can testify remotely, which would assist in reducing the number of people in the courtroom.

In the event a judge determines a case is ready for trial, that judge must submit the new Civil Jury Trial form. This form will contain information including the number of people who will be in the courtroom, when the court and counsel wish to start trial, and whether the case is entitled to preference or warrants consideration for priority.

Judicial Appointments

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of four new Los Angeles Superior Court judges:

  • Judge Alfred A. Coletta
  • Judge Warren Masami Kato
  • Judge Susan Ser
  • Judge Lowynn Y. Young

Relocation of Child Support Court Operations

Starting April 19, the Court’s AB 1058 Child Support Commissioner Program courtrooms, Clerk’s Office, and the Family Law Facilitator office will relocate from Central Civil West Courthouse to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. All court-related functions at Central Civil West Courthouse will cease on April 16. (Notice)

Extended Deadlines for Certain Criminal Trials and Juvenile Dependency Matters

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor issued a General Order extending last-day deadlines for certain Criminal trials and Juvenile Dependency matters. (News Release)

Statement Denouncing Race-Based Violence

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor issued a statement joining Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in denouncing recent race-based attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities.

Upcoming Court Holidays

Memorial Day – May 31, 2021


U.S.D.C. CENTRAL DISTRICT COURT UPDATES

Phased Reopening of the Court

The Court has adopted a Plan for Phased Resumption of Operations consisting of three phases:

  • Phase 1: return of certain staff to courthouses to prepare for limited in-court hearings;
  • Phase 2: reopening of courthouses for limited in-court hearings; and
  • Phase 3: resumption of jury trials.

Per the gating criteria adopted by the Court, all divisions will transition to Phase 3. Effective April 19, subject to all COVID-19 safety protocols: (Notice)

  • All courthouses of the Central District will be open to persons with court business.
  • In-court hearings will be permitted in all matters at the judge’s discretion.
  • Jury trials will be permitted in civil and criminal cases. 
  • Mandatory chambers copies will not be required by magistrate judges, but any judge may require such copies if desired.

Relocation for Booking New Arrestees/Defendants:

Effective April 19, the lockup area at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse will not be available for booking with the United States Marshals Service due to construction. New arrestees or summoned defendants must be brought to the lockup area at First Street Courthouse instead. Reports Commencing Criminal Action should be emailed or submitted to criminal intake at the Roybal Courthouse. Initial appearances will continue in courtroom 880 at the Roybal Courthouse. For more information, click here.

Judicial Updates

The Court announced the appointment of Margo A. Rocconi as a United States Magistrate Judge. Judge Rocconi was sworn in on March 19, 2021 and will sit in Los Angeles, succeeding former Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh. (Press Release)

Upcoming Court Holidays

Memorial Day – May 31, 2021


COURT OF APPEAL UPDATES

Judicial Assignments

The following Judges are currently sitting on assignment:

  • Judge Rita Coyne Federman of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division One until April 30, 2021.
  • Judge Glenn R. Salter of the Orange County Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three until April 30, 2021.
  • Judge Rashida A. Adams of the Los Angeles Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three until April 30, 2021.
  • Judge Melissa R. McCormick of the Orange County Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Seven until April 30, 2021.
  • Judge Sam Ohta of the Los Angeles Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Eight until April 30, 2021.

Post-Pandemic Workgroup

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye named a Post-Pandemic Workgroup to examine successful court practices adopted during COVID-19. The workgroup will recommend those practices that demonstrate promise to increase access to justice, modernize services, and promote consistency and uniformity. The Post-Pandemic Workgroup will also analyze alternative dispute resolution practices, jury system reform, and methods to streamline and modernize case processing, including remote proceedings. (News Release)

Chief Justice’s Response to Violence Against Asians and Asian Americans

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye issued a statement on recent attacks against Asians and Asian Americans calling such violence “reprehensible.”

Upcoming Court Holidays

Memorial Day – May 31, 2021

 
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Upcoming Events

Litigation Section Brown Bag Lunch: Protecting the Record

April 26, 2021, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Please join our prominent appellate justices for an informal session in which they will discuss how trial lawyers can protect the record for a possible appeal. Topics will include issues relating to preserving legal record, and ensuring that the record contains what is necessary to present a compelling appellate argument.

For more information and to register, visit here.


LACBA’S Pathways to the Bench: Tips and Strategies for Applying to the Bench

May 4, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Please join us on May 4 from 12-1 PM via Zoom for a lively discussion with judicial officers from the Los Angeles Superior Court and the California Court of Appeal. Hon. Stephanie M. Bowick, Hon. Rupert A. Byrdsong, Hon. Holly J. Fujie, and Hon, Luis A. Lavin will share their personal paths to the bench, practical advice on the judicial nomination process, and the importance of diversity on the bench. To register online, please visit: https://www.lacba.org/calendar. To register by phone, please call (213) 896-6560 between Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM. Registrants will receive a Zoom link the morning of the program inviting them to join the webinar. Registration is complimentary.

For more information and to register, visit here.


2021 Bench (Virtually) Meets the Bar

June 10, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Bench Meets Bar is the LACBA Litigation Section’s annual luncheon, where Los Angeles lawyers and judges have the opportunity to share a meal and conversation in an informal setting. This year, even though we are unable to be together in person, Bench Meets Bar will take place virtually using a webinar format.

For more information and to register, visit here.


About Court Alerts

The Litigation Section of LACBA is proud to provide "Court Alerts," an e-mail publication aimed at informing LACBA Litigation Section members of recent news related to the Los Angeles Superior Court and the U.S. Central District of California, including re-assignments of judges, changes in court structure, and other information important to litigators.


Readers are advised that changes in the law may affect the accuracy of this publication or the functionality of links after the publication date. The foregoing practice tips were prepared for information purposes only. Such practice tips do not constitute tax, legal or other advice and no responsibility is assumed for any reliance upon them or with respect to assessing or advising the reader as to tax, legal, or other consequences arising from a particular situation. The accuracy of the information provided should be independently verified by the reader and should not be treated as authoritative.


 

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