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JANUARY 2022
 
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Court Alerts
Litigation Section Newsletter

Editors:

Brian Hershman
Oliver Rocos
Maxine Thomas


Litigation Executive Committee:

Officers:

Eric Y. Kizirian, Chair
Brian T. Glennon, Chair Elect
Shehnaz M. Bhujwala, Vice Chair
Mike Madokoro, Secretary
Douglas N. Silverstein, Immediate Past Chair

 
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Upcoming Events

Remote Appearances: California’s New Law and Best Practices

January 31, 2022, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

This month ushers in a new law on remote appearances, evidentiary hearings, and trials. Newly promulgated Code of Civil Procedure section 367.75 and California Rule of Court, rule 3.672 set out in detail the procedures for requesting, opposing, and conducting remote proceedings.  This brown bag lunch will focus on the new statute and rule, the deadlines and forms required to request or oppose remote testimony or trial, and practical tips for effective remote arguments, testimony, and trials.

For more information and to register, visit here.

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Court Alerts
 

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT UPDATES

Launch of Unlawful Detainer Online Dispute Resolution

  • Judge Eric C. Taylor announced the launch of Unlawful Detainer Online Dispute Resolution (UD ODR) on the Court’s website to enable parties in Unlawful Detainer (housing and eviction) cases in Los Angeles County to resolve their disputes online, for free and without direct Court intervention. The UD ODR is a space for negotiation, paired with free mediation offered by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) and the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR), that provides tenants and landlords a unique opportunity to settle disputes on their terms, online, for free, without delay. News Release

Normalization of Operations Work (N.O.W.) Plan Detailed

  • Judge Eric C. Taylor announced that the Court is increasing the number of jury trials and preliminary hearings and taking other steps as part of the Normalization of Operations Work (N.O.W.) plan to systematically address pandemic-related Criminal case delays and safely restore Criminal operations to pre-pandemic levels of efficiency. News Release

Dependency Court Expansion To The East District

  • Effective January 3, 2022, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Dependency Division expanded its footprint in east Los Angeles County with the launch of a pilot satellite courtroom at the Pomona South Courthouse to provide children and families in the Court’s East District better access to services. Currently, dependency cases from the Pomona South Courthouse are heard at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court in Monterey Park. The opening of an additional Dependency courtroom will allow the Court to provide increased convenience and support to vulnerable families. Judge Stacy Weise will preside over the new courtroom which will handle cases from the Department of Children and Family Services offices in Pomona. News Release

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor Urges The Bench And Bar To Reduce In-Person Appearances, Encouraging Use Of Remote Courtroom Technology

  • Presiding Judge Taylor today strongly encouraged attorneys and the public to rely on remote courtroom appearance technology – and remote and virtual service options – to continue reduced capacity in all Los Angeles County courthouses due to the winter COVID surge.  News Release Judge Taylor reminded that:
    • all persons – regardless of vaccination status – are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while in a courthouse;
    • persons seeking services from the Clerk’s Office, court support services, and/or the Self-Help Centers are to schedule appointments and use the available online services. For telephone or video assistance, or to schedule an appointment, the telephone number for each courthouse is listed at the courthouse entry and posted on the Court’s website, lacourt.org;
    • anyone experiencing symptoms, who has been exposed to COVID-19, or tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, should not enter any courthouses. If you have tested positive or are experiencing symptoms, promptly call the courtroom and other parties to continue the hearing or trial;
    • do not eat or drink in courthouse hallway;
    • attorneys and litigants not to meet and confer unnecessarily in hallways;
    • people who must come to courthouses not bring unnecessary companions;
    • in the absence of countywide social distancing mandates or guidelines, judicial officers should continue to have jurors spread out, to the extent possible, using all available space in their courtrooms;
    • County Department of Public Health Officer orders, and state public health and CDC guidance
    • the majority of Court employees, judicial officers, and justice partners are fully vaccinated.

Remote Appearance Court Form RA-010

  • The Court reminds attorneys to use the new Court Form RA-010 (accessible here). The form allows parties to select their default method of appearance as remote, rather than in person, for the entire course of the matter. The form does not prohibit attorneys from being able to attend specific hearings in person if they choose to do so, and Judges retain discretion to require attorneys to appear in person.

Temporary Mandatory Settlement Conference Program

  • On January 7, 2022, the Civil Division of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County implemented a temporary Judicial Mandatory Settlement Conference program to promote the resolution of cases while the current COVID climate continues to inhibit the ability to conduct jury trials. That program permits Judges—with or without the parties’ consent—to direct appropriate matters into mandatory settlement conferences before a settlement Judge. If a party wishes a case to be considered for the program, they must direct their request to the judicial officer presiding over their case. Department 1 is administering the scheduling of those conferences with trial judges through requests from the relevant judge handling the case.

Extension of Certain Juvenile Deadlines

  • Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a new General Order extending certain Juvenile deadlines through January 28, 2022. News Release The Order extends deadlines as follows:
    • The time periods provided in section 313 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings must be released from custody to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from January 1, 2022, to January 28, 2022, inclusive; and
    • The time periods provided in section 315 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings must be given a detention hearing to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from January 1, 2022, to January 28, 2022, inclusive.

New Family Law Call Center To Assist Litigants With Family Law Matters In Los Angeles County

  • The Court is launching a dedicated, unified Family Law Call Center for litigants seeking information on their Family Law cases as part of its ongoing efforts to provide easier and more efficient ways to access to justice. The Family Law Call Center, which can be reached at (213) 633-6363, eliminates the need for Family Law litigants to call specific court locations to receive information on their case. The Call Center offers convenient alternatives to in-person Clerk’s office service, eliminating the need for litigants to take time off work, find and pay for childcare, and cover transportation and parking costs. With a phone call, litigants can receive their case information.  Litigants with AB 1058 (Child Support) cases should continue to call (213) 351-7500. Self-represented litigants should continue to call (213) 830-0845 for assistance from the Self-Help Center for their Family Law cases. News Release

Criminal Trials Delayed For Two Weeks As Los Angeles County Experiences Holiday Surge From Delta And Omicron Variants; Amended General Order issued

  • Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor utilized the authority granted by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye under Government Code section 68115 to extend statutory deadlines for Criminal jury trials in which the original or previously extended statutory deadline otherwise would expire from January 5 to January 19, 2022, inclusive. As for Civil cases, the Court has urged judicial officers to continue to exercise their sound discretion – after discussion with the parties – on whether to now proceed with jury trials or elect to continue them while the county experiences a high level of virus transmission. News Release
  • An amended General Order was issued on January 7, 2022, that maintained the earlier announced extensions for post-conviction progress reports, out-of-custody Misdemeanor pretrial hearings and the extended statutory deadlines for pending Criminal jury trials in which the original or previously extended statutory deadline otherwise would expire from January 5 to January 19, 2022, inclusive. aThe amended General Order does not affect ongoing Criminal trials, sentencings, motion hearings or arraignments. News Release

Family Law Division Announces Courtroom Changes At The Governor George Deukmejian (Long Beach) Courthouse

  • The Family Law Division will implement the following change to courtroom operations, effective January 10, 2022:
    • Judge Jeanmarie K. Warren is reassigned to Department S15 at the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, 275 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, replacing Judge Maria Puente Porras. News Release

Judicial Appointments And Retirements

  • Judge Gregory Alarcon is moving within Stanley Mosk from his individual calendar court at Dept. 36 to a trial court at Dept. 96. He will be replaced in Dept. 36 by Judge Wendy Chang, currently of the Michael D. Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse. These assignments will be effective on January 31.
  • Judge John Doyle of Dept. 58 at Stanley Mosk is retiring. His courtroom will be covered temporarily by another judge until a permanent reassignment is made. 

Court Holidays

  • February 11 – President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
  • February 21 – Presidents’ Day

COURT OF APPEAL UPDATES

Commission Confirms Appointments to Courts of Appeal

  • Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, announced the commission confirmed two nominations to the California Courts of Appeal in Sacramento and Santa Ana. News Release Those confirmed were:
    • Judge Maurice Sanchez, as Associate Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three (Santa Ana)
    • Judge Laurie M. Earl, as Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal (Sacramento)

Court Holidays

  • February 11 – President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
  • February 21 – Presidents’ Day

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

Extension of CARES Act

  • Pursuant to the CARES Act, the Court has extended its authority through March 28, 2022. Hearings may be conducted by video or telephonic conference in certain criminal matters according to Order of the Chief Judge No. 20-043. In the Western Division, criminal duty matters will be held in Courtroom 880 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building. In the Southern and Eastern divisions, criminal duty matters will be held in the duty magistrate’s courtroom. News Release

Temporary Suspension of All Jury Trials

  • The United States District Court for the Central District of California announced a temporary suspension of all jury trials until February 28, 2022, due to the surge of COVID-19, largely resulting from the Omicron variant of the virus. Temporary suspension of jury trials may be extended as necessary. News Release 

Senate Confirms Superior Court Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong as United States District Judge for the Central District of California

  • On December 17, 2021 the United States Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nomination of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong to serve as a federal district judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Judge Frimpong will preside over matters in Los Angeles in the Court’s Western Division. News Release

Court Holidays

  • February 21 – Presidents’ Day
 

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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