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MAY 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

Transition to Microsoft Teams

  • Effective May 10, the Court began a month-long, gradual transition to Microsoft Teams to improve video and audio performance via LACourtConnect (LACC), the Court’s remote courtroom appearance technology in Civil, Family Law, Probate, Small Claims, and Traffic matters.
  • During the transition, LACC users can only schedule remote courtroom appearances 14 days before the hearing date (instead of up to 30 days).
  • For more information, click here.

Unified Traffic Call Center

  • The Court established a new centralized Traffic Call Center to help people with traffic tickets efficiently resolve citations remotely.
  • Anyone with a traffic citation issued in Los Angeles County may call (213) 633-6300 for assistance. Additionally, some traffic matters may be resolved online here. (News Release)

Voluntary Fast Track Personal Injury Bench Trial Pilot Program

The Court launched a six-month pilot program – from May 3 to November 1 – that allows litigants to obtain a prompt bench trial in cases assigned to the Personal Injury Hub courtrooms. Parties to a case who are willing to waive their right to a jury may sign up for this program electronically by submitting a form. Once filed, their matter will be assigned to a Civil trial department for a bench trial within 60 days. (News Release)

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 and General Order)

“Judgment Assistance Day” Pilot Program for Dissolution and Parentage Actions

The Court is offering a pilot program to help self-represented litigants prepare the last document to conclude their dissolution or parentage actions. (News Release)

UD Courtroom Updates

Effective May 17, 2021, four (4) Unlawful Detainer (UD) courtrooms in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse were designated as direct calendar UD courtrooms. The prior structure included two (2) calendar/law and motion UD courtrooms and two (2) UD trial courtrooms. In addition, if a party is exempt from electronic filings, any ex parte application now must be filed by 8:30 a.m. the day of the hearing to be considered timely filed and reviewed prior to the hearing. (Notice)

COVID-19 Notices

  • Social distancing, face masks and all existing COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in effect in all courthouses in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Face masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and all persons must maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others (except those within your household). (Amended General Order)
  • Please visit the Court’s COVID-19 News and Resource Center for additional COVID-19 related Court news, orders, policies and procedures.

Court Holiday

May 31, 2021 - Memorial Day


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

Jury Trials and COVID-19 Notices:

  • The Court is in the process of resuming jury trials – criminal first – and has published COVID safety protocols for attending live proceedings here.
    • Masks will be required to enter the courthouse, and people will be asked the four (4) COVID screening questions listed on page 5 of the document linked above.
  • Please see the Court’s COVID-19 Guidance for additional information regarding access to court facilities, jury trials and other proceedings.
  • Please also see the Guidelines for Zoom Courthouse Proceedings for information on how to participate in proceedings remotely.

Recruitment for Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Trial Attorney Panel

Pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, and with the approval of the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, the Court has established the CJA Trial Attorney Panel, which is comprised of eligible private attorneys providing representation for persons financially unable to obtain adequate representation in criminal cases prosecuted in the district. Anyone interested in serving on the panel should review the eligibility requirements and complete the application linked in this notice.

Merit Selection Panel Members

The Court is currently accepting applications from qualified attorneys serving on the Central District’s Merit Selection Panel. For more information and a link to the application, please see this notice. Applications must be received by May 24, 2021.

Amended: Highly Sensitive Documents (HSDs)

Due to breaches of private sector and government computer systems, the Court has modified the definition of HSDs as non-classified, sealed documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office involving criminal activity related to the investigation of public officials, cybersecurity, terrorism, intellectual property, or trade secrets where there are foreign or nation-state interests on the one hand, and the national security of the United States on the other hand. There will be no official changes to court procedures, except with respect to U.S. Attorney’s Office filings. (Notice)

Court Holidays

May 31, 2021 - Memorial Day


COURT OF APPEAL UPDATES

Judicial Assignments

The following Judges are sitting Pro-Tem:

  • Judge Rita Coyne Federman of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division One until June 30, 2021.
  • Judge Upinder S. Kalra of the Los Angeles Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three until June 30, 2021.
  • Judge Holly A. Thomas of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three from May 10, 2021 until July 31, 2021.
  • Judge Melissa R. McCormick of the Orange County Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Seven until June 30, 2021.
  • Judge Sam Ohta of the Los Angeles Superior Court will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Eight until June 30, 2021.

Presiding Justice Tricia A. Bigelow has announced she will retire from the Court of Appeal on June 30, 2021, leaving a vacancy in Division Eight.

Public Access to Oral Argument by Videoconference

  • The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District continues to hold video oral argument for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The courtroom remains closed to the public. The public will be able to see and/or hear court proceedings by clicking on the corresponding hearing link(s), which can be found here.
  • Persons granted remote access to proceedings are reminded of the general prohibition against photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings (including those held by telephone or videoconference).

Court Holiday

May 31, 2021 - Memorial Day

 
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Upcoming Events

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. After a year like no other for our judiciary, you won’t want to miss seeing and hearing firsthand accounts from the leaders of our courts about: how they managed to adapt, overcome, and excel in the face of unprecedented challenges and what we can all expect for the months ahead as restrictions required by the pandemic are eased. The program is scheduled to include “State of the Courts” addresses from: the Hon. Eric C. Taylor, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court; the Hon. Philip S. Gutierrez, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California; the Hon. Elwood G. Lui, Administrative Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal, Second District; and, the Hon. Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This event will also feature the presentations of: the Central District Clerk of the Year Award; the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judicial Assistant of the Year Award; and, the Jim Robie Professionalism and Civility Award, which is given annually to a Los Angeles trial lawyer whose career demonstrates the same qualities of professionalism, civility, service, enthusiasm, and collegiality as the award’s namesake, Jim Robie. This year’s recipient is Carolyn Kubota, a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP. Tickets and Pricing: LACBA members receive a discounted rate of $25 per person, and non-members may obtain individual tickets for $35 per person. Supporting law firms may purchase a series of ten tickets at the discounted rate of $200, which also includes recognition of support immediately prior the event. There is no charge for judicial officers or CLE+ members to attend.

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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