IN THIS ISSUE
Litigation Section Newsletter
Litigation Executive Committee:
Eric Y. Kizirian, Chair
Brian T. Glennon, Chair Elect
Shehnaz M. Bhujwala, Vice Chair
Mike Madokoro, Secretary
Douglas N. Silverstein, 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.
- TM Financial Forensics
- Click here to view the sponsors page -
LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT UPDATES
Complex Civil Cases
- The Court has implemented mandatory electronic filing (efiling) for Complex cases, effective September 20, 2021. The Civil Division will subsequently no longer accept fax filings for Complex Civil documents. (News Release).
Last Day Deadlines for Criminal Trials and Juvenile Dependency
- Judge Eric Taylor announced a new General Order extending certain Criminal and Juvenile deadlines. The Order extends deadlines as follows: (News Release).
- Holding of preliminary examinations and the defendant’s right to release are extended from 10 court days to not more than 30 court days.
- Holding of a Criminal trial extended by not more than 30 days, only for cases with a statutory deadline that would otherwise expire between September 12 and September 26 inclusive.
- Post-Conviction progress reports extended by 90 calendar days, only for cases with reports set on September 12 to September 26 inclusive.
- Out-of-custody misdemeanor pretrial hearings extended by 90 calendar days, unless statutorily required to be held sooner and the defendant does not consent to a continuance, only for cases with pretrial hearings set between September 12 to September 26 inclusive.
- Time periods for minors taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings before release under section 313 of the Welfare and Institutions Code are extended to not more than 7 days, only for minors for whom the statutory deadline would expire between September 12 and October 9, inclusive.
- Time periods for minors taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings before getting a detention hearing under section 315 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is extended to not more than 7 days, only for minors for whom the deadline would expire September 12 to October 9 inclusive.
Extension of Relaxed Dress Code Policy
- Judge Eric Taylor announced the extension of the court’s casual dress code policy. While formal business attire is not required, all authorized persons should continue to dress in courtroom appropriate attire, whether appearing in person or remotely. Formal business attire is required, however, for jury trials and formal hearings. The revised policy will be in effect until the end of the COVID-19 emergency or until further notice. (News Release).
LACourtConnect Free of Charge During Delta Variant
- Effective September 7, the Court has waived the $15 LACourtConnect recovery fee cost for all hearings. This is intended to encourage litigants to appear remotely, which will greatly assist the court in addressing the backlog of pending cases and especially in light of the Delta variant. This announcement aligns with the results of a Judicial Council of California’s Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives report, which found “remote proceedings allow individuals who face barriers in accessing the courts … to efficiently resolve their court matters[.]” (News Release).
Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
- The Court announced a comprehensive diversity and inclusion collaboration with legal aid and bar associations to support underrepresented attorneys, helping them gain litigation and courtroom experience. New Local Rule 3.47 Multiple Counsel – Motions, and Local Rule 3.93 – Trial Functions, effective January 1, 2022, allow judges to grant requests by counsel to permit less experienced attorneys to perform trial functions or argue motions under a supervising attorney. The working group has organized trainings and programs for less experienced attorneys in the Los Angeles County community to help facilitate these courtroom opportunities and overcome barriers in the legal profession. (News Release).
- The Court announced it will require its 4,600 employees to get vaccinated no later than 45 days following the FDA’s final approval of at least one COVID-19 vaccine. Court employees will be required to submit their vaccination status through a confidential portal. Court employees with a medical condition preventing vaccination, as verified by their healthcare provider, or those with confirmed sincerely held religious beliefs who abstain from vaccination, may request an exception to the vaccination requirement. The Court will consider these requests according to the Court’s procedures for reasonable accommodation requests. (News Release).
State Budget for Pandemic-Related Civil Case Delays
- Judge Eric Taylor announced several changes to take place over the coming months to provide timely access to justice by shifting resources to manage caseloads, facilitating settlement, offering more trial capacity by opening departments previously closed, and being prepared for any increase in Unlawful Detainer cases. Supervising Judge David J. Cowan will lead the effort, overseeing the following changes: (News Release)
- Adding three Independent Calendar (I/C) courtrooms
- Converting two trial courtrooms to conduct Mandatory Settlement Conferences
- Reopening three currently closed trial departments
- Adding a sixth Personal Injury (PI) courtroom at the Spring Street Courthouse
- Adding an additional courtroom in West Covina
- Family Law:
- Effective September 13, Judge Timothy M. Weiner is temporarily reassigned to Dept. J at the Torrance Courthouse, 825 Maple Ave., Torrance. (Notice).
- Effective October 18, Commissioner Dennis F. Hernandez is reassigned to Dept. 65 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, replacing Judge Lynn H. Scaduto. All matters previously assigned to Dept. 65 will be assigned to Commissioner Hernandez. (Notice).
- Effective October 18, Commissioner Jeffrey W. Korn is reassigned to Dept. 41 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. All matters previously assigned to Dept. 41 will be assigned to Commissioner Korn. (Notice).
- Civil Division (Notice)
- Judge Audra Mori was reassigned to Dept. 31 at the Spring Street Courthouse, a PI Hub courtroom, to replace Judge Thomas D. Long.
- Judge William A. Crowfoot was reassigned to Dept. 27 at the Spring Street Courthouse, a PI Hub courtroom, to replace Judge Edward B. Moreton, Jr.
- Effective October 12, Judge Jill Feeney will be reassigned to Dept. 30 PI Hub Courtroom at the Spring Street Courthouse.
- Judge Daniel M. Crowley has been selected as the first Managing PI Hub Judge to coordinate moving PI cases forward and is assigned to Dept. 28 at the Spring Street Courthouse.
Proof of Vaccination Status or Negative COVID Test Required
- The Spring Street Courthouse require the general public seeking to observe court proceedings, including the media, to fill out a form certifying their vaccination status. If the person is not vaccinated or declines to provide information on their vaccination status, they must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test no older than three days from the time of entry. The Court also requires everyone over the age of two to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth in all courthouses. (Notice).
- October 11 – Columbus Day
U.S.D.C. CENTRAL DISTRICT COURT UPDATES
Changes to Local Rules
- The Court has preliminarily approved amendments to the local rules listed below. The proposed effective date of the newly amended rules are December 1, 2021. The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed changes by September 29, 2021. A redline version of the rules can be found here. (Notice).
- New L.R. 4-5
- L.R. 37-2.1
- L.R. 65-1
Extension of CARES Act
- The Court has extended its authority pursuant to the CARES Act through October 15, 2021. 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 through October 15. In the Southern and Eastern divisions, criminal duty matters will be held in the respective duty magistrate courtrooms. (Notice).
- October 11 – Columbus Day
COURT OF APPEAL UPDATES
Clerk’s Office Appointments
- The Clerk’s office is open to the public by appointment only. You can schedule an appointment on the Online Booking Portal.
Returning to the Courtroom
- The Second District has begun the process of returning to the courtroom. Technology that will facilitate this return is being refined and tested so justices can return to the courtroom while lawyers participate remotely. Division 2 has already had several justices in the courtroom with all other parties joining via Blue Jeans, the division’s virtual meeting application.
Appellate Self-Help Clinic
- Public Counsel has reopened its Appellate Self-Help Clinic providing general legal information and procedural assistance to individuals representing themselves in the Second District Court of Appeal and the Appellate Division of any Superior Court within the Second District. Clinic consultations are available by appointment only, and can be held in person, or by video or telephone conference. Appointments can be made by calling (213) 830-7234 on Wednesdays starting from 8:00 a.m. for the following Wednesday. Individuals who choose to have their consultation in person are encouraged to remember that masks are required in the Ronald Reagan State Building at all times, and waiting in the Clinic’s lobby or stair landing is not permitted. You can access the Self-Help Resource Center here.
- The following judges are currently sitting on assignment:
- Judge Charles S. Crandall of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division One until October 31, 2021
- Judge Brian E. Hill of the Santa Barbara Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three until September 30, 2021
- Judge Martha A. Matthews of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three until October 31, 2021
- Judge Mark E. Windham of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Three from September 20, 2021 until November 30, 2021
- Judge Audra Ibarra of the Santa Clara Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Seven until October 31, 2021
- Judge Sam Ohta of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro Tem in Division Eight until October 31, 2021
- October 11 – Columbus 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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