Things To Remember About Civil Litigation

Here are some things to remember about Civil Litigation:

Civil Procedure

When computing time, unless a hearing date is involved, start counting the next business day/court day (as required by Code in each instance), and include the last day.  If court days, exclude Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

If a hearing date is involved and you must count back from the hearing day, do not count the hearing day, and count backward from the date, beginning the day before the hearing day.

When adding days for method of service (not including service of the complaint), count the primary days (see #1 above), then add the days for method of service. Days to add:

By personal service – add no days.

By mail within CA – add 5 calendar days.

By mail outside CA – add 10 calendar days.

By overnight/fax/email – add 2 court days for MSJ; 2 calendar days other motions; 2 court days for all other documents.

When computing response date after service of Complaint, add the following days:

By personal service – add no days (total of 30 days from service).

By substitute service – add 10 days after mailing (total of 40 days from mailing).

By acknowledgment – the defendant has 20 days to sign and return acknowledgment; 30 days from date acknowledgment is signed.

Responses to a complaint are:


Demurrer (objects to defects or legal errors on the face of complaint).

Motion to Strike (seeks to strike all or part of complaint based on irrelevant, false, or improper).

Cross-Complaints must be filed:

Against existing Plaintiff or Cross-Complainant at the time defendant first appears (maybe served as any other document);

Against a new party any time before the trial date is set (must be served as a new complaint, and must include all other operative pleadings and court notices);

By leave of court at any other time (service as required by court or Code).

Amended pleading adds, omits, or corrects facts. Takes the place of the original pleading.

Amendment to pleading states a specific addition, omission, or correction, and is filed in addition to the original pleading.

Jury Fees – to be posted no later than the initial Case Management Conference, or if no Case Management Conference scheduled, then no later than 1 year from date of filing of the Complaint. If the party appears after the initial Case Management Conference or more than 1 year from the filing of the complaint, then 25 days prior to the initial trial date. The deposit is non-refundable.

Motions (Regular/Discovery/Ex Parte):

Notice – 16 court days before hearing (+ method of service).

Opposition – 9 court days before hearing.

Reply – 5 court days before hearing.

Opposition and Reply papers to be served in a way they are assured to be received by close of business the next business day.

Points and Authorities

15-page limit (moving & opposition).

10-page limit (reply).

Tables are required if more than 10 pages.

Ex Parte: Give notice by 10 a.m. the day before the hearing.

Motions (Summary Judgment/Adjudication):

Notice – 75 calendar days before hearing (+ method of service);

Opposition – 14 calendar days before hearing;

Reply – 5 calendar days before hearing.

Opposition and Reply papers to be served in a way that they are assured to be received by close of business the next business day.

Points and Authorities

20-page limit (moving & opposition)

10-page limit (reply)

Tables required if more than 10 pages

Separate Statement is required.

Good faith settlement motions – must be served via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Alternative Dispute Resolution:

Settlement Conference – through the court, before a judge.

Mediation – informal process before a neutral person who facilitates settlement.

Arbitration – informal trial proceeding before a neutral arbitrator, evidence, witnesses presented. May be binding (no appeal) or non-binding (appeal to court via Request for Trial De Novo).

Expert Witness Exchange – Request for Exchange of Expert Witness Information is 70 days before the initial trial date, the first exchange is 50 days before the initial trial date, the supplemental exchange is 20 days after the initial exchange.

Expedited Jury Trials – 1-day trial. Limited time to put on the case; fewer jurors; no appeal or post-trial motions allowed.  All parties must consent.

Post-Trial – Memo of costs due 15 days from date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or 180 days after judgment entered, whichever occurs first. Motion to tax due within 15 days of service of memo of costs.

Proofs of serviceunsigned copies of the proof of service are served on other parties. Original signed proofs of service are filed with the court or kept in the serving party’s file.

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