| by Heather Duncan, Esq.
As previewed in our September Network News, Governor Newsom signed California Senate Bill 1146 on September 18, 2020. The bill became law when signed, effectively amending Sections 1010.6 and 2025.310 and replacing Section 599 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP). The changes solidify the future use of remote depositions and electronic service of documents in civil litigation.
Below are details on the new legal provisions.
The Code of Civil Procedure has been amended to allow for remote depositions without leave of court.
CCP §2025.310 now authorizes a deponent or the deposing party to elect to have the court reporter attend the deposition by telephone or other remote electronic means. The new law specifically provides that a deponent is not required to be physically present with the deposition officer when being sworn in at the time of the deposition. Further, any party or attorney of record, may, but is not required to, be physically present at the deposition at the location of the deponent, subject to any protective order issued by the court.
The Code of Civil Procedure was also amended to allow for electronic service.
CCP §1010.6 now provides that parties must accept electronic service of a notice or document so long as the party being served has counsel and that the attorney’s electronic service address is confirmed via telephone or email.
CCP §559 was added to extend deadlines for civil discovery, the exchange of expert witness information, mandatory settlement conferences, and service of documents. Under the new law, unless ordered by the court or agreed to by the parties, a continuance or postponement of a trial date extends any discovery deadlines that have not already passed as of March 19, 2020. The discovery extensions are for the same length of time as any continuance or postponement of a trial.
It should be noted that under CCP §559 (b), the discovery extension will remain in effect “only during the state of emergency...related to the COVID-19 pandemic and 180 days after the end.”
FUTURE EMERGENCY ORDERS
Another bill, Assembly Bill 3366, signed by Governor Newsom will allow the California Supreme Court Chief Justice to issue future emergency statewide orders without having to ask the Governor for permission or wait for individual courts to request an order.