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Governor Brown Signs Legislation Regarding Depositions, Jury Fees

2012 | Topics: Warranty, Class Actions, Product Liability, Business Litigation

On September 17, 2012, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1875. The new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2013, imposes a seven-hour time limit on most depositions in state court and brings California civil procedure in line with the federal rules. The bill was backed by the Consumer Attorneys of California, who argued that many ill and/or elderly plaintiffs were being needlessly deposed on multiple occasions in some cases. Defense lawyers and business groups dropped their initial opposition to this legislation after many exemptions were made available, including exemptions for experts, employment litigation, and certain deponents in complex litigation.

On the same day, Governor Brown approved language clarifying the recent amendment to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 631 regarding jury fees. In June 2012, an amendment made the $150 jury fee nonrefundable and required that the fees be posted on or before the day of the initial case management conference. However, the amendment created confusion as to whether the pay-in-advance jury fees applied to each party in a case or each side. The new language makes clear that each side must post the fee. Notably, if one side posts fees, that does not relieve parties on the opposing side from waiver for failing to timely pay the fee.