Plaintiff may serve discovery on another party 10 days after service of the complaint. (CCP §2030.020, 2031.020). A Defendant may serve discovery at any time. (CCP §2030.020). A Party has 30 days to respond to written discovery.
For example, if you serve a Complaint on Defendant on April 01, then you can propound discovery on Defendant on April 11. Defendant then will have 30 days to respond to the Discovery requests, therefore their deadline is May 11. However, Defendant can propound discovery on the date they were served the Complaint, which would be April 01 in this example and Plaintiff’s deadline would be May 01 to respond.
A propounding party then has 45 days to move to compel additional answers. (CCP §2030.300). Practice tip: any discovery deadline extensions and/or meet and confers, should also include an agreed upon extension deadline for a motion to compel.
Discovery closes 30 days before trial – 15 days before Arbitration. (CCP §2024.020)
Practice Tip: you want to allow enough time to file a Motion to Compel further responses, should the responding party not provide sufficient discovery, therefore the practical last day to serve discovery is 90 -100 days before Trial because the last day to hear discovery motions is 15 days before trial. (CCP §2024.020)
Discovery Deadlines – Depositions
Plaintiff may serve a deposition notice 20 days after service of complaint. (CCP §2025.210) A Defendant may serve at any time. Depositions must be set at least 10 days in the future (CCP §2025.270). A party must promptly object at least 3 calendar days before the date of the deposition. (CCP §2025.401(a)).
If we use our example above, Plaintiff can serve a deposition notice on April 21 for a deposition set at least 10 days ahead, while a Defendant may serve a deposition notice on the date they were served of April 01. However, practically speaking, most parties wait for some written discovery to be completed before noticing depositions.
For a non-party witness, a subpoena must be issued at least 20 days before the deposition. (CCP §2025.270).
SB 1146 codifies Emergency Rule 11 by amending California Code of Civil Procedure §2025.310. the party noticing a deposition may elect to have the court reporter attend the deposition remotely and the reporter need not be physically present to swear in the deponent. Thus, if a witness seeks to limit in-person contact, they may maintain social distancing by testifying via videoconference. The court reporter, parties to the case, and attorneys all may participate in the deposition remotely. The revised statute however, allows for any party to attend the deposition in person, which could result in conflict between a witness who wants to socially distance and a party or attorney who wants to be in the room where testimony is being taken.