Construction Defects - Dept 74 Rules

Department 74 Policies and Procedures - Honorable Keri Katz
Rev. March 25, 2021

Honorable Keri Katz, Presiding

Phone numbers
Courtroom: (619) 450-7074
Calendar: (619) 450-7183- Phone hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m

1. Calendars

1.1 Ex Parte. Ex parte appearances are by reservation only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Counsel may obtain reservations by contacting the Calendar Clerk at (619) 450-7183. Please note that there is a daily limit to the number of ex parte reservations issued. If you find that you will not be appearing after reserving your date, please contact the Calendar Clerk to cancel. The Court requests that ex parte papers be filed by noon on the day before the hearing with the appropriate filing fee.

Petitions for appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem and Minor’s Compromise and applications for orders for Publication of Summons may be made ex parte without the necessity of an appearance. The moving papers shall be submitted for review by the Court and the Court may set a hearing if such hearing is deemed necessary.

1.2 Case Management Conferences. CMC's are scheduled on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and at such other times as the Court may designate. This Department sets each case for a CMC approximately 150 days after filing of the complaint. It is the duty of Plaintiffs' and Cross-Complainants' counsel to notify all parties served of the date and time of the CMC if it has been set.

1.3 Trial Readiness Conferences. Trial Readiness Conferences are scheduled on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.. unless otherwise indicated.

1.4 Trial Call. Trials are called on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. and at such other times as the Court may designate.

1.5 Trial. Trial hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise ordered.

2. Law and Motion

2.1 Reservations Required. This Department hears motions by reservation only. Counsel must reserve a date for each motion to be filed, by contacting the Calendar Clerk at (619) 450-7183. Counsel will be given the first available hearing date. The Court requires courtesy copies of all e-filed documents on all motion hearings (moving, opposing, etc.) delivered to the Department 74 drop box in the Hall of Justice.

2.2 Tentative Rulings. Pursuant to the California Rules of Court, this Department issues a calendar note containing the tentative ruling on the day of the hearing. However, as a courtesy to counsel, this Department may also post the tentative ruling the day before on the Court's web site.

2.3 Discovery Motions. Prior to filing any discovery motion(s), an informal discovery conference is highly encouraged. To reserve a date, contact the Calendar Clerk at the number provided above.

The moving party is required to meet and confer with the opposing party to select a mutually agreeable date for the informal discovery conference. If the parties are unable to agree on a date for the conference, the moving party is required to obtain a date sufficiently in advance to provide the opposing party with at least Five days’ notice.

The parties are requested to exchange and deliver no more than a two page summary directly to Department 74 no later than the Friday prior to the conference. The parties should be prepared to explain the issues in dispute during the conference. The conference is an informal process intended to encourage resolution of discovery disputes by engaging in meaningful discussion with the benefit of the Court’s input before any motion papers are filed.

The deadline to file a discovery motion is tolled from the date of service of the notice of informal discovery conference (as long as the deadline has not yet expired) through the date of completion of the informal discovery conference. No motion to compel discovery may be filed until after completion of a conference as to the discovery in dispute.

2.4 Orders. The Court's minute order is the final order of the Court unless the Court directs counsel to prepare and submit an order.

2.5 Applications for Good Faith Settlement. If counsel files an application for good faith settlement pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedures, counsel are to file their order and application concurrently. The application and order will be held the requisite 25 days (plus 5 for mailing, if applicable), and if no motion to contest is filed, the order will be signed and processed. The clerk will return conformed copies of the application with the signed order after the 25 (or 30) day period has elapsed. The proposed order should contain the following language:

The determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co- obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution or partial or comparative indemnity based on comparative negligence or comparative fault. CCP §877.6(c).

3. Construction Defect Cases

3.1 E-file. A construction defect action is designated as a mandatory Electronic Filing Case and is governed by General Order 010121-22(A). The electronic filing requirements must be adhered to.

Note the requirement of courtesy copies in the E-File Courtesy Copy Reference Guide.

3.2 Case Management Order. Unless otherwise ordered, counsel are to prepare a Case Management Order using the standardized CMO available on the Court’s website. A CMO is not required if the case is not complex as defined in California Rules of Court, rule 3.400.

3.3 CMO Timelines. The Court calendars the following events at the corresponding times:

Status Conference   10:30 a.m.
Case Management Conference   10:30 a.m.
Trial Readiness Conference   1:30 p.m.
Trial Call   1:30 p.m.

3.4 Naming new parties. The CMO is to designate a date by which all new parties are to be named.

3.5 Trial and Trial Readiness Conference. The CMO is to designate a date for both the Trial and Trial Readiness Conference.

4. Trial Conduct Guidelines

4.1 Please inform each other, prior to meeting with the Court, of any evidentiary problems you anticipate such as the unavailability of expert witnesses, proposed scene visit, or stipulations concerning foundational requirements. The Court expects counsel to work together and cooperate in putting on a continual flow of witnesses, regardless of whose case they support.

4.2 Please be aware of the requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure concerning the procedures for presenting oral or videotaped depositions, including, but not limited to, the requirements that the party intending to offer video depositions shall notify the parties in writing of the parts of the deposition to be offered

4.3 If you are using a deposition for cross-examination, simply indicate to the Court you wish to publish a portion of the witness' deposition, cite the page and lines, pause to allow counsel to find the subject page and lines, and read both question and answer to the jury without further addressing the witness.

4.4 Exchange all diagrams, charts and other evidence, demonstrative or otherwise, you intend to publish to the jury in opening statements. If objected to, this evidence will not be published to the jury in an opening statement.

4.5 Ensure that an up-to-date witness list and joint statement of the case is agreed upon and provided to the Court by 9:00a.m. the date of trial.

4.6 The Court will voir dire the prospective jurors. The Court will also read questions to the jury submitted by the parties if they are either agreed upon or the Court determines they are submitted to aid in the selection of a fair and impartial jury. If two sides, each side will have six challenges. If more than two sides, please indicate such to the Court.

Dept. 74 - Advance Trial Review Order