2019 changes to California state and local rules of court

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A look at the most important updates to California state and local rules of court. New eFiling mandates, changes to eService, and more.

Yup, it’s that time of year again—or will be next week—when new and amended rules and statutes become effective here in California. Below is a breakdown of what’s happening and “where.”

California Rules of Court

The state has made a variety of minor changes to the statutes and rules of court. One, in particular, may have an impact on you and your firm.

C.R.C. 2.251: Consent for eService

This is an AMENDED rule and it brings changes to how consent to eService is given. Currently, that consent is manifested either by serving a notice of such or by “electronically filing any document with the court.” The amended rule does away with the latter and instead requires that affirmative consent be made “through electronic means with the court or the court’s electronic filing service provider…”

A new sub-section (C) defines how consent is manifested. Either by:

  1. Agreeing to the terms of service agreement with an EFSP or
  2. “Filing Consent to Electronic Service and Notice of Electronic Service Address (form EFS-005-CV).” EFS-005-CV is a new form that would need to be used if the filer chose that path.

For ease of use, anyone filing or serving with One Legal will be asked to agree to a new terms of service agreement, which will include consent to receive electronic service.

Here’s a link to the entire list of amended rules.

Local Rules

Over the last several months, many courts have put out invitations to comment on rules that become effective on the 1st of the year. Below are the highlights. Please note that this post focuses primarily on items that are eFiling related, yet there are a few other things worth mentioning:

eFiling related changes:

Not all 58 California counties chose to update their local rules in 2019. Here is more information about some of the courts that have changed, added, or updated rules, particularly as they relate to electronic court filing and service.

  • Butte County Superior Court – The rules have yet to be posted but MANDATES for eFiling of all Civil, Family and Probate case types will take effect.
  • Imperial County Superior Court– NEW Local Rule 2.18: Electronic Submission of Documents to the Court. This new rule sets requirements for a pilot electronic court filing program that is in the works in this county.
  • Kern County Superior Court– AMENDED Local Rule 1.10: Electronic Filing. This rule has been amended to allow (not mandate) eFiling in Family Law and Probate case types. eFiling in these case types had already been made permissive, however, this update now calls it out specifically within the rule.
    • A new sub-section was added too: sub-section (d). It reads in part that “Media outlets may review certain court filings.” It goes on to give advice about making documents confidential and redacting confidential information within a document. Essentially, it’s a warning to filers.
  • Merced County Superior Court– AMENDED Local Rule 2 (E)(1): Mandatory Electronic Filing. This update states that non-DCSS (Dept. of Child Support Services) Family Law and Probate matters MUST be eFiled as of January 1, 2019. There was a minor technical change to sub-section (3) as well, and other sub-sections were renumbered.
  • San Mateo County Superior Court – AMENDED Local Rule 2.1.5 (A): Permissive Electronic Filing of Documents. The amendment allows eFiling in Criminal case types.
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court– AMENDED Local Rule 6: General Court and Adminstration Rules.
    • Some technical changes were made to L.R. 6 (A): Mandatory Electronic Filing and Service.
    • Amendments were made to L.R. 6 (D): Confidential Documents, specifying how confidential documents are lodged and that “A cover sheet that identifies the lodged or sealed documents shall be electronically filed.”
    • Amendments were made to L.R. 6 (E): Documents not Filed Electronically, adding several document types to those that are exempt from eFiling, including “original orders signed by a judicial officer”, Sister-State Judgments, and Subpoenas for Out of State Actions.
  • Stanislaus County Superior Court– NEW Local Rule 1.14: Mandatory Electronic Filing. Mandates all Civil cases for eFiling and adds Family Law, Probate and Small Claims to the list as well. The current “permissive eFiling rule,” L.R. 3.15, goes away.
  • Ventura County Superior Court– AMENDED Local Rule 4.05: Electronic Delivery. Adds several document types to those that are exempt from eDelivery.

Other rule changes:

What else is going on in the world of updated local rules?

  • Alameda County Superior Court– AMENDED Local Rule 3.31: Discovery. “…sets forth a uniform court-wide procedure for requesting an IDC” (Informal Discovery Conference).
  • Nevada County Superior Court– AMENDED Rules, NEW rules and NEW forms. Adds some new forms, gets rid of one and, among other things, removes references to Courtcall and references some California Rules of Court.
  • Riverside County Superior Court– AMENDED Rules and Forms. Changes made to Pre-trial Rule 3401, Probate Rule 7301 (Guardianships) and a couple Probate forms.
  • Santa Cruz County Superior Court– While some minor changes have been made, this county has yet to post the list of updates, but has noted on its website that it will do so during the last week of December.

While some new mandates and minor processes must be considered as of the new year, there is nothing too significant to account for. Be sure to check in with your local court to confirm that no other changes have been made that will substantially affect your firm and how it interacts with the court.

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