Proposed local rule changes in California for 2020

A look at the most important 2020 updates to California local rules of court. New eFiling mandates, changes to eService, and more.

It’s that time of year again!

Every year, as the manager for government relations and public policy, I comb through local rule proposals across California courts to identify any that would significantly (or even slightly) affect the process of electronic filing and electronic service and beyond.

Don’t forget, the first of the year is also when some courts update their forms and coversheets. Check with your local court to see if you need to grab the latest one.

These counties are proposing changes that are eFiling and eService related:

Calaveras County

A minor technical change has been proposed to L.R. 2.15(c): “Filing Dates and Times” was deleted and replaced with “Limitations on Filings,” which was sub-section (d) and will become sub-section (c). Limitations on filings refer to documents that cannot be eFiled; there was no change to that actual list, however.

Glenn County

This county has proposed a rule change to L.R. 2.0(A), specifying that “Secure binding shall be accomplished through clipping or rubber-banding” and “expedites the court’s ability to convert the document into a digital format…”

There are also some other proposed amendments that ARE NOT eFiling related, including proposed new rules 2.13 (Elisors); and 7.05 (Court-appointed special advocates), establishing a CASA program.

Los Angeles County

The court has proposed amendments to nine (9) different local rules, including:

(2) minor technical changes to L.R. 3.4 (Electronic Filing)

Sub-section (d) (Timing for Exempted Filings)

Sub-section (f) (Time for Electronic Filing of Ex-Parte Applications). Additional proposals (not eFiling related) touch local rules 2.7., 2.18 and 3.3.

San Diego County

A notice on the court’s website proposed to amend Probate L.R. 4.3.2 to exempt documents with digitized signatures (i.e. applied in Adobe Acrobat) from those that can be eFiled. Which is already covered by the eFiling requirements document. However, this did not show up in the proposed rules.

San Francisco County

The court has proposed an amendment to L.R. 14.93(E) (E-Filing in Probate) requiring certified copies of birth certificates to be physically filed, adding this to the list of “eFiling exempt” documents.

Other non-eFiling related proposed changes include L.R. 9 (Ex-Parte Applications); 14.6 (Submission of Proposed Order and Other Pleadings [Probate] Before Date of Hearing); and 14.77 (Guardianship).

San Mateo County

Several things to be aware of for this court:

  • Proposed amended L.R. 2.1.5 removes the FL and PR case types from those that are allowed to be eFiled and new rule 2.1.7 adds them to “Mandatory eFiling of Documents.”
  • New L.R. 2.1.8 will specifically address “Documents That Cannot Be Electronically Filed.”
  • An amendment to L.R. 3.3 requires text-searchability and bookmarking.
  • There are proposed amendments to many other rules as well including 6.21 (Tentative Rulings). There is a proposed new rule 3.22 (Law and Motion Hearings) and other proposed amendments to Law & Motion rules too.
  • Amendments are also proposed to Ex Parte rules 3.19, 6.22 and others
  • Last, but not least is a proposed amended rule 2.1 (Form of Papers Presented for Filing) which specifies the use of clips or fasteners (not staples) for hard copy documents.

Santa Barbara County

There is one proposed change related to eFiling: New L.R. 1210 (Mandatory eFiling in Limited Civil Case Appeals).

Other proposed amendments include L.R. 1801 (Dispute Resolution for Small Claims) as well as Appellate Division Rules (Chapter 12).

There are proposed changes to local forms, too – some deleted and some amended.

Sonoma County

  • Most importantly “eFiling-wise” are proposed new rules 18.22 (Mandatory Electronic Filing), which will mandate eFiling in Civil, Family Law and Probate; 18.23 (Limitations of eFilings); 18.24 (Electronic Filing Service Providers); 18.25 (Electronic Filing Dates and Times); 18.26 (Electronically Filed Proposed Orders and Orders After Hearing) 18.27 (Electronic Service).
  • Other proposed amendments relate to technical changes around L.R. 2.1(C) (Law and Motion, Small Claims cases); 2.2 (Law and Motion, Unlawful Detainer cases); and L.R. 4.17 (Post-Trial Matters) which would require same-day delivery of courtesy copies the day the documents are filed.

Stanislaus County

Proposed amendment to L.R. 1.14 would remove Small Claims from the list of case types in which eFiling is mandatory. Since Small Claims cases always and only involve self-represented litigants, who are by rule not required to eFile, a court cannot mandate eFiling in Small Claims.

There are also proposed amendments to L.R. 3.01(E) (Law and Motion/Ex-Parte Hearings); 3.22 (Small Claims Continuances); and 8.02 (Time for Filing). You’ll also see quite a few amendments related to court reporters as well as some Family Law and Juvenile Justice proposals.

For other proposed rules that are less significant or do not impact eFiling, you can visit the court’s website:

These counties published proposed changes but none were related to eFiling nor eService:

Butte County

  • Local Rule 1.5 (Non-documentary/multimedia exhibits accepted “as part of any filed pleading…”) has been added;
  • Local Rule 1.9 removed the requirement to submit a 3-hole punched, tabbed, Trial Readiness Conference Statement to the judge. There were a few other proposed changes, too.

Contra Costa County

  • Proposed changes include a title change to Local Rule 3.14 (from UD “cases” to UD “Trial Setting);
  • Local Rule 3.19 (Unlawful Detainer Process) has been added;
  • Sub-section (a) of Local Rule 7.502 (Elisors) was amended with a new attorney’s fees pay scale based on years of experience and sub-section (b) was amended with a new scale for Fiduciary

Fresno County

  • Some changes have been proposed on Local Rule 1.2.8 re: court commissioners and evaluations; an amendment to L.R. 2.4.1 “says” that ADR information and the requisite ADR package can be obtained from the clerk’s office OR the website.
  • Rule 2.4.2 will be added and it will require that all parties engage in “some form of ADR such as mediation…” There are other ADR related proposals as well.

Kern County

  • Many proposed changes, mostly technical, to various rules, have been proposed. One that stood out was LR 3.14(b), which added some deadline language to the Ex-Parte order process.
  • There are also quite a few proposed changes to some of the “Juvenile rules.”

Madera County

There are approx. six (6) proposed changes, some technical in nature.

  • A new proposed rule 4.1.5 (Filings in Criminal matters)
  • Some amendments proposed to Family Law Local Rule 5.1.26
  • A new rule involving guardianships for multiple minors (proposed rule 7.8.8).

Marin County

Some amendments and re-numbering of the rules related to Juvenile case types, and some amendments to a few FL rules as well.

Mendocino County

Proposed rule 1.8 (fee waivers) was added to the general court rules, necessitating some re-numbering of other rules. There are some proposed additions to the “Criminal rules” too.

Merced County

Merced Superior is taking the opportunity to do a bit of clean up. There are myriad changes but most are technical in nature. E.G. Changing the title of L.R. 1.5 from “Custody of Court Files and Signed Orders” to “Custody of Exhibits” and re-lettering Rule 16 (Criminal Matters) to address a proposed deletion of sub-section (K) (Requests to Conduct Media Coverage) because the court is instead proposing to add a new sub-section (B) to Rule 2.1 (Photographing, Recording, Broadcasting and Other Electronic Devices).

Monterey County

Changes to Chapter 15 (Writs and Petitions for Review) have been put forth and they essentially add “e-requirements” as I’ll refer to them, to the Rule 15.3. E.G. searchable, bookmarked, PDF documents will be required when lodging an administrative record.

Napa County

Proposed changes to LR 2.4 (Location and Schedule of Court Sessions) is one item on this court’s list. Another is an amendment to L.R. 7.6(D), referencing a new Family Law Stip and Order form.

Placer County

Proposed no new rules, just amendments to existing ones, such as L.R. 10.19 (Prohibition on Recording); 30.10 (Family Law Facilitator), and 60.1 (Court Appointed Attorneys).

San Luis Obispo County

The court proposed a total of three (3) amendments: Rule 10.02 (Arrest and Search Warrants); 26 (Rules for Arbitration); and 26.02 (Compensation for Arbitrator).

Santa Clara County

A few proposed amendments included: Rule 19(D) which would require a new form SC-8020 (Request to Participate in ODR) be served with all Plaintiff’s Claims. The court is also proposing an amendment to Probate Rule 11(F) regarding the purchase of a handbook and viewing of a film on YouTube. That’s a first for me! It’s good to see the court’s embracing many different types of social media in order to get the word out to their constituents.

Santa Cruz County

Quite a few proposed amendments, from new rule 1.1.10 (Elisors) to amendments to other rules, including 2.3.02 (Attorney’s Fees in Minor Compromise) and Rule 4.2.05 (Notices). The court has pulled the proposed amendments from its local rules page as of November 4th, however, as that was the date the comment period ended. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if anything was yanked!

Shasta County

Shasta has put forth for comment new Rule 5.04 (Discovery Motions) and has proposed amendments to “Criminal rules” 6.03 and 13.06. Also on the list are amendments to Family Law Rule 4.06 (At-issue memorandums); and 14.10 (Mandatory Disclosure).

Siskiyou County

The court is proposing replacing its automated fax filing with direct fax filing: Local Rule 2.15. Changes to the Trial Management Conference (Criminal cases) rules 7.05, as well as 9.03, are also proposed.

Solano County

The court plans to add a digital signatures rule, 1.5, which clarifies that digital signatures have the same force and effect as manual signatures. It is also proposing changes to Rule 17.1 (Photography, Videotaping, and Electronic Recordings) and go figure, is adding a new “Elisor rule,” 17.7.

Tulare County

Proposed changes to rules around eDelivery and which documents are allowed.

Tuolumne County

An amendment to Rule 5.18.0 (Petitions for Distribution) is proposed, and also Probate related is new rule 6.00.5 (General Probate Rules Applicable to Conservatorships and Guardianships). Rule 6.08.0 (Guardianship Funds for Support of Minor) will be revoked.

Ventura County

Proposed changes to clerk offices and filing deadlines for specific documents, plus certain technical changes.

Yuba County

There are a few proposed amendments from the Yuba Superior Court: Amendments to L.R. 2.10 (Court Reporters); 2.13 (Records Requests); 2.14 (Elisors); 3.5(A) (Telephonic Appearances), and 5.0 (Family Law Law & Motion).

These counties had no proposed changes to their local rules:

Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Sierra, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, and Yolo.

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