Motion for Protective Order in California Superior Court–At A Glance

Use this “At A Glance Guide” to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure applicable to bringing a motion for protective order in California Superior Court.  For more detailed information, including local rules, please see the California Superior Court SmartRules Guides:  Motion for Protective Order, Opposition to Motion for Protective Order and Reply in Support of Motion for Protective Order.

Bring Promptly

Regarding depositions, interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admission, a party bringing a motion for protective order must do so “promptly” after the need for the protective order arises. Depositions: CCP § 2025.420(a); Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(a); Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060(a); and Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080(a).

 Motion for Protective Order Rules

Protective orders require a showing of good cause to protect from annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense. Depositions: CCP § 2025.420(b); Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(b); Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060(b); and Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080(b).

The court shall limit discovery if it determines that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness outweighs the likelihood of the discovery leading to admissible evidence. CCP § 2017.020(a).

The court shall limit discovery that is unreasonably cumulative, obtainable from a more convenient source, or unduly burdensome. CCP § 2019.030(a)(1). The court shall limit discovery also if the selected method of discovery is unduly burdensome or expensive, taking into account the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, and the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation. CCP § 2019.030(a)(2).

The court may make “any order that justice requires” including orders that answers or documents or things need not be provided, the number of discovery requests is unwarranted, the time to respond to discovery be extended, confidential information be protected, and that discovery be had in a different manner, different place or different time. Depositions: CCP § 2025.420(b); Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(b); Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060(b); Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080(b).

A party seeking a protective order must make a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion for protective order. CCP § 2017.020(a); CCP § 2019.030(b); CCP § 2016.040. Depositions: CCP § 2025.420(a); Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(a); Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060(a); and Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080(a).

The court must impose a monetary sanction against any party that unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion for protective order, unless it finds that the party subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. CCP § 2017.020(b); CCP § 2019.030(c). Depositions: CCP § 2025.420(d); Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(d); Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060(d); Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080(d).

The court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. The court may also impose this sanction on one unsuccessfully asserting that another has engaged in the misuse of the discovery process, or on any attorney who advised that assertion, or on both. If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. CCP § 2023.030(a).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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