Motion for Discovery Sanctions, 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 discovery sanctions in California Superior Court. For more detailed information, including local rules, please see the California Superior Court SmartRules Guides: Motion for Discovery Sanctions, Opposition to Motion for Disovery Sanctions and Reply in Support of Motion for Discovery Sanctions.

Motion for Discovery Sanctions Rules

The Court may issue sanctions for any misuse of the discovery process. Misuses of the discovery process include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Persisting, over objection and without substantial justification, in an attempt to obtain information or materials that are outside the scope of permissible discovery.

(b) Using a discovery method in a manner that does not comply with its specified procedures.

(c) Employing a discovery method in a manner or to an extent that causes unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.

(d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery.

(e) Making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery.

(f) Making an evasive response to discovery.

(g) Disobeying a court order to provide discovery.

(h) Making or opposing, unsuccessfully and without substantial justification, a motion to compel or to limit discovery.

(i) Failing to confer in person, by telephone, or by letter with an opposing party or attorney in a reasonable and good faith attempt to resolve informally any dispute concerning discovery, if the section governing a particular discovery motion requires the filing of a declaration stating facts showing that an attempt at informal resolution has been made.

CCP § 2023.010.

Notwithstanding the outcome of the particular discovery motion, the court shall impose a monetary sanction ordering that any party or attorney who fails to confer as required pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. CCP § 2023.020.

To the extent authorized by the rules governing any particular discovery method or any other provision of the discovery act, the Court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose the following sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process.

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 court may impose an issue sanction ordering that designated facts shall be taken as established in the action in accordance with the claim of the party adversely affected by the misuse of the discovery process. The court may also impose an issue sanction by an order prohibiting any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses. CCP § 2023.030(b).

The court may impose an evidence sanction by an order prohibiting any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process from introducing designated matters in evidence. CCP § 2023.030(c).

The court may impose a terminating sanction by one of the following orders:

(1) An order striking out the pleadings or parts of the pleadings of any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process.

(2) An order staying further proceedings by that party until an order for discovery is obeyed.

(3) An order dismissing the action, or any part of the action, of that party.

(4) An order rendering a judgment by default against that party.

CCP § 2023.030(d).

The court may impose a contempt sanction by an order treating the misuse of the discovery process as a contempt of court. CCP § 2023.030(e).

The Court shall impose a monetary sanction against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel discovery, 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.

Compelling Response to Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.290(c).

Compelling Further Response Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.300(d).

Compelling Inspection or Production: CCP § 2031.300(c).

Compelling Further Response to Inspection Demand: CCP § 2031.310(d).

Compelling Further Response Request for Admission: CCP § 2033.290(d).

Compelling Deponent to Answer or Produce Documents: CCP § 2025.480(f).

The Court may award sanctions in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed. CRC 341(a). CRC 3.1030(a) (renumbered eff 1/1/07).

The failure to file a written opposition or to appear at a hearing or the voluntary provision of discovery shall not be deemed an admission that the motion was proper or that sanctions should be awarded. CRC 341(b). CRC 3.1030(b) (renumbered eff 1/1/07).

If a party then fails to obey an order compelling answers, the court may make those orders that are just, including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction, or a terminating sanction. In lieu of or in addition to that sanction, the court may impose a monetary sanction.

Compelling Response to Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.290(c).

Compelling Further Response to Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.300(e).

Compelling Inspection or Production: CCP § 2031.300(c).

Compelling Further Response to Inspection Demand: CCP § 2031.310(e).

Compelling Further Response to Request for Admission: CCP § 2033.290(e).

If a deponent fails to obey an order compelling an answer or production of documents or tangible things, the failure may be considered a contempt of court. In addition, if the disobedient deponent is a party to the action or an officer, director, managing agent, or employee of a party, the court may make those orders that are just against the disobedient party, or against the party with whom the disobedient deponent is affiliated, including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction, or a terminating sanction In lieu of or in addition to this sanction, the court may impose a monetary sanction against that party deponent or against any party with whom the deponent is affiliated. CCP § 2025.480(g).

If the Court grants a motion compelling the attendance at a deposition of a party or party-affiliated deponent, the Court shall impose a monetary sanction in favor of the party who noticed the deposition and against the deponent or the party with whom the deponent is affiliated, unless the Court finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. CCP § 2025.450(c)(1).

On motion of any other party who, in person or by attorney, attended at the time and place specified in the deposition notice in the expectation that the deponent’s testimony would be taken, the Court shall impose a monetary sanction in favor of that party and against the deponent or the party with whom the deponent is affiliated, unless the Court finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. CCP § 2025.450(c)(2).

If a party or party-affiliated deponent then fails to obey an order compelling attendance, testimony, and production, the Court may make those orders that are just, including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction, or a terminating sanction against that party deponent or against the party with whom the deponent is affiliated. In lieu of, or in addition to, this sanction, the court may impose a monetary sanction against that deponent or against the party with whom that party deponent is affiliated, and in favor of any party who, in person or by attorney, attended in the expectation that the deponent’s testimony would be taken pursuant to that order. CCP § 2025.450(d).

If a party makes no response to requests for admission, the requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction. CCP § 2033.280(b).

The Court shall make this order, unless it finds that the party to whom the requests for admission have been directed has served, before the hearing on the motion, a proposed response to the requests for admission that is in substantial compliance with Section 2033.220. CCP § 2033.280(c).

It is mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated a motion. CCP § 2033.280(c).

The Court shall impose a monetary sanction against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to quash a deposition notice, 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 § 2025.410(d).

If the party giving notice of a deposition fails to attend or proceed with it, the Court shall impose a monetary sanction against that party, or the attorney for that party, or both, and in favor of any party attending in person or by attorney, 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 § 2025.430.

If a deponent does not appear for a deposition because the party giving notice of the deposition failed to serve a required deposition subpoena, the Court shall impose a monetary sanction against that party, or the attorney for that party, or both, in favor of any other party who, in person or by attorney, attended at the time and place specified in the deposition notice in the expectation that the deponent’s testimony would be taken, unless the Court finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. CCP § 2025.440(a).

The Court shall 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.

Depositions: CCP § 2025.420; CCP § 2025.480.

Interrogatories: CCP § 2030.090(d).

Inspection Demands or Requests for Production: CCP § 2031.060.

Requests For Admission: CCP § 2033.080.

The sanctions may be imposed against the parties, their counsel, or both. CCP § 2023.030.

Disobedience of a subpoena is punishable by contempt, fines, damages and possibly incarceration. CCP § 1991; CCP § 1991.1; CCP § 1992; CCP § 1993; CCP § 2020.240.

A motion for discovery sanctions shall be accompanied by a declaration setting forth facts supporting the amount of any monetary sanction sought. CCP § 2023.040.

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.

1 thought on “Motion for Discovery Sanctions, California Superior Court–At A Glance

  1. What remedy is available to a litigant who is represented ineffectively by counsel in a family law matter, when evidentiary sanctions are imposed for failure to respond to discovery, unbeknownst to the litigant. The 6 month time frame has elapsed for a 473(b) motion – what is left?

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