Notice of Deposition in the California Superior Courts–At A Glance

Please note: Relevant California Codes of Civil Procedure have been amended since this article was written. For up-to-date Notice of Deposition guides please go to SmartRules. 

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the  statewide rules of civil procedure, (the California Code of Civil Procedure and California Rules of Court) related to noticing a deposition in the California Superior Courts. For more detailed information, including local rules, on noticing a deposition in a specific California Superior Court, please see the California Superior Court SmartRules Notice of Deposition guides for the specific California Superior Court where your action is pending.

Timing:

A defendant may serve a deposition notice without leave of court at any time. CCP § 2025.210.

A plaintiff may serve a deposition notice without leave of court at any time after twenty (20) days after service of the summons on, or appearance by, any defendant. However, on motion with or without notice, the court, for good cause shown, may grant to a plaintiff leave to serve a deposition notice on an earlier date. CCP § 2025.210.

An oral deposition shall be scheduled for a date at least ten (10) days after service of the deposition notice. If, as defined in Code of Civil Procedure § 1985.3(a), the party giving notice of the deposition is a subpoenaing party, and the deponent is a witness commanded by a deposition subpoena to produce personal records of a consumer, the deposition shall be scheduled for a date at least twenty (20) days after issuance of that subpoena.

However, in unlawful detainer actions, an oral deposition shall be scheduled for a date at least five (5) days after service of the deposition notice, but not later than five days before trial.

On motion or ex parte application of any party or deponent, for good cause shown, the court may shorten or extend the time for scheduling a deposition, or may stay its taking until the determination of a motion for a protective order. CCP § 2025.270.

A party served with a deposition notice waives any objections to the notice unless a written objection is served on the noticing party within three (3) calendar days of the date scheduled for the deposition. The objections must be personally served if served exactly three (3) days before the deposition. CCP § 2025.410.

Notice of Deposition Rules:

If the deponent is a natural person or an organization that is a party to the action, the deposition must be taken within seventy-five (75) miles of the deponent’s residence or principal place of business in California, or within the county where the action is pending and within 150 miles of the residence or principal place of business. If the deponent is a non-party organization, the deposition must take place within seventy-five (75) miles of the organization’s principal business office in California, unless the organization consents to a different location. CCP § 2025.250.

Where, as defined in Code of Civil Procedure Section 1985.3(a), the party giving notice of the deposition is a subpoenaing party, and the deponent is a witness commanded by a deposition subpoena to produce personal records of a consumer, the subpoenaing party shall serve on that consumer (1) a notice of the deposition, (2) the notice of privacy rights specified in Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1985.3 and 1985.6, and (3) a copy of the deposition subpoena. CCP § 2025.240.

Where the consumer or employee is the subpoenaing party and the subject of the records subpoenaed, no notice to consumer or employee is required. CCP § 1985.3(l); CCP § 1985.6(k).

A party may obtain copies of business records from a non-party by serving a subpoena for business records on the custodian of records. CCP § 2020.410.

A copy of the business records subpoena must be served on all parties to the action. CCP § 2025.240.

Any party may take an oral deposition by telephone, videoconference or other remote electronic means, provided, among other things, that notice is served with the notice of deposition or the subpoena.  CRC 3.1010(a)(1) (renumbered eff 1/1/07).

Stipulations regarding depositions are not filed with the court unless relevant to a particular proceeding. The deposing party must retain any stipulation. CRC 3.250(a) and (b) (renumbered eff 1/1/07).

Unless the court orders otherwise, the parties may by written stipulation modify the procedures for discovery provided by the Code of Civil Procedure. CCP § 2016.030.

A party served with a deposition notice waives any objections to the notice unless a written objection is served on the noticing party within three (3) days of the date scheduled for the deposition. The objections must be personally served if served exactly three (3) days before the deposition. CCP § 2025.410.

California Rule of Court 3.20 states that the Judicial Council preempts local court rules relating to pleadings, demurrers, ex parte applications, motions, discovery, provisional remedies, and form and format of papers. No trial court shall enact or enforce any local rules concerning these fields and all such local rules are null and void as of July 1, 2000. unless otherwise permitted or required by a statute or California Rule of Court.  CRC 3.20 (renumbered and amended eff 1/1/07).

The deposition of an organization is treated as one deposition even though more than one person may be required to testify pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. § 2025.230. CCP § 94(b).

A deposition notice must state the date, time and address where the deposition will take place, the deponent’s name, and if not a party to the action, the deponent’s address and telephone number. If the deponent’s name is not known, the notice should contain a description sufficient to identify the person or class to which the person belongs.

The notice must also describe with particularity any materials or category of materials to be produced by the deponent.

The notice must state any intention to record the testimony by audio or video technology in addition to the stenographic method, and any intention to record the testimony by stenographic method through the instant visual display of the testimony. The notice must indicate if the deposing party reserves the right to use at trial the videotape deposition of a treating physician or expert witness.

If the deponent is not a natural person, the notice must describe the matters on which examination is requested with reasonable particularity. CCP § 2025.220.

The deposition notice or its accompanying proof of service must list all parties to whom notice of the deposition was given. CCP § 2025.240.

If the deponent is a nonparty witness compelled by subpoena, the deposition notice must include a copy of the subpoena. CCP § 2025.240.

A notice of deposition must be served on all parties who have appeared in the action. CCP § 2025.240.

A deposition notice is not filed with the court unless relevant to a particular proceeding. The deposing party retains the original notice with proof of service. CRC 3.250 (renumbered eff 1/1/07).

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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