New Law can limit Depositions to 7 hours.
Beginning January 1, 2013, depositions in California state court proceedings (with specifically enumerated exceptions) will be limited to 7 hours. On September 17, 2012, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1875, which amended the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) to be analogous with the 7-hour limit in Rule 30 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). AB 1875 was backed by the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), which claimed that the new law would reduce litigation costs for everyone. The new deposition rule will be codified as CCP section 2025.290.
While many litigators concede that the 7-hour limit makes sense, many others will argue that the new restriction takes an important weapon out of the adversarial litigation process. Under the new law, there are enumerated exceptions from the 7-hour deposition rule, including both the type of case (designated complex cases and employment cases) and the kind of witness (expert witnesses and designated persons most qualified) involved. The new 7-hour limit appears to apply primarily to individual party witnesses, as opposed to persons most knowledgeable depositions for example. Additionally, the Court could order a case exempted from this restriction as well. Although the time limit on depositions in California state court proceedings will now more closely conform with the federal court cases, it will take some time before state court litigators become accustomed to the new rule and the impact it could have on their civil cases.
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