You know the Federal Rules backwards and forwards, but its compliance with the local rules that really makes a civil litigator look like a pro to colleagues and clients, and leaves the opposition in the dust. In this ongoing LLRX series, the editorial team of SmartRules will give you the tools to navigate motion practice in these busy federal courts with ease and grace. We've outlined the key provisions and highlighted the pitfalls. Here's what you really need to know about motion practice in the Central District of California.
Non-Discovery Motions--Most Motions Require a Conference of Counsel
The most unusual thing about motion practice in the Central District of California is that before bringing most types motions (not just discovery motions) counsel must confer in an attempt to resolve the issues to be raised in the motion. If the motion must be filed within a specified period of time, the conference must take place at least 5 days prior to the last day for filing the motion, otherwise 10 days. Counsel for the moving party must include in the notice of motion the statement: "This motion is made following the conference of counsel pursuant to Local Rule 7-3 which took place on [date]." Conferences are not required on TRO's or motions for preliminary injunction. Central Dist. LR 7-3. Most Central District judges designate a certain day of the week and time for civil motion hearings and require counsel to notice motions for that day and time, and file and serve the moving papers with adequate statutory notice.
Long Notice Periods--28 Days for Moving Papers, 21 and 14 Days for Opposition and Reply Papers
The notice periods for motions, oppositions and replies in the Central District are unusually long. The moving party must provide 28 days' notice with personal or electronic service. Central Dist. LR 6-1. Opposition and reply papers must be served and filed at least 21 and 14 days, respectively, before the hearing date. Central Dist. LR 7-9; Central Dist. LR 7-10. In case moving papers are served by mail, 31 days' notice is required. Central Dist. LR 6-1.
Unusually Specific Content and Formatting Requirements
The Central District has some very specific content and formatting requirements for motion papers. The hearing date, time and judge must appear on the first page under the title of the motion. Central Dist. LR 7-4. Memoranda may not exceed 25 pages. Central Dist. LR 11-6. Memoranda exceeding 10 pages must be accompanied by an indexed table of contents setting forth the headings or subheadings in the document, and by an indexed table of the cases, statutes, rules and other authorities cited. Central Dist. LR 11-8. Also, the entire document, including exhibits, must be numbered consecutively at the bottom of each page. Central Dist. LR 11-3.3; Central Dist. LR 11-5.2.
Electronic Filing Generally Required
As is the case with most United States District Courts, electronic filing and service of documents is generally required. Central Dist. G. O. 08-02.
Don't Forget Your Courtesy Copy for the Judge
Another unusual requirement of the Central District is that chambers copies of all electronically filed documents must be delivered to the chambers of the assigned judge no later than 12:00 noon the business day following the filing date. It must be prominently labeled CHAMBERS COPY on the face page and must include the NEF as the last page of the document. Central Dist. G. O. 08-11.
Discovery Motions--Unique Joint Statement Procedure
There is also a distinct and unique procedure for discovery motions in the Central District. Local Rule 37 requires that the parties confer regarding the dispute and then draft and execute a joint stipulation that constitutes both the moving and opposition papers. If both counsel are located within the same county of the Central District, the conference must take place in person. Further, counsel for the opposing party is required to meet within 10 days of receiving the request. The letter requesting the meeting must set forth all discovery requests and responses in dispute, and any authority on which the moving party intends to rely. Central Dist. LR 37-1. The parties may also file one set of supplemental papers. Central Dist. LR 37-2.3. The joint stipulation must be filed at least 21 days before the hearing, and the supplemental papers at least 14 days before the hearing. Central Dist. LR 37-3; Central Dist. LR 37-2.3. As with non-discovery motions, counsel must contact their judge to learn when the motion may be heard on the judge's regular weekly calendar, and timely file and serve papers.
Lodge Deposition Transcripts 10 Days Before Hearing
Another unusual requirement of the Central District is that portions of deposition transcripts relevant to a hearing must be lodged at least 10 days before the hearing. The transcript must be authenticated, attached as an exhibit, and bracketed in the margins to indicate the exact questions and answers on which the party offering the testimony relies. Central Dist. LR 16-2.7; Central Dist. LR 32-1.
Deliver Order to Clerk Within 5 Days
The attorney directed by the clerk to prepare the Court's order must do so and lodge it with the Clerk and serve it on all the parties and within 5 days. Central Dist. LR 52-4.
For more detailed information about specific types of motions in the Central District of California visit the California Central District SmartRules Guides.