SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA – DEPARTMENT 17C
COMPLEX CIVIL LITIGATION PILOT PROGRAM
DEPARTMENT RULES & PROCEDURES
Hon. Jack Komar, Presiding
Department Line: 408-882-2280
Coordinator: Rowena Walker 408-882-2286
Welcome to Department 17C, the Complex Civil Litigation Pilot Project. Santa Clara County Superior Court is one of several courts statewide participating in this pilot project. In general terms, the aims are to handle complex civil cases more efficiently and to be more responsive to litigants in these cases.
Either you or your opponent has designated this case as provisionally complex. A case becomes actually complex when the judge makes a determination that it is complex. Rules 1800-1812 of the California Rules of Court apply to these cases. A complex case is one that requires exceptional judicial management to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court or the litigants and to expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision making by the court, the parties and counsel.@ (Rule 1800(a).)
Rule 1800(c) defines the following types of these cases as provisionally complex: antitrust/trade regulation, securities/investment, construction defect, environmental or toxic torts, mass torts, class actions and insurance cases arising out of the previously mentioned types of cases. Other cases are complex based on factors enumerated in Rule 1800(b): 1) difficult or novel motion practice, 2) large number of witnesses, 3) substantial amount of documentary evidence, 4) large number of separately represented parties, 5) coordination with related actions pending in other courts, and 6) substantial post-judgment judicial supervision. If you have checked 2e, Coordination or Related Actions Pending, please now add on the Civil Case Cover Sheet the name, case number and court where the action is pending, or please file an Amended Civil Case Cover Sheet at a later date.
The Court may at any time change the designation of the case to Anot complex,@ and it will be reassigned to another department. When the parties disagree on the designation, the court will make its decision within thirty (30) days. (Rules 1811, 1812.) The court will make this determination without a hearing, although it may solicit declarations on rare occasions.
Courtesy and cooperation are the watchwords in Department 17C. Counsel must treat the judge, staff, parties, witnesses and each other with courtesy. Adversarial contentiousness prolongs a case and will not be tolerated. Meeting and conferring on all scheduling and discovery matters is encouraged and expected.
The charge of the pilot project is to handle the case expeditiously. The manner in which this is accomplished will vary depending on why the case is complex. For instance, in cases that are complex because of multiple parties, the judge will become involved early in the case to control the record, to focus the issues for trial and to oversee and coordinate discovery. In cases that are complex because of subject matter, the court will be proactive in resolving disputes promptly, but may devote less attention to managing discovery or controlling the record. The court expects counsel to make management suggestions at informal or formal conferences. The aim is to serve the litigants well, so suggestions that will improve the efficient handling of a case are welcome. Case management orders are favored.
Complex cases will be managed in much the same way as general civil cases, except that allowances will be made to take into account the complexity of the case. If law and motion matters are expected to be complex, for instance, ample time will be allowed for argument. In cases involving many plaintiffs, for example, one case will be designated the master file and all papers will be filed in that case only.
STIPULATIONS All counsel and parties appearing in pro per are strongly encouraged to resolve, by stipulation, differences regarding procedural and discovery matters. All stipulations regarding procedural matters are to be presented to the court for approval.
EX PARTE MATTERS will be heard by reservation only, each court day from 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., or at such times as the court may designate. Reservations shall be made by calling Department 17C at (408) 882-2286. Strict compliance with CRC Rule 379 is required. Notice to opposing counsel and the Court must be provided by 10:00 a.m. the day before the hearing. All ex parte papers are to be filed one day prior to the hearing by noon, directly with Department 17C.
LAW & MOTION Beginning April 1, 2002, Law and Motion matters will be heard Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m., or at such times as the court may designate. Prior to filing moving papers, counsel must first clear the date with opposing counsel and reserve a hearing date by contacting Department 17C at (408) 882-2286. Provide the name of your case, file number, type of hearing/name of papers, date requested, and name and telephone number of the filing attorney. Counsel must also clear the selected hearing date with opposing counsel. You may also email the Project Coordinator, Rowena Walker, with your reservation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax your request to 408-882-2293. The filing attorney is also expected to ensure that all parties receive notice of any continuances. Please drop off chamber/courtesy copies of moving, opposition and reply papers in Department 17C.
MOTIONS FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT Department 17C follows the application procedure set forth in Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6, subdivision (a)(2). In lieu of a noticed motion, a settling party may give notice of settlement to all parties and to the court, together with an application for determination of good faith settlement and a proposed order. The application shall indicate the settling parties, and the basis, terms, and amount of the settlement. The notice, application, and proposed order shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested. Proof of service shall be filed with the court. The application will be held the requisite 25 days, and if no opposition is received, the order will be signed and processed.
MOTIONS TO COMPEL INITIAL DISCOVERY RESPONSES All motions to compel initial discovery responses require an ex parte appearance/informal discovery conference before they can be set on calendar.
CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE Case Management Conferences will be held Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. Strict compliance with Local Court Rules regarding CMC Questionnaires/Meet & Confer Statements is required.
COMPLEX WEBSITE The Complex Civil Litigation website is located at http://www.sccomplex.org. You will find a link to the Complex Calendar on this website. For cases that are expected to have a very high number of parties and motions, the website has the capability to post pleadings and also case documents. Procedures have been worked out in isolated cases (please reference the Santa Maria Water litigation on the website) whereby parties have stipulated that they file a pleading with the court but post the pleading on the website in lieu of service to some or all parties. The court is willing to entertain such stipulated procedures, as part of the complex litigation project's mission to experiment with new technologies in an effort to streamline court procedures.
The court will be using the Deskbook on the Management of Complex Civil Litigation. To order a copy (book or CD-Rom), call Matthew Bender Publishing at 1-800-533-1637 (staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).