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Practice Tip Sheet
Depositions: California Superior Court Scheduling Rules
- A plaintiff can serve a deposition notice 20 days after a defendant has been served with the Summons and Complaint or has appeared in the action. A defendant can serve a deposition notice as soon as the defendant has been served or has appeared. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.210.
- In order to depose a party to the lawsuit, it is enough to serve a deposition notice upon counsel. However in order to depose a non-party, in addition to service of a deposition notice, a deposition subpoena must be personally served upon the deponent. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.280.
- A deposition notice must: 1) contain the deponent’s name, as well as his or her address and phone number if the deponent is not a party, and the date, time and location of the deposition; 2) state any intention to record the testimony in any manner; and 3) specify with reasonable particularity any materials to be produced by the deponent. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.220.
- The deposition notice must be served upon all parties to the action, as listed on the proof of service. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.240.
- The deposition notice must be served at least 10 days prior to the noticed date of the deposition. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.270(a).
- If the notice includes a request that the deponent bring documents or things, the notice must be served “a sufficient time in advance of the deposition” to provide “a reasonable opportunity” to find and produce the requested records. Code Civ. Proc. §2020.220. In addition, if records being subpoenaed are “personal records” of a “consumer,” generally meaning medical or financial records, or employment records of an employee, notice must be served at least 20 days prior to the deposition date. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.270(c); see also Code Civ. Proc. §1985.3, §1985.6.
- An individual deponent cannot be compelled to travel farther than 75 miles from his or her residence, or alternatively, to the county where the lawsuit is pending as long as the location is within 150 miles. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.250. Permission from the court must be sought to depose a party, or agent of a party, at a more distant location. Code Civ. Proc. §2025.260.
- Non-party deponents are entitled to a witness fee, and this fee should be served with the deposition subpoena, if requested by the witness. Code Civ. Proc. §1987(a). Currently this fee is $35 per day, plus round trip mileage actually traveled, at $.20 per mile. Govt. Code §68093. Expert witnesses are entitled to their “reasonable and customary hourly or daily fee for the actual time consumed in the examination.” Govt. Code §68092.5.
- Retain the original deposition notice or subpoena, together with the original proof of service. Serve the copy. Cal. R. Ct. 3.250(b).
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