Department 34 Guidelines and Policies

 

       
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CONTACTING THE COURT:

DEPARTMENT 34 (925) 957-5734
  JUDGE: GEORGE V. SPANOS
  COURTROOM CLERK: SHIRLEY CASTILLO
  COURT REPORTER:

PARTY TO PROVIDE AND PAY FOR
(if a record of the proceedings is wanted; see Local Rule 2.51, 3.12 *

* all references herein to a local rule or rules are to the Local Rules of Court of the Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County, effective January 1, 2016.

  BAILIFF: TURNER ROBINSON
  DEPARTMENT FAX (925) 957-5912


COURT APPEARANCES:

Counsel are free to make their court appearances for case management conferences through CourtCall. No special requests are required.

Other matters (such as motions) require a personal appearance unless the court specifically approves a telephone appearance. If counsel wish to use CourtCall for appearances other than case management conferences they must contact the department clerk and secure permission to do so. On law and motion matters in which the parties wish to have a reporter present, the court cannot guarantee an accurate record unless counsel appear in person. Thus, counsel should not attempt to argue by telephone except in emergencies. However, CourtCall may be used simply to listen to an argument.

This court expects civility among counsel at all times. Parties, opposing counsel, and witnesses are to be formally referred to, not by first names, unless young children. While court is in session counsel should not approach the bench, the clerk or reporter.


WEEKLY SCHEDULE:

The usual weekly schedule for Department 34 is as follows:


MOTIONS, INCLUDING APPLICATIONS FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENTS:


APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION:

Dept. 34 requests that all applications for an order by publication of summons, etc. use the following form:  Application for Order for Publication


DISCOVERY MOTIONS:

Parties are required to participate in the Discovery Facilitator Program prior to filing any motion in court to compel discovery, unless specifically ordered otherwise. This includes motions pursuant to CCP Section 1987.1. (See Local Rule 3.300, 3.301)

 

MEDIATION:

The court strongly encourages all parties to all cases to attempt to resolve their differences and settle cases via mediation (if direct negotiations are not working). 

A mediation completion deadline set by the court is a court order.   Failure to mediate by the deadline given may result in an order to show cause as to why monetary sanctions should not be assessed against counsel and/or parties.  If an extension of the deadline is needed, please submit a timely stipulation and proposed order extending the deadline, with a very brief description of why additional time is needed.

                                    “Certificate of Mediation Compliance”

Department 34 requires the parties to file, individually or jointly, a certification confirming compliance with the court-ordered deadline for completing mediation. This must be filed on or before the 14th calendar day following the mediation deadline. The format should be substantially as follows:

At the __________________, 20__, Case Management Conference, the Court ordered the parties to this case to do the following: complete court/private mediation by __________, 20 __, and file a Certificate of Mediation Compliance.

Plaintiff(s)/Defendant(s) hereby file the instant Certificate of Mediation Compliance to inform the Court that the parties did in fact complete mediation on ______________, 20__.

The parties were able/unable to resolve the matter at or as a result of the mediation.

Dated:  __________________

Signed: ___________________________

          [Identify name of attorney and his/her client]


COURTESY COPIES OF MOTIONS AND DEMURRERS, OPPOSITIONS THERETO, AND REPLIES, IF ANY:

Except for motions for summary judgment (including oppositions and replies), and other motions or demurrers (and related papers) exceeding 10 pages in length, courtesy copies of memoranda related to motions and demurrers are to be delivered to Dept. 34 via email  addressed to  dept34@contracosta.courts.ca.gov.

As to motions for summary judgment and other motions or demurrers (and related papers) exceeding 10 pages in length, all courtesy copies are to be delivered in hard copy to Dept. 34 and  emailed to Dept. 34.

NB:  Unless express permission is granted by the court (whether by standing order or on a case by case basis), the department email address is never to be used to communicate with the court.

Courtesy copies of any filings are never to be faxed to Dept. 34.

Counsel are to note that originals are to be filed with the Office of the Clerk and are not to be delivered to Dept. 34 for filing.  The courtroom clerk is not responsible for the filing of original documents.


TRIALS:


COURT TRIALS:

Preliminary note:  The parties to a court trial must comply with Local Rule 3.11 regarding issue conferences and issue conference statements and Dept. 34’s Standing Order Re: Issue Conference, except insofar as anything relates exclusively to jury trials.

  1. The parties are to meet and confer in sufficient time for the purpose of formulating and filing with the court, on the date the Issue Conference Statement must be filed, a joint list of all controverted issues, identifying the cause of action or defense to which an issue relates, and any stipulations the parties may have reached with respect to these issues. If the parties are unable to agree on a joint list, then each party must file and serve, on the date the Issue Conference Statement must be filed, a list of what each considers to be the controverted issues in the case,  identifying the cause of action or defense to which an issue relates, and any stipulations the parties may have reached with respect to these issues.  As to each controverted issue, the parties are to list each witness whose testimony will be material to the resolution of that issue, as well as each exhibit that will be material to the resolution of that issue.
     
  2. Unless argued and submitted immediately following the presentation of evidence, the trial will be recessed after the presentation of evidence, and a date will be set to resume the trial for argument.
     
  3. Unless a statement of decision has been waived by the parties - or unless (where the trial is concluded within one calendar day or in less than eight hours over more than one day) it is not required because not requested prior to the submission of the matter for decision - prior to argument, each party must file and serve, simultaneously, a proposed statement of decision. This proposed statement of decision must include proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law on each issue. Each party must file their proposed statement of decision at least 10 court days prior to the date set for argument; in addition, a copy is to be emailed to dept34@contracosta.courts.ca.gov.
     
  4.  Upon conclusion of the arguments of all parties, unless the court requires further papers to be filed by the parties, or further argument, the court will take the case under submission.
     
  5. The court will then proceed to prepare, file and serve on all parties its proposed (tentative) statement of decision.
     
  6. Objections to proposed statement of decision:
    1. Any objection to the statement of decision will be filed on or before 20 court days following the date of service of the court’s proposed statement of decision;
       
    2. If no objections are filed within the 20 court days, the proposed statement of decision will become the final statement of decision.  In this event, the court will issue a minute order that the proposed statement of decision is the final statement of decision, there having been no objections filed.
       
    3. If there are objections filed, the court will use its discretion whether to set a hearing on the objections, but will, in any event, consider the objections, acknowledge the making of the objections in the proposed statement of decision, and state the extent, if any, the objections affected the final statement of decision. If it appears to the court that an objection will change the statement of decision, the court will notice a hearing.

 


 

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