California’s new deposition limitation has plenty of exceptions, including experts

Effective January 1, 2013, AB-1875 amends California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 2025.290, which applies to oral depositions in civil cases. The revised law limits the deposition to seven hours of total testimony. Currently, CCP § 2025.290 does not contain any time limits on depositions. This revision brings CCP § 2025.290 more in conformity with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(d)(1), which states, “a deposition is limited to one day of seven hours unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court.”

The seven hour rule has numerous exceptions. The relevant provisions state:

b) This section shall not apply under any of the following circumstances:

(1) If the parties have stipulated that this section will not apply to a specific deposition or to the entire proceeding.

(2) To any deposition of a witness designated as an expert pursuant to Sections 2034.210 to 2034.310, inclusive.

(3) To any case designated as complex by the court pursuant to Rule 3.400 of the California Rules of Court, unless a licensed physician attests in a declaration served on the parties that the deponent suffers from an illness or condition that raises substantial medical doubt of survival of the deponent beyond six months, in which case the deposition examination of the witness by all counsel, other than the witness’ counsel of record, shall be limited to two days of no more than seven hours of total testimony each day, or 14 hours of total testimony.

(4) To any case brought by an employee or applicant for employment against an employer for acts or omissions arising out of or relating to the employment relationship.

(5) To any deposition of a person who is designated as the most qualified person to be deposed under Section 2025.230.

(6) To any party who appeared in the action after the deposition has concluded, in which case the new party may notice another deposition subject to the requirements of this section.

The new law will likely have the following consequences:

  1. Lawyers will be encouraged to be more prepared for those depositions that are time limited.
  2. There may be a tendency to rely more on written discovery, which does not face new restrictions.
  3. More cases will be designated as “complex” or “employment-related,”
  4. Use of “person most qualified” or PMK depositions, may increase since they are exempt from the time limits.

This article explains how to improve your deposition results.


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