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SB-645 Civil discovery: depositions.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/30/2019 09:00 PM
SB645:v96#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 645
CHAPTER 212

An act to add Section 2025.295 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to depositions.

[ Approved by Governor  August 30, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  August 30, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 645, Monning. Civil discovery: depositions.
Existing law authorizes any party to obtain discovery in civil actions by taking the oral deposition of any person, including any party to the action. Under existing law, a deposition examination of the witness by all counsel, other than the witness’ counsel of record, is generally limited to 7 hours of total testimony. Existing law provides an exception to the 7-hour limitation for depositions taken in cases designated as complex. In such cases, the deposition examination of a witness by all counsel other than the witness’ counsel of record is limited to 2 days of no more than 7 hours of total testimony each day, or 14 hours of total testimony, unless a licensed physician attests that the deponent suffers from an illness or condition that raises substantial medical doubt of the deponent’s survival beyond 6 months.
This bill would require that, in any civil action for injury or illness that results in mesothelioma or silicosis, a deposition examination of the plaintiff by counsel other than the plaintiff’s counsel of record be limited to 7 hours of total testimony if a licensed physician attests in a declaration that the deponent suffers from mesothelioma or silicosis, raising substantial medical doubt of the survival of the deponent beyond 6 months. A party would be authorized by this bill to seek an order permitting up to (1) an additional 3 hours of deposition testimony if more than 10 defendants appear at the deposition, and an additional 7 hours of deposition testimony if more than 20 defendants appear at the deposition. A court would be authorized to grant the additional time only upon a finding that the extension is in the interest of fairness, and a determination that the health of the deponent does not appear to be endangered by the grant of additional time.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 2025.295 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

2025.295.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 2025.290, in any civil action for injury or illness that results in mesothelioma or silicosis, a deposition examination of the plaintiff by all counsel, other than the plaintiff’s counsel of record, shall be limited to seven hours of total testimony if a licensed physician attests in a declaration served on the parties that the deponent suffers from mesothelioma or silicosis, raising substantial medical doubt of the survival of the deponent beyond six months.
(b) Notwithstanding the presumptive time limit in subdivision (a), upon request by a defendant, a court may, in its discretion, grant one of the following up to:
(1) An additional three hours of deposition testimony for no more than 10 hours of total deposition conducted by the defendants if there are more than 10 defendants appearing at the deposition.
(2) An additional seven hours of deposition testimony for no more than 14 hours of total deposition conducted by the defendants if there are more than 20 defendants appearing at the deposition.
(c) The court may grant the additional time provided for in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (b) only if it finds that an extension, in the instant case, is in the interest of fairness, which includes consideration of the number of defendants appearing at the deposition, and determines that the health of the deponent does not appear to be endangered by the grant of additional time.