Effective as of January 1, 2020, all civil litigants in California will have additional discovery burdens. The California Code of Civil Procedure now requires “[a]ny documents or category of documents produced in response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling shall be identified with the specific request number to which the documents respond.” Cal. Civ. Pro. § 2031.280(a). This is a major departure from the prior rule. Responsive documents can no longer be produced as they were “kept in the usual course of business.” This new requirement applies to all pending cases in California, regardless of whether a case commenced prior to the amendment’s effective date of January 1, 2020.
It is not uncommon for parties to enter into agreements containing jury waiver provisions. However, enforcing such provisions in California courts may be a losing battle. California has a strong public policy in favor of the right to a trial by jury, and California courts will not enforce a jury waiver except under limited circumstances. The bottom line: unless an advance contractual jury waiver provides for resolution in a nonjudicial forum, like arbitration or binding mediation, it will not be enforced in state and federal courts located in California.
Imagine this scenario: after years of litigation in federal court, your client reaches a settlement agreement with the opposing party. The lawsuit is dismissed pursuant to the settlement agreement and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). When the opposing party breaches the settlement agreement, you promptly file a motion to compel enforcement – only to have your motion denied for lack of jurisdiction.