Compelling testimony at a deposition in California is the topic of this blog post.
Compelling testimony at a deposition in California requires the filing of a motion to compel, this motion can also request an order to compel the production of any documents that were requested in the deposition notice and which were not produced by the deponent at the deposition.
This blog post will discuss the motion to compel testimony at deposition and produce documents that is only to be used when the party to be deposed attended the deposition but refused to answer questions or produce documents despite being served with a valid notice of deposition.
The motion to compel testimony and produce documents in California is authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.480 which states in pertinent part that,
“(a) If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent’s control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.
(b) This motion shall be made no later than 60 days after the completion of the record of the deposition, and shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.”
Note that the motion to compel testimony MUST be made within 60 days after the completion of the record of the deposition, and as with other motions to compel the motion must be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Code of Civil Procedure section 2016.040, the motion should also show specific facts showing good cause for the production of any documents specified in the deposition notice.
In general, California allows every party to an action the right to take depositions as a matter of right.
The refusal of a deponent to answer any questions by a blank claim of the privilege against self-incrimination is not proper and has no merit. This is due to the fact that objections using a claim of privilege must be raised in response to a particular question, not to any and all questions.
And the opponent who refused to proceed with the deposition has the burden of proof and must show good cause why the deposition should not proceed. A California Court of Appeal has ruled that the scope of examination at a deposition should not be limited unless the opponent can make a strong showing that the information sought is either privileged or irrelevant.
And the California Supreme Court ruled in a case from over 50 years ago that witnesses at a deposition must answer all questions that are seeking information that is not privileged and that is material to the subject matter of the action.
Any award of sanctions is authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.480(j) which states that, “The court shall impose a monetary sanction under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2023.010) against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel an answer or production, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”
If the party filing the motion can make a strong showing that the refusal to answer questions or produce documents was willful they are much more likely to be awarded sanctions as a willful refusal to comply with discovery makes the imposition of monetary sanctions mandatory.
Parties considering filing a motion to compel testimony at deposition should make reasonable good faith efforts to meet and confer prior to filing the motion as some Judges will take the extent of the meet and confer efforts into account when determining the amount of sanctions to be awarded, if any.
Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a 15 page sample motion to compel testimony at deposition and production of documents containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration and proof of service by mail sold by the author can use the link shown below.
Attorneys or parties that would like more information on a California litigation discovery document package containing over 40 sample documents including a sample motion to compel testimony at a deposition can use the link shown below.
The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.
*Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit freeweeklylegalnewsletter.gr8.com/ for more information.
Follow the author on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LegalDocsPro
Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.
The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.