California Personal Injury Litigation and Proof of Service for Electronic Service

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

Electronic service is a cost-effective manner of service, whether done in Federal cases with CM/ECF, or in California superior courts by stipulation, or in conjunction with electronic filing.  For California superior court cases, the Judicial Council has created an optional proof of service for electronic service, FORM POS-050/EFS-050, which needs to be used in conjunction with Form POS-o50(P).  However, if you follow the requirements of California Rules of Court Rule 2.251(g) the practitioner does not need to use the optional Judicial Council form.

California Rules of Court Rule 2.251(g) requires the following information:

(1)Proof of electronic service may be by any of the methods provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1013a, except that the proof of service must state:

(A)The electronic service address of the person making the service, in addition to that person’s residence or business address;

(B)The date and time of the electronic service, instead of the date and place of deposit in the mail;

(C)The name and electronic service address of the person served, in place of that person’s name and address as shown on the envelope; and

(D)That the document was served electronically, in place of the statement that the envelope was sealed and deposited in the mail with postage fully prepaid.

(2)Proof of electronic service may be in electronic form and may be filed electronically with the court.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

California Personal Injury Litigation – The Importance of Preserving Evidence

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

If you have been injured in an accident, the most important thing is to make sure you receive medical attention and medical attention for others around you.

However, even if you do not presently have the intention of recovering your damages, there are a few simple steps you can do at the time of the incident, and in the days and weeks following. Missing these opportunities can compromise efforts for compensation.

If you can, take pictures immediately.  With the quality of phone cameras increasing, take as many pictures as possible of the scene of the accident.  For example, in a slip and fall, the condition will be quickly remedied, so if you or your friends or family can take a picture, it can preserve important evidence.  Also, have someone take a picture of your visible injuries. The sooner the pictures are taken after the accident, the better.  In the case of a flooding event or fire, take video during the event.  Again, cameras have excellent video cameras these days.  The new Apple iPhone 4s takes full high definition video, for example.

If there are witnesses, try to get business cards or phone numbers, or some contact information.  If there is a police report, obtain it as soon as possible.  Obtain any other reports.

Get copies of your records regarding medical treatment including billing.  These records can be obtained from your medical providers.  Obtain records of time missed from work.

In slip and falls and trip and falls, the condition of shoes is often an issue.  Keep the shoes, and don’t wear them again.  If you have clothes or other property, preserve them, too.  If you have to repair property, such as a car, make sure that pictures are taken before the repairs.  Take pictures from different angles.  We no longer live in an age where you could only take a few pictures before running out of film.

Remember that you likely face statutes of limitations that can impact your ability to be compensated for your losses.  If a government agency is involved, typically a government claim is required before you file suit, and generally the government claim must be filed six months from the date of the incident.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address: 300 E. State St. #517
                   Redlands, CA 92373
Telephone: (909) 296-6708

California Personal Injury Litigation – The Rule of 35 In Unlimited Civil Cases and Limited Civil Cases

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

Discovery is an important part of any personal injury case.  There is some confusion about the Rule of 35.   The Rule of 35 limits certain discovery in unlimited civil cases unless there is a declaration of necessity.  This change in the Discovery Act thankfully changed before I started practicing law. Earlier in my career, when I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I saw form files with interrogatories numbering in the hundreds in routine civil cases.

The “Rule of 35” is the limit on special interrogatories and requests for admission (except for  in limited civil cases, discussed below:

For special interrogatories, the Rule of 35 is stated as:

(a) A party may propound to another party either or both of the following:

(1) Thirty-five specially prepared interrogatories that are relevant to the subject matter of the pending action.

(2) Any additional number of official form interrogatories . . .

(b) Except as provided in Section 2030.070, no party shall, as a matter of right, propound to any other party more than 35 specially prepared interrogatories.  If the initial set of interrogatories does not exhaust this limit, the balance may be propounded in subsequent sets.

(c) Unless a declaration as described in Section 2030.050 has been made, a party need only respond to the first 35 specially prepared interrogatories served, if that party states an objection to the balance, under Section 2030.240, on the ground that the limit has been exceeded.  California Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.030.

For requests for admission:

(a) No party shall request, as a matter of right, that any other party admit more than 35 matters that do not relate to genuineness of documents.  If the initial set of admission requests does not exhaust this limit, the balance may be requested in subsequent sets.

(b) Unless a declaration as described in Section 2033.050 has been made, a party need only respond to the first 35 admission requests served that do not relate to the genuineness of documents, if that party states an objection to the balance under Section 2033.320 on the ground that the limit has been exceeded.

(c) The number of requests for admission of the genuineness of documents is not limited except as justice requires to protect the responding party from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden and expense.   California Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.030.

Discovery in Limited Civil Cases is, appropriately, limited. Limited Civil Cases are subject to the grab-bag Rule of 35.

As to each adverse party, a party may use the following forms of discovery:

(a) Any combination of 35 of the following:

(1) Interrogatories (with no subparts) . . . .

(2) Demands to produce documents or things . . . .

(3) Requests for admission (with no subparts) . . . .  California Code of Civil Procedure section 94.

Note that California Code of Civil Procedure section 94(a)(1) says”Interrogatories” and not “Specially prepared interrogatories” like in California Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.030(a)(1).  Therefore, even though there are limited civil form interrogatories (which are simplified and should be used in Limited Civil Cases ), care should be taken in choosing each form interrogatory. Each interrogatory counts towards the grab-bag rule of 35.  Similarly, demands to produce are subject to the grab-bag Rule of 35 in limited civil cases.

Discovery should be used like jewelers’ tools to discover evidence necessary in a civil action.  The Rule of 35 limits ultimately makes the practice of law better and reduces unnecessary expense for clients.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address: 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055