There are few things more frustrating as a trial attorney in Los Angeles than preparing for trial without the benefit of the opposing party’s trial witness list, trial exhibit list and other trial documents. Los Angeles County Superior Court Local Rule 3.25((h)(1) provides that at least five days prior to the final status conference, counsel must serve and file lists of pre-marked exhibits to be used at trial, jury instruction requests, trial witness lists, and a proposed short statement of the case to be read to the jury explaining the case. In my practice, I always make sure to file these documents in a timely so as not to risk any exclusion orders. Unfortunately, opposing counsel often wait until the last possible moment, including up until the final status conference itself to file their documents.
In the past few weeks, opposing counsel refused to provide his client’s trial documents. As a result, I sought and obtained an evidentiary order precluding the defendant from introducing any witness or using any exhibits at trial. This was a powerful order. Shortly after receiving the court’s tentative ruling in my client’s favor on this issue, the defendant stipulated to liability in the case. The court, in granting my client’s motion, relied on California Rules of Court rule 3.1548(e) to preclude defendant’s evidence and witnesses.
Los Angeles County Superior Court rule 3.25(h)(1) and California Rules of Court rule 3.1548(e) are powerful tools for trial attorneys in Los Angeles. You can quickly turn opposing party’s game playing into their downfall.
by Zachary Schorr, email@example.com, www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877.
Whether opposing counsel is not prepared or simply withholding