Complex Civil Cases are assigned for all purposes to either:
The information provided here is designed to assist you in managing your complex civil case. The Court strongly encourages parties to review this information before directly contacting your assigned department. If you need additional information, each department’s e-mail address and phone number is listed above. E-mail correspondence is preferred and will likely lead to a quicker response.
- Complex Case Designation and Assignment
- Typical Case Progress
- Case Management Conferences and Statements
- Informal Discovery Conferences ("IDCs")
- Discovery Disputes During Depositions
- Complex Law and Motion
- Checklist for Approval of Class Action and/or PAGA Settlements
- Ex Parte Applications
- Tentative Rulings
- Parties Requesting a Court Reporter
- Remote Appearances and Zoom Links
- Civility and Professionalism
Complex Case Designation and Assignment
As defined in California Rule of Court 3.400(a), “a ‘complex case’ is an action that requires exceptional judicial management to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court or the litigants and to expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision making by the court, the parties, and counsel.”
Rule of Court 3.400 - external link sets forth the factors the Court considers when evaluating whether an action is complex.
If a plaintiff believes that their case is complex, they shall file a completed Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010) along with the complaint designating the case as complex under Rule of Court 3.400. The Presiding Judge or their designee will then review the case pursuant to Rule of Court 3.403 - external link to decide whether it is “complex” and issue a Notice and Order of Complex Case Determination.
If the Presiding Judge has deemed the case “complex,” the Notice and Order of Complex Case Determination will indicate the Complex Civil Case Department and the judge to which the case has been assigned. This is an all-purpose assignment under California Rule of Court 3.734 - external link. All law and motion matters and motions for consolidation, severance, bifurcation, intervention and to continue trial shall be heard in the complex department unless otherwise directed by the Court. The case is also pre-assigned to this department for trial. Other motions referenced in Local Rule 1.05 shall also be heard in this department.
The assigned complex department will issue a Notice of Case Management Conference and Orders re: Complex Case Management Procedures. This notice will include the initial Case Management Conference date and time, among other orders and timelines set forth by the assigned complex department.
Any case that is not initially designated by counsel as “complex” upon filing, but thereafter appears to constitute a “complex” case, may be referred from the General Civil Case Management Program to the Complex Civil Case Departments.
Typical Case Progress
Upon assignment of a case to a complex department, the Court typically will issue a Notice of Case Management Conference and Complex Case Management Procedures (“Notice of CMC”). The Notice of CMC will set the first Case Management Conference (“CMC”) for the case. The Court will usually set the first CMC at least six to eight (6-8) months after the filing of the complaint with the expectation that all parties will have been served and will have appeared by the time of the first CMC.
After the initial CMC or a subsequent CMC, the Court may or may not issue a formal Case Management Order (“CMO”). In lieu of a formal CMO, the Court may issue minute orders after CMCs addressing case management topics. The breadth of such orders may vary depending upon factors such as the complexity of the case and other circumstances. The Court may issue subsequent CMOs potentially addressing topics such as discovery cut-offs, phased discovery, disclosure dates, timing of private mediation, timing of class certification motions, etc. In some cases, CMOs may be proposed by an appointed special master or referee with case management authority.
Pursuant to the Presiding Judge’s Notice and Order of Complex Case Determination, the assigned Complex Civil Case Department is the trial department for the case and remains the trial court unless subsequently ordered otherwise. In rare instances, a case may be transferred to Department 47 for assignment to a different trial department if this Court has scheduling conflicts due to another trial or otherwise is unable to proceed with trial.
The Court will schedule a Trial Setting Conference at which time a precise trial date shall be set. The Court will issue a Complex Trial Setting Order (“TSO”) which shall set the Mandatory Settlement Conference in Department 59, a Final Status Conference, a Final Pre-Trial Conference, and the trial date. The TSO shall also address deadlines for trial-related tasks and filings, including motions in limine, witness and exhibit lists, proposed jury instructions, jury questionnaires, etc.
Case Management Conferences and Statements
Case Management Conferences are typically scheduled for Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. However, you may be ordered to appear at a different time due to a conflict in the Court’s schedule. The Court may or may not issue a tentative ruling prior to the scheduled CMC. Counsel shall check the Court’s tentative rulings after 2:00 p.m. the court day prior to the scheduled CMC. It is imperative for the parties to review the tentative ruling in its entirety. The ruling may include important updates for the parties, including possible updates to the date/time of the CMC. For more information about the Court’s tentative rulings, see the section on Tentative Rulings below.
Prior to the first CMC (and any successive CMCs), the parties shall meet and confer pursuant to Rule of Court 3.724 and prepare a Joint Case Management Statement that updates the Court on the status of the case. The joint statement must be filed no later than 15 calendar days prior to the next CMC. A courtesy copy shall also be e-mailed to the department e-mail with the subject line, “JOINT CMC STATEMENT.” If the parties are requesting a continuance of the CMC, the subject line shall state, “CMC CONTINUANCE REQUEST.” All matters discussed during the meet-and-confer session shall be itemized and reported in the joint statement. Individual statements will not be considered. Do not use Judicial Council Form CM-110 for the joint statement, as it is not well-suited for complex cases. The purpose of the joint statement is to require counsel to confer. It shows the Court that the parties have been in direct communication. The CMC Statement shall include a declaration that the parties have met and conferred in good faith. If no meet-and-confer session occurs, or if some of the issues above are not discussed, the parties shall provide the Court with a brief and reasonable explanation.
Counsel for each party who appears at the CMC shall be thoroughly familiar with the case, and must be prepared to discuss and commit to the party’s position on the issues outlined in the joint statement.
During the pre-CMC meet-and-confer session, the parties shall discuss the issues outlined in Rule 3.724 - external link and 3.750 - external link, with particular attention to the following, as applicable:
- Generally, what facts and issues are in dispute;
- Pleading and service issues, including:
- Whether all parties named in the complaint or cross-complaint have been served, have appeared, or have been dismissed;
- Whether any additional parties may be added or the pleadings may be amended;
- The deadline for the filing of any remaining pleadings and service of any additional parties;
- The impact of any related cases and/or other matters (e.g. bankruptcy proceedings), and whether severance, consolidation, or coordination with other actions is desirable;
- The possibility of early settlement, including:
- Whether private mediation is appropriate;
- Proposed mediators and available dates for mediation; and
- Whether the parties agree to informally exchange discovery in advance of mediation;
- Discovery issues, including, for example
- The general subjects on which discovery may be needed;
- A proposed discovery schedule that avoids duplication;
- Whether discovery should be stayed until all parties are brought into the case (or for any other reason);
- Whether discovery should be conducted in phases or be limited to or focused on particular issues;
- Any issues related to preserving discoverable information and the need for preservation notices;
- Any issues about disclosure, discovery, or preservation of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced and possible allocation of costs, as well as whether it may be appropriate to adopt a Protocol for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information;
- Any issues related to privacy, confidentiality, and/or trade secrets, and whether to stipulate to a Protective Order to facilitate the exchange of information and documents that may be subject to these limitations;
- Any issues about claims of privilege;
- Anticipated depositions and the subjects to be addressed in each deposition;
- The method for exchange of documents and whether to establish an electronic document depository;
- Any anticipated discovery motions;
- The schedule for motion practice and trial, including anticipated dates for:
- Discovery motions
- Dispositive motions
- Class certification
- Settlement conference
- Pre-trial conference
- Issues related to counsel, including:
- Whether to appoint liaison or lead counsel;
- Whether to establish a case-based Web site and other means to provide a current master list of addresses and telephone numbers of counsel;
- Whether the parties have consented to electronic service in this action pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 - external link.
- Whether a special master should be appointed and the purposes for such appointment; and
- Any other relevant case management issues.
Informal Discovery Conference
If a discovery dispute arises, the Court strongly encourages parties to request an IDC with the Court before reserving a hearing date for any discovery motion. The Court further encourages civility and cooperation in scheduling an IDC, including by agreeing to extend the time to file a discovery motion to allow time for an IDC. If a discovery motion is filed without scheduling an IDC, it is likely that the Court will schedule one before hearing the motion to “expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision making by the court, the parties, and counsel.” ( California Rules of Court, Rule 3.400.) During an IDC, the Court will meet informally with the parties to try to resolve the dispute. The process is designed to benefit all parties by saving costs and avoiding delay. The following procedures apply to IDCs:
- Counsel must complete all meet and confer obligations either in person, by phone, or by video conference at least one week before scheduling a discovery conference.
- To schedule an IDC, the prospective moving party must contact the department clerk by email with the subject line, “IDC REQUEST.” The email shall copy all parties and include a meet-and-confer declaration as described in Code of Civil Procedure section 2016.040. The declaration shall also be filed with the Court.
- Before emailing the IDC request to the Court, the prospective moving party shall have met and conferred with the opposing party to identify dates and times in the next 30 calendar days when all concerned parties are available for a Zoom IDC conference. Counsel and/or parties with full authority to resolve the discovery issue(s) must appear at the IDC unless excused by the Court.
- If the Court is in session and does not grant, deny, or schedule the party’s request within 10 calendar days after the initial request, the request shall be deemed denied. If the Court grants the request, the Court will issue a minute order advising counsel of the time and date of the Zoom conference.
- At least three court days before the scheduled IDC, counsel shall file a joint letter outlining the discovery dispute, not exceeding 5 pages, single-spaced. No additional documents shall be attached to the letter. A courtesy copy with the subject line “JOINT LETTER” shall be emailed to the assigned department.
- Unless otherwise indicated by the Court, the minute order granting an IDC will toll the deadline for filing the discovery motion. The deadline shall be tolled until such time as the Court issues a direction or order setting a new deadline for filing a discovery motion.
- The outcome of an informal discovery conference does not bar a party from filing a discovery motion or prejudice the disposition of a discovery motion.
- The Court will not tolerate efforts by the parties to rely on IDCs to resolve every minor discovery dispute that should otherwise be resolved through good faith meet and confer efforts. Should any party abuse the IDC process, the Court will consider issuing sanctions under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010, et seq - external link.
Discovery Disputes During Depositions
If a dispute arises during a deposition that requires judicial input, the parties are to contact the Court immediately via the department telephone number. If the parties cannot reach the department to which they are assigned, the parties may contact the other complex department.
Complex Law and Motion
Hearing dates for all motions must be reserved in advance by emailing the assigned department with the subject line “MOTION HEARING REQUEST.” Motions are typically heard on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. The requesting party shall meet and confer with all other parties to identify mutually agreeable dates for the hearing before emailing the department with the hearing reservation request. The requesting party shall copy all parties on the email to the Court. The email shall include the following information: (1) the case number; (2) the type of motion; and (3) at least three Friday dates at 9:00 a.m. that work for all parties. A motion filed without a reserved hearing date will not be accepted.
The Court strongly encourages parties to request “IDC” with the Court before reserving a hearing date for any discovery motion. For more information, please see the Informal Discovery Conference section above.
Checklist for Approval of Class Action and/or PAGA Settlements
This checklist provides direction on the information and argument the Court requires to grant a motion for preliminary and final approval of a class action and/or PAGA settlement. All parties are urged to carefully review the checklist and fully comply with each applicable item to ensure a prompt ruling from the Court. The motion should follow the same order as this checklist, as that is how the Court will review the motion. Checklist for Approval of Class Action Settlements.
Except as described below, all filings shall be filed at the Civil Filing Counter located in the Gordon D. Schaber County Courthouse, 720 9th Street, Room 102, Sacramento, CA 95814 or placed in a Gordon D. Schaber Civil Drop Box, with courtesy copies delivered directly to the assigned department via email the same day.
The following documents shall be filed directly in the complex department:
- Post-trial motions, oppositions, and replies
- Documents for trial
- Final pretrial readiness conference statements
- Class action and PAGA requests for dismissal
Ex Parte Applications
For ex parte applications, the applicant shall first call the courtroom clerk at the department phone number to reserve a hearing date and time for the ex parte application. Ex Parte hearings are typically scheduled for 8:30 a.m., but may be scheduled at different times to accommodate the Court’s schedule. Ex parte applications shall be filed as described in the Filings section below. When emailing the courtesy copy to the department, please include “EX PARTE HEARING REQUEST” in your subject line.
The Court may or may not issue a tentative ruling prior to the scheduled hearing. Counsel shall check the Court’s tentative rulings after 2:00 p.m. the court day prior to the scheduled hearing.
Tentative rulings are posted on the Court’s website at https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/PublicCaseAccess/Civil. It is imperative for the parties to review the tentative ruling in its entirety. The ruling may include important updates for the parties, including possible updates to the date/time of the hearing or CMC. The parties shall be prepared to address all issues outlined in the Court’s ruling. If no tentative ruling is posted, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. If a tentative ruling is posted and the Court indicates that no appearance is required, the ruling shall become the final order of the Court, and no hearing shall occur unless the party seeking a hearing contacts the department clerk by 4:00 p.m. on the court day preceding the hearing and advises the clerk that they have provided notice to all other parties. In such event, the hearing will proceed as scheduled or as otherwise indicated by the Court in its tentative ruling.
Parties Requesting a Court Reporter
Parties requesting services of a court reporter will need to arrange for private court reporter services at their own expense, pursuant to Government code §68086 - external link and California Rules of Court, Rule 2.956 - external link. Requirements for requesting a court reporter are listed in the Policy for Official Reporter Pro Tempore available on the Sacramento Superior Court website at https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/court-reporters/docs/crtrp-6a.pdf. Parties may contact Court-Approved Official Reporters Pro Tempore by utilizing the list of Court Approved Official Reporters Pro Tempore available at https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/court-reporters/docs/crtrp-13.Pdf
A Stipulation and Appointment of Official Reporter Pro Tempore (CV/E-206) is required to be signed by each party, the private court reporter, and the Judge prior to the hearing, if not using a reporter from the Court’s Approved Official Reporter Pro Tempore list, Once the form is signed it must be filed with the clerk.
If a litigant has been granted a fee waiver and requests a court reporter, the party must submit a Request for Court Reporter by a Party with a Fee Waiver (CV/E-211) and it must be filed with the clerk at least 10 days prior to the hearing or at the time the proceeding is scheduled if less than 10 days away. Once approved, the clerk will forward the form to the Court Reporter’s Office and an official reporter will be provided.
Remote Appearances and Zoom Links
Effective January 3, 2022, civil hearings will be open for in-person appearances.
However, the Court will continue to allow and strongly encourages all parties to appear remotely, subject to Code of Civil Procedure § 367.75 - external link whenever possible. Additional information can be found at: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/civil/docs/pn-civil-remote-and-in-person-proceedings-effective-monday-january-3-2022.pdf.
To appear remotely please use the following:
To join by Zoom link - https://saccourt-ca-gov.zoomgov.com/my/sscdept27 - external link
To join by Room: Dept27a
To join by phone dial (833) 568-8864 ID 16120204632
To join by Zoom link - https://saccourt-ca-gov.zoomgov.com/my/sscdept28 - external link
To join by Room: Dept28a
To join by phone dial (833) 568-8864 ID 16039062174
Civility and Professionalism
Uncivil or unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated. The Court expects the parties to be familiar with and follow the California Guidelines of Civility and Professionalism (available at https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/local-rules/docs/guidelines-civility-professionalism.pdf) and the Sacramento County Bar Association Standards of Professional Conduct (available at https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/local-rules/docs/standards-professional-conduct.pdf).
The Court expects parties to resolve all disputes regarding scheduling or time extensions without the necessity of Court involvement.