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Patience is a virtue...

Posted By Amy R. Carlson, Wednesday, February 8, 2017


"Patience is a virtue. Virtue is a grace.  Grace is a little girl who never washed her face."


My mother-in-law used to sing this to my kids.  It came to mind at the last Civil Practice Committee meeting. 


We all need to be patient in Santa Clara County Superior Court right now. 


As some of you may have experienced, the court is short-staffed.  The California government cut funding a few years back and—as frugal as the court was—it finally started affecting Santa Clara County Superior Court.  The clerk’s hours were cut to 3pm.  Clerks who left were not replaced.  The court did its best to weather the downturn but there was only so much to be done. 


In order to ease the strain on the staff, it is imperative that when you appear before the judges—who also experience the short-staffing—you make your appearance worthwhile.  If you haven’t done your Rule 4 ESC or your mediation, do an ADR stipulation to continue your ADR Review Hearing until after your ESC or mediation.  Otherwise, your hearing will be a waste of time.  The judges suggest you do an ADR stipulation by ex parte and it should get signed quickly.


The court also requests patience with regard to e-filing.  It’s been implemented for family and probate.  When the court finds glitches in the family and probate courts, they’re fixing them so they are not incorporated into civil. 


Another item of interest is that when the civil case managers were reduced from five to four, the Tuesday afternoon calendars were already set.  If you have a 3pm case management conference in Department 7 on a Tuesday (through March 6), you need to appear. You will be given information on where your case has been reassigned.  The 3:00 calendar will remain empty for another four weeks or so until the Tuesday afternoon calendars are realigned to 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, and 3:45. 


Lastly, attorneys practicing in Santa Clara County Superior have become a bit lax in following the California Rules of Court—particularly when preparing default judgments.  C.C.P. section 585 packages are submitted to the trial judges for review. Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1800 provides a checklist of documents to be submitted with default packages.  These judgement packages are based strictly on declarations and other admissible evidence (CRC, Rule 3.1800).  Judge Folan currently handles the default prove-up hearings when the trial judge believes live testimony will be necessary.  Fraud cases and cases involving punitive damages or emotional distress usually involve default prove-up hearings with live testimony.  For both prove-up hearings and the submission of 585 packages, strict compliance with CRC 3.1800 is required.  Additionally, attorneys should follow the attorney fee schedule in the local rules.  If an attorney wants to stray from the schedule, he or she must provide a detailed declaration as set forth in the attorney-fee schedule.  (See Local Rule 14).


The moral of the story is be patient while the e-filing is implemented; the short-staffing continues; and follow the Rules of Court.  The more aware you are of the constraints of the court—and the more patience you have with them—the more expeditious everyone will be.


We will all be thankful for a little bit of patience and cooperation.

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