New California Discovery Law

The California Senate recently passed a new law, Senate Bill 235, which significantly changes the landscape of civil discovery in California for all cases filed on or after January 1, 2024. The law mandates that parties provide initial disclosures similar to the common discovery tools we are already accustomed to, but on a much broader scale. Parties served with a demand for initial disclosures must now respond within 60 days with the following:

(1)  The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of all persons likely to have discoverable information, along with the subjects of that information, that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses or that is relevant to the subject matter of the action or the order on any motion made in that action.

(2)   A copy, or a description by category and location, of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody or control and may use to support its claims or defenses.

(3)  Any contractual agreement or insurance policy under which an insurance company may be liable to satisfy or reimburse a judgment.

(4)  Any material contractual provisions or terms under which a person may be liable to satisfy a judgment or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.

With this new law, the California legislature’s intention is that it will streamline the discovery process, making it more efficient and less costly, and encourage resolution earlier in the process. (Associate Attorney Chekwume Ufoegbune)