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Hi, this is Stewart Albertson with Albertson & Davidson.  I want to talk to you about Motions to Compel.  Nobody likes Motions to Compel.  We don’t like Motions to Compel.  Judges don’t like them, and either do the opposing parties we bring them against.  But they are, sometimes, required to be brought in cases where you need information to make sure you know what facts, witnesses and documents are in a case, prior to going to going to trial.

Here’s how Motions to Compel generally arise.  We sent a first set of written discovery to an opposing side, which includes Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Document Demands, Requests for Admissions, and they get thirty days to respond to those.  They, generally, will ask for a thirty day extension, so now they’re sixty days out from when we first sent the discovery, to when we’re finally going to get some answers back.  Those answers come in sixty days later and they’re terrible.  They don’t answer any of the questions, they’re just a bunch of boilerplate objections.  It’s really just a bunch of garbage.  And, unfortunately, California, the way that the law is set up, requires us to do what is called a Meet and Confer with the other side, the opposing counsel who just gave you the nasty garbage, nasty responses, didn’t give you anything meaningful in their discovery responses – after having sixty days to do so.  You have to do a Meet and Confer with that person.  You have to try to work it out between the two parties.

Federal Court is so much better than this, but that’s for another day.  Here, we’re in State Court in California.  So we do the Meet and Confer process.  Generally, that requires the opposing counsel to agree to give you a supplemental response to the really bad work they did in giving you their first responses.  They generally will get another two or three weeks, sometimes a month, to do that.  The second set of responses comes in.  These are what we called supplemental responses to the first responses and they’re just as bad as the first responses.   You have to do another Meet and Confer.  You’ve got to work with the opposing counsel, usually by letters, it’s not done very well over the phone, because people get heated in the phone conversations about what we’re entitled to, or what they think we’re not entitled to.  But, generally, you’re going to give them one more shot at getting you valid discovery responses.

Yet again, third response comes in, you’re like four or five months into the case, and the opposing counsel still gives you really crappy responses.  At that time, you’re going to be forced to do a Motion to Compel.  You’re going to have to file a motion with the court saying to the court, I have a right to this discovery, here is what I asked them, here’s how they’ve answered in three different supplements and how they have not answered the discovery, and they need to be giving us this information so we know how to prepare for trial in this case.  That Motion to Compel will be heard.  In our experience, we win most of these Motions to Compel, because we only ask for items that we are entitled to, and sometimes sanctions are awarded, monetary sanctions are awarded against the opposing counsel.

This is a long, drawn out process. It’s expensive.  It’s time-consuming.  It’s not fun.  But it’s something that has to be done.

One procedural device that we’ve just learned about that started in January 1 of 2018 are what we call IDCs.  These are Informal Discovery Conferences.  That’s outside the scope of this particular video dealing with Motions to Compel.  But IDCs are going to hopefully come in and help so that we don’t have to bring so many Motions to Compel.  We’ll be doing another video on IDCs in the near future.