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New Provisions Governing Remote Appearances in Civil Matters

The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed almost everything, including the California Code of Civil Procedure. Most Californians are very familiar with remote work technology by this time and adapted quickly to video conferencing platforms to conduct business. The California courts are no different!

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 367.75, which went into effect on January 1, 2022 states that except under limited circumstances, “in civil cases, when a party has provided notice to the court and all other parties that it intends to appear remotely, a party may appear remotely and the court may conduct conferences, hearings, and proceedings, in whole or in part, through the use of remote technology.” While this might be welcome news to most, the provision’s impact on civil litigation is likely to have consequences in the civil litigation context.

Civil litigation is an adversarial process, and certain long-held litigation tactics may be forever changed by the introduction of remote appearance technology. For example, the cross-examination of witnesses at trial is extremely important and beneficial to litigants. In the courtroom, the judge or jury’s ability to observe the reactions and testimony of witnesses to assess their credibility can be critical to the outcome of a case. Similarly, the examining attorney at a live deposition routinely observes the attitude and body language of a witness or party to a case to evaluate the veracity of a witness, or find more useful facts that may help his client.

Put simply, it remains to be seen what impact remote technology will have on these important aspects of hard-fought civil litigation. Californians are very much accustomed to the new “Hollywood Squares” method of conducting their business and personal affairs. But there is truly no substitute for formality of the courtroom and the scrutiny of the judge and/or jury at a live proceeding. This is especially true when the litigants’ personal livelihoods and businesses hang in the balance.

At Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP, our staff has helped countless businesses and individuals navigate the “new normal” of remote appearance technology in civil litigation. Litigation is stressful and can adversely impact both your personal life, and the health of your business. If you need help navigating these treacherous waters, contact our offices to speak with an experienced attorney that specializes in helping clients like you.

Ransom D. Boynton, Esq.

Attorney, Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP