This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
Welcome to Reed Smith's viewpoints — timely commentary from our lawyers on topics relevant to your business and wider industry. Browse to see the latest news and subscribe to receive updates on topics that matter to you, directly to your mailbox.
| 1 minute read

New Mandatory Initial Disclosures and Increased Discovery Sanctions in California State Court cases

A new California law effective on January 1, 2024, SB235, modifies Cal Code Civ Proc §§ 2016.090 and 2023.050 creating new, mandatory initial disclosures upon demand, and increasing the sanctions for certain failures to make discovery. Section 2016.090 is modified to require initial disclosures within 60 days of a demand made by any party in all California state court civil matters filed after January 1, 20241. Second, the mandatory sanction in Section 2023.050 has been increased from $250 to $1000 for certain failures in making discovery, as more fully described below.

Section 2016.090 previously provided an optional mechanism for parties to seek a stipulated order requiring initial disclosures within 45 days.  Now, represented litigants in most cases will be required to submit initial disclosures within 60 days of the receipt of a demand for same. 

Well before being served with a demand, counsel should initiate internal discussions with clients and their teams to identify, preserve and/or collect all information required for the disclosures. Once a party is served, counsel should immediately meet and confer with the demanding party to address any actual or anticipated difficulties regarding identification, preservation, collection, review and production of any required ESI, documents and/or things which may be required with the initial disclosures.  Failure to timely make the required disclosures may result in evidence being excluded at trial, and/or other sanctions.

Section 2023.050 previously required the court to impose a $250 sanction upon findings that a party, person, or attorney (1) failed to respond in good faith to a document request, (2) produced the requested documents within 7 days of a motion to compel that is filed by the requesting party as a result of a failure to respond in good faith, or (3) failed to meet and confer in person, by telephone, or other means of communication in writing, to resolve any dispute regarding the request. SB235 increases the amount of this sanction to $1,000. Further, the court may, in its discretion, require an attorney who is sanctioned pursuant to this section to report the sanction, in writing, to the State Bar within 30 days.

  1. This provision sunsets on January 1, 2027.


e-discovery, entertainment & media, esg, fintech, emerging technologies