All judicial foreclosure actions in California are stayed.
On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California, under the direction of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, adopted 11 categories of COVID-19 emergency rules to help California courts balance the health and safety needs of the community with the civil and constitutional rights of various parties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency rules followed Executive Order N-38-20, signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on March 27, 2020, which expanded the authority of Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye to issue statewide orders addressing COVID-19.
In sum, the emergency rules, which take effect immediately, make the following procedural changes in California state courts:
- Evictions are stayed. California courts are barred from issuing summonses or defaults in unlawful detainer cases unless the court finds in its discretion on the record that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety.
- Judicial foreclosures are stayed. All judicial foreclosure actions in California are stayed.
- Remote judicial proceedings are authorized. All California civil courts, and all California criminal courts that have the consent of the criminal defendants, are authorized to require that all judicial proceedings and court operations be conducted remotely via video, audio and/or telephonic means. Additionally, California courts are authorized to allow the electronic exchange and authentication of documentary evidence; e-filing and e-service; remote interpreting; and the use of remote court reporting and electronic recording to make the official record of an action or proceeding.
- Bail is mostly eliminated. Bail is set to $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses.
- Most personal appearances in criminal matters are waived. The personal appearance requirement is waived in all criminal proceedings except in cases alleging murder with special circumstances and cases in which the defendant is currently incarcerated in state prison.
- Specified juvenile dependency matters will receive priority.
- Specified juvenile delinquency matters will also receive priority.
- Protective orders and restraining orders are automatically extended. Emergency protective orders made under Family Code section 6250 and set to expire during the state of emergency must remain in effect for up to 30 days from the date of issuance. Temporary restraining orders or gun violence protective orders set to expire during the state of emergency must be continued for a period of time that the court determines is sufficient to allow for a hearing on the long-term order to occur, for up to 90 days. Criminal protective orders set to expire during the state of emergency must be continued for a period of 90 days, or until the matter can be heard, whichever occurs first. Any restraining order or protective order after hearing that is set to expire during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic must be automatically extended for up to 90 days from the date of expiration to enable a protected party to seek a renewal of the restraining order.
- Civil statutes of limitation are tolled. Notwithstanding any other law, the statutes of limitation for civil causes of action are tolled from April 6, 2020, until 90 days after the governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.
- The deadline to bring a matter to trial is extended. For all civil actions filed on or before April 6, 2020, the deadline to bring the matter to trial is extended by six months for a total time of five years and six months. Additionally, for all civil actions filed on or before April 6, 2020, if a new trial is granted in the action, the three years provided in Cal. Code Civ. Proc. section 583.320 in which the action must again be brought to trial is extended by six months for a total time of three years and six months.
- A deponent need not be present with the deposition officer. A party or nonparty deponent, at their election or the election of the deposing party, is not required to be present with the deposition officer at the time of the deposition.
The emergency rules summarized above will remain in effect until 90 days after the California governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted, or until amended or repealed by the Judicial Council of California.
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