Enforcing a deposition subpoena in California

Enforcing a deposition subpoena in California is the topic of this blog post.

A deposition subpoena in California is authorized by code of Civil Procedure section 2020.410 which states in pertinent part that prior to trial, a party may serve a deposition subpoena for the production of business records on a nonparty.

If the nonparty fails to comply with the deposition subpoena a motion to enforce the deposition subpoena may be filed.

This blog post will discuss situations where a nonparty has been served with a deposition subpoena yet has failed to make any appearance at the deposition or produce the requested business records.

A California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure section 2025 clearly apply to deposition subpoenas. Thus the motion to enforce the deposition subpoena in California must comply with the various requirements found in section 2025.

Law authorizing a motion to enforce a deposition subpoena in California.

Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.480 states in pertinent part that,

“(a) If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent’s control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.

(b) This motion shall be made no later than 60 days after the completion of the record of the deposition, and shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.”

However before filing any motion seeking to enforce a deposition subpoena in California the moving party must make a sufficient showing to the court that they have made a reasonable effort to meet and confer to resolve the issue before filing their motion and the motion must include a meet and confer declaration detailing the efforts to resolve the issue informally.

The moving party may also seek sanctions for their expenses incurred in connection with both the refusal to comply with the deposition subpoena and the preparation and filing of the motion to compel. Those sanctions can include attorney’s fees if the moving party is represented by an attorney.

The law in California is well settled that the scope of permissible discovery is very broad and any party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or to the determination of any motion made in that action, if the matter either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Any doubts regarding relevance are generally resolved in favor of allowing the discovery.

In fact a California Court of Appeal recently ruled in a published case that although the trial court has discretion in deciding whether to grant or deny a discovery motion it is obligated to construe the discovery statutes liberally in favor of disclosure, and that the broad scope of discovery includes the discovery of information from a nonparty.

The United States Supreme Court has stated that a fundamental principle of the common law is that “`”the public … has a right to every man’s evidence.” Trammel v. United States (1980) 445 U.S. 40, 50, 100 S.Ct. 906, 63 L.Ed.2d 186).

Under California law, if good cause has been shown for the production of a writing in a legal proceeding, no person has a right to refuse production of the writing in the absence of a statutory privilege permitting such refusal. “Except as otherwise provided by statute: [¶] . . . [¶] (b) No person has a privilege to refuse to disclose any matter or to refuse to produce any writing, object, or other thing.” Evidence Code section 911 subdivision (b).

Civil litigation attorney in Riverside County, California.

An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine if the circumstances of your case require enforcing a deposition subpoena in California.  Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.


Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.


Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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