A request for a continuance of a trial date in California is the topic of this blog post.
This blog post will provide a general outline of the common grounds that may support a request for a continuance of a trial date in California.
A request for a continuance of a trial date in California may be made by filing a noticed motion but is typically done with an ex parte application. This is due to the fact that the circumstances that necessitate a request for a continuance of a trial date often arise when there is not sufficient time for a noticed motion for a continuance to be heard before the trial date.
Any request for a continuance of a trial date in California should be filed as soon as possible once you have discovered that you need to request a continuance in order to increase the chances that the Judge will grant your request.
Law governing a request for a continuance of a trial date in California.
California Rule of Court 3.1332 governs a request for a continuance of a trial date in California and states that,
“(a) Trial dates are firm
To ensure the prompt disposition of civil cases, the dates assigned for a trial are firm. All parties and their counsel must regard the date set for trial as certain.
(b) Motion or application
A party seeking a continuance of the date set for trial, whether contested or uncontested or stipulated to by the parties, must make the request for a continuance by a noticed motion or an ex parte application under the rules in chapter 4 of this division, with supporting declarations. The party must make the motion or application as soon as reasonably practical once the necessity for the continuance is discovered.
(c) Grounds for continuance
Although continuances of trials are disfavored, each request for a continuance must be considered on its own merits. The court may grant a continuance only on an affirmative showing of good cause requiring the continuance. Circumstances that may indicate good cause include:
(1) The unavailability of an essential lay or expert witness because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances;
(2) The unavailability of a party because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances;
(3) The unavailability of trial counsel because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances;
(4) The substitution of trial counsel, but only where there is an affirmative showing that the substitution is required in the interests of justice;
(5) The addition of a new party if:
(A) The new party has not had a reasonable opportunity to conduct discovery and prepare for trial; or
(B) The other parties have not had a reasonable opportunity to conduct discovery and prepare for trial in regard to the new party’s involvement in the case;
(6) A party’s excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts; or
(7) A significant, unanticipated change in the status of the case as a result of which the case is not ready for trial.
(d) Other factors to be considered
In ruling on a motion or application for continuance, the court must consider all the facts and circumstances that are relevant to the determination. These may include:
(1) The proximity of the trial date;
(2) Whether there was any previous continuance, extension of time, or delay of trial due to any party;
(3) The length of the continuance requested;
(4) The availability of alternative means to address the problem that gave rise to the motion or application for a continuance;
(5) The prejudice that parties or witnesses will suffer as a result of the continuance;
(6) If the case is entitled to a preferential trial setting, the reasons for that status and whether the need for a continuance outweighs the need to avoid delay;
(7) The court’s calendar and the impact of granting a continuance on other pending trials;
(8) Whether trial counsel is engaged in another trial;
(9) Whether all parties have stipulated to a continuance;
(10) Whether the interests of justice are best served by a continuance, by the trial of the matter, or by imposing conditions on the continuance; and
(11) Any other fact or circumstance relevant to the fair determination of the motion or application.”
It should be noted that the trial court is given a lot of discretion in ruling on a motion for a continuance of a trial date, however if the trial court denies the request for a continuance and that results in the denial of a fair hearing, the California Courts of Appeal have stated in published decisions that the discretion is abused when the lack of a continuance results in a denial of a fair hearing.
A California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that the strong public policy favoring disposition of cases on the merits outweighs other policies such as the Trial Court Delay Reduction Act which stress judicial efficiency.
Another California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that that the unavailability of trial counsel because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances under normal circumstances should qualify as “good cause” for a continuance.
It should be stressed that waiting too long to request a continuance may result in the request for a continuance being denied.
If you need to request a continuance of a trial date in California you should contact an experienced litigation attorney that can review your situation and determine if you have sufficient grounds for a continuance, and if so, the length of the continuance that should be requested.
Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Schedule a free consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.
Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:
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.