(650) 735-2436   (209) 643-2436

California and New York Civil Discovery: Response Times

This is my second post on the topic of Civil Discovery in legal matters. In my first post, I went over the scope of civil discovery under California law, New York law, as well as Federal law. I’m sticking with that format in this post and the topic of Response Times. A Response Time is, as the name might imply, the time period within which the party who has received a request for evidence or information has to provide that evidence or information. Again, the precise time period that applies to your particular situation is going to depend very much on the law that applies to your case. As you’ll hopefully see below, it’s extremely dangerous to make assumptions when it comes to any sort of discovery. I’ll illustrate this using a common form of written discovery called a Request for Admission. California Under California state law, the Response Time for a Request for Admission is described in Section 2033.250 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, which states: “Within 30 days after service of requests for admission, the party to whom the requests are directed shall serve the original of the response to them on the requesting party, and a copy of the response on all other parties who have appeared, unless on motion of the requesting party the court has shortened the time for response, or unless on motion of the responding party the court has extended the time for response.” As the bolded and underlined part indicates, the Response Time is 30 days. Specifically, this is 30 calendar days. This is an extremely important distinction because...

Grounds for Divorce in New York versus California

In this post, I’m going to continue my comparison of how New York and California treat various topics. As with past posts, I’m hoping that you can see how laws differ between states in the US, but also have some similarities as well. The topic today is going to be the grounds or reasons upon which you can seek divorce in California versus New York. New York In my last post, I described the seven different grounds or reasons why you can seek a divorce in New York state. These are summarized in bullet point format below. The relevant statute is section 170 of New York’s Domestic Relations Law. Section 170 is quite long so I’m not going to quote it here verbatim. Please do refer to the precise text of section 170 if you need anything more than what I’m going to paraphrase below: Cruel and inhumane treatment by defendant such that it endangers plaintiff’s physical and mental well-being to remain in the marriage; Defendant abandons plaintiff for at least one year; Defendant is confined in prison for at least three years; Adultery; Spouses living apartment for at least a year pursuant to a judgment of legal separation; Spouses living apart for at least a year pursuant to a written separation agreement; or Spouses with a relationship that has irretrievably broken down for at least 6 months. California To contrast with New York, California’s grounds for divorce are much simpler. There are basically only two grounds: (1) irreconcilable differences, and (2) permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. If you’re looking at a California divorce petition, the grounds for...

California and New York Civil Discovery: Scope

In today’s post, I’m going to try and explain the concept of Discovery in civil cases and what the boundaries or scope of that discovery is. I’ll use some examples from California law as well as New York law and also some tidbits from federal law as well. Depending on the court that your case is in (for instance, California Superior Court versus US District Court), one set of rules and laws will apply, but not the other. Be forewarned, though, that the topic of civil discovery can get very, very, very complicated. Lots of specific requirements apply. It can absolutely get very frustrating. It’s similar to how taxes work and why, for instance, certain tax rules make no logical sense when compared to the real world. The vast majority of people, of course, just follow the rules when it comes to taxes and don’t bother worrying about why tax rules are the way they are. When it comes to discovery, in my opinion, a lot of these complexities are unnecessary and the whole discovery process could be made easier and more efficient without prejudice or harm to any litigant. However, it’s not up to me — at least not yet — and instead it depends on the whims and fancies of politicians and legislatures. It is what it is. Having said that, let me start with a basic definition of what “discovery” actually is: it’s the process in litigation where the various parties can seek or obtain evidence or facts that are relevant to the case. As the adage goes, each party puts all of their cards on...

Cost-Benefit Analysis in Forming a Limited Liability Company

I’ve written a few posts now about Limited Liability Companies (LLC) in California. In prior posts, for example, I’ve discussed whether an LLC can be used to form a law firm in California. I’ve also described the minimization approach law schools in the US typically use when teaching about business entities, like an LLC. I’m going to talk about LLCs in this post, but the basic logic I’m describing will apply to other types of entities also. In this post, I am going to expand on this idea of minimizing tax and legal liability. Most law schools start there and, unfortunately, also end there which means there is a bias towards always forming an LLC because, essentially, why would wanting to minimize tax and legal liability ever be a bad thing? In my view, it’s not a bad thing, but it might not be as good a thing as you initially think. The reason is because of Cost-Benefit Analysis. In other words, forming an LLC will result in several benefits, advantages, or positives. If you just stop there, then you should clearly always form an LLC. Realistically, of course, forming an LLC will also involve certain costs, drawbacks, or negatives. This should not be a groundbreaking concept to anyone because the same is true for all decisions you make in life. What ultimately matters when deciding to form an LLC is — like it is in other arenas in life — what the net result is. Do the benefits of having an LLC outweigh the costs of having an LLC? One relevant consideration here would, for instance, be whether...

Minimizing Tax and Legal Liability When Starting a Business

A lot of people now have side hustles or are otherwise self-employed. If you’re one of these people, you might have wondered at some point whether or not you should form a legal entity of some kind, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Doing so is much easier now than it was, say, even 5 years ago. Many websites advertise that they will help you form an LLC in California, Nevada, or Delaware in 10 minutes or less for $99, for example. In this post, I’m going to discuss just LLCs given how common and popular they are. They are, by no means, the only entity out there. In 2021, for example, I wrote a post about whether you can use an LLC in California to form a law firm. Specifically, I’m going to describe something simple, namely how the question of “Should I form…” is taught in law school. Law schools in the US often address this topic in a survey course discussing business organizations or entities. At my law school, the survey course was, in fact, called “Business Organizations”. That course analyzed this question from the perspective of minimization. In other words, when forming a business or running a business, the typical owner is concerned about minimizing two things: Minimizing their legal liability. In other words, if their business does get into legal trouble of some kind (e.g. lawsuit from a customer or vendor, etc.), the business wants to limit the scope of their potential loss or exposure. Minimizing their tax liability. I’m sure you’ve heard many, many stories about how very large publicly-traded companies that...

Law School Help: California Criminal – Robbery

In looking over my blog posts, it appears I started — or at least had aspirations to start — making posts aimed at law school students. Specifically, I wanted to add some real-world details to the offenses that law school only teaches in a general or basic way. To be fair to law schools, this general or basic way is by necessity as the school has no idea which jurisdiction, if any, the student will ultimately practice law in and how that jurisdiction defines that particular offense. Many legal offenses are defined in terms of a criteria-based approach. In other words, the offense in question (e.g. robbery) has a set number of requirements or criteria that have to be satisfied. If the “net evidence” shows that these criteria have been satisfied or proven to a specific standard (e.g. beyond a reasonable doubt), then the defendant will be guilty or liable of that offense. I say “net evidence” here because you should remember that the decision of guilt or liability will be made after considering (1) the evidence tending to show guilt or liability as well as (2) the evidence tending to not show guilt or liability. There is no quantitative way to compute what evidence cancels what, but the idea of a net balance should still make sense. In other words, is there ultimately more credible and reliable evidence showing guilt or liability or is there more credible and reliable evidence showing that the defendant is not guilty or not liable? If all of that made sense, I’m going to talk about the crime of robbery in this post...