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California Makes Big Changes to the Discovery Act

Beginning January of 2024, California amended the Civil Discovery Act to mirror the Federal Rules and require that any party appearing in a civil action to provide initial disclosures to any other party demanding the same.

In January of 2024, California amended the Civil Discovery Act, specifically C.C.P. section 2016.090, to affirmatively require that any party appearing in a civil action to provide initial disclosures to any other party demanding the same.  In an effort to reflect the Federal Rule 26 disclosure requirements, as many other States have adopted, California will now also mandate (upon demand) that a party produce evidence without an arduous and possibly duplicative effort.  In other words, this initial disclosure will require a party making initial disclosures of persons or records to additionally disclose persons or records that are relevant to the subject matter of the action and to disclose information and records regarding insurance policies or contracts that would make a person or insurance company liable to satisfy a judgment.

Discovery is a very important pretrial stage of a trial. It is the process of collecting information in preparation for trial, when both sides engage to collect facts, identify witnesses, and evaluate a case.  Prior California law provided for various methods of discovery to obtain evidence in connection with civil litigation, including requests for production of documents.  California’s new section 2016.090 requires that when requested the following:

  • A party must make its initial disclosures based on the information then reasonably available to it and is not excused from making the disclosures simply because it has not fully investigated the case;
  • A party must verify the required disclosures as true and correct under penalty of perjury; and,
  • A party must supplement or correct a disclosure or response if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the disclosure or discovery process.

Importantly, if a party fails to provide the above, they are subject to mandatory sanctions for each violation.

Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara is a full-service law firm based throughout California and the southwest.  If you have any questions, please contact our website at or call us at (949) 221-1000.