New Calif. law overhauls digital discovery procedures

Chris Rizo Jul. 1, 2009, 6:17pm

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

Noreen Evans (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law legislation this week that is aimed improving discovery practices for attorneys on both sides of cases.

Assembly Bill 5, which was signed by the governor Monday, immediately enacts new electronic discovery provisions into the state Code of Civil Procedure.

The bill -- supported by the Civil Justice Association of California and Consumer Attorneys of California -- establishes procedures for a person to obtain discovery of electronically stored information.

Among other things, the new law, the Civil Discovery Act, permits evidence discovery by the means of copying, testing, or sampling, in addition to inspection, of documents, tangible things, land or other property or electronically stored information.

"Current California law does not expressly address the new and complex issues relating to discovery law and electronically stored information," CJAC President John Sullivan told the governor in a letter. "With the amendments dealing with inaccessible information, we are confident the bill is a fair and balanced approach that will work well for plaintiffs, defendants, their lawyers, and judges."

The legislation was introduced by state Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, a member of the California Law Revision Commission.

The bill was identical to last year's Assembly Bill 926 by Evans.

The bill was one of many proposals vetoed by the governor without regard to merit because he said he did not have sufficient time to review much of that year's legislation because of the state's mounting budget crisis.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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