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A Case Management Conference is how California gets the parties together early in the case to identify the issues, provide discovery in the form of documentary evidence or witness statements or see if the case can be settled. Here is what can happen in a CMC:
2016 California Rules of Court
Rule 3.750. Initial case management conference
(a) Timing of conference
The court in a complex case should hold an initial case management conference with all parties represented at the earliest practical date.
(b) Subjects for consideration
At the conference, the court should consider the following subjects:
(1) Whether all parties named in the complaint or cross-complaint have been served, have appeared, or have been dismissed;
(2) Whether any additional parties may be added or the pleadings may be amended;
(3) The deadline for the filing of any remaining pleadings and service of any additional parties;
(4) Whether severance, consolidation, or coordination with other actions is desirable;
(5) The schedule for discovery proceedings to avoid duplication and whether discovery should be stayed until all parties have been brought into the case;
(6) The schedule for settlement conferences or alternative dispute resolution;
(7) Whether to appoint liaison or lead counsel;
(8) 16}The date for the filing of any dispositive motions;
(9) The creation of preliminary and updated lists of the persons to be deposed and the subjects to be addressed in each deposition;
(10) The exchange of documents and whether to establish an electronic document depository;
(11) Whether a special master should be appointed and the purposes for such appointment;
(12) Whether to establish a case-based Web site and other means to provide a current master list of addresses and telephone numbers of counsel; and
(13) The schedule for further conferences.
(c) Objects of conference
Principal objects of the initial case management conference are to expose at an early date the essential issues in the litigation and to avoid unnecessary and burdensome discovery procedures in the course of preparing for trial of those issues.
(d) Meet and confer requirement
The court may order counsel to meet privately before the initial case management conference to discuss the items specified in (a) and to prepare a joint statement of matters agreed upon, matters on which the court must rule at the conference, and a description of the major legal and factual issues involved in the litigation.
2016 California Rules of Court
Yes, you have to meet, but you can meet by telephone if you want. Here is the rule:
Rule 3.724. Duty to meet and confer
Unless the court orders another time period, no later than 30 calendar days before the date set for the initial case management conference, the parties must meet and confer, in person or by telephone, to consider each of the issues identified in rule 3.727 and, in addition, to consider the following:
(1) Resolving any discovery disputes and setting a discovery schedule;
(2) Identifying and, if possible, informally resolving any anticipated motions;
(3) Identifying the facts and issues in the case that are uncontested and may be the subject of stipulation;
(4) Identifying the facts and issues in the case that are in dispute;
(5) Determining whether the issues in the case can be narrowed by eliminating any claims or defenses by means of a motion or otherwise;
(6) Determining whether settlement is possible;
(7) Identifying the dates on which all parties and their attorneys are available or not available for trial, including the reasons for unavailability;
(8) Any issues relating to the discovery of electronically stored information, including:
(A) relating to the preservation of discoverable electronically stored information;
(B) The form or forms in which information will be produced;
(C) The time within which the information will be produced;
(D) The scope of discovery of the information;
(E) The method for asserting or preserving claims of privilege or attorney work product, including whether such claims may be asserted after production;
(F) The method for asserting or preserving the confidentiality, privacy, trade secrets, or proprietary status of information relating to a party or person not a party to the civil proceedings;
(G) How the cost of production of electronically stored information is to be allocated among the parties;
(H) Any other issues relating to the discovery of electronically stored information, including developing a proposed plan relating to the discovery of the information; and
(9 Other relevant matters.
Rule 3.724 amended effective August 14, 2009; adopted effective January 1, 2007.
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