CLAIM DEVELOPEMENT - CALIFORNIA RULES FOR COMPLEX LITIGATION
Most multiple unit defect claims will be designated complex litigation, see Rule 3.400 below, however the court has discretion when ruling on this issue. The claim will then go before a judge who handles complex litigation in that jurisdiction, who will then ask the parties to enter into Case Management Order/Pre-Trial Order (CMO/PTO). The judge uses this tool to efficiently litigate defect claims.
You should also be aware that even if a court denies your motion to classify your claim as complex, that a non-complex defect litigation requires organization. What appears to be a simple roof leak may involve the roofing contractor, the material manufacturer, architects, and the general contractor who managed the site. Your attorney should still ask the opposing counsel to enter into a CMO/PTO and if they do not accept, your attorney should immediately petition the presiding judge to order the parties into the CMP/PTO.
California Rules of Court - Complex Civil Litigation:
Rule 3.400. Definition
A "complex case" is an action that requires exceptional judicial management to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court or the litigants and to expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision making by the court, the parties, and counsel.
In deciding whether an action is a complex case under (a), the court must consider, among other things, whether the action is likely to involve:
(1) Numerous pretrial motions raising difficult or novel legal issues that will be time-consuming to resolve;
(2) Management of a large number of witnesses or a substantial amount of documentary evidence;
(3) Management of a large number of separately represented parties;
(4) Coordination with related actions pending in one or more courts in other counties, states, or countries, or in a federal court; or
(5) Substantial post judgment judicial supervision.
(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)
(c) Provisional designation
Except as provided in (d), an action is provisionally a complex case if it involves one or more of the following types of claims:
(1) Antitrust or trade regulation claims;
(2) Construction defect claims involving many parties or structures;
(3) Securities claims or investment losses involving many parties;
(4) Environmental or toxic tort claims involving many parties;
(5) Claims involving mass torts;
(6) Claims involving class actions; or
(7) Insurance coverage claims arising out of any of the claims listed in (c)(1) through (c)(6).
(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007.)
(d) Court's discretion
Notwithstanding (c), an action is not provisionally complex if the court has significant experience in resolving like claims involving similar facts and the management of those claims has become routine. A court may declare by local rule that certain types of cases are or are not provisionally complex under this subdivision.
(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)
Rule 3.400 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 1800 effective January 1, 2000.