Informal Discovery Conference In Los Angeles County Superior Court

An Informal Discovery Conference, commonly abbreviated as "IDC," is an informal proceeding used by the courts to encourage resolution of disputes, particularly discovery-related disputes, prior to the filing of a motion; a forced further meet and confer, if you will. IDCs are encouraged by many courts throughout Los Angeles County. At the informal discovery conference, the judge listens to each party's position in the dispute, and provides guidance. The outcome of the informal discovery conference can be described as a "tentative-tentative" ruling on the disputed issue prior to the hearing on the motion. The parties may later bring additional argument in the formal motion that can persuade the court otherwise; however, this may be an uphill battle. In Personal Injury Courts (PI Courts) of Los Angeles County (Departments 91, 92 and 93 in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse), informal discovery conferences are required by the 5th Amended General Order prior to the hearing on a motion to compel further responses to discovery. PI Court judges are available daily to conduct a 30-minute, in person IDCs with counsel from both sides who have full authority to make binding agreements in discovery disputes. Again, there are no rulings made in PI Court IDCs. "The purpose of the IDC is to help the parties resolve discovery disputes by agreement rather than by motion practice." Prior to the IDC, the clerk may ask the parties if they would like to meet and confer again before sitting down with the judge. How To Schedule An Informal Discovery Conference Each court has its own policies and procedures with respect to the availability and scheduling [...]

Noncompete Clauses in California

Non-compete (noncompete) clauses are becoming more and more commonplace in all sorts of jobs today. Traditionally, noncompete clauses were expected in high technology jobs, sales positions, and corporations with valuable secrets; however, in recent years, noncompete clauses have began popping up in other types of jobs, including: event planners, chefs, investment managers, and even yoga instructors. With the proliferation of noncompete clauses, often a non-negotiable condition of employment, the New York Times even ran an article recently that highlights some of the unexpected jobs where noncompete clauses are popping up. From the employers perspective, these restrictive covenants are seen as essential to protect their business secrets and make sure their high ranking employees from leaving to become competitors. Unfortunately, many employees often don't think twice about agreeing to a noncompete clause because they either haven't had any experience with them before, or don't imagine a situation where it would be a concern. Also, in today's job environment, many employees are simply happy to get a job and don't want to rock the boat before the offer is finalized. Whether a noncompete clause is enforceable is a matter of state law. Just because there is a noncompete clause in your employment contract doesn't mean that you can sue or be sued for breach. While every state is different, California law strongly disfavors noncompete clauses. Courts disfavor these restrictive covenants and see them as an unfair restraint on competition. While the blanket rule in California is that a noncompete clause is not enforceable, there are a few expectations where courts have held that a noncompete clause will be enforceable. This is often true even [...]

How To Write An Effective Demand Letter

Make sure your demand gets the attention it deserves. I love a carefully drafted demand letter. They are a great way to put the opposing party on notice that you are pursuing a claim against them, and are a low risk/low cost way to potentially resolve complex issues before having to file a formal action with the courts. That said, not all demand letters are created equally. Where a well-written demand letter can help both sides move on with their lives, a poorly written demand letter can cause unnecessary conflict that costs both parties time and money. If you are pursuing a claim against an individual or business and are considering opening with a demand letter, I've put together a couple helpful pointers below to ensure that your demand letter is effective as it can be. Of course, I am also available to help you craft an effective demand letter. Whether you need a new demand letter written from scratch or seek comments/edits on a letter you already drafted yourself, contact me today to learn how  St. Romain Law can help you. Demand Letter Tips Address a specific individual. Do not address your demand letter to "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern." It may take a little extra research to determine who is the appropriate person to send the letter to (usually the Registered Agent on file with the Secretary of State if you're sending your letter to a business entity), but it is a critical detail that cannot be overlooked. Unless your demands are directed to a specific individual with authority to act on the letter, it's unreasonable to [...]

Do You Need An Estate Plan?

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