Discovery in Unlawful Detainer Cases – San Diego Landlord Tenant Attorney

MB900056527Unlawful detainer (eviction) cases in California are typically referred to as summary court procedures (which is another way of saying that they move much quicker than typical civil litigation cases).  However, many parties do not realize that discovery is available in these types of cases.  Below are some of the typical discovery tools used in unlawful detainer cases:

  1. Interrogatories.  A plaintiff may serve a defendant with written interrogatories at any time five (5) days after service of the summons on, or appearance by, the defendant, whichever occurs first.  The defendant may serve the plaintiff with interrogatories at any time.  Responses to interrogatories are typically due within five (5) days, unless the Court extends or shortens this deadline.  It should be noted that California does have judicial council form interrogatories for unlawful detainer cases. 
  2. Request For Admissions.  Like interrogatories, a plaintiff may serve a defendant with request for admissions at any time five (5) days after service of the summons on, or appearance by, the defendant, whichever occurs first.  The defendant may serve the plaintiff with request for admissions at any time.  Responses to requests for admissions are due within at least five (5) days, unless the Court extends or shortens this deadline.
  3. Depositions.  Oral depositions must be scheduled for a date at least five (5) days after service of the deposition notice but not later than five (5) days before trial.  On motion or ex parte application, the Court may shorten or extend these deadlines.  Due to the cost involved, depositions are rarely taken in unlawful detainer cases.
  4. Inspections Demands.  A plaintiff may serve a defendant with a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling of documents, electronically stored information, or land at any time five (5) days after the service of the summons on, or appearance by, the defendant, whichever occurs first.  A defendant may serve the same upon a plaintiff at any time.  The demand must specify a reasonable time for the inspection, copying, testing, or sampling at least five (5) days after service of the demand.  The responding party has at least five (5) days to respond.

It is important to note that many of the above deadlines may be shortened or extended by order of the Court, upon a showing of good cause. 

If a plaintiff or defendant anticipates a contested unlawful detainer matter, it is typically good practice to utilize discovery tools.  If you have any questions on discovery in unlawful detainer cases or other landlord/tenant issues, please contact us at info@thevclawgroup.com or 858.519.7333.