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The California Electronic Discovery Act: New Rules Governing E-Discovery Are Effective Immediately

On June 29, 2009, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 5, also known as the Electronic Discovery Act (Act). The purpose of the Act is to eliminate uncertainty and confusion regarding the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) and minimize unnecessary and costly litigation that adversely impacts access to the courts.

The Act amends and adds to the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) to provide a series of procedures for a litigant to discover or object to discovery of ESI, building on already existing conventional discovery procedures. The Act incorporates into the CCP many of the same provisions regarding ESI found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, so practitioners familiar with the federal rules already will understand many of the provisions in the revised CCP.

The Act by its terms takes immediate effect. Thus, the amended provisions of the CCP are now in place, and litigants in California courts must immediately comply with them.

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