Judge: Serena R. Murillo, Case: 22STCV06939, Date: 2023-03-21 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 22STCV06939    Hearing Date: March 21, 2023    Dept: 29



Defendant’s motion to continue trial is GRANTED. Trial is continued to June 3, 2024 at 8:30 a.m.; FSC May 22, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. Discovery and motions cutoff dates are to track the new trial date.


Legal Standard

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subdivision (c) states that although disfavored, the trial date may be continued for “good cause,” which includes (without limitation): (1) unavailability of trial counsel or witnesses due to “death, illness, or other excusable circumstances”; (2) the addition of a new party depriving the new party (or other parties) from conducting discovery and preparing for trial; (3) “excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts”; or (4) “[a] significant, unanticipated change in the status of the case” preventing it from being ready for trial. (Id., Rule 3.1332(c).) 

Other relevant considerations may include: “(1) The proximity of the trial date; [¶] (2) Whether there was any previous continuance, extension of time, or delay of trial due to any party; [¶] (3) The length of the continuance requested; [¶] (4) The availability of alternative means to address the problem that gave rise to the motion or application for a continuance; [¶] (5) The prejudice that parties or witnesses will suffer as a result of the continuance; [¶] (6) If the case is entitled to a preferential trial setting, the reasons for that status and whether the need for a continuance outweighs the need to avoid delay; [¶] (7) The court's calendar and the impact of granting a continuance on other pending trials; [¶] (8) Whether trial counsel is engaged in another trial; [¶] (9) Whether all parties have stipulated to a continuance; [¶] (10) Whether the interests of justice are best served by a continuance, by the trial of the matter, or by imposing conditions on the continuance; and [¶] (11) Any other fact or circumstance relevant to the fair determination of the motion or application.” (Id., Rule 3.1332(d).) 

Code of Civil Procedure section 2024.050 allows a court to grant leave to complete discovery proceedings. In doing so, a court shall consider matters relevant to the leave requested, including, but not limited to: (1) the necessity of the discovery, (2) the diligence in seeking the discovery or discovery motion, (3) the likelihood of interference with the trial calendar or prejudice to a party, and (4) the length of time that has elapsed between previous trial dates. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2024.050.)


Defendant moves to continue trial to a date after its currently scheduled motion for summary judgment (MSJ) set for April 24, 2024, arguing good cause exists as this was the first hearing date available for Defendant’s timely filed MSJ.

It is well established that a court may not refuse to hear a summary judgment motion that is timely filed.¿ (Wells Fargo Bank v. Superior Court¿(1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 918, 919¿[“We are asked to determine whether the trial court may refuse to hear a summary judgment motion filed within the time limits of Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.¿We determine it may not”]; Sentry Ins. Co. v. Superior Court¿(1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 526, 530¿[“We are sympathetic to the problems the trial courts experience in calendaring and hearing the many motions for summary judgment. However, the solution to these problems cannot rest in a refusal to hear timely motions.”].)¿¿¿¿ 

The Court finds there is good cause to continue trial as the hearing on Defendant’s MSJ is set after the current trial date due to the Court’s congested calendar. First, the Court may not refuse to hear Defendant’s MSJ, which would have been timely filed. Further, it does not appear Plaintiff would be prejudiced by a trial continuance, and he has not filed an opposition contending otherwise. Rather, Defendant would suffer prejudice if it were not afforded the opportunity to defend this case by way of an MSJ. Moreover, this is just the first continuance in this matter. Thus, the motion is granted. Trial is continued to June 3, 2024.




Accordingly, the motion to continue trial is GRANTED. Trial is continued to June 3, 2024 at 8:30 a.m.; FSC May 22, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Discovery and motions cutoff dates are to track the new trial date.


Moving party is ordered to give notice.