How civil litigation cases proceed from initial filing to trial is illustrated in this civil litigation timeline with San Diego County general jurisdiction as an example.

California Civil Litigation Timeline Process Summary

  • A plaintiff starts the process by filing a lawsuit (“complaint”) with a California court
  • The plaintiff serves the complaint on the defendant(s) (plaintiff must do this within 60 days [CRC 3.110])
  • Process continues with the defendant filing a responsive pleading, such as an answer (typically containing a general denial), or a demurrer (in California),  a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (in Federal Court), or a motion to strike. An answer may also contain a cross-complaint against the plaintiff or other parties
  • After all parties respond, the court will deem the case at issue
  • The parties may conduct discovery. This can include written interrogatory questions to one side and depositions
  • At some point during the process, the court will set a Case Management Conference (CMC) which the parties (or their lawyers) must attend
  • At the CMC, the judge may order the  parties to mediation (the parties are required to file a Case Management Statement 15 days prior to the CMC)
    • The judge may also set certain dates such as:
      • Trial
      • Trial Readiness Conference
      • First Expert Exchange
      • Second Expert Exchange
      • Law and Motion Discovery Cutoff
  • After a judgment, either side may file post trial motions.
  • Either side may appeal a final judgment. An appeal can extend the litigation process by a year or more.

Do you have a civil case? Not sure what to do?

Stop wondering, start negotiating or start fighting. 

Put your questions and concerns in the hands of a San Diego civil attorney by requesting a free case consultation. In the end we’ll let you know just what your options are and the best way to proceed towards resolution and whether or not it’s best to step on this civil litigation process timeline or avoid it altogether.

Call (619) 444-2244 today or submit the form on this page for a free consultation. 

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<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=””><img class=”aligncenter” style=”border: 1px solid #E0DDDD; padding: 10px;” title=”San Diego Civil Litigation Process” src=”” alt=”Civil Litigation Process” width=”1224″ height=”792″ /></a><br/><a href=””>Get printer friendly version</a><br/><a href=””>Infographic courtesy of San Diego civil litigation attorney, Steven A. Elia</a></p>

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