AB 1390, as amended, Alejo. Groundwater: adjudication.
The California Constitution requires that the water resources of the State be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable. Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which applies to all groundwater basins in the state, all basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins by the Department of Water Resources as basins that are subject to critical conditions of overdraft, as specified, are required to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2020.
This bill would establish special procedures for an adjudication action, which is defined as an action filed in superior court to determine the rights to extract groundwater within a basin or store water from a basin, as specified. The bill would authorize the court to determine all rights to groundwater in a basin whether based on appropriation, overlying right, or other basis of right. The bill would require these special procedures to govern all adjudication actions except in specified cases not involving allocation of a basin’s groundwater supply.
This bill would require a complaint filed in an adjudication action to name certain defendants, including all counties or cities that provide water service and overlie the basin in whole or in part, and to be served and published in a specified manner. The bill would require the complaint to be accompanied by a draft notice and draft form answer, as specified, and would require the court to hold a preliminary hearing within 180 days of the filing of the complaint to determine if the action should proceed to comprehensively determine groundwater rights in the basin in accordance with the special procedures for adjudication actions. If the court makes that determination, based on a finding that at least one of 4 specified conditions is met, the bill would require the court to issue an order declaring the case an adjudication action and authorizing the service of the landowners of the basin. After the court order authorizing service of the landowners of the basin, the bill would require the plaintiff to file an ex parte application seeking court approval of the draft notice and draft form answer filed with the complaint. If the court approves the draft notice and draft form answer, the bill would require the assessor or assessors of the county or counties in which the basin to be adjudicated lies to include the court-approved notice and form answer with the next property tax bill sent to each landowner in the basin. The bill would require the plaintiff to reimburse the assessor or assessors for the costs of including the court-approved notice and form answer with the property tax bills and, after those materials have been included with the property tax bills, would require the plaintiff to file a declaration under penalty of perjury with the court attesting to the completion of the mailing. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would deem fulfillment of the service and publication provisions as effective service of process of the complaint and notice on all interested parties of the adjudication action for purposes of establishing in rem jurisdiction and the comprehensive effect of the adjudication action.
This bill would authorize the court to convene an initial case management conference within 60 days of completion of service of the complaint and notice, as described above, after which the court could divide the adjudication action into phases. The bill would require the court to define the scope of any phase of the adjudication action by written order and would provide that the court’s discretion is not limited in ordering as many phases as the court deems appropriate for the expeditious and appropriate resolution of competing claims to the groundwater basin. In a phase of an adjudication action, the bill would require discovery to be strictly limited to the scope of the phase and would authorize the court to issue a written statement of decision at the completion of each phase. In addition, the bill would require each party to make, under penalty of perjury, specified initial disclosures within 60 days after the initial case management conference, except a plaintiff would be required to make the initial disclosures at the time it files the complaint. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize the court to appoint a special master in an adjudication action, and would provide that the special master’s duties could include, among other things, initiating a technical committee to conduct joint factfinding regarding the basin and would require the special master to compile a technical report of the findings, as specified. On or before January 1, 2017, the bill would require the Department of Water Resources to establish and maintain a list of individuals who may serve as special masters in adjudication actions and would prescribe the experience needed for an individual to be placed on the list.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 830) is
2added to Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:
(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
6(1) Diverse economic, environmental, and social interests are
7implicated by sustainable groundwater management.
8(2) Efficient resolution of conflicts concerning the right to use
9and manage groundwater will promote beneficial use of the waters
10of the state consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California
11Constitution, the state water policies mandated in Chapter 1
12(commencing with Section 100) of Division 1 of the Water Code,
13and as intended by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
14(Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of Division 6 of the
16(3) Previous groundwater adjudication actions have taken more
17than a decade before issuance of a final judgment by the court in
18an adjudication action.
19(4) In light of the scope and complexities of groundwater
20adjudication actions, the state’s welfare will be promoted by the
21development of specially tailored legal procedures to efficiently
22process groundwater adjudication actions.
23(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to do all of the following:
24(1) Develop procedures to provide a more streamlined and
25expeditious groundwater adjudication process, while at the same
26time fully respecting established principles of water rights law and
27providing participants appropriate due process.
28(2) Establish procedures by which courts may conduct
29 comprehensive determinations of all rights to groundwater in a
31(3) Encourage early resolution of groundwater rights disputes.
32(4) Substantially reduce the time and expense of groundwater
33adjudications, while ensuring fair procedures to protect all parties’
34rights to groundwater.
35(5) Ensure the judicial process is not used to unnecessarily delay
36or thwart the goal of managing groundwater in a sustainable
38(6) Reduce the burdens placed on the judiciary under the current
For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions
3(a) “Adjudication action” means an action filed in superior court
4to determine the rights to extract groundwater within a basin or
5store water from a basin, including, but not limited to,
begin delete actionsend delete to quiet title respecting rights to extract or store groundwater
7or an action brought to impose a physical solution on a basin.
8(b) “Basin” means a groundwater basin or subbasin identified
9pursuant to Section 839.
10(c) “Bulletin 118” means the department’s report entitled
11“California’s Groundwater: Bulletin 118” updated in 2003, as it
12may be subsequently updated or revised.
13(d) “Complaint” means a complaint filed in superior court to
14determine rights to extract groundwater and includes any
15cross-complaint that initiates an adjudication action in response
16to a plaintiff’s complaint or other cross-complaint.
17(e) “Department” means the Department of Water Resources.
18(f) “Groundwater” means water beneath the surface of the earth
19within the zone below the water table in which the soil is
20completely saturated with water, but does not include water that
21flows in known and definite channels.
22(g) “Groundwater extraction facility” means a device or method
23for extracting groundwater from within a basin.
24(h) “Groundwater recharge” means the augmentation of
25groundwater, by natural or artificial means.
26(i) “Person” includes, but is not limited to, counties, local
27agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, tribes, business entities,
29(j) “Plaintiff” means the person filing the complaint initiating
30an adjudication action and includes a cross-complainant who
31initiates an adjudication action by cross-complaint.
32(k) “Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act” means the
33provisions of Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of
34Division 6 of the Water Code.
(a) This chapter establishes special procedures for an
36adjudication action. This chapter shall not alter groundwater rights
37or the law concerning groundwater rights. The other provisions of
38this code apply to procedures in an adjudication action to the extent
39they do not conflict with the provisions of this chapter.
P6 1(b) In an adjudication action subject to this chapter, the court
2may determine, in the proceedings provided for in this chapter, all
3rights to groundwater in a basin whether based on appropriation,
4overlying right, or other basis of right.
5(c) The court’s final judgment in an adjudication action,
6the right to groundwater of each party, may declare the priority,
7 amount, purposes of use, extraction location, and place of use of
8the water, together with appropriate injunctive relief, subject to
9terms adopted by the court to implement a physical solution in the
11(d) The procedures of this chapter shall govern all adjudication
12actions, unless the court finds either of the following, in which
13case the action shall proceed in accordance with other provisions
15(1) The action concerns only claims that the operation of a
16party’s groundwater extraction facility is interfering with the
17physical availability of groundwater to one or more other parties’
18groundwater extraction facility or facilities and does not involve
19an allocation of the basin’s groundwater supply.
20(2) The action concerns only claims to extract, or to prevent
21interference with extractions of, a specific source of groundwater
22recharge and does not involve an allocation of the basin’s
24(e) In implementing this chapter and applying the other
25provisions of this code in an adjudication action, the court should
26expedite resolution of the adjudication action and, where a
27groundwater sustainability plan is required pursuant to the
28Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the court should
29encourage the parties to cooperatively develop a groundwater
30sustainability plan that may serve as the basis of a stipulated
31judgment setting forth a physical solution for management of the
(a) Unless a court orders otherwise for good cause, the
37complaint in an adjudication action shall name all of the following
38persons as defendants:
39(1) All counties or cities that provide water service and overlie
40the basin in whole or in part.
P7 1(2) All general or special districts empowered to manage or
2replenish groundwater resources of the basin in whole or in part.
3(3) The operator of a public water system that uses groundwater
4from the basin to supply water service.
5(4) The operator of a
state small water system that uses
6groundwater from the basin to supply water service.
7(b) Within 30 days of the filing of the complaint, all of the
8following shall occur:
9(1) The plaintiff shall serve the complaint on all persons named
10as defendants pursuant to subdivision (a) in the manner prescribed
11by Article 3 (commencing with Section 415.10) of Chapter 4 of
13(2) The plaintiff shall publish notice of the complaint pursuant
14to Section 6066 of the Government Code.
15(3) The plaintiff, or its representative, shall personally appear
16at a meeting of the board of supervisors of each county overlying
17the basin at least in part, and announce that the plaintiff has filed
18the adjudication action and where copies of the complaint may be
20(4) The court shall allow any person to intervene in the
21adjudication action upon an ex parte application that demonstrates
22that the person holds fee simple ownership in a parcel in the basin.
23A person filing the ex parte application shall give notice to the
24plaintiff consistent with the California Rules of Court.
(a) Within 180 days of the filing of a complaint to
26adjudicate groundwater rights, the court shall conduct a preliminary
27hearing to determine if the action should proceed to
28comprehensively determine groundwater rights in the basin in
29accordance with this chapter. At the preliminary hearing the court
30may hear expert or lay testimony and the plaintiff shall demonstrate
31one of the following:
32(1) There is substantial evidence that declining groundwater
33levels may cause an undesirable result in the basin.
34(2) The court cannot provide adequate relief among the potential
35claimants to a groundwater right in the basin subject to the
36adjudication action unless the adjudication action is completed.
37(3) The parties sufficient to comply with Section 847 have
38agreed to a proposed judgment in the adjudication action.
39(4) Consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California
40Constitution, the interests of groundwater rights holders will be
P8 1expeditiously and effectively served by the completion of the
3(b) If, after the preliminary hearing, the court finds that any
4condition described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of
5subdivision (a) is met, the court shall issue an order declaring that
6the case is an adjudication action subject to this chapter and
7authorizing service of landowners in accordance with Section 833.
8(c) If, after the preliminary hearing, the court finds that no
9condition described in paragraph (1) to (4), inclusive, of
10subdivision (a) is met, the court shall either dismiss the adjudication
11action without prejudice, or find that the action is not subject to
12this chapter under Section 831 and permit the action to proceed
13pursuant to the other provisions of this code.
14(d) Before the preliminary hearing the court may allow expedited
15discovery consistent with this chapter. The court shall actively
16manage the expedited discovery to prevent delays in order to
17enable, to the greatest extent possible and pursuant to Section 833,
18service of landowners through the next mailing of property tax
19bills within the basin.
(a) Together with the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff
21shall file both of the following:
22(1) A draft notice titled “NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT OF
23GROUNDWATER BASIN ADJUDICATION” in no less than
2420-point font and the following text printed immediately below
25the draft notice title in no less than 14-point font:
26“THIS NOTICE IS IMPORTANT. ANY RIGHTS YOU CLAIM
27TO PUMP OR STORE GROUNDWATER FROM THE BASIN
28IDENTIFIED IN THIS NOTICE MAY BE AFFECTED BY A
29LAWSUIT INITIATED BY THE COMPLAINT SUMMARIZED
31A copy of the complaint may be obtained by contacting the
32plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney identified in this notice. If you
33claim rights to pump or store groundwater within the basin, either
34now or in the future, you may become a party to this lawsuit by
35filing an answer to the lawsuit on or before the deadline specified
36in this notice by completing the attached form answer and filing
37it with the court indicated in this notice and by sending a copy of
38the form answer to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney.
39Failing to participate in this lawsuit could have a significant
40adverse effect on any right to pump or store groundwater that you
P9 1may have. You may seek the advice of an attorney in relation to
2this lawsuit. Such attorney should be consulted promptly. A case
3management conference in this groundwater basin adjudication
4proceeding shall occur on the date specified in this notice. If you
5intend to participate in the groundwater adjudication proceeding
6to which this notice applies, you are advised to attend the initial
7case management conference in person or have an attorney
8represent you at the initial case management conference.
9Participation requires the production of all information regarding
10your groundwater use. You must provide this information by the
11date identified in this notice.
12A form answer is provided for your convenience. You may fill
13out the form answer and file it with the court. Should you choose
14to file the form answer, it will serve as an answer to all complaints
15and cross-complaints filed in this case.”
16(2) (A) A draft form answer titled “ANSWER TO
17ADJUDICATION COMPLAINT” in no less than 20-point font
18and the following text printed immediately below the draft form
19answer title in no less than 14-point font:
20“The undersigned denies all material allegations in the complaint
21or cross-complaint in this action that seeks to adjudicate rights in
22the groundwater basin and asserts all applicable affirmative
23defenses to that complaint.”
24(B) Notwithstanding any other law, the filing of an answer in
25the form described in subparagraph (A) in an adjudication action
26is sufficient to put at issue all material allegations and applicable
27affirmative defenses to the complaint in the adjudication action.
28If a party intends to seek adjustment of the basin’s boundaries, it
29shall disclose that intention in the form answer described in
31(b) The draft notice
described in paragraph (1) of subdivision
32(a) shall include the following information immediately following
33the text described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a):
34(1) The name of the basin that is the subject of the adjudication
36(2) A space to be completed with the case number assigned to
37the adjudication action, and the name and address of the court and
38department to which the action is assigned.
P10 1(3) The name, address, telephone number, and email address of
2the plaintiff, or plaintiff’s attorney, from which the complaint may
4(4) A space to be completed with a date upon which the court
5will hold a case management conference. The court shall determine
6the date for the case management conference.
7(5) The date an answer must be filed with the court.
8(6) A summary of the causes of action alleged in the complaint
9and the relief sought. The summary shall not exceed 25 lines.
10(c) Within 15 days of a court order authorizing service of
11landowners pursuant to this section, the plaintiff shall file an ex
12parte application that seeks the court’s approval of plaintiff’s draft
13notice and draft form answer filed pursuant to subdivision (a). The
14plaintiff shall give at least 24 hours’ notice of the hearing on the
15ex parte application to all parties identified in subdivision (a) of
16Section 832 and any other party the plaintiff has served. The
17plaintiff’s notice of the ex parte application shall include a copy
18of the draft notice and draft form answer filed pursuant to
20(d) Once the court approves the draft notice, the draft notice
21shall substitute for the summons otherwise provided for in civil
22actions pursuant to Section 412.20.
23(e) Following a court order authorizing service of landowners
24pursuant to this section, the plaintiff shall identify, as expeditiously
25as possible and using the records of the assessor or assessors of
26the county or counties in which the basin to be adjudicated lies,
27the names and addresses of all holders of fee title to real property
28within the basin. The plaintiff shall provide the court and all parties
29notice of its acquisition of, or sufficient access to, this information.
30Upon receipt of the court order authorizing service of landowners
31pursuant to this section and the plaintiff’s draft notice and draft
32form answer, as approved by an order of the court, the assessor or
33assessors shall include the court-approved notice and form answer
34with the next property tax bill sent to each landowner in the basin.
35The plaintiff shall reimburse the assessor or assessors for the costs
36of including the court-approved notice and form answer, unless
37otherwise ordered by the court. The assessor or assessors may
38appear at any court proceeding concerning the costs associated
39with including the court-approved notice and form answer with
40the property tax bills.
P11 1(f) After the assessor or assessors include the court-approved
2notice and form answer with the property tax bills pursuant to
3subdivision (e), the plaintiff shall file with the court a declaration
4under penalty or perjury attesting to the completion of the mailing.
5(g) Notwithstanding any other law, the fulfillment of the service
6provisions of this section, the publication provisions of paragraph
7(2) of subdivision (b) of Section 832, and the remaining service
8and notice provisions of this chapter shall be deemed effective
9service of process of the complaint and notice on all interested
10parties of the adjudication action for purposes of establishing in
11rem jurisdiction and the comprehensive effect of the adjudication
Within 15 days of the service of a complaint against or
14by a local agency in an adjudication action, and upon the motion
15of any party, the court shall either transfer the adjudication action
16for all purposes to a neutral county or request the chairperson of
17the Judicial Council to assign a disinterested judge from a neutral
18county to hear the adjudication action for all purposes. For purposes
19of this section, “local agency” has the same definition as that term
20is defined in subdivision (m) of Section 10721 of the Water Code.
In an adjudication action there may only be two
22disqualifications of judges pursuant to Section 170.6,
23notwithstanding the provisions of Section 170.6 concerning sides
24in an action. A request or motion to disqualify a judge under
25Section 170.6 shall be filed within 30 days of completion of service
26pursuant to Section 833, or within 30 days of a transfer or
27assignment pursuant to Section 834.
An adjudication action is presumed to be a complex case
29within the meaning of Rule 3.400 of the California Rules of Court
30unless a party demonstrates that the adjudication action is not
Service of pleadings in an adjudication action, other than
33the complaint initiating an adjudication action, shall occur
34electronically to the greatest extent possible. If available, service
35shall occur through a court-provided electronic service system. If
36a court-provided electronic service system is unavailable, the
37parties shall serve documents by email or other equivalent
38electronic means to the greatest extent possible. To enable
39electronic service of pleadings, the attorneys of record or parties
P12 1representing themselves shall include their email address in the
2captions of pleadings they file in the adjudication action.
(a) In managing an adjudication action, the court may,
7notwithstanding any other law, convene a case management
8conference within 60 days after service is completed pursuant to
10(b) After the initial case management conference the court may
11divide the adjudication action into phases. This section shall not
12limit the court’s discretion to order as many phases as the court
13deems appropriate for the expeditious and appropriate resolution
14of competing claims to the groundwater basin. The court shall
15define the scope of any phase of the adjudication action by written
16order and shall revisit that definition only upon a demonstration
17that continuing with the phase as previously defined would
18substantially impede the expeditious resolution of the adjudication
20(c) In a phase of an adjudication action, discovery shall be
21strictly limited to the scope of the phase, as defined in the court’s
22written order. The court may make any appropriate orders to ensure
23that discovery during a phase remains within the scope of the phase
24and, unless an injustice would otherwise result, shall impose
25monetary sanctions on parties, attorneys, or both parties and
26attorneys, who, during the phase, propound discovery outside the
27scope of the phase.
28(d) Pursuant to Section 632, a court may issue a written
29statement of decision at the completion of each phase of the
30adjudication action. If the court issues a written statement of
31decision, that written statement of decision shall be considered a
32resolution of the phase and shall be binding for the remainder of
33the adjudication action unless reversed or modified by an appellate
34court. Appellate review of a court’s written statement of decision
35that concludes a phase of the adjudication action may be by writ
36only and a party may only appeal the court’s final judgment.
37(e) A court may facilitate the formation of a class or classes of
38overlying groundwater rights holders pursuant to the criteria
39specified in Section 382.
(a) Subject to subdivision (b), the initial basin boundaries
2for an adjudication action shall be the basin boundaries identified
3in Bulletin 118 as of the date the complaint initiating the
4adjudication action is filed. Based on these boundaries, the court
5and the parties shall initiate the procedures to serve the complaint
6in an adjudication action in accordance with Section 833.
7(b) The court may consider adjusting a basin’s boundaries at
8the initial phase of an adjudication action. The court may refer
9consideration of adjustment of a basin’s boundaries to the
10department for recommendations in accordance with the procedures
11described in Section 10722.2 of the Water Code. The court may
12stay any proceedings in the adjudication action pending the
13department’s resolution of any boundary adjustments, except the
14court shall not stay the parties’ initial disclosures made pursuant
15to Section 840.
16(c) If a court, based on department recommendations, adjusts
17the basin’s boundaries after completion of the initial phase of an
18adjudication action, the basin’s boundaries, as determined by the
19court, shall be the basin’s boundaries for all purposes in all
20subsequent phases of the adjudication action. Appellate review of
21a court’s determination of the basin’s boundaries after completion
22of the initial phase of the adjudication action may be by writ only
23and shall not be subject to any later writ or appeal.
(a) Except as otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered
25by the court, and without waiting for a discovery request, a party
26shall provide the court or special master initial disclosures that
27include all of the following information:
28(1) The name, address, telephone number, and email address of
29the party completing the form developed pursuant to subdivision
31(2) The quantity of any groundwater extraction from the basin
32by the party, or the party’s representative or agent, during each of
33the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the filing of the
35(3) The beneficial purpose of any use of groundwater from the
36basin or the beneficial use of any alternative water use that the
37party claims as its use of groundwater.
38(4) The location of any extraction of groundwater from the basin
39by the party, or the party’s representative or agent.
P14 1(5) The location of any beneficial use of groundwater from the
2basin or beneficial use of any alternative water use that the party
3claims as its use of groundwater.
4(6) The quantity of any beneficial use of any alternative water
5use that the party claims as its use of groundwater under any
6applicable law, including, but not limited to, Section 1005.1,
71005.2, or 1005.4 of the Water Code.
8(7) Identification of all surface water rights and contracts that
9the party claims provides the basis for its water right claims in the
11(8) The quantity of any replenishment of water to the basin that
12augmented the basin’s native water supply, resulting from the
13intentional storage of imported or non-native water in the basin,
14managed recharge of surface water, or return flows resulting from
15the use of imported water or non-native water on lands overlying
16the basin by the party, or the party’s representative or agent, during
17each of the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the filing of
19(9) The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email
20addresses of all persons possessing information that supports the
22(10) Any other information deemed appropriate by the court
23for initial disclosure in an adjudication action.
24(b) The Judicial Council shall develop a form for initial
25disclosures made pursuant to subdivision (a) to facilitate the
26consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration
27of adjudication actions.
28(c) (1) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by
29the court, and not including the plaintiff that initiates the
30adjudication action, a party shall make the initial disclosures
31described in subdivision (a) within 60 days after the initial case
32management conference in the adjudication action.
33(2) A plaintiff that initiates the adjudication action shall make
34the initial disclosures described in subdivision (a) at the time it
35files the complaint by lodging the required information with the
36court in an electronic format. The plaintiff shall serve the required
37information on the defendants or cross-defendants that it names
38when it serves the complaint.
39(3) The court may order, after the initial case management
40conference, any supplemental disclosures, other than those
P15 1described in subdivision (a), that may expedite resolution of the
3(d) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party that is first
4served, or otherwise joined to the adjudication action, after the
5initial case management conference shall make the disclosures
6described in subdivision (a) within 30 days after being served or
7joined, unless a different time is set by stipulation of the parties
8or an order of the court. The court shall liberally consider any
9motions or applications to extend the time for a newly-served or
10-joined party to make the disclosures described in subdivision (a).
11(e) A party shall make its initial disclosures based on the
12information then reasonably available to it. A party is not excused
13from making its initial disclosures because it has not fully
14investigated the case, because it challenges the sufficiency of
15another party’s disclosures, or because another party has not made
17(f) A party that has made its initial disclosures, as described in
18subdivision (a), or that has responded to another party’s discovery
19request, shall supplement or correct a disclosure or response in
20either of the following situations:
21(1) In a timely manner if the party learns that in some material
22respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect and
23the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been
24made known to the other parties during the disclosure or discovery
26(2) As ordered by the court.
27(g) To the greatest extent possible, a party shall serve his or her
28initial disclosures electronically through a court-provided electronic
29service system, email, or another method of electronic transmission.
30If it is not possible for the party to serve his or her disclosures
31electronically, he or she shall serve the disclosures in an electronic
32format saved on a portable storage media device such as a compact
33disc or flash drive.
34(h) A party’s obligations under this section may be enforced by
35a court on its own motion or the motion of a party pursuant to
37(i) A party’s disclosures under this section shall be verified
38under penalty of perjury as being true and correct to the best of
39the party’s knowledge.
(a) In addition to all other disclosures required by this
2chapter, a party shall disclose to the other parties the identity of
3any expert witness it may use at trial to present evidence. For
4purposes of this chapter, “expert witness” means a witness qualified
5pursuant to Section 720 of the Evidence Code.
6(b) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the
7court, the disclosure made pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be
8accompanied by a written report prepared and signed by the expert
9witness if the witness is retained or specially employed by the
10party offering the expert witness to testify as an expert in the action,
11or if the expert witness’s duties as the party’s employee regularly
12involves giving expert testimony. The report shall include all of
14(1) A complete statement of all opinions the witness will express
15and the basis and reasons for those opinions.
16(2) The facts or data considered by the witness in forming his
17or her opinions.
18(3) Any exhibits the witness will use to summarize or support
19his or her opinions.
20(4) The witness’s qualifications, including a list of all
21publications authored by the witness in the previous 10 years.
22(5) A list of all other cases in which the witness testified as an
23expert at trial or by deposition in the last five years.
24(6) A statement of the compensation to be paid for the witness’s
25work and testimony in the adjudication action.
26(c) If subdivision (b) does not apply to an expert witness because
27of a stipulation by the parties or an order of the court, the witness’s
28disclosure shall include both of the following:
29(1) The subject matter on which the witness is expected to
31(2) A summary of the witness’s opinions, and the facts or data
32considered by the witness in forming his or her opinions.
33(d) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, a party shall make
34the disclosures of any expert witness it intends to present at trial,
35except for an expert witness presented solely for purposes of
36impeachment or rebuttal, at the times and in the sequence ordered
37by the court. If there is no stipulation or court order, the disclosures
38of an expert witness shall be made as follows:
P17 1(1) At least 30 days after the court’s entry of an order
2establishing the scope of the relevant phase of the adjudication
4(2) Except for a supplemental expert witness described in
5paragraph (3), at least 60 days before the date set for trial of the
6relevant phase of the adjudication action.
7(3) For a supplemental expert witness who will express an
8opinion on a subject to be covered by another expert witness
9designated by an adverse party that was not among the subjects
10covered by an expert witness initially disclosed by the party
11offering the supplemental expert witness, no more than 20 days
12after the initial expert witness disclosure date.
13(e) The court may modify the disclosure requirements of
14 subdivisions (b) to (d), inclusive, for expert witnesses presented
15solely for purposes of impeachment or rebuttal. In modifying the
16disclosure requirements, the court shall adopt disclosure
17requirements that expedite the court’s consideration of the issues
18presented and shall ensure that expert testimony presented solely
19for purposes of impeachment or rebuttal is strictly limited to the
20scope of the testimony that it intends to impeach or rebut.
21(f) (1) A party whose expert witness has made a disclosure
22pursuant to this section shall promptly supplement or correct the
23expert witness’s disclosure in either of the following instances:
24(A) In a timely manner if the party learns that in some material
25respect the disclosure is incomplete or incorrect, if the additional
26or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to
27the other parties during the disclosure or discovery process.
28(B) As ordered by the court.
29(2) A party’s duty to supplement or correct its expert witness’s
30disclosure includes the information included in the report and the
31information given during the expert witness’s deposition. Unless
32otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the court, any
33supplementation or correction shall occur at least 14 days before
34trial of the applicable phase of the adjudication action.
35(3) The court may authorize a supplemental deposition of an
36expert witness based on a supplemental disclosure made pursuant
37to this subdivision. The court shall appropriately condition the
38authorization of a supplemental deposition of an expert witness to
39ensure the expeditious completion of the applicable phase of the
40adjudication action. The court may require the party whose expert
P18 1makes the supplemental disclosure to pay some or all of the costs
2associated with the supplemental deposition.
3(g) To the greatest extent possible, the parties shall serve expert
4witness disclosures electronically through a court-provided
5electronic service system, email, or another method of electronic
6transmission. If it is not possible for the party to serve his or her
7expert witness disclosures electronically, he or she shall serve the
8expert witness disclosures in an electronic format saved on a
9portable storage media device such as a compact disc or flash
11(h) If a party or its expert witness fails to comply with this
12section, the court may exclude the expert witness’s testimony from
13trial, authorize additional depositions of the expert witness at the
14party’s expense, or take other appropriate action upon the noticed
15motion, or ex parte application, of a party.
(a) A court in an adjudication action may require the
17parties to submit written testimony of relevant witnesses in the
18forms of affidavits or declarations under penalty or perjury in lieu
19of presenting live testimony. The required written testimony may
20include, but is not limited to, expert witness opinions and testimony
21that authenticates documentary evidence. The court may order that
22the written testimony constitutes the entirety of the witness’s direct
23testimony, require the written testimony to include any exhibits
24offered in support of the written testimony, and, in the case of
25written testimony of an expert witness, require a statement of the
27(b) If the court requires the submission of written testimony
28 pursuant to subdivision (a), a complete copy of the direct testimony
29shall be served at least 21 days before trial of the applicable phase
30of the adjudication action. A complete copy of any rebuttal
31testimony shall be served no later than the first day of trial of the
32applicable phase of the adjudication action. The court shall ensure
33the rebuttal testimony is strictly limited to the scope of the direct
34testimony to which it responds.
35(c) If the contents of the written testimony would have been
36admissible if the witness testified orally, the written testimony
37shall be received by the court as a documentary exhibit if, at the
38trial of the applicable phase of the adjudication action, the witness
39whose written testimony is being offered is made available for
40cross-examination by all parties.
(a) In an adjudication action, the court may appoint a
2special master whose duties may include the following:
3(1) Initiating a technical committee consisting of the parties,
4the parties’ designated representatives, or both, to conduct joint
5factfinding as to the basin’s safe yield of groundwater, water
6demand, and any other technical issues, as directed by the court.
7The special master shall compile a technical report of the findings
8in accordance with Section 844.
9(2) Conducting or facilitating mediation or settlement
11(3) Performing other tasks the court may deem appropriate.
12(b) The special master may be employed by the court as a
13full-time or part-time employee, or retained as an independent
14contractor. A special master’s compensation and other expenses
15related to the conduct of an adjudication action shall be fixed by
16the court, apportioned pro rata to the extent reasonably feasible to
17do so, and paid by all parties unless the parties agree to another
18allocation or the court determines that, in the interests of justice,
19another allocation is necessary. The court may provide for the
20collection and disbursement of special master fees as it deems
22(c) (1) To assist trial courts in selecting special masters the
23department shall, on or before January 1, 2017, establish and
24maintain a list of individuals who may serve as special masters in
25adjudication actions. To be placed on the list an individual shall
26have at least 10 years experience as either of the following:
27(A) A licensed professional engineer, professional hydrologist,
28or professional geologist.
29(B) An attorney licensed to practice law in the state.
30(2) The department shall establish any other qualifications that
31may be appropriate to ensure that individuals placed on the list are
32qualified to assist a court in an adjudication action.
(a) If a technical committee is established pursuant to
34Section 843, the special master shall provide all parties with a copy
35of a draft technical report he or she prepares and a notice setting
36a day at least 60 days after the draft technical report has been
37provided to all parties before which the parties may submit to the
38special master written objections to the draft technical report.
39(b) An objection to the draft technical report shall identify the
40specific grounds and evidence on which the objection is based.
P20 1Within 10 days after the close of the period for filing objections,
2the special master shall provide copies of the objections to all
4(c) The special master may notice and hold hearings, as he or
5she deems appropriate, to gather information or address issues
6raised in the objections to the draft technical report.
7(d) The special master shall consider the objections to the draft
8technical report and develop a final certified copy of the technical
9report that shall be filed with the court, together with a certified
10copy of all evidence considered by the special master in preparing
11the draft technical report, all evidence identified in the objections
12to the draft technical report, and all evidence considered by the
13special master in preparing the final technical report.
Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1115) of Division
159 of the Evidence Code shall apply to all mediations, settlement
16conferences, and other similar out-of-court negotiations in
17adjudications actions subject to this chapter.
(a) It is the policy of the state to encourage the
19compromise and settlement of adjudication actions.
20(b) Upon the motion of any party to an adjudication action, a
21court may do any of the following:
22(1) Stay an adjudication action for a period of up to one year,
23subject to renewal in the court’s discretion upon a showing of good
24cause, in order to facilitate any of the following:
25(A) (i) Timely development of a groundwater sustainability
26plan under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act that
27may serve as the basis of a stipulated judgment setting forth a
28physical solution for management of the basin.
29(ii) If the court stays an adjudication action for purposes of
30facilitating timely progress on a groundwater sustainability plan,
31the court may direct the parties to provide the court with regular
32updates on the progress in developing the groundwater
34(B) Technical studies that may be useful to the parties in
35developing a stipulated judgment or physical solution.
36(C) Voluntary mediation on all, or a portion of, the subject
37matters or legal questions identified in the adjudication action or
38any phase of the adjudication action.
P21 1(D) Compromise and
settlement of the adjudication action, a
2phase of the adjudication action, or any subject matter of the
3adjudication action or a phase of the adjudication action.
4(2) Schedule mandatory mediation and appointment of a neutral
5mediator concerning the adjudication action, a phase of the
6adjudication action, or any subject matter of the adjudication action
7or a phase of the adjudication action.
8(3) Schedule phases of trial in combination with mandatory
9mediation for purposes of fostering compromise concerning the
10adjudication action, a phase of the adjudication action, or any
11subject matter of the adjudication action or a phase of the
13(c) A stay may be extended for up to one year at a time. If a
14party opposes an extension of a stay, a stay may only be granted
15after a showing that there is good progress being made on the
16issues that were identified as the reasons for the stay. The total
17time period an adjudication action may be stayed shall not exceed
19(d) A stay pursuant to this section shall not stay, or otherwise
20delay, the parties’ obligations to provide initial disclosures pursuant
21to Section 840 unless the court determines the initial disclosures
22will not benefit resolution of the adjudication action.
(a) If a party, or a group of parties, submits a proposed
24stipulated judgment that is supported by (1) more than 50 percent
25of all named parties in the adjudication action and (2) groundwater
26rights holders holding title to at least 75 percent of the groundwater
27production during the past 10 years in the basin, the court shall
28impose any physical solution that is part of the stipulated judgment
29as a component of the final judgment in the adjudication action if
30the physical solution satisfies all of the following criteria:
31(1) It furthers the interests of the state in ensuring that the water
32resources of the state are put to beneficial use to the fullest extent
33that they are capable, as required by Section 2 of Article X of the
35(2) It is consistent with all water right priorities in the basin.
36(3) It treats all objecting parties equitably as compared to the
38(b) A party objecting to a proposed stipulated judgment shall
39demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proposed
40stipulated judgment does not satisfy the criteria described in
P22 1paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (a). If the objecting
2party is unable to make this showing, the court may impose the
3proposed stipulated judgment on all parties.
No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
5Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
6the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
7district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
8infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
9for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
10the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
11the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California