Honorable Autumn D. Spaeth

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Magistrate Judge
Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 411 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, Courtroom 6B, 6th Floor, Chambers Drop Box 7th Floor​​.​​​​

All hearings are now being held IN PERSON in Courtroom 6B. Any request for a remote appearance must be e-filed promptly with a declaration showing good cause by no later than five (5) court days prior to the hearing date. Any request for telephonic observation must be e-filed by no later than two (2) days prior to the hearing date. Judge Spaeth does not conduct hearings by Zoom.   

Recording, copying, photographing and rebroadcasting of court proceedings is prohibited by federal law. A violation of this prohibition may result in sanctions, including suspension of your license to practice before this court, referral to the state bar, denial of the right to appear by video or telephonically at future proceedings, criminal prosecution, contempt, denial of admission to future hearings, and any other sanctions deemed necessary by the Court.

Law and Motion Schedule: 
  1. Civil Motions: Civil motions shall be heard on Wednesdays at 10:00 AM, unless otherwise directed by the Court.   It is not necessary to clear a civil motion hearing date with the Courtroom Deputy Clerk (CRD) prior to filing a motion; however, counsel shall check the Closed Motion Dates link above before filing a motion.  The Court may continue a motion sua sponte or take a motion under submission without oral argument. Requests for Zoom or telephonic appearances must be filed no later than five (5) court days before the hearing and include a declaration establishing good cause.  See item 9 below regarding appearances by counsel.
  2. Criminal Motions: In criminal cases, the parties shall contact the CRD to schedule hearings on motions.
  3. In Custody Pro Se Motions: If any party is in federal or state custody and is proceeding pro se, the pro se moving party shall file the motion without requesting a hearing date, and the Court will determine whether a hearing is necessary.
Judge's Procedures: 
  1. Direct Assignment and Voluntary Consent to Magistrate Judges Programs: Judge Spaeth participates in both the Direct Assignment of Civil Cases to Magistrate Judges Program (MJDAP) and the Voluntary Consent to Magistrate Judges Programs. Both programs allow a case to proceed before a magistrate judge for all purposes with the consent of all parties. Parties may obtain more information at http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/judges-requirements/court-programs/direct-a... and http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/judges-requirements/court-programs/voluntar.... Cases directly assigned to Judge Spaeth through MJDAP require all parties to file a consent within the period provided in General Order 12-02 or the case will automatically be reassigned to a District Judge and a new Magistrate Judge.
  2. Communications with the Court: Inquiries regarding the status of a motion, stipulation, or proposed order shall be made by checking the docket.  If such information does not timely appear on the docket when expected, counsel may sparingly contact the CRD for status inquiries.  Parties and counsel are not allowed to contact the Court’s law clerks or to communicate with Chambers by any means, except as expressly provided herein or otherwise ordered by the Court.
  3. Mandatory Chambers Copies: Mandatory chambers copies of all e-filed documents must be delivered to the chambers drop box located on the 7th floor (by hand or overnight courier) by noon on the following day, unless ordered otherwise. Chambers copies do not need to be blue backed but must be single-sided, three-hole punched on the left side, and contain tabs to designate exhibits and declarations.
  4. Proposed Orders: Pursuant to Local Rule 5-4.4 and Local Criminal Rule 49-1.3.2(c), unless exempted from electronic filing, parties submitting proposed orders or other proposed documents that require the Court's signature must both lodge the document in PDF format and e-mail a word-processing version of the document to chambers. Electronic copies of proposed orders, in Microsoft Word format, must be e-mailed to the Court at ADS_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov (link sends e-mail).
  5. Discovery Matters: Discovery motions are to be set before the Magistrate Judge after checking if the assigned District Judge has a blanket referral policy.  All proposed protective orders and other filings pertaining to discovery shall include in the caption: “[Discovery Document: Referred to Magistrate Judge Autumn D. Spaeth].”  Absent an emergency, ex parte applications are not an allowed method of bringing a discovery dispute to the attention of the Court.  The Court may take a discovery motion under submission without oral argument.  Prior to the filing of any discovery motion, counsel for the parties must meet-and-confer in person if both counsel are located within the same county of the Central District.  See L.R. 37-1.  Failure to comply with this rule may result in summary dismissal of the discovery motion.  Before filing a discovery motion, counsel must read and be familiar with Judge Spaeth's Standing Order on Discovery Disputes, which is available for download below.  Parties are also encouraged to use the court's ESI Conference Checklist to aid Rule 26(f) discussions about ESI and the court's Model Stipulated E-Discovery Order, which is available for download in Word version and may be modified as needed.
  6. Informal Discovery Dispute Resolution: With the agreement of the parties, the Court may in its discretion conduct informal telephonic conferences to resolve discovery disputes outside the formal Local Rule 37 procedures.  Before any such telephonic conference, however, the parties must engage in at least two attempts to resolve the dispute without court involvement consistent with the pre-filing conference of counsel required by Local Rule 37-1.  If after two meet-and-confer attempts, the parties reach an impasse and agree to an informal telephonic conference with the Court, the moving party should email (with a cc to the opposing party) the completed Request for Informal Discovery Conference form (available for download below), to the CRD at ADS_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov (link sends e-mail), providing the following information: (a) at least three proposed dates and times, agreeable to the parties, for the telephonic conference; (b) a briefneutral statement of the discovery dispute and the specific relief requested; (c) a brief summary of the parties' respective positions; and (d) the two dates of the parties' meet-and-confer efforts to resolve the dispute without court intervention.  A separate form must be completed for each type of discovery (e.g. interrogatories, requests for admission). After review of the email request, the Court will schedule the telephonic conference if appropriate or advise the parties to proceed by motion under Local Rule 37-2. 
  7. Settlement Conferences: The parties shall contact the CRD about dates available for settlement conferences.  At this time, the parties should provide at least three proposed dates for the Settlement Conference and proposed dates and times for a pre-Settlement Conference telephone conference call of counsel with the judge to discuss the case.  The proposed Settlement Conference date(s) should be at least three weeks after the proposed conference call dates. After the dates are selected, the Court will issue an order regarding settlement conference procedures.
  8. Tentative Rulings: Tentative rulings may be issued as appropriate.  If issued, they will be made available to counsel no sooner than Noon on the business day before the hearing and no later than the time that counsel check in with the CRD on the day of the hearing.  If all parties submit on the tentative ruling, they shall advise the CRD and no appearance will be required.
  9. Appearances by Counsel: The Court does not permit telephonic appearances by counsel for hearings (other than for ex parte applications as ordered by the Court) absent extraordinary circumstances.  The Court does not permit special appearances.  Counsel of record shall appear at all court proceedings.

    The Court encourages parties to permit young lawyers who are counsel of record to appear in court or argue at hearings.  (The only exception is for informal discovery conferences where the participants in the telephonic conference, no matter the number of years of experience, must have discretionary and final authority to agree on compromises to discovery disputes.) Therefore, in any case where a motion has been submitted for decision without oral argument or a properly-noticed hearing date has been vacated sua sponte without final disposition of the motion, the parties may contact the CRD and jointly request that a hearing be held to allow an attorney for each side, who was principally responsible for the research, analysis and drafting of the papers on the motion, with less than five years of experience after becoming a member of the California bar to appear and argue the motion for the parties on each side.  So long as there is no scheduling conflict, the Court shall hold such hearings to give young attorneys an opportunity to make court appearances.
  10. Extensions: Requests to extend any scheduled filing date shall be filed at least three business days prior to the scheduled deadline.  The request shall detail good cause for the requested extension and set forth if any prior extensions have been sought and whether they were granted or denied.  If it is necessary to file an ex parte application to request an extension of time, the application shall forthrightly set forth opposing counsel’s position.
  11. Continuances: To request a continuance of any scheduled court proceeding, the parties shall telephonically notify the CRD as soon as the need to reschedule a hearing is discovered and then submit a stipulation and proposed order no less than three business days before the scheduled hearing.  In the event of a calendar conflict, counsel shall immediately advise the CRD telephonically and attempt to secure opposing counsel’s agreement to stipulate to a new date. 
  12. Ex Parte Applications: Ex parte applications shall identify in the caption whether it is “OPPOSED” or “UNOPPOSED.”  Any opposition shall be served and filed within 24 hours of electronic filing of the application.  Conformed paper copies of the filed application and any opposition shall be delivered directly to Chambers.  Ex parte applications will ordinarily be decided on the papers without oral argument.  The Court will notify the parties if it desires an in-court or telephonic hearing.  A party submitting an ex parte application need not provide a party in custody with oral notice prior to filing, but shall make all reasonable efforts to provide notice as quickly as practicable, consistent with Local Civil Rules 7-19 and 7-19.1.  Any party relying on this policy shall state in the application (1) that the party in custody is incarcerated, and (2) all steps that have or will be taken to provide the person in custody with prompt notice.
  13. Protective Orders: Absent unusual circumstances, parties shall prepare their protective orders based on the model protective order that is available for download below.  When the parties submit a protective order based on this model order, a redline in Microsoft Word format shall also be provided by email to Chambers at ADS_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov (link sends e-mail) that shows all differences between the submitted order and model order.  All proposed orders approving stipulated protective orders shall be submitted in Microsoft Word format with the full text of the stipulated protective order.
  14. Under Seal Documents: Parties and counsel in civil cases shall follow the procedures outlined in Local Civil Rule 79-5 for filing under seal documents.  Parties and counsel may consult the Guide to Electronically Filing Under Seal Documents in Civil Cases, which is available for download below.  In criminal cases, all proposed sealed documents shall be submitted via e-mail to the Chambers e-mail address at ADS_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov (link sends e-mail) and comply with the procedures set forth in the Order regarding the Pilot Project for Electronic Submission and Filing of Under Seal Documents for Criminal Cases, which is also available for download below. 
  15. Criminal E-Filing Pilot Project Requirements: In accordance with General Order 19-01 and the Local Rules of the Central District of California, counsel are directed to email the quality control notification to: ADS_CrimDuty@cacd.uscourts.gov (link sends e-mail) along with the final version of the documents to be reviewed and signed.  Additionally, the following guidelines apply.
    1. Chambers will not make or print copies for conforming. Conformed copies will only be given using the copy set brought by the agent.
    2. Chambers copies can be clipped or stapled.
    3. Chambers copies must include the CM/ECF header showing that the instant documents for signature have been e-filed.
    4. If counsel amends a document, they must promptly notify the CRD and indicate where and why the document is being amended.
  16. Law Enforcement Applications: Federal law enforcement agents and the U.S. Attorney's Office shall advise the CRD in advance if any affidavits in support of warrants, criminal complaints, or other law enforcement applications are expected to be unusually lengthy or complex, or otherwise require special attention by the Court.
  17. Interpreters: It is the responsibility of the parties to obtain the services of an interpreter in a civil case if one is needed.  If the government is the moving party, the government shall contact the CRD.  All other parties shall contact the Interpreter’s Section at 213-894-4370.
  18. Pro Se Clinics:  Pro se litigants are advised that there are Federal Pro Se Clinics, each administered by non-profit law firms, which offer on-site information and guidance to individuals proceeding pro se.  The three Clinic locations are Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Ana.  Additional information about the clinics is available at http://prose.cacd.uscourts.gov/federal-pro-se-clinics.
  19. Clerkship and Externship Opportunities: Prospective law clerk applicants should submit via https://oscar.uscourts.gov. Extern applicants should send a cover letter, resume, unofficial undergraduate and law school transcripts, writing sample (maximum of ten pages), and three references to ADS_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov.