Honorable David O. Carter

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District Judge

Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse
411 West Fourth Street,
Courtroom 10 A
Santa Ana, CA, 92701-4516

All hearings and trials are now being held IN PERSON in Courtroom 10A.  All proceedings - including all motion hearings, scheduling conferences, and status conferences - will be held in person in Courtroom 10A.  Any request for a remote appearance must be e-filed promptly with a declaration showing good cause. 
Please note:  Requests for remote appearance are rarely granted.
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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: 

Civil motions, Status Conferences, and Scheduling Conferences are heard on Mondays at 8:30 a.m.

Criminal motions, Status Conferences, Change of Pleas, and Sentencings are heard on Mondays at 7:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.

If Monday is a holiday, the next motion date is the following Monday. 

It is NOT necessary to clear a motion date with the Courtroom Deputy (CRD) prior to filing the motion. ​

Judge's Procedures: 

Trials are generally held Tuesday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. until the Court recesses for the day.

  1. Are tentative rulings issued?
    Tentative rulings on civil motions are occassionally distributed in Court before the hearing.
  2. Discovery motions in a civil case:
    All discovery motions are to be calendared before the assigned Magistrate Judge.  Parties and counsel are directed to the procedures for discovery motions in Local Rule 37 and are advised to consult the procedures page of the Magistrate Judge assigned to their case.
  3. Deadlines for submission of sentencing positions:
    One week prior to the sentencing date.
  4. Mandatory chambers copies:
    All original filings are to be filed electronically pursuant to Local Rule 5-4. The Court requires one mandatory chambers copy of ONLY the following filed documents:
    1. Civil matters: motions for final approval of class settlements; ex parte applications (excluding PHV Applications) and related documents (oppositions and exhibits); Joint Rule 26(f) Reports; and ALL PRETRIAL DOCUMENTS. To save paper, no courtesy copies should be filed for motions not listed above.
    2. Criminal matters: all motions and related documents and exhibits; plea agreements, sentencing positions, stipulations and proposed orders.
    3. Except as to documents filed under seal, mandatory chambers copies of all documents in both civil and criminal cases shall be delivered to the mandatory chambers box (10th floor) no later than noon following the date of filing.
  5. ​Procedures for filing an Ex Parte Application:

    Ex Parte Applications are considered on the papers and are not usually set for hearing.  Counsel’s attention is directed to Local Rule 7-19.  The moving party shall serve the opposing party by electronic mail or hand service and shall notify the opposing party that any opposition must be filed not later than 24 hours after such electronic mail or hand service.  If counsel does not intend to oppose the ex parte application, counsel must inform the CRD by email.
  6. Length and format of motions:

    Memoranda of Points and Authorities are subject to a 25-page limit; only in rare cases and for good cause shown will the Court grant leave to exceed that page limitation. See Local Rule 11-6. Font size must be as specified in the Local Rules. Local Rule 11-3.1.1. Footnotes may be single-spaced, but the font size must be the same as that used in the body of the document. Local Rule 11-3.6.1. Parties must not use extensive footnotes as a way to avoid page limitations. If it appears to the Court that footnotes are being used for that purpose, the Court may strike the brief and require it to be re-filed without footnotes.​

    No supplemental brief(s) or sur-reply briefs may be filed without leave of Court. Local Rule 7-10. 

  7. The Court’s Standard Orders:

    After the filing of a Complaint, the Court issues an Initial Standing Order, which outlines the Judge’s rules and expectations that litigants should be familiar with from the beginning of their case.  Once an answer is filed, the Court issues an Order Setting Scheduling Conference.  This order provides important guidance regarding the procedures counsel should follow.  Both orders should be read carefully, as compliance with the orders is required.  Samples of the orders can be obtained below under Orders & Additional Documents.
  8. Proposed Orders:

    Please refer to L.R. 5-4.4.1 (requiring electronic filing of proposed orders in PDF format) and L.R. 5-4.4.2 (requiring email submission of proposed orders in Word-processing formats). For email submissions of proposed orders, the Court prefers that proposed orders be submitted in Word format only. Email submissions of proposed orders should be sent to DOC_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov. Please note the Court does not have the capability to process proposed orders via CD or disk.
  9. Appearance of Counsel (Civil and Criminal Cases):

    The Court does not entertain telephonic appearances for hearings except in truly exceptional circumstances.  In civil cases, lead trial counsel is expected to appear at all conferences and hearings, including motion hearings.  Special appearances are not permitted, and only counsel of record may appear.
  10. Alternative Dispute Resolution (civil cases):

    This Court participates in the Court-Directed ADR Program. If counsel have received a Notice to Parties of Court-Directed ADR Program (ADR-08), the case will be presumptively referred to the Court’s Mediation Panel or to private mediation. See General Order 11-10, § 5.1 and Local Rule 26-1(c).  This Court generally does not refer settlement conferences to magistrate judges, unless it involves a public entity. 

    The Court does not participate in early ADR procedure for cases brought pursuant to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).​

  11. Scheduling Conferences:

    The Court issues a detailed Order Setting Scheduling Conference, which the parties and counsel are directed to review carefully before preparing their Joint Rule 26(f) Report.  The Joint Rule 26(f) Report must be filed two weeks in advance of the conference. The Court, on occasion, vacates Scheduling Conferences in favor of issuing a Scheduling Order, based on the parties’ written submission.  
  12. To request a continuance of any scheduled court proceeding:

    Continuations and special requests must be approved by the Court.  Good cause must be shown.  Counsel must make such requests in pleading form by submitting a stipulation and a proposed order at least one week in advance (or by submitting an ex parte application, but only if necessary). Refer to Local Rules 7-1,7-11, and 7-19 for proper format.
  13. Under seal filings:

    For civil cases, counsel are directed to follow the procedures outlined in L.R. 79-5.2.2.  Also, see GUIDE TO EFILING CIVIL DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL EFFECTIVE 12/1/15. 

    For criminal cases, see PROCEDURES FOR EFILING CRIMINAL DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL under Orders & Additional Documents at the bottom of this page.

  14. Calendar conflicts:

    If counsel has a calendar conflict with any matter set for hearing on the Court’s calendar, counsel should seek a stipulation from all opposing counsel to change the hearing date.  If a stipulation is not forthcoming, counsel should file an Ex Parte Application seeking to continue the hearing date.  Any such Ex Parte should be submitted well in advance of the hearing.
  15. Procedures for bringing electronic equipment into the courtroom:

    Counsel are to request, through the CRD, permission to bring in or use audio, video or electronic equipment for presentations during hearings or trials.
  16. Trial preparation:

    See also the Court’s SCHEDULING ORDER.  Exhibit tag forms can be located on the Court’s website, General Forms, Form Numbers G-014A (plaintiff) or G-014B (defendant).
  17. Procedures for obtaining the services of an interpreter on a civil case:

    Counsel in civil cases are responsible for obtaining the services of an interpreter, if one is needed.
  18. Law Clerk positions:

    Judge Carter hires two term law clerks each year.  All applicants must apply through the OSCAR system during the posting period, which is generally June of the calendar year before the position begins. 
  19. Extern positions:

    Externs are hired for the Spring, Summer and Fall terms.  All externs are expected to be full-time.  Extern applicants should apply in August for Spring externships; in December for Summer externships; and in February for Fall externships.  Applicants should send a resume, brief writing sample, and transcript (if available) to DOC_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov.
  20. No contact with chambers:

    Parties and counsel shall direct their communications to the CRD rather than chambers via DOC_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov.