Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

Honorable Maria A. Audero

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Magistrate Judge

Roybal Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 255 E. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA, 90012, Courtroom 690, 6th Floor

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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: 

IMPORTANT NOTICE IN LIGHT OF COVID-19

Pursuant to the Continuity of Operations Plan for the Central District of California, activated on March 23, 2020 by Order of the Chief Judge 20-042, and continuing until further notice, please note the following changes to Judge Audero's Law and Motion Schedule and Procedures:   

  1. Civil case hearings:  All civil case hearings and settlement conferences will proceed telephonically via Zoom video conference unless and until the Court orders otherwise.  All informal discovery conferences will proceed telephonically unless the Court requires a video conference.
  2. Filings:  Pro se litigants must mail their filings to the Clerk of Court at 255 East Temple Street, Suite TS-134, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  Alternatively, litigants who are not represented by attorneys may now submit documents for filing through the Court's Electronic Document Submission System ("EDSS") instead of mailing or bringing documents to the Clerk's Office.  EDSS is not the same as filing documents eletronically in the Court's CM/ECF System.  Registration is not required to use EDSS and you do not need a PACER account; only internet acces and an email address are required.  Attorneys may not use EDSS to submit documents on behalf of their clients.  To access EDSS and for additional information, visit the Court's website at https://apps.cacd.uscourts.gov/edss.
  3. Discovery motions: The Court hereby relieves the parties of the Local Rule 37-1 obligation to engage in "in-person" meet-and-confer conferences.  Such conferences shall occur, if at all, telephonically.  
LAW AND MOTION SCHEDULE
  1. All Motions, unless otherwise stated, are heard in Courtroom 690 in the Roybal Federal Building.
  2. Civil Motions, including discovery motions, are heard on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.  If Tuesday is a holiday, the next motion date is the following Tuesday.  It is not necessary to clear a motion date with the Courtroom Deputy Clerk prior to filing the motion.  However, counsel shall check the "Closed Motion Dates" before filing a motion.  The Court reserves the right to continue motions sua sponte or decide them on the papers without oral argument.  (See Local Civil Rule 7-15.)
  3. Pro Se Motions are to be filed without requesting a hearing date.  The Court will determine whether a hearing is necessary and, if so, will set a hearing date.
  4. Discovery Motions are to be scheduled before the Magistrate Judge, if referred by the District Judge.  Strict compliance with Local Civil Rule 37 et seq. is required.  Counsel should pay particular attention to Local Civil Rules 7-3, 37-1, and 37-2.4.  Motions not in compliance with the Local Rules are subject to rejection.
  5. Criminal Motions are scheduled as required.  The parties must contact the Courtroom Deputy Clerk to schedule all such motions.
  6. Settlement Conferences are held on Wednesdays, unless otherwise scheduled by the Court.
  7. Courtroom Opportunities for New Attorneys (Five Years or Fewer):  The Court recognizes the importance of the development of future generations of practitioners through courtroom opportunities, and strongly encourages parties and their attorneys to allow newer attorneys (with five or fewer years of experience) the opportunity to argue in court.  This includes status, case management, and settlement conferences, discovery motions, evidentiary hearings, and all other motions or appearances, particularly those where the newer attorney drafted or contributed significantly to the underlying moving papers or response.  While the Court often finds matters appropriate for resolution without oral argument, it encourages parties and senior attorneys to give newer attorneys opportunities to argue substantive motions. 
    • If a party alerts the Court, eit​her as part of a written request for oral argument or separate notice, that a newer attorney will be arguing the motion, the Court will hear oral argument if it is at all practicable to do so.  In connection with such notifications, the Court gladly will consider the following types of requests: (1) to bifurcate oral argument such that a newer attorney argues only a portion of the motion while a more senior attorney argues the rest; (2) to allocate additional time for oral argument beyond what the Court otherwise might have allocated were a newer attorney not arguing the motion; and (3) to permit another more senior attorney of record to accompany and provide some assistance to the newer attorney who is arguing the motion, where appropriate during oral argument. 
    • All attorneys, including newer attorneys, will be held to the highest professional standards with regard to any matter as to which experience is largely irrelevant.  In particular, all attorneys appearing before the Court are expected to be adequately prepared and thoroughly familiar with the factual record and the applicable law, and to have a degree of authority commensurate with the proceeding. 
    • The Court recognizes that there may be many different circumstances in which it is not appropriate for a newer attorney to argue a motion.  Thus, the Court emphasizes that it draws no inference from a party's decision to not have a newer attorney argue any particular motion before the Court.  Additionally, the Court will draw no inference about the importance of a particular motion, or the merits of a party's argument regarding the motion, from the party's decision to have (or not to have) a newer attorney argue the motion.
Judge's Procedures: 
  1. Filings:  All papers filed with the Court shall comply with the Local Rules for the Central District of California, including Local Civil Rules 7 and 11, and Local Criminal Rule 12.  Requests to extend any scheduled filing date (either by ex parte application or stipulation) must be filed at least three (3) court days prior to the scheduled date.  Extensions are not allowed absent permission by the Court given on a showing of good cause.​​​

  2. ContinuancesRequests to extend any scheduled filing date (either by ex parte application or stipulation) must be filed at least three (3) court days prior to the scheduled date.  The Court grants continuances of pretrial and trial deadlines only on a timely showing of good cause.  The Court applies the same standard of good cause to all extension requests—whether opposed or jointly requested.  Good cause requires a specific, detailed, and non-conclusory showing of diligence from the outset of the case, describing:  (1) all relevant work previously done (including when each item was completed); (2) all relevant work that remains to be done; (3) why the remaining work could not previously have been done (including efforts made to complete each remaining item); and (4) why the amount of time requested is needed to complete the remaining work.

  3. Calendar ConflictsWhile the Court expects that counsel will conduct themselves professionally and will not deliberately schedule any proceeding when counsel are unavailable, a “Notice of Unavailability” has no legal effect and should not be filed.  To request a change of hearing date because of a calendar conflict, the parties shall notify the Courtroom Deputy Clerk via email as soon as the need to reschedule a hearing is discovered, and no later than five (5) court days before the scheduled proceeding.  Counsel shall attempt to secure opposing counsel’s agreement to stipulate to a new date and submit a stipulation and proposed order no later than five (5) court days before the scheduled hearing.  If a stipulation is not forthcoming, the request shall be made by ex parte application.  

  4. Mandatory Telephonic Conference for Discovery Disputes:  Discovery disputes often may be resolved without the need for formal motion papers.  To facilitate the just and expedient resolution of discovery disputes and to conserve the parties' and Court's resources, the Court requires the parties to follow the following procedure for filing discovery motions.  This procedure does not apply to ​ex parte applications or to cases in which a party to a discovery dispute is in custody.

    • First, the parties must engage in at least two attempts to resolve the dispute without Court involvement consistent with the pre-filing conference of counsel r​equired by Local Civil Rule 37-1. 

    • Once the parties have determined that they have reached an impasse, within twenty-four (24) hours after the last conference, or as soon thereafter as practical, the movant must email (cc'ing all other parties) the completed form entitled "Request for Informal Discovery Conference" (available for download below) to MAA_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov, providing the following information: (a) a statement requesting a telephonic conference, including at least three (3) proposed dates and times agreeable to the parties and the two (2) dates of the parties' meet-and-confer efforts to resolve the dispute without Court intervention; and (b) a brief, neutral statement of the discovery dispute, the parties' respective positions, and the specific relief requested.  After its review of the email request, the Court will schedule the telephonic conference if appropriate or advise the parties to proceed by motion under Local Civil Rule 37-2.

    • If the movant is unable to obtain the cooperation of the opposing party with respect to (i) satisfying the parties’ joint obligation to meet and confer twice in an effort to resolve the dispute, and/or (ii) completing its portion of the Request for Informal Discovery Conference, the movant unilaterally may submit (cc’ing all other parties) its portion of the Request for Informal Discovery Conference, which shall be accompanied by an under-oath declaration from the movant’s attorney, or the movant him/herself if in pro per, detailing all of the movant’s efforts to comply with these requirements and the results of such efforts.  The opposing party shall, within 24 hours after receipt of the unilateral submission, submit (cc’ing all other parties) its portion of the Request for Informal Discovery Conference, accompanied by an under-oath declaration from its counsel, or the opposing party him/herself if in pro per, responding to the movant’s allegations regarding non-cooperation.  After review of these submissions, the Court will instruct the parties regarding the process that will follow. 

    • Discovery motions shall not be filed until the Court has conducted a pre-motion telephonic conference unless the movant has obtained leave of Court.  The Court may strike any discovery motion violating this procedure.

  5. ​Stipulated Protective Orders:  Absent unusual circumstances, the 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, a redline in Microsoft Word format also shall be provided by email to Chambers at MAA_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov showing all differences between the submitted order and model order. If counsel do not make any changes to the model order, a statement so signifying shall be emailed to Chambers, along with the proposed order approving the stipulated protective order.  The proposed order shall be submitted in Microsoft Word format with the full text of the stipulated protective order.

  6. Ex Parte Applications:  A party seeking ex parte relief, including a temporary restraining order, must comply with Local Rule 7-19.  The applicant must notify the other party (or parties) that opposing papers are to be filed no later than two (2) court days following service.  The Court generally will not rule on an ex parte application for at least two (2) court days after the party subject to the requested order has been served unless service is excused.  Opposing counsel should advise the Courtroom Deputy Clerk as soon as possible whether their client intends to oppose the ex parte application.  The Court considers ex parte applications on the papers and usually does not set these matters for hearing.  A last-minute application or stipulation that is denied will not serve to relieve a party of an underlying obligation (e.g., a soon-to-expire deadline).  Sanctions may be imposed for misuse of ex parte applications.  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 been or will be taken to provide the person in custody with prompt notice.

  7. Tentative Rulings:  The Court rarely issues tentative rulings before hearings.  If so, they are typically emailed to counsel the day before the hearing.  If both parties notify the Courtroom Deputy Clerk that they submit on the tentative ruling, the hearing will be vacated.

  8. Under-Seal Documents:  Parties shall make every effort to limit the number and volume of under-seal filings. In most circumstances, parties should seek to file under seal only the specific exhibits or documents for which there is a valid basis for filing under seal. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 79-5.2.2, except in sealed civil cases, “no document may be filed under seal without prior approval by the Court.” When seeking the Court’s approval for an under seal filing, the submitting party shall comply with the procedures established in Local Civil Rule 79-5.2.2(a). Because documents filed under seal are only visible on CM/ECF or PACER to Court personnel and the party that filed the document, a party electronically filing a document under seal may not rely on the Court’s CM/ECF system to effect service as provided in Local Civil Rule 5-3.2.1.  Therefore, documents filed electronically under seal must be served in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.  Additionally, at the time of filing, the documents filed electronically under seal must be accompanied either by a Proof of Service in the form required by Local Civil Rule 5-3.1.2 or a declaration explaining why service is not required.  The submission of documents for in camera review is governed by Local Civil Rule 79-6.

  9. Settlement Conferences:  Counsel shall meet and confer regarding dates for the settlement conference and email the Courtroom Deputy Clerk with:  (a) three (3) Wednesdays on which all counsel and all parties are available to be present at an all-day settlement conference, and (b) three (3) Tuesdays on which counsel are available for a one (1)-hour pre-settlement conference call with the Court.  The pre-settlement conference call must be at least one (1) month in advance of the settlement conference.  All parties must appear in person and have settlement authority at the settlement conference, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

  10. Duty to Notify of Settlement:  Counsel must advise the Court immediately if the case or any pending matter has been resolved.  Failure to provide timely notice of settlement or resolution of pending matters may result in sanctions.

  11. Communication with the Court:  Counsel shall not initiate contact with the Court or its Chambers staff by telephone or by any other improper ex parte means.  Counsel may contact the Courtroom Deputy Clerk with appropriate inquiries.  Inquiring about the status of a ruling or contacting the Courtroom Deputy Clerk to continue a proceeding or take it off calendar generally are not appropriate.  The preferred method of communication with the Courtroom Deputy Clerk is by email to MAA_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov.  Counsel must copy all parties on any such email.  To facilitate communication with the Courtroom Deputy Clerk, counsel should list their email addresses along with their telephone numbers on all papers.

  12. Chambers CopiesNo mandatory chambers copies are required, unless otherwise notified by the Court. 

  13. Telephonic Appearances:  Where the Court orders an in-person appearance, telephonic appearances are allowed only on prior approval of the Court upon a showing of good cause.  Any party who wishes to appear at a hearing telephonically must make such a request at least two (2) court days before the hearing by emailing the Courtroom Deputy Clerk and copying opposing counsel.

  14. Special Appearances: The Court does not permit special appearances.  Counsel of record shall appear at all court proceedings.

  15. Interpreters:  If needed, it is the responsibility of the parties to obtain the services of an interpreter by contacting the Interpreter’s Office at (213) 894-4599.  If the government is the moving party, the government shall contact the Courtroom Deputy Clerk.

  16. Electronic Equipment in Court:  Counsel should contact the Courtroom Deputy Clerk regarding procedures for using or bringing electronic equipment into the courtroom.

  17. Criminal E-Filing Pilot Project Requirements:  In accordance with General Order 19-01, counsel are directed to email all electronically filed documents to: MAA_CrimDuty@cacd.uscourts.gov. Additionally, the following practices must be followed: 

    • The subject line of the email must include the following information:  the generic name, case number, title, and date filed, as follows (example):  USA v. Search Warrant – 2:19-mj-00023 – Application for a Search Warrant filed on 2/20/2019.

    • Federal law enforcement agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office shall advise the Courtroom Deputy Clerk in advance of the anticipated submission of lengthy affidavits in support of warrants, criminal complaints, and other applications for the Court’s review.

    • If any of the documents exceed 25 pages, the filing party must provide the Court with a paper chambers copy. (See Chambers Copies above.)

    • Once it is determined that the documents are in compliance, the agent will be asked to report to Chambers with the original and, if a conformed copy is requested, a copy of the documents, with the CM/ECF header.  No copies will be printed for conforming.

    • Chambers copies must include the CM/ECF header showing that the instant documents for signature have been e-filed.

    • Please ensure that Judge Audero’s name and the correct date are on the documents.

    • FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS MAY RESULT IN A DELAY IN PROCESSING.

  18. Transcripts:  For general information on how to order a transcript of any reported or digitally recorded proceeding, please contact (213) 894-3015 or visit the Court’s website (www.cacd.uscourts.gov) section referring to Court Reporter/Recorder Transcripts.

  19. Summer Externships:  Judge Audero accepts applications for summer externships from law students.  The externship is full-time and lasts approximately ten weeks.  The extern will be given research and writing assignments and opportunities to observe court hearings.  This is a great opportunity for students interested in civil litigation, constitutional law, civil rights, administrative law, or criminal law.  Judge Audero welcomes applications from diverse students from all law schools.  Applicants can email the following materials to MAA_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov: cover letter, resume, transcripts, and ten-page-maximum writing sample that includes analysis of case law.  The applicant should confirm in writing that the writing sample consists solely of the applicant's own work, unedited by others.  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.