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Court of Appeal Declines to Loosen Five-Year Dismissal Statute in Long-Running Class Action

April 1, 2019

Rel v. Pacific Bell Mobile Services, Inc.
(A152225, March 29, 2019)

Addressing an issue of first impression, the Court of Appeal held that a pretrial ruling striking class claims is not a “trial” under the five-year dismissal statute requiring that an action “be brought to trial within five years after the action is commenced against the defendant.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 583.310.)

Plaintiffs commenced a putative class action in 2003. The trial court issued two pretrial rulings dismissing the class allegations, and the Court of Appeal reversed both rulings. Further proceedings ensued, and in 2017, the trial court dismissed the putative class action lawsuit because plaintiffs failed to comply with the five-year rule under Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310.

The Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal, concluding that (a) a pretrial order dismissing the class claims does not qualify as a “trial” resulting in a final disposition, and therefore does not satisfy the five-year dismissal statute, and (b) an appellate decision reversing such an order does not result in a remand for a new trial and therefore does not trigger a three-year extension of the five-year rule under Code of Civil Procedure section 583.320, subdivision (a)(3).

More Information

For more information, please contact John F. Querio and Felix Shafir .

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