California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2023
Code of Civil Procedure section 2023 sets forth the various types of sanctions available when a party abuses discovery. It provides: "(b) To the extent authorized by the section governing any particular discovery method or any other provision of this article, the court . . . may impose the following sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process.
(1) The court may impose a monetary sanction . . . .
(2) The court may impose an issue sanction ordering that designated facts shall be taken as established . . . or prohibiting any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses.
(3) The court may impose an evidence sanction by an order prohibiting any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process from introducing designated matters in evidence.
(4) The court may impose a terminating sanction . . . .
(5) The court may impose a contempt sanction . . . ." ( 2023, subds. (b)(1) through (b)(5).)
While section 2023 identifies the sanctions available for discovery abuses, it does not indicate the circumstances in which each sanction is appropriately utilized. Instead, it specifically states that each sanction may be used "to the extent authorized" by the code section governing the specific discovery device involved.
Section 2025 which governs depositions is implicated here. Section 2025, subdivision (j)(3) provides that if a party fails to appear for deposition after service of a deposition notice without having served a valid objection, "the party giving the notice may move for an order compelling the deponent's attendance and testimony, and the production for inspection of any document or tangible thing described in the deposition notice. . . . If this motion is granted, the court shall also impose a monetary sanction under Section 2023 . . . unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. . . . If that party . . . then fails to obey an order compelling attendance, testimony, and production, the court may make those orders that are just including the imposition of an issue sanction, an evidence sanction or a terminating sanction under Section 2023. . . ." This language is virtually identical to the language in statutes pertaining to other discovery devices. ( 2031, subd. (l) inspection demands; 2030, subd. (l) interrogatories.)
Section 2025 authorizes a terminating sanction only when a party "fails to obey an order compelling attendance, testimony, and production . . . ." ( 2025, subd. (j)(3).) Ruvalcaba v. Government Employees Ins. Co. (1990) 222 Cal. App. 3d 1579, 272 Cal. Rptr. 541 and other cases have so interpreted the identical language in other discovery statutes. ( Id. at pp. 1580-1581; see also Argaman v. Ratan (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 1173, 1180 "the statute also provides for issue, evidence, and terminating sanctions if a party disobeys a court order compelling discovery"; Korea Data Systems Co. v. Superior Court (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1513, 1517 "If a party fails to obey a court order, the court has a variety of additional remedies, including 'the imposition of an issue sanction, and evidence sanction or a terminating sanction, under Section 2023'".)