California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6
California Code of Civil Procedure Subdivision (2) of section 170.6 provides, in pertinent part:
"If directed to the trial of a cause that has been assigned to a judge for all purposes, the motion shall be made to the assigned judge or to the presiding judge by a party within 10 days after notice of the all purpose assignment, or if the party has not yet appeared in the action, then within 10 days after the appearance."
When a party has already appeared in the action filed in a direct calendar court and a reassignment is made, it must file a peremptory challenge within 15 days (plus five days for mail service) of receiving notice of a change in the individual calendar judge assigned to the case. (Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital v. Superior Court (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 488, 494; Cybermedia, Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 910, 913.)
A trial court is bound to accept a section 170.6 peremptory challenge that is timely and in proper form. ( Barrett v. Superior Court (1999) 77 Cal.App.4th 1, 4.)
Concerning what constitutes proper "notice of the all purpose assignment," our Supreme Court has stated that an all purpose assignment "instantly pinpoints" the judge whom the parties can expect to ultimately preside at trial. (People v. Superior Court (Lavi) (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1164, 1180, 847 P.2d 1031.)
In one case, a general notice was mailed by the superior court's public information officer to counsel's law firm indicating a change in judicial assignments.
The court held the notice was insufficient to trigger the period within which to file a peremptory challenge because (1) it was not addressed to the party's attorney, (2) the general notice did not reference the case name and full case number, and (3) the party's attorney did not learn of the general notice until after he had filed his challenge. ( Cybermedia, Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 914.)