The California Rules of Court are just bursting with procedural rules designed to operate in conjunction with the Code of Civil Procedure. However, while much effort clearly went into ensuring that the Rules work with each other in a smooth fashion, every now and then the Rules conflict with each other. One area where I find this to be so arises in the context of motion page length when filing motions for preliminary (or final) approval of class action settlements.
As most civil litigation practitioners in California would know off of the of their head, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1113(d) specifies that motions other than summary judgment or summary adjudication motions can be no longer than 15 pages, with 20 pages permitted for the summary adjudication and judgment motions. There are no other listed exceptions in that rule. But California Rules of Court, rule 3.764(c) specifies that any motion seeking certification (or decertification) of a class action can be up to 20 pages in length. Rule 7.764 then says that the remaining provisions of rule 3.1113 apply, apparently meaning that the page limit is intended as an exception to 3.1113. The confusion arises in what is expected by Court ruling on motions for preliminary (or final) approval of class action settlements. Those motions are required to discuss the key settlement terms, the settlement process, why the settlement if fair and adequate, and (and here's the rub), why certification of a settlement class is appropriate. Now, that certification discussion is certainly more streamlined than on contested motion, but Courts still expect at least some discussion of certification requisites. So, which page limit applies? Is it 15 pages, or 20 pages, given that motions for preliminary (or final) approval of class action settlements discuss certification of a settlement class?