(a) The superior courts shall have jurisdiction to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, the production of books, records, documents, and physical materials, and the answering of interrogatories. If an individual or organization fails to comply with a subpoena, interrogatory, request for production, or examination under oath by refusing to respond fully or objecting thereto, or by obstructing any proceeding before the department, the department may file with a superior court a petition for an order compelling compliance, naming as respondent the individual or organization that has failed to comply. Such an action may be brought in any county in which the department’s investigation or inquiry takes place, but if the respondent is not found within any such county, such an action may be brought in the county of the respondent’s residence or principal office.
(b) The petition shall describe the inquiry or investigation before the department, the basis for its jurisdiction therein, and state facts showing that the subpoena, interrogatory, request for production, or examination under oath was issued or carried out in accordance with the requirements of this part, that the information sought was identified with sufficient particularity to permit response and is reasonably relevant to the inquiry or investigation before the department, and that the respondent has failed to comply. If the petition sets forth good cause for relief, the court shall issue an order to show cause to the respondent; otherwise the court shall enter an order denying the petition. The order to show cause shall be served, along with the department’s petition, on the respondent in the same manner as summons must be served in civil actions, and the order shall be returnable not less than 10 days from its issuance nor later than 45 days after the filing of the petition. The respondent shall have the right to serve and file a written answer or other response to the petition and order to show cause.
(c) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, the court shall no later than 30 days after the filing of the petition file its order granting or denying the petition. However, the court may on its own motion for good cause extend such time an additional 30 days. If the order grants the petition in whole or part, the order shall set forth the manner in which the respondent shall comply and the period of time following the effective date of the order within which such compliance is required. A copy of the order shall be served by mail by the clerk upon the parties. If the order grants the petition in whole or in part, the order shall not become effective until 10 days after it is served. If the order denies the petition, it shall become effective on the date it is served.
(d) The order of the superior court shall be final and not subject to review by appeal. A party aggrieved by such order, or any part thereof, may within 15 days after the service of the superior court’s order, serve and file in the appropriate court of appeal a petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the superior court to set aside or otherwise modify its order. If or whenever such review is sought from an order granting discovery, the order of the trial court shall be stayed upon the filing of the petition for a writ of mandamus, provided, however, the court of appeal may dissolve or modify the stay thereafter if it is in the public interest to do so. If or whenever such review is sought from a denial of discovery, the trial court’s order shall not be stayed by the court of appeal except upon a clear showing of probable error.
(e) Within 15 days after the end of the compliance period specified in the final order of the superior court, after the exhaustion of any challenges to the order in higher courts, the department shall in writing certify to the court either that the order has been complied with or that the respondent has failed to comply. A copy of the certified statement shall be served on the respondent by personal delivery or certified mail. After receipt of a certified statement indicating the respondent’s failure to comply with the order, the court may compel obedience to its order by contempt proceedings, and by making such additional orders as may be appropriate. Following such proceedings, the department shall, within 15 days after the respondent complies with the original order of the court, certify in writing to the court that such order has been complied with. A copy of the certified statement shall be served on the respondent by personal delivery or certified mail.
(f) The period of time within which the department is directed to initiate a civil action by Section 12965 shall be extended by the length of the period between the filing of a petition under this section and either (1) the final effective date, after the exhaustion of any challenges to the original order in higher courts, of an order of the superior court denying the petition, or (2) the filing by the department of a certified statement, pursuant to subdivision (e), indicating the respondent’s compliance with the order of the superior court granting the petition in whole or in part, whichever occurs later.
(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 46, Sec. 43. (SB 1038) Effective June 27, 2012. Operative January 1, 2013, by Sec. 140 of Ch. 46.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018