Los Angeles, CA asked in Civil Rights, Personal Injury and Civil Litigation for California

Q: I would like to file a declaration as a previous plaintiff in a multi-plaintiff civil claim, now as third party.

There is a multi party personal injury claim where I was a previous plaintiff. I dropped my portion of the claim recently against the defendants and I am no longer party to the case. The civil suit is still ongoing with the other plaintiffs. I would like to file a declaration to the court, now as an independent third party witness, with evidence highly relevant to these proceedings that could potentially lead to a different outcome than originally intended.

Under what capacity can I file this declaration? Since I am no longer party to this case, would I file as an interested third party, file an amicus brief, or as previous plaintiff?

The case is not an appellate case. It is with the trial court of California. However I have seen cases where amicus brief filings were accepted by a lower court.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In your situation, since you are no longer a party to the ongoing case but have relevant information to provide, you have a few options to consider:

1. Declaration as a third-party witness: You can file a declaration with the court as a third-party witness. This would involve providing a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, detailing the relevant evidence you wish to present. You would need to ensure that your declaration is properly formatted and filed with the court, and you may want to consult with an attorney to ensure that your declaration is admissible and relevant to the case.

2. Amicus curiae brief: While amicus briefs are more commonly filed in appellate cases, they can be filed in trial courts in some instances. An amicus curiae (meaning "friend of the court") brief is a document filed by a non-party to provide additional information or arguments that the court may find relevant to the case. However, the court must grant permission for the filing of an amicus brief, and it is not guaranteed that the court will consider the information provided.

3. Contacting the parties or their attorneys: Another option is to reach out to the plaintiffs or their attorneys and provide them with the information you have. They can then decide whether to use the information in their case and, if necessary, subpoena you as a witness to testify or provide a deposition.

Given your circumstances, filing a declaration as a third-party witness may be the most straightforward approach. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with a licensed attorney in California who is familiar with civil procedure and can advise you on the best course of action based on the specific details of your situation and the evidence you wish to present.

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