California Code of Civil Procedure section 1775.7 Allows for Tolling When Case is Submitted to Mediation During Last Six Months of the Five Years Litigants Have to Bring a Case to Trial.
A civil action must be brought to trial within five years after it is commenced. “If an action is . . . submitted to mediation . . . more than four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action, then the time beginning on the ate four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action and ending on the date on which a statement of nonagreement is filed . . . shall not be included in computing the five-year period . . . . “ Exactly how the tolling period is computed is addressed in an opinion authored by Justice Mallano, Gonzalez v. County of Los Angeles, 122 Cal.App.4th 1124, 19 Cal.Rptr.3d 381(2004). The key point, which saved plaintiff from having her case tossed out, is that the tolling commences at the 4 ½ year mark if the case is submitted to mediation during the last six months of the five year period during which trial must commence. Here, the last six months of the five-year period began on November 14, 2002. On February 26, 2003, the trial court ordered the case to mediation. Thus, the tolling commenced on November 14, 2002, not on February 26, 2003, as the trial court had incorrectly reasoned. The earlier date saved plaintiff from having her case thrown out for failing to timely bring the case to trial.