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Tentative Rulings and Hearings in Sacramento Civil Court

Pursuant to Sacramento County Local Rule 1.06, the court in most departments makes a tentative ruling on the motion by 2:00 p.m. the court day before the hearing. You then have two hours to request oral argument, if you choose to do so. If neither party does, the tentative ruling becomes final and the hearing is cancelled.

If you are filing in a different county, check with your county court for their rules on tentative rulings. Most counties use a similar system.

Filing a motion in Sacramento?
If you are filing a motion in Sacramento’s Dept. 53 or 54, your notice of motion MUST include information about the tentative ruling system. You can copy the text from the Court’s website or print it out and attach it to your notice of motion.

In the Presiding Judge’s department (Dept 47), moving parties must add the following text: “Local Rule 1.06 (A) is modified such that tentative rulings will be issued two days prior to the hearing date and the party requesting argument is required to provide notice to the Court and counsel of that request by noon the following day.”

Your Hearing Will be Cancelled

If neither you nor the other party calls the court, the hearing will be canceled and you will not be permitted to talk to the judge.

Read the Ruling After 2 p.m. the Court Day before Your Hearing

You may read the tentative ruling online or call Department 53 (916-874-7858) or Department 54 (916-874-7848) to have a clerk read the ruling to you. For more information, see the Tentative Ruling Information page on the Sacramento County Superior Court’s website.

Closely review the Tentative Ruling. If you are making the motion, you are looking for your motion to be “GRANTED.” If you are opposing the motion, you are looking for the motion to be “DENIED.” The motion may also be “GRANTED IN PART” and “DENIED IN PART.” The judge sometimes orders the parties to appear, even if neither party requests oral argument, or sets deadlines for the parties to file additional documents.

Schedule Oral Argument and Notify Opponent before 4 p.m. the Court Day before Your Hearing, if Desired

Winning party: If you are happy with the Tentative Ruling, you do not need to do anything unless the Tentative Ruling orders you to appear, or the other side calls you before 4:00 p.m. that day to request oral argument. If that happens, you should go to the court hearing and be prepared to argue your case.

Losing party: If you are not happy with the Tentative Ruling, and wish to present oral argument in front of the judge, you must call all opposing counsel and/or self-represented parties, and the clerk for Department 53 ((916) 874-7858) or Department 54 ((916) 874-7848) no later than 4:00 p.m. the court day before your hearing and state that you are requesting oral argument. Note: carefully consider whether it is worth your time to request oral argument. It is very rare for judges to change their mind, but it does happen sometimes.

If neither party requests oral argument by 4:00 p.m., the court will simply make the tentative ruling permanent, and no oral argument will be permitted.

Attend the Hearing, if Needed or Desired

If you or the other party request oral argument, arrive at the department early (or log onto Zoom early). There will probably be other cases scheduled at the same time; there is usually a list posted on the wall outside the courtroom that lists the order in which cases will be heard. Go into the courtroom or Zoom waiting room and check in with the bailiff or clerk.

Remote (Video or Telephone) Hearings are an Option

For most types of motions, you can appear remotely by connecting on the Zoom app. The tentative ruling will explain how to connect.

When your name is called, be ready to speak and to answer any questions the judge has. You will only have a few minutes. After both sides speak, the judge may make a decision right away, or may “take it under consideration” and mail out the decision in a few days.

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