The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss two of the consolidated cases for failure to bring them to trial within five years.  Even though plaintiffs could have taken these defendants’ defaults since they hadn’t answered, the court could reasonably conclude that these complex consolidated actions could not have been prosecuted to judgment within 5 years, particularly as proceedings were suspended for 17 months due to an appeal by other defendants of the denial of their motion to compel arbitration.  The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in denying these defendants’ motion to stay trial until after final resolution of the federal criminal charges against them.  The cases were already old and ready for trial against all defendants.  The stay these defendants sought could last a year or more.  And, these defendants had pled guilty to federal charges so there was less risk of infringing their Fifth Amendment rights by proceeding with the civil trial.  Also the trial court indicated that it would consider Fifth Amendment objections to particular questions at deposition or trial.

Nos. A150451, A150452, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 872 (Ct. App. Sep. 16, 2019)