Each year, the corporate tort machine introduces scads of bills intended to undercut the rights of California consumers. We call them “Justice Killers.” Here are this year’s worst.
CAPS FOR CALTRANS CLAIMS
AB 965 (Kiley): Limits noneconomic damages against Caltrans to $250,000. Further limits damages by eliminating joint-and-several liability for the department. Undercuts the types of cases that have prodded Caltrans to improve dangerous highway conditions and practices. STATUS: Dead for 2017
LIMITS ON WAGE THEFT SUITS
AB 281 (Salas), AB 945 (Melendez), AB 1429 (Fong), AB 1045 (Flora), and AB 1430 (Fong): All five bills limit claims brought under the Private Attorney General Act.
DELAYING JUSTICE FOR ASBESTOS VICTIMS
AB 1056 (Kiley): Sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), this measure limits claims for asbestos victims. Introduced many times before, this bill is the offspring of a national effort led by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose corporate holdings include firms that market asbestos products.
AB 1146 (Flora): Also sponsored by CJAC, AB 1146 limits the use of contingency fee agreements between attorneys and public entities.
AB 1489 (Brough): Limits construction defect claims against architects.
WAGE, HOUR AND EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION VIOLATIONS
SB 556 (Nguyen) and SB 662 (Berryhill): Would weaken California’s wage, hour and employment laws.
ELIMINATION OF THE 40-HOUR WORKWEEK
AB 1173 (Harper): Eliminates the current 40-hour workweek laws.