Legislation

Consumer Attorneys of California is the first line of defense in the state Capitol and at the ballot box to protect consumer legal rights. Each year bills are introduced by big tobacco, insurance, HMO and other corporations to restrict or eliminate your legal rights. CAOC is there to fight such "tort reform" measures to ensure that every Californian has access to the courts. We also sponsor legislation to protect consumer legal rights and work through the state budgetary process to ensure adequate funding of California's civil justice system.

2020 CAOC Legislative Proposal Submission Form (CAOC Members Only, must be logged in)
 

2019 Legislation


PROTECTING VICTIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT

AB 1510 (Reyes) – University of Southern California students who fell victim to Dr. George Tyndall, the campus gynecologist accused of molesting hundreds of women in his care over nearly three decades, will have a fresh opportunity to hold the physician and university accountable under this bill. More than 600 of his former patients have filed civil lawsuits against Dr. Tyndall and USC for sexual battery and related sexual abuse, but USC will likely seek dismissal of these assault cases, claiming they are time-barred by the state's statute of limitations. Thus, AB 1510 is vital to giving these women an opportunity to have their day in court. Fact sheet (PDF)  STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

AB 51 (Gonzalez) – Would ensure that a worker is not forced into arbitration and stripped of the right to take harassment, discrimination and labor claims to court. Forcing workers to sign arbitration waivers lets companies keep harassment, discrimination and other labor violations out of court, effectively cloaking them in secrecy and, in some cases, allowing serial harassers and repeat violators to continue their conduct for years. Such arbitration contract conditions should be voluntary, not the result of coercion or simply as a requirement for a prospective California worker to get a job. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

AB 9 (Reyes, Friedman, Waldron) – The SHARE Act (Stopping Harassment and Reporting Extension) will extend the time for filing harassment and discrimination claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This bill would extend the filing requirement from one year to three years, allowing victims additional time to seek redress and  making it more consistent with the filing time limits for other actions.  Low wage earners are particularly harmed by the short filing time. Most low wage workers who suffered harassment or discrimination are not aware of their legal rights and do not know that that they are time barred if they do not file within a year. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

PROMOTING SAFETY OF SCOOTERS, BIKES AND OTHER SHARED-MOBILITY DEVICES

AB 1286 (Muratsuchi) – E-scooters and bikes have appeared in major California cities often overnight – leaving municipalities in the dust as they attempt to catch up and create regulations. What results is a patchwork of different laws and regulations. Meanwhile, riders and pedestrians are at risk. Four scooter riders have died and many riders and pedestrians have suffered injuries. Although scooters provide an eco-friendly, low-cost transportation option, the lack of uniform consumer protections is problematic. Riders leave the scooters everywhere, creating a mess and tripping hazard. There are public safety concerns, as riders tend to not wear helmets as well as drive and park on sidewalks, creating a hazard for the elderly, children and people with disabilities.This bill will enact minimum state protections requiring e-mobility companies to carry minimum insurance to protect riders and third parties, prohibit them from waiving consumer legal rights, and require that cities and counties adopt and enforce safety rules. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Approved by Assembly. Will be taken up by state Senate in 2020.

PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE ELDERLY IN EMERGENCIES

SB 314 (Dodd) – During the 2017 Wine Country wildfires, about 100 elderly residents at two Santa Rosa care homes were abandoned as flames closed in. One of the homes burned to the ground, and as many as 20 of the elderly residents likely would have died if not for the heroic rescue efforts by family members and emergency responders. SB 314 will update the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act to include "abandonment" as an enhanced remedy that qualifies for civil action. By making this change, nursing homes and other senior facilities will be on notice: Don't leave the frail elderly behind in a life-threatening emergency. Fact sheet (PDF)  STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.  

STOPPING COMPANIES TRYING TO STALL THE LEGAL PROCESS

SB 707 (Wieckowski, Hertzberg) – Individuals who have been forced to submit to mandatory arbitration to resolve an employment or consumer dispute would be provided with procedural options and remedies under this bill when a company stalls or obstructs the arbitration proceeding by refusing to pay the required fees. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

PROHIBITING RACIAL PROFILING ON DAMAGE AWARDS

SB 41 (Hertzberg) – Prohibits the use of racial- and gender-biased data in determining civil damage awards for personal injury or wrongful death actions, ensuring women and people of color are not deprived of fair compensation. Fact sheet (PDF) STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

IMPROVING THE DAILY PRACTICE OF LAW

SB 370 (Umberg) – This legislation would create a more efficient standard for Requests for Production of Documents. Specifically the bill will require the documents to be organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the demand.This bill is a placeholder bill for substantive civil procedure changes to improve the everyday practice. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

PROTECTING DYING ASBESTOS VICTIMS

SB 645 (Monning) – Would protect dying mesothelioma and silicosis victims by limiting their deposition time. Fact sheet (PDF) STATUS:  Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

 

2018 Legislation
 

ENDING PROTECTION OF SEXUAL PREDATORS

AB 3080 (Gonzalez) – This bill will ensure that workers are not forced to waive their right to take harassment, discrimination, and labor claims against their boss to a court or state agency.  Forcing workers to sign these waivers lets companies keep harassment, discrimination, and labor violation claims out of court, effectively cloaking them in secrecy and, in some cases, allowing serial harassers and repeat violators to continue their conduct for years. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 1870 (Reyes, Friedman, Waldron) – The SHARE Act (Stopping Harassment and Reporting Extension) will extend the time for filing harassment and discrimination claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This bill would extend the filing requirement from one year to three years, allowing victims additional time to seek redress and  making it more consistent with the filing time limits for other actions.  Low wage earners are particularly harmed by the short filing time. Most low wage workers who suffered harassment or discrimination are not aware of their legal rights and do not know that that they are time barred if they do not file within a year. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

SB 820 (Leyva) – Known at the STAND Act (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures), this bill will end protection of sexual predators by banning secret settlements, the confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements, in cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex discrimination. This measure was sparked by the case of Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein, accused by at least 80 women of sexual misconduct, including rape, sexual assault and harassment. His decades-long predatory behavior was kept secret in part due to the legal instruments that allowed him to hide behind the guise of confidentiality that barred victims from ever sharing their stories. This allows repeat offenders to continue to harass while silencing victims. By shining a bright light on this wrongdoing, the STAND Act will have a deterrent effect.  Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 1867 (Reyes) – Would require California businesses with 50 or more employees to keep records of employee complaints of sexual harassment for 10 years from the date of filing. This will make it harder for employers to conceal a history of harassment by an employee and provide evidence that an employer was aware of previous issues with an employee’s behavior. Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

INTERNET DATA PRIVACY AND PROTECTIONS

AB 375 (Chau, Hertzberg, Dodd) – Enacts the nation's most sweeping data privacy and protection measures. Among other data privacy protections, it allows consumers to insist that companies not sell their personal information and requires parents to give their approval before a company sells data about a minor, among other protections. To act as a deterrent against data breaches, companies would face civil legal liability and potential action by the state Attorney General if they failed to take adequate and available steps to protect consumer data from internet pirates. Bill information  STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.  

SB 1121 (Dodd) – This measure came in the aftermath of a series of data breaches that amplified with last year's massive Equifax scandal, which hit more than 145 million U.S. consumers (59% of the U.S. adult population). It's legislative intent was largely amended into AB 375 (see above). SB 1121 was amended to serve as a follow-up bill to AB 375. Bill information   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

PATIENTS RIGHT TO KNOW

SB 1448 (Hill) – This measure would require doctors placed on probation for a serious offense after July 2019 to notify their patients of their discipline prior to the patient's first visit. It applies only to doctors on probation for offenses such as sexual abuse or misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse, a criminal conviction involving harm to patient health or safety, or inappropriate prescribing. SB 1448 would correct the problem with doctors who have histories of sexual assault or other serious misconduct hiding their misdeeds for years or in some cases even decades without their patients knowing. The recent case against Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted after decades of abusing the athletes under his care, highlights the need to protect patients when regulators fail to act. Fact sheet (PDF)  STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

HELPING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS ACHIEVE JUSTICE

SB 1053 (Beall) – Codifies and clarifies the law that governs when a victim of childhood sexual abuse may file a claim against a public entity and seek justice through the civil courts. SB 1053 clarifies that CCP Section 340.1, which applies to actions for recovery of damages suffered as the result of childhood sexual abuse, is the sole statute governing such claims, as the Legislature intended. Fact sheet (PDF)  STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

MORE EFFICIENT CIVIL PROCEDURES

AB 2230 (Berman) – This court efficiencies measure will simplify the current procedure for separate statements. When parties have a discovery dispute, they file a motion to compel the discovery accompanied with a separate statement. Current court rules require so much detail in these separate statements that they often amount to anywhere from fifty pages to entire reams of paper. AB 2230 will promote efficiency by giving judges the option to require either a full separate statement or instead a concise outline of the discovery issues in dispute.  Fact sheet (PDF)   STATUS: Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

CAOC 2018 Legislative wrap up (pdf)

CAOC 2017 Legislative wrap up (pdf)

CAOC 2016 Legislative wrap up (pdf)

CAOC 2015-16 Legislative Update and Defeated Bills (pdf)

CAOC 2015-2016 Legislative Report (CAOC members) (pdf)

CAOC 2014-2015 Legislative Report (CAOC members) (pdf)

CAOC 2013-2014 Legislative Report (CAOC members) (pdf) 

Join the Legislative Review Committee (pdf)

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