Today's Law As Amended

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AB-992 Civil liability: wildfires.(2011-2012)

As Amends the Law Today


 Section 3346 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

 (a) For wrongful injuries to timber, trees, or underwood upon the land of another,  another person,  or removal thereof,  of that wood,  the measure of damages is three times such the  sum as would compensate for the actual detriment, except that where  unless  the trespass was casual or involuntary, or that  the defendant in any action brought under this section had probable cause to believe that the land on which the trespass was committed was his or her  own or the land of the person in whose service or by whose direction the act was done, the measure of damages shall be twice the sum as would compensate for the actual detriment, and excepting further that where  detriment. If  the wood was taken by the authority of highway officers for the purpose of repairing a public highway or bridge upon the land or adjoining it, in which case  judgment shall only  be given only  in a sum equal to the actual detriment.
(b) The measure of damages to be assessed against a defendant for any trespass committed while acting in reliance upon a survey of boundary lines which that  improperly fixes the location of a boundary line, shall be the actual detriment incurred if both of the following conditions exist:
(1) The trespass was committed by a defendant who either himself or herself  procured, or whose principal, lessor, or immediate predecessor in title procured the survey to be made; and made. 
(2) The survey was made by a person licensed under the laws of this State state  to practice land surveying.
(c) Any action for the damages specified by subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section must  shall  be commenced within five years from the date of the trespass.
(d) Damage caused by an escaping fire, other than an arson fire, shall not be deemed a trespass for purposes of subdivisions (a) and (b).
(e) The amount of monetary damages recoverable by any person, including a governmental entity, for fire escaping to the land of another, other than arson, shall be limited to the fair market value of the land and timber affected by the fire in its prefire condition, less the fair market value of the land and timber in its postfire condition.
(f) Non-fee-based public benefit use, land conservation management activity, and timber operations conducted in compliance with all laws and regulations pertaining or related to fire safety shall not be deemed a foreseeable risk in the context of any damage related to fire or its escape onto the property of another.

SEC. 2.

 Section 733 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

 (a)  Any person who cuts down or carries off any wood or  wood,  underwood, tree, or timber, or girdles or otherwise injures any tree or timber on the land of another person, or  on the street or highway in front of any person’s house, village, or  city lot, or cultivated grounds; or  grounds,  on the commons or public grounds of any city or town, or on the street or highway in front thereof,  of any city or town,  without lawful authority, is liable to the owner of such that  land, or to such that  city or town, for treble the amount of damages which that  may be assessed therefor, therefor  in a civil action, action  in any Court court  having jurisdiction.
(b) This section shall not apply to damages caused by any wildfire, other than an arson fire.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13007 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

 (a)  Any person who personally or through another wilfully,  negligently, or in violation of law, sets fire to, allows fire to be set to, or allows a fire kindled or attended by him or her  to escape to, the property of another, whether privately or publicly owned, is liable to the owner of such that  property for any damages to the property caused by the fire.
(b) Any action for damages under this section shall be brought within three years of the date of official extinguishment of the fire.
(c) A public entity shall give notice within 90 days of official extinguishment of a fire to any person it has probable cause to believe may be liable for damages caused by the fire so that the entity may bring a civil action to recover those damages.

SEC. 4.

 Section 4435 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

 If any a  fire originates from the operation or use of any an  engine, machine, barbecue, incinerator, railroad rolling stock, chimney, or any other device which that  may kindle a fire, the occurrence of the fire is prima facie evidence of negligence in the maintenance, operation, or use of such engine, machine, barbecue, incinerator, railroad rolling stock, chimney, or other device. If such fire  and that fire  escapes from the place where it originated originated,  and it can be determined which is proven that a  person’s negligence proximately  caused such that  fire, such that  person is guilty of a misdemeanor. misdemeanor and may be held civilly liable for his or her negligence. 
SEC. 5.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.