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AB-2185 Civil actions: pleadings: party names.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/25/2018 02:00 PM
AB2185:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 25, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 17, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 09, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 15, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2185


Introduced by Assembly Member Chiu

February 12, 2018


An act to add Section 422.41 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2185, as amended, Chiu. Civil actions: pleadings: party names.
Existing law requires the title of the complaint in a civil action to include the names of all parties to the action.
This bill would authorize a plaintiff, including a cross-complainant, to use a pseudonym or fictitious name to commence and pursue an action. The bill would require the court to issue an order to show cause why the plaintiff should be permitted to use a pseudonym on the motion of a party to the action within 60 days of service of the summons and complaint or cross complaint. The bill would authorize a court to issue that order to show cause on its own motion at any time during the pendency of the action. The bill would also authorize the plaintiff to redact personal identifying information from documents filed with the court, as specified. The bill would authorize a party to the action, within 45 days of service of the summons and complaint, to file and serve a notice of motion to require the plaintiff to request leave of the court to proceed pseudonymously. The bill would then require the plaintiff to show special circumstances demonstrating that the plaintiff’s need to proceed pseudonymously outweighs both the public’s interest in knowing the plaintiff’s identity and any prejudice to any other party to discharge the order to show cause. in order to proceed pseudonymously. The bill would specify factors to be considered by the court in making its determination. The bill would authorize the court to make that determination on its own motion. The bill would authorize a plaintiff who has been ordered to be identified to either continue to maintain his or her action or to dismiss the action without prejudice. The bill would make an order granting or denying that motion appealable.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 422.41 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

422.41.
 (a) As used in this section “plaintiff” includes a cross-complainant, and “complaint” includes a cross-complaint.
(b) (1) A plaintiff may use a pseudonym or fictitious name to commence and maintain an action, subject to the requirements of this section.

(c)(1)On the motion of any party to the action within 60 days of service of the summons and complaint, the court shall issue an order to show cause why the plaintiff should be permitted to use a pseudonym.

(2) A plaintiff who commences an action pursuant to paragraph (1) may redact personal identifying information that would reveal the plaintiff’s identity from documents filed with the court. If the plaintiff has redacted information, he or she shall file with the court and serve on the other parties to the action a declaration that includes the plaintiff’s name and the personal identifying information that the plaintiff redacted. The court shall keep the plaintiff’s name and the redacted information confidential.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, “personal identifying information” includes the plaintiff’s name or any part thereof, his or her address or any part thereof, the city or unincorporated area of the plaintiff’s residence, the plaintiff’s date of birth, and the plaintiff’s relationship to the defendant.
(c) (1) Within 45 days of service of the summons and complaint on a party in an action in which the plaintiff has commenced the action using a pseudonym, a party may file and serve a notice of motion to require the plaintiff to request leave of the court to proceed pseudonymously in the action.
(2) In discharging an order to show cause issued determining whether the plaintiff should be permitted to proceed pseudonymously pursuant to paragraph (1), the plaintiff using a pseudonym shall have the burden of showing special circumstances demonstrating that the plaintiff’s need to proceed pseudonymously outweighs both the public’s interest in knowing the plaintiff’s identity and any prejudice to any other party.
(3) In determining whether a plaintiff has met his or her burden pursuant to paragraph (2), the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following: the following factors:

(A)Whether identification of the plaintiff poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to either the party identified or to innocent nonparties.

(B)Whether the plaintiff legitimately fears that revealing his or her identity could subject him or her to imminent actions that could result in his or her removal from the United States.

(C)The age of a person whose privacy interests are sought to be protected.

(D)The existence of

(A) Whether there is an overriding interest that outweighs the public’s interest in access to the plaintiff’s identity. In evaluating that interest, the court shall consider the following:

(i)

(B) Whether the overriding interest supports the plaintiff’s use of a pseudonym.

(ii)The

(C) Whether there is a substantial probability of prejudice to the interest if the plaintiff is not permitted to use a pseudonym.

(iii)

(D) Whether there are less restrictive means of protecting the interest.

(E)

(E) Whether the proposed orders permitting the plaintiff to use a pseudonym are narrowly tailored.

(d)In any action in which a plaintiff is proceeding pseudonymously, the court shall enter appropriate orders to ensure all of the following:

(1)All parties to the action know the identities of all other parties to the action, including a plaintiff who is proceeding pseudonymously.

(2)All parties to the action shall maintain the confidentiality of the identity of the plaintiff proceeding pseudonymously.

(3)All parties to the action are afforded the rights, procedures, and discovery to which they are otherwise entitled.

(4) In addition to the factors described in paragraph (3), in determining whether the plaintiff has met his or her burden pursuant to paragraph (2), the court may consider any other relevant factors, including the following:
(A) Whether the identification of the plaintiff poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to either the plaintiff or to innocent nonparties.
(B) Whether the plaintiff legitimately fears that revealing his or her identity could subject him or her to imminent actions that could result in his or her removal from the United States.
(C) Whether the person whose privacy interests are sought to be protected is a minor.
(d) (1) If a plaintiff is permitted to proceed in an action pseudonymously, all court decisions, orders, petitions, and other documents, including motions and papers filed by the parties to the action shall be written in a manner that protects the name and personal identifying information of the plaintiff from public revelation.
(2) If the court determines that additional orders are needed to allow the plaintiff to proceed with a pseudonym, it shall issue appropriate orders at any time to preserve the plaintiff’s continued use of a pseudonym.
(e) If the court has permitted a plaintiff to proceed pseudonymously pursuant to a determination of an order to show cause pursuant to after a determination pursuant to subdivision (c), any party may move for reconsideration of the issue of the plaintiff’s continued use of a pseudonym at any stage of the proceedings if material changes in circumstance warrant reconsideration.
(f) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) and subdivision (e), the court may, on its own motion at any time during the pendency of the action, determine pursuant to the procedures set forth in subdivision (c) whether the plaintiff should be permitted to use a pseudonym.
(g) If the court orders the plaintiff using a pseudonym to be identified pursuant to a determination of an order to show cause pursuant to subdivision (c) or after a determination pursuant to subdivision (c), or after a motion for reconsideration pursuant to subdivision (e), the plaintiff may do either of the following:
(1) Continue to maintain his or her action or claims, in which case the court shall order that the pleadings and any relevant dockets or docket entries be reformed to reflect the plaintiff’s true name. The identification of the plaintiff shall be deemed to relate back to the date of the filing of the complaint.
(2) Dismiss his or her action or claims without prejudice.
(h) An appeal may be taken from an order denying a plaintiff’s use of a pseudonym. The plaintiff may continue to use the pseudonym pending the resolution of the appeal.
(i) This section does not change any process governing the sealing of records or the closure of judicial proceedings to the public.