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AB-913 Construction-related accessibility claims: extremely high-frequency litigants.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/16/2017 09:00 PM
AB913:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 913


Introduced by Assembly Member Gray

February 16, 2017


An act to add Sections 425.56 and 425.57 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 913, as introduced, Gray. Construction-related accessibility claims: extremely high-frequency litigants.
Existing law provides that individuals with disabilities or medical conditions have the same right as the general public to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, medical facilities, public facilities, and other public places, and allows a person who is aggrieved or potentially aggrieved by a violation of specific provisions of law to bring an action to enjoin the violation. Existing law provides that an attorney or unrepresented party who presents a pleading, petition, or other similar paper to the court is certifying that specified conditions have been met, including, but not limited to, that the action is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay.
This bill would authorize a court to enter a prefiling order prohibiting an extremely high-frequency litigant, as defined, from filing any new litigation in the courts of this state without first obtaining leave of the presiding justice or presiding judge of the court where the litigation is proposed to be filed. The bill would require the clerk of the court to provide the Judicial Council with a copy of all prefiling orders, and would require the Judicial Council to maintain and annually disseminate a record of extremely high-frequency litigants subject to those prefiling orders, as specified. The bill would also authorize a defendant in a construction-related disability action to move the court for an order requiring a plaintiff who is an extremely high-frequency litigant to furnish security or for an order dismissing the litigation on the ground that the plaintiff is an extremely high-frequency litigant subject to a prefiling order and the litigation was filed for an improper purpose.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 425.56 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

425.56.
 (a) For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Extremely high-frequency litigant” means a plaintiff who has filed 15 or more complaints alleging a construction-related accessibility violation within the 12-month period immediately preceding the filing of the current complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility violation.
(2) “Litigation” means any construction-related accessibility claim, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52 of the Civil Code.
(b) In addition to any other relief provided in this section, the court may, on its own motion or the motion of any party, enter a prefiling order that prohibits an extremely high-frequency litigant from filing any new litigation in the courts of this state without first obtaining leave of the presiding justice or presiding judge of the court where the litigation is proposed to be filed. Disobedience of a prefiling order by an extremely high-frequency litigant may be punished as a contempt of court.
(c) A presiding justice or presiding judge shall only permit the filing of litigation by an extremely high-frequency litigant who is subject to a prefiling order if it appears that the litigation has merit and has not been filed for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. A presiding justice or presiding judge may condition the filing of the litigation upon the furnishing of security for the benefit of the defendants.
(d) The clerk shall not accept for filing any litigation presented by an extremely high-frequency litigant subject to a prefiling order unless the extremely high-frequency litigant first obtains an order from the presiding justice or presiding judge permitting the filing. If the clerk mistakenly accepts the litigation without an order, any party may file with the clerk and serve, or the presiding justice or presiding judge may direct the clerk to file and serve, on the plaintiff and other parties a notice stating that the plaintiff is an extremely high-frequency litigant subject to a prefiling order as set forth in subdivision (b). The filing of the notice shall automatically stay the litigation. The litigation shall be automatically dismissed unless the plaintiff, within 10 days of the filing of the notice, obtains an order from the presiding justice or presiding judge permitting the filing of the litigation as set forth in subdivision (c). If the presiding justice or presiding judge issues an order permitting the filing, the stay of the litigation shall remain in effect, and the defendants need not plead, until 10 days after the defendants are served with a copy of the order.
(e) The presiding justice or presiding judge of a court may designate a justice or judge of the same court to act on his or her behalf in exercising the authority and responsibilities provided under subdivisions (b) to (d), inclusive.
(f) A court clerk shall provide to the Judicial Council a copy of all prefiling orders issued pursuant to subdivision (b). The Judicial Council shall maintain a record of extremely high-frequency litigants subject to prefiling orders and shall annually disseminate a list of those persons to the clerks of the courts of this state.

SEC. 2.

 Section 425.57 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

425.57.
 (a) A defendant may move the court, upon a noticed hearing, for an order dismissing litigation filed by an extremely high-frequency litigant or requiring the extremely high-frequency litigant to furnish security for the benefit of the defendant.
(b) If, after hearing evidence on the motion, the court determines that the plaintiff is an extremely high-frequency litigant, the court shall order the plaintiff to furnish, for the benefit of the moving defendant, security in an amount and within a time period determined by the court.
(c) If, after hearing evidence on the motion, the court determines that the plaintiff is an extremely high-frequency litigant, that the plaintiff is subject to a prefiling order, and that the litigation was filed for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay, the court shall order the litigation dismissed.