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AB-984 Courts: frivolous actions or tactics.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/16/2017 09:00 PM
AB984:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 984


Introduced by Assembly Member Calderon

February 16, 2017


An act to amend Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 984, as introduced, Calderon. Courts: frivolous actions or tactics.
Existing law, until January 1, 2018, authorizes a trial court to order a party, the party’s attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by another party as a result of bad-faith actions or tactics, as defined, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. Existing law requires that any sanctions imposed pursuant to those provisions be imposed consistently with the standards, conditions, and procedures set forth in specified provisions relating to sanctions. Existing law requires a party filing a motion pursuant to those provisions to promptly transmit specified information to the California Research Bureau of the California State Library. Existing law requires the bureau to maintain a public record of transmitted information for at least 3 years, or until those provisions are repealed, as specified.
This bill would extend the authorization of the trial court to order the payment of those reasonable expenses until January 1, 2019. The bill would require the actions or tactics to be part of a civil case that was filed on or after January 1, 2015. The bill would also provide that any sanctions imposed pursuant to these provisions be imposed pursuant to the same standards, conditions, and procedures set forth in all of the above-described provisions relating to sanctions, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 425 of the Statutes of 2014, is amended to read:

128.5.
 (a) A trial court may order a party, the party’s attorney, or both both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by another party as a result of bad-faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. This section also applies to judicial arbitration proceedings under Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of Part 3.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Actions or tactics” include, but are not limited to, the making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a complaint, cross-complaint, answer, or other responsive pleading. pleading, as part of a civil case that was filed on or after January 1, 2015. The mere filing of a complaint without service thereof on an opposing party does not constitute “actions or tactics” for purposes of this section.
(2) “Frivolous” means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.
(c) Expenses pursuant to this section shall not be imposed except on notice contained in a party’s moving or responding papers or, on the court’s own motion, after notice and opportunity to be heard. An order imposing expenses shall be in writing and shall recite in detail the conduct or circumstances justifying the order.
(d) In addition to any award pursuant to this section for conduct described in subdivision (a), the court may assess punitive damages against the plaintiff on a determination by the court that the plaintiff’s action was an action maintained by a person convicted of a felony against the person’s victim, or the victim’s heirs, relatives, estate, or personal representative, for injuries arising from the acts for which the person was convicted of a felony, and that the plaintiff is guilty of fraud, oppression, or malice in maintaining the action.
(e) This section shall not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions.
(f) Any sanctions imposed pursuant to this section shall be imposed consistently with the pursuant to the same standards, conditions, and procedures set forth in all of the provisions under subdivisions (c), (d), and (h) of Section 128.7.
(g) The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any other liability imposed by law for acts or omissions within the purview of this section.
(h) (1) A party who files a motion pursuant to this section shall, promptly upon filing, transmit to the California Research Bureau of the California State Library, by email, a copy of the endorsed, filed caption page of the motion or opposition, a copy of any related notice of appeal or petition for a writ, and a conformed copy of any order issued pursuant to this section, including any order granting or denying the motion. The party shall also indicate whether a motion for sanctions was made pursuant to Section 128.7.
(2) The California Research Bureau shall maintain a public record of information transmitted pursuant to this section for at least three years, or until this section is repealed, whichever occurs first, and may store the information on microfilm or other appropriate electronic media.
(i) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2018, 2019, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2018, 2019, deletes or extends that date.