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AB-2185 Civil actions: appointment of guardian ad litem.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 09/01/2018 04:00 AM
AB2185:v93#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  August 31, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  August 27, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  August 29, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  August 23, 2018
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 372.5 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2185, Chiu. Civil actions: appointment of guardian ad litem.
Existing law authorizes a court to appoint a guardian ad litem to appear in a proceeding on behalf of a party who is a minor, a person who lacks legal capacity to make decisions, or a person for whom a conservator has been appointed, and establishes procedures for the appointed of a guardian ad litem. 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 court to permit a guardian ad litem to be appointed and appear under a pseudonym if the guardian ad litem establishes facts and circumstances that demonstrate an overriding interest in preserving his or her anonymity. The bill would require the court to make specified findings in granting that permission. If a guardian ad litem is permitted to appear under a pseudonym, the bill would require all court decisions, orders, petitions, and other documents to be written in a manner that protects the name and personal identifying information of the guardian ad litem from public disclosure, except to the extent the information is necessary to permit a party to prosecute, defend, or resolve the action. The bill would give the court discretion to reconsider its decision.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 372.5 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

372.5.
 (a) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem under a pseudonym pursuant to the requirements of this section.
(b) A person who applies for appointment as a guardian ad litem under a pseudonym shall, at the same time that the application is filed, file an ex parte request for leave to appear under a pseudonym. The ex parte request shall allege facts and circumstances establishing the guardian ad litem’s overriding interest in preserving his or her anonymity.
(c) To permit an applicant for appointment as a guardian ad litem to appear under pseudonym, the court shall make each of the following findings:
(1) That the applicant has an overriding interest in preserving anonymity that supports permitting the applicant to appear under a pseudonym.
(2) That there is a substantial probability that the applicant’s interest in preserving anonymity will be prejudiced if the applicant is not permitted to appear under a pseudonym.
(3) That permitting the applicant to appear under a pseudonym is narrowly tailored to serve the applicant’s interest in preserving anonymity without unduly prejudicing the public’s right of access or the ability of the other parties to prosecute, defend, or resolve the action.
(4) That there are no less restrictive means of protecting the applicant’s interest in preserving his or her anonymity.
(d) (1) The court may make any further orders necessary to preserve the applicant’s anonymity or to allow the other parties or financial institutions to know the applicant’s identity to the extent necessary to prosecute, defend, or resolve the action.
(2) In addition to any other orders, the court may require a guardian ad litem who is permitted to appear under a pseudonym and is not represented by counsel to designate a mailing or electronic address for service of process and to consent to accept service of process under the pseudonym at that address for purposes of the action.
(e) (1) If a guardian ad litem is permitted to appear under a pseudonym, all court decisions, orders, petitions, and any documents filed with the court shall be written in a manner that protects the name and personal identifying information of the guardian ad litem from public disclosure, except to the extent the information is necessary for the parties to prosecute, defend, or resolve the action.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “personal identifying information” includes the guardian ad litem’s name or any part thereof, his or her address or any part thereof, and the city or unincorporated area of the guardian ad litem’s residence.
(f) The responsibility for excluding the name and personal identifying information of the guardian ad litem from documents filed with the court rests solely with the parties and their attorneys. This section does not require the court to review pleadings or other papers for compliance with this subdivision.
(g) After granting permission for a guardian ad litem to appear under a pseudonym pursuant to this section, the court shall retain discretion to reconsider its decision.
(h) This section does not affect the right of a plaintiff or petitioner to pursue litigation under a pseudonym in appropriate circumstances.