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AB-2995 Civil actions: injury to property: lead-based paint.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/03/2018 04:00 AM
AB2995:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2995


Introduced by Assembly Member Carrillo
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Bonta, Chiu, Jones-Sawyer, Kamlager-Dove, Limón, McCarty, Mullin, Quirk, Mark Stone, and Ting)
(Coauthor: Senator Wiener)

February 16, 2018


An act to add Sections 28.1 and 338.2 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2995, as amended, Carrillo. Civil actions: injury to property: lead-based paint.
Existing law provides that an injury to property consists in depriving its owner of the benefit of it, which is done by taking, withholding, deteriorating, or destroying it. Existing law requires an action seeking relief based on an injury to property to be commenced within 3 years after the time that the cause of action has accrued.
This bill would provide that the presence of lead paint on the surfaces of a residence or other building constitutes a physical injury to property. The bill would provide that an action to recover damages for that injury would not accrue until three years from the date the aggrieved party has actual knowledge of the presence of lead-based paint in or on that property, as specified. The bill would provide that receipt or knowledge of disclosures that residences built before 1978 are presumed to contain lead-based paint are not alone sufficient to establish that knowledge. The bill would make related findings and declarations. The bill would make these provisions retroactive. The bill would make these provisions severable.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Lead is highly toxic.
(b) At high levels of exposure, lead causes seizures, comas, brain swelling, and death.
(c) At low levels of exposure, lead causes decreased IQ, difficulty with problem solving, memory impairment, attention-related disorders, and anti-social behavior.
(d) Exposure to lead causes serious health harms that are irreversible and cumulative. As the American Academy of Pediatrics explained in 2016, “[n]o treatments have been shown to be effective in ameliorating the permanent developmental effects of lead toxicity.”
(e) Young children are especially susceptible to lead exposure due to their smaller size, the vulnerability of their developing nervous systems, and their high rates of lead absorption.
(f) Government agencies and health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that there is no safe level of lead exposure.
(g) Once applied to the surface of a residence or other building, lead-based paint becomes a permanent feature of that residence or other building until that paint has been abated.
(h) Deteriorating lead-based paint on the surfaces of a building or residence—especially high-friction surfaces like windows and doors—poses a serious health hazard to any young child who enters or lives in that building or residence.
(i) Studies indicate that lead-based paint is the source of approximately 70 percent of childhood exposure to lead.
(j) Virtually all government agencies, scientists, and public health officials agree that lead-based paint on residential surfaces is the predominant source of lead exposure in young children.
(k) Each year, the State of California identifies tens of thousands of young children in California whose health has been irreversibly harmed due to lead exposure; these children represent the minimum number of children in California whose health has been irreversibly harmed due to lead exposure.
(l) The economic costs of childhood lead exposure are substantial. These costs include (1) health care costs associated with health problems caused by lead exposure; (2) special education costs incurred due to slower development, lower educational success, and behavioral problems caused by lead exposure; (3) loss of tax revenue due to decreased lifetime earnings resulting from decreased intelligence caused by lead exposure; and (4) costs of criminal activity connected to lead exposure. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the estimated annual cost of childhood lead exposure in the United States is fifty billion dollars ($50,000,000,000).
(m) The substantial economic costs of childhood lead exposure fall disproportionately on state and local governments in California. Because young children who suffer from lead exposure are often poor, their health and special education costs are typically borne by state and local governments. Likewise, many of the economic costs of criminal behavior closely connected to lead exposure are shouldered by these governments. Finally, the costs to state and local governments in California from childhood lead exposure are exacerbated by the loss of tax revenues due to loss of income associated with childhood lead exposure.
(n) As the American Academy of Pediatrics explained in 2016, the only way to prevent the serious and irreversible health harms associated with childhood lead exposure caused by lead-based paint is to abate that paint before a young child is exposed to it. “For every $1 dollar invested to reduce lead hazards in housing units, society would benefit by an estimated $17 to $221, a cost-benefit ratio that is comparable to the cost-benefit ratio for childhood vaccines.”
(o) In 2017, the California Court of Appeals, in People v. Conagra Products Grocery Company (2017) 17 Cal.App.5th 51, upheld a 2014 trial court ruling that, with respect to residences constructed before 1951, certain lead paint manufacturers caused lead-based paint to be applied on certain residential surfaces by promoting that paint for use on those surfaces, even thought they knew that it would pose a serious risk of harm to children.

SEC. 2.

 Section 28.1 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

28.1.
 The presence of lead-based paint on the surfaces of a residence or other building constitutes a physical injury to property.

SEC. 3.

 Section 338.2 is added to the Civil Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

338.2.
 A (a) In a civil action to recover damages for injury to property due to the presence of lead-based paint does not accrue until paint, the time for commencement of the action shall be three years from the date the aggrieved party has actual knowledge of the presence of lead-based paint in or on that property. Receipt
(b) Receipt or knowledge of disclosures that residences built before 1978 are presumed to contain lead-based paint are not alone sufficient to establish actual knowledge of the presence of lead-based paint. This subdivision shall have retroactive and prospective effect.

SEC. 4.

This act shall have retroactive and prospective effect.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.