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SB-447 Civil actions: decedent’s cause of action.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 09/07/2021 09:00 PM
SB447:v95#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 07, 2021
Passed  IN  Senate  September 03, 2021
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 02, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  August 30, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  April 22, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 05, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 447


Introduced by Senator Laird

February 16, 2021


An act to amend Section 377.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 447, Laird. Civil actions: decedent’s cause of action.
Existing law provides that a cause of action that survives the death of the person entitled to commence an action or proceeding passes to the decedent’s successor in interest and an action may be commenced by the decedent’s personal representative or, if none, by the decedent’s successor in interest. Existing law limits the damages recoverable in that action or proceeding to the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive or exemplary damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived. Existing law prohibits the recovery of damages for the decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in that action or proceeding.
This bill would permit damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement to be recovered in an action brought by the decedent’s personal representative or successor in interest if the action or proceeding was granted a specified preference before January 1, 2022, or was filed on or after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2026. The bill would require a plaintiff who recovers damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement between specified dates to submit to the Judicial Council a copy of the judgment, consent judgment, or court-approved settlement agreement entitling the plaintiff to the damages and a cover sheet containing certain information. The bill would require the Judicial Council to transmit to the Legislature a report detailing this information, 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 377.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

377.34.
 (a) In an action or proceeding by a decedent’s personal representative or successor in interest on the decedent’s cause of action, the damages recoverable are limited to the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive or exemplary damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived, and do not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), in an action or proceeding by a decedent’s personal representative or successor in interest on the decedent’s cause of action, the damages recoverable may include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement if the action or proceeding was granted a preference pursuant to Section 36 before January 1, 2022, or was filed on or after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2026.
(c) A plaintiff who recovers damages pursuant to subdivision (b) between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2025, inclusive, shall, within 60 days after obtaining a judgment, consent judgment, or court-approved settlement agreement entitling the plaintiff to the damages, submit to the Judicial Council a copy of the judgment, consent judgment, or court-approved settlement agreement, along with a cover sheet detailing all of the following information:
(1) The date the action was filed.
(2) The date of the final disposition of the action.
(3) The amount and type of damages awarded, including economic damages and damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.
(d) (1) On or before January 1, 2025, the Judicial Council shall transmit to the Legislature a report detailing the information received pursuant to subdivision (c) for all judgements, consent judgements, or court-approved settlement agreements rendered from January 1, 2022, to July 31, 2024, inclusive, in which damages were recovered pursuant to subdivision (b). The report shall comply with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(2) This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2029, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(e) Nothing in this section alters Section 3333.2 of the Civil Code.
(f) Nothing in this section affects claims brought pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 15600) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.