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AB-2105 Punitive damages: minors. (2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/08/2018 09:00 PM
AB2105:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2105


Introduced by Assembly Member Maienschein

February 08, 2018


An act to add Section 3345.1 to the Civil Code, relating to punitive damages.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2105, as introduced, Maienschein. Punitive damages: minors.
Existing law provides that in specified civil actions brought by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, senior citizens or disabled persons, as defined, the trier of fact must consider certain factors in determining the fine or penalty to be imposed. If the trier of fact makes an affirmative finding of any of these factors, existing law permits the imposition of a fine or penalty up to 3 times greater than authorized by statute, or, if the statute does not authorize a specific amount, up to 3 times greater than the amount the trier of fact would have imposed in the absence of that affirmative finding.
This bill would add similar provisions applicable to actions brought by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, minors permitting imposition of a fine or penalty of up to 3 times greater than authorized by statute if specified findings are made by the trier of fact. The bill would also specify that if the trier of fact finds that a minor is a victim of specified violations of the Penal Code relating to prostitution, pimping, or pandering, the trier of fact may impose a fine, civil penalty, or other penalty, or other remedy, in an amount up to 3 times greater than authorized by statute, or, if the statute does not authorize a specific amount, up to 3 times greater than the amount the trier of fact would impose in the absence of that affirmative finding. The bill would also authorize a court to award a civil penalty not exceeding $50,000, and not less than $10,000, for each unlawful act under specified provisions of the Penal Code relating to prostitution, pimping, and pandering, for which a defendant is liable for fines, penalties, or other remedies, in an amount up to 3 times greater than the amount that the court would impose in the absence of an affirmative finding that a minor is a victim of the specified violations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3345.1 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

3345.1.
 (a) In an action brought by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a minor, whenever a trier of fact is authorized by a statute to impose either a fine, or a civil penalty or other penalty, or any other remedy the purpose or effect of which is to punish or deter, and the amount of the fine, penalty, or other remedy is subject to the trier of fact’s discretion, the trier of fact shall consider all of the following factors, in addition to other appropriate factors, in determining the amount of fine, civil penalty, or other penalty, or other remedy to impose. If the trier of fact makes an affirmative finding in regard to one or more of the following factors, it may impose a fine, civil penalty, or other penalty, or other remedy in an amount up to three times greater than authorized by the statute, or, if the statute does not authorize a specific amount, up to three times greater than the amount the trier of fact would impose in the absence of that affirmative finding:
(1) Whether the defendant knew or should have known that his or her conduct was directed to one or more minors.
(2) Whether one or more minors are substantially more vulnerable than other members of the public to the defendant’s conduct because of age, limited understanding, or immaturity, and actually suffered substantial physical, emotional, or economic damage resulting from the defendant’s conduct.
(3) Whether a minor was a victim of an act punishable by Section 261.5, 266h, or 266i, paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 647, or any other act subject to registration under Section 290, of the Penal Code. It shall not be a defense to imposition of fines, penalties, or other remedies pursuant to this paragraph that the defendant was unaware of the victim’s age at the time of the act. Notwithstanding Section 3515, it shall not be a defense to imposition of fines or penalties pursuant to this paragraph that the victim consented to the act.
(b) In addition to any other remedy available in law or in equity, the court may award a civil penalty not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), and not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), for each unlawful act for which a defendant is liable for fines, penalties, or other remedies pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a). This penalty may be imposed in an amount up to three times greater than the amount that the court would impose in the absence of an affirmative finding described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).