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AB-1455 Sexual assault by law enforcement officers: statute of limitations on civil actions.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/20/2021 04:00 AM
AB1455:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1455


Introduced by Assembly Member Wicks

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 340.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil actions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1455, as introduced, Wicks. Sexual assault by law enforcement officers: statute of limitations on civil actions.
Existing law sets the time for commencement of any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of sexual assault, as defined, as the later within 10 years from the date of the last act attempted act, or assault with intent to commit an act of sexual assault by the defendant against the plaintiff or within 3 years from the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from the sexual assault.
For an action to recover damages arising out of a sexual assault by a law enforcement officer who has been convicted of any crime of sexual assault, when the crime of sexual assault occurred while the officer was on duty, in uniform, or armed, this bill would make the time for commencement of the action the later within 10 years from the last date the alleged perpetrator was employed as a law enforcement officer or within 10 years from the date of the conviction. The bill would revive any claim to recover damages arising out of a sexual assault by a law enforcement officer, as described above, that has not been litigated to finality or compromised by a settlement agreement that would otherwise be barred because the applicable statute of limitations or other time limit has expired, if a cause of action based on that claim is commenced within the statute of limitations period specified by the bill.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 340.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

340.16.
 (a) In any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of sexual assault, where the assault occurred on or after the plaintiff’s 18th birthday, the time for commencement of the action shall be the later of the following:
(1) Within 10 years from the date of the last act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act, of sexual assault against the plaintiff.
(2) Within three years from the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from an act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act, of sexual assault against the plaintiff.
(b) (1) As used in this section, “sexual assault” means any of the crimes described in Section 243.4, 261, 262, 264.1, 286, 287, or 289, or former Section 288a, of the Penal Code, assault with the intent to commit any of those crimes, or an attempt to commit any of those crimes.
(2) For the purpose of this section, it is not necessary that a criminal prosecution or other proceeding have been brought as a result of the sexual assault or, if a criminal prosecution or other proceeding was brought, that the prosecution or proceeding resulted in a conviction or adjudication. This subdivision does not limit the availability of causes of action permitted under subdivision (a), including causes of action against persons or entities other than the alleged person who committed the crime.
(3) This section applies to any action described in subdivision (a) that is commenced on or after January 1, 2019.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, any claim seeking to recover more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) in damages arising out of a sexual assault or other inappropriate contact, communication, or activity of a sexual nature by a physician occurring at a student health center between January 1, 1988, and January 1, 2017, that would otherwise be barred before January 1, 2020, solely because the applicable statute of limitations has or had expired, is hereby revived and, revived, and a cause of action may proceed if already pending in court on October 2, 2019, or, if not filed by that date, may be commenced between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
(2) This subdivision does not revive any of the following claims:
(A) A claim that has been litigated to finality in a court of competent jurisdiction before January 1, 2020.
(B) A claim that has been compromised by a written settlement agreement between the parties entered into before January 1, 2020.
(C) A claim brought against a public entity.
(3) An attorney representing a claimant seeking to recover under this subdivision shall file a declaration with the court under penalty of perjury stating that the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case and consulted with a mental health practitioner, and that the attorney has concluded on the basis of this review and consultation that it is the attorney’s good faith belief that the claim value is more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000). The declaration shall be filed upon filing the complaint, or for those claims already pending, by December 1, 2019.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, any claim seeking to recover damages arising out of a sexual assault or other inappropriate contact, communication, or activity of a sexual nature by a physician while employed by a medical clinic owned and operated by the University of California, Los Angeles, or a physician who held active privileges at a hospital owned and operated by the University of California, Los Angeles, at the time that the sexual assault or other inappropriate contact, communication, or activity of a sexual nature occurred, between January 1, 1983, and January 1, 2019, that would otherwise be barred before January 1, 2021, solely because the applicable statute of limitations has or had expired, is hereby revived, and a cause of action may proceed if already pending in court on January 1, 2021, or, if not filed by that date, may be commenced between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.
(2) This subdivision does not revive either of the following claims:
(A) A claim that has been litigated to finality in a court of competent jurisdiction before January 1, 2021.
(B) A claim that has been compromised by a written settlement agreement between the parties entered into before January 1, 2021.
(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, for a claim seeking to recover damages arising out of a sexual assault by a law enforcement officer who has been convicted of any crime of sexual assault, when the crime of sexual assault occurred while the officer was on duty, in uniform, or armed, the time for commencement of the action shall be within 10 years from the last date the alleged perpetrator was employed as a law enforcement officer or within 10 years from the date of the conviction, whichever is later.
(2) This subdivision shall apply to any claim that has not been litigated to finality or compromised by an executed written settlement agreement and that would otherwise be barred because the applicable statute of limitations, the deadline for the presentation of the claim pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 910) of Part 3 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code, or any other applicable time limit has expired. Any claim described in this paragraph is hereby revived, and a cause of action seeking damages based on that claim may be commenced consistent with this section.