BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2284
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 14, 2010

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                 AB 2284 (Evans) - As Introduced:  February 18, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                               
          JudiciaryVote:10-0 (Consent)

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               


          This bill authorizes the Judicial Council to adopt rules of  
          court establishing procedures for conducting expedited jury  
          trials in civil cases where the parties agree to use those  
          procedures, including use of a jury with fewer than 12 members.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Minor absorbable costs to the Judicial Council to develop and  
          adopt the relevant rules.  Subsequent implementation of  
          expedited procedures in civil cases likely would result in  
          reduced court costs and/or reduced civil case backlogs.


           Purpose  .  According to the author, the rising costs of  
          litigation presents an ongoing challenge in providing access to  
          justice for a number of litigants, especially those with claims  
          involving relatively small amounts in dispute.  Traditional  
          trials can be time consuming and expensive for both litigants  
          and the courts.  AB 2284 stems from continuing working group  
          discussions, sponsored by the Judicial Council, that ultimately  
          seek to authorize the Council to adopt rules of court, along  
          with legislation enacting any needed statutory changes, for a  
          voluntary streamlined method of handling civil actions.  

          The basis for these discussions is a streamlined process  
          developed in Charleston County, South Carolina in the late  
          1990s, which has gained acclaim for enhancing access to courts,  
          reducing costs for litigants, and increasing court efficiency.   
          The bars in that state came together and established a  


                                                                  AB 2284
                                                                  Page  2

          voluntary, inexpensive, accessible, and binding "summary jury  
          trial" program.  This alternative uses a reduced jury size,  
          flexibility including relaxed rules of evidence, and often  
          involves high/low agreements on the scope of damages.  The model  
          continues to have support from the plaintiff and defense bars,  
          as well as the court, insurers, and businesses.  

          According to staff at the Judicial Council, a specific proposal  
          will be made available to the public this month, followed by a  
          60-day comment period.  Any needed statutory changes would then  
          be amended into AB 2284 this summer.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081