BILL NUMBER: AB 2487	AMENDED
	BILL TEXT

	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  APRIL 8, 2010

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Feuer

                        FEBRUARY 19, 2010

    An act to amend Section 1281.96 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, relating to arbitration.   An act to amend
Section 170.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to judges.




	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 2487, as amended, Feuer.  Consumer arbitration cases:
disclosures.   Judges: disqualification.  
   Existing law sets forth the grounds for disqualification of a
judge, including, but not limited to, if the judge has a financial
interest in the subject matter in a proceeding or in a party to the
proceeding.  
   This bill would provide for the disqualification of a judge who
has received a contribution in excess of $1,500 from a party or
counsel in a matter that is before the court, and either the
contribution was received in support of the judge's last election, if
the last election was within the last 6 years, or the contribution
was received in anticipation of an upcoming election. The bill would
further disqualify a judge based on a contribution of a lesser amount
under specified circumstances. The bill would require the judge to
disclose on the record any contribution from a party or counsel in a
matter that is before the court that is required to be reported as
specified, even if the amount would not require disqualification
under these provisions.  

   Existing law regulates arbitration conducted pursuant to an
arbitration agreement, as specified. Existing law requires a private
arbitration company involved in consumer arbitration cases to make
certain information regarding those cases available to the public, as
specified.
   This bill would make a technical, clarifying change to that
provision. 
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

   SECTION 1.    Section 170.1 of the   Code of
Civil Procedure   is amended to read: 
   170.1.  (a) A judge shall be disqualified if any one or more of
the following is true:
   (1) (A) The judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary
facts concerning the proceeding.
   (B) A judge shall be deemed to have personal knowledge within the
meaning of this paragraph if the judge, or the spouse of the judge,
or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of
them, or the spouse of such a person is to the judge's knowledge
likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.
   (2) (A) The judge served as a lawyer in the proceeding, or in any
other proceeding involving the same issues he or she served as a
lawyer for  any   a  party in the present
proceeding or gave advice to  any   a 
party in the present proceeding upon  any   a
 matter involved in the action or proceeding.
   (B) A judge shall be deemed to have served as a lawyer in the
proceeding if within the past two years:
   (i) A party to the proceeding  ,  or an officer,
director, or trustee of a party ,  was a client of the judge
when the judge was in the private practice of law or a client of a
lawyer with whom the judge was associated in the private practice of
law.
   (ii) A lawyer in the proceeding was associated in the private
practice of law with the judge.
   (C) A judge who served as a lawyer for  ,  or officer of
 ,  a public agency that is a party to the proceeding shall
be deemed to have served as a lawyer in the proceeding if he or she
personally advised or in any way represented the public agency
concerning the factual or legal issues in the proceeding.
   (3) (A) The judge has a financial interest in the subject matter
in a proceeding or in a party to the proceeding.
   (B) A judge shall be deemed to have a financial interest within
the meaning of this paragraph if:
   (i) A spouse or minor child living in the household has a
financial interest.
   (ii) The judge or the spouse of the judge is a fiduciary who has a
financial interest.
   (C) A judge has a duty to make reasonable efforts to inform
himself or herself about his or her personal and fiduciary interests
and those of his or her spouse and the personal financial interests
of children living in the household.
   (4) The judge, or the spouse of the judge, or a person within the
third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such
a person is a party to the proceeding or an officer, director, or
trustee of a party.
   (5) A lawyer or a spouse of a lawyer in the proceeding is the
spouse, former spouse, child, sibling, or parent of the judge or the
judge's spouse or if such a person is associated in the private
practice of law with a lawyer in the proceeding.
   (6) (A) For any reason:
   (i) The judge believes his or her recusal would further the
interests of justice.
   (ii) The judge believes there is a substantial doubt as to his or
her capacity to be impartial.
   (iii) A person aware of the facts might reasonably entertain a
doubt that the judge would be able to be impartial.
   (B) Bias or prejudice toward a lawyer in the proceeding may be
grounds for disqualification.
   (7) By reason of permanent or temporary physical impairment, the
judge is unable to properly perceive the evidence or is unable to
properly conduct the proceeding.
   (8) (A) The judge has a current arrangement concerning prospective
employment or other compensated service as a dispute resolution
neutral or is participating in, or, within the last two years has
participated in, discussions regarding prospective employment or
service as a dispute resolution neutral, or has been engaged in
 such   that  employment or service, and
any of the following applies:
   (i) The arrangement is, or the prior employment or discussion was,
with a party to the proceeding.
   (ii) The matter before the judge includes issues relating to the
enforcement of either an agreement to submit a dispute to an
alternative dispute resolution process or an award or other final
decision by a dispute resolution neutral.
   (iii) The judge directs the parties to participate in an
alternative dispute resolution process in which the dispute
resolution neutral will be an individual or entity with whom the
judge has the arrangement, has previously been employed or served, or
is discussing or has discussed the employment or service.
   (iv) The judge will select a dispute resolution neutral or entity
to conduct an alternative dispute resolution process in the matter
before the judge, and among those available for selection is an
individual or entity with whom the judge has the arrangement, with
whom the judge has previously been employed or served, or with whom
the judge is discussing or has discussed the employment or service.
   (B) For the purposes of this paragraph, all of the following
apply:
   (i) "Participating in discussions" or "has participated in
discussion" means that the judge solicited or otherwise indicated an
interest in accepting or negotiating possible employment or service
as an alternative dispute resolution neutral  ,  or
responded to an unsolicited statement regarding, or an offer of,
 such   that  employment or service by
expressing an interest in that employment or service, making 
any   an  inquiry regarding the employment or
service, or encouraging the person making the statement or offer to
provide additional information about that possible employment or
service. If a judge's response to an unsolicited statement regarding,
a question about, or offer of, prospective employment or other
compensated service as a dispute resolution neutral is limited to
responding negatively, declining the offer, or declining to discuss
 such   that  employment or service, that
response does not constitute participating in discussions.
   (ii) "Party" includes the parent, subsidiary, or other legal
affiliate of any entity that is a party and is involved in the
transaction, contract, or facts that gave rise to the issues subject
to the proceeding.
   (iii) "Dispute resolution neutral" means an arbitrator, mediator,
temporary judge appointed under Section 21 of Article VI of the
California Constitution, referee appointed under Section 638 or 639,
special master, neutral evaluator, settlement officer, or settlement
facilitator. 
   (9) (A) The judge has received a contribution in excess of one
thousand five hundred dollars ($1500) from a party or counsel in a
matter that is before the court, and either of the following apply:
 
   (i) The contribution was received in support of the judge's last
election, if the last election was within the last six years. 

   (ii) The contribution was received in anticipation of an upcoming
election.  
   (B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the judge shall be
disqualified based on a contribution of a lesser amount if
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (6) applies.  
   (C) The judge shall disclose on the record any contribution from a
party or counsel in a matter that is before the court that is
required to be reported under subdivision (f) of Section 84211 of the
Government Code, even if the amount would not require
disqualification under this paragraph. 
   (b) A judge before whom a proceeding was tried or heard shall be
disqualified from participating in any appellate review of that
proceeding.
   (c) At the request of a party or on its own motion an appellate
court shall consider whether in the interests of justice it should
direct that further proceedings be heard before a trial judge other
than the judge whose judgment or order was reviewed by the appellate
court. 
  SECTION 1.    Section 1281.96 of the Code of Civil
Procedure is amended to read:
   1281.96.  (a) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision
(b), any private arbitration company that conducts, administers, or
is otherwise involved in, a consumer arbitration, shall collect,
publish at least quarterly, and make available to the public in a
computer-searchable format, which shall be accessible at the Internet
Web site of the private arbitration company, if any, and on paper
upon request, all of the following information regarding each
consumer arbitration within the preceding five years:
   (1) The name of the nonconsumer party, if the nonconsumer party is
a corporation or other business entity.
   (2) The type of dispute involved, including goods, banking,
insurance, health care, employment, and, if it involves employment,
the amount of the employee's annual wage divided into the following
ranges: less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), one
hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to two hundred fifty thousand
dollars ($250,000), inclusive, and over two hundred fifty thousand
dollars ($250,000).
   (3) Whether the consumer or nonconsumer party was the prevailing
party.
   (4) On how many occasions, if any, the nonconsumer party has
previously been a party in an arbitration or mediation administered
by the private arbitration company.
   (5) Whether the consumer party was represented by an attorney.
   (6) The date the private arbitration company received the demand
for arbitration, the date the arbitrator was appointed, and the date
of disposition by the arbitrator or private arbitration company.
   (7) The type of disposition of the dispute, if known, including
withdrawal, abandonment, settlement, award after hearing, award
without hearing, default, or dismissal without hearing.
   (8) The amount of the claim, the amount of the award, and any
other relief granted, if any.
   (9) The name of the arbitrator, his or her total fee for the case,
and the percentage of the arbitrator's fee allocated to each party.
   (b) (1) If the information required by subdivision (a) is provided
by the private arbitration company in a computer-searchable format
at the company's Internet Web site and may be downloaded without any
fee, the company may charge the actual cost of copying to any person
who requests the information on paper. If the information required by
subdivision (a) is not accessible by the Internet, the company shall
provide that information without charge to any person who requests
the information on paper.
   (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a private arbitration company
that receives funding pursuant to Chapter 8 (commencing with Section
465) of Division 1 of the Business and Professions Code, and that
administers or conducts fewer than 50 consumer arbitrations per year
may collect and publish the information required by subdivision (a)
semiannually, provide the information only on paper, and charge the
actual cost of copying.
   (c) This section shall apply to any consumer arbitration commenced
on or after January 1, 2003.
   (d) No private arbitration company shall have any liability for
collecting, publishing, or distributing the information required by
this section.