BILL NUMBER: AB 888	AMENDED
	BILL TEXT

	AMENDED IN SENATE  SEPTEMBER 6, 2013
	AMENDED IN SENATE  SEPTEMBER 3, 2013
	AMENDED IN SENATE  JULY 2, 2013
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MAY 8, 2013
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MARCH 21, 2013

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Dickinson

                        FEBRUARY 22, 2013

   An act to amend Section 17206 of, and to add Sections 6126.8 and
6126.9 to, the Business and Professions Code, relating to the State
Bar, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 888, as amended, Dickinson. State Bar of California:
enforcement actions.
   (1) Existing law prohibits a person from practicing law in
California, or from advertising or holding himself or herself out as
practicing law, unless the person is an active member of the State
Bar, or otherwise authorized, as specified, to practice law in this
state. A violation of these provisions is a crime.
   This bill would, for violations of the above-described provisions,
require the State Bar to disclose, in confidence, the information in
its investigation to the agency responsible for the criminal
enforcement of these provisions or exchange that information with
that agency. This bill would authorize the State Bar to request the
Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney acting as a
local prosecutor, to bring an enforcement action or bring a civil
action in its own name, as specified. The bill would require the
court, in a civil enforcement action by the State Bar for the
unlawful practice of law, to impose a civil penalty not to exceed
$2,500, to be paid to the State Bar. The bill would require the court
to impose a civil penalty not to exceed $6,000 for the intentional
violation of any injunction prohibiting the unlawful practice of law.
The bill would specify that if the conduct constituting the
intentional violation is of a continuing nature, each day of that
conduct shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation. The bill
would, in determining the amount of the civil penalty to be assessed
for these violations, require the court to consider any relevant
circumstances, as specified. The bill would require the court to
consider, when applicable, additional relief provided under existing
law and to award reasonable attorney's fees and costs, as specified.
The bill would require any penalty collected pursuant to these
provisions to be paid into the treasury of the State Bar and used for
specified purposes.
   (2) Existing law requires the State Bar to issue an Annual
Discipline Report by April 30 of each year describing the performance
and condition of the State Bar discipline system during the
preceding calendar year, as specified.
   This bill would additionally require the State Bar to annually
report, by April 30 of each year, the number of complaints of the
unauthorized practice of law received, requests for enforcement
actions made to the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city
attorney acting as a local prosecutor pursuant to the provisions
described in (1) above, and other unlawful practice of law
proceedings filed by the State Bar, as specified, during the
preceding calendar year. The bill would also require the report to
include an accounting of any penalties collected pursuant to the
provisions described in (1) above, and any expenditure of those
funds, during the  proceeding   preceding 
calendar year. The bill would require the report to be made to the
Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary and would authorize the
information required by the report to be included in the Annual
Discipline Report described above.
   (3) Existing law makes a person who engages in unfair competition,
as defined, liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 dollars
for each violation and requires that this penalty be assessed and
recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the
State of California by specified persons in any court of competent
jurisdiction. Existing law requires a court, for an unfair
competition action brought at the request of a board within the
Department of Consumer Affairs or a local consumer affairs agency, to
determine the reasonable expenses incurred by the board or local
agency in the investigation and prosecution of the action, and
provides for the reimbursement of these expenses, as specified.
   This bill would similarly require the court, for an action brought
at the request of the State Bar of California, to determine the
reasonable expenses incurred by the State Bar in the investigation
and prosecution of the action and provide for the reimbursement of
these expenses.
   This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as
an urgency statute.
   Vote: 2/3. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated
local program: no.


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

  SECTION 1.  Section 6126.8 is added to the Business and Professions
Code, to read:
   6126.8.  (a) For violations of Sections 6125 and 6126, the State
Bar shall disclose, in confidence, the information in its
investigation to the agency responsible for the criminal enforcement
of the provisions of this article or exchange that information with
that agency. The State Bar may request the Attorney General, a
district attorney, or a city attorney acting as a local prosecutor,
to bring an enforcement action under Chapter 5 (commencing with
Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7, or the State Bar may bring a
civil action in its own name, as provided in Section 6030, for any
violation of Section 6125 or 6126.
   (b) In a civil enforcement action brought by the State Bar, in
addition to the remedies and relief available in Section 6030 and
subdivision (e) of Section 6126.3, the court shall:
   (1) Impose a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed two thousand
five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation of Section 6125 or
6126, to be paid to the State Bar. In determining the amount of the
civil penalty to be assessed, the court shall consider any relevant
circumstances presented by any of the parties to the case, including,
but not limited to, the nature and seriousness of the misconduct,
the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the
length of time over which the misconduct occurred, the willfulness of
the defendant's misconduct, and the defendant's assets, liabilities,
and net worth.
   (2) Impose a civil penalty for the intentional violation of any
injunction prohibiting the unlawful practice of law, in an amount not
to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000) for each violation, to be
paid to the State Bar. If the conduct constituting the violation is
of a continuing nature, each day of that conduct shall be deemed a
separate and distinct violation. In determining the amount of the
civil penalty to be assessed, the court shall consider any relevant
circumstances, including, but not limited to, the extent of the harm
caused by the conduct constituting a violation, the nature and
persistence of the conduct, the length of time over which the conduct
occurred, the defendant's assets, liabilities, and net worth, and
any corrective action taken by the defendant.
   (3) Consider, when applicable, the relief available in paragraphs
(1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 6126.5.
   (4) Award to the State Bar reasonable attorney's fees and costs
and, in the court's discretion, exemplary damages as provided in
Section 3294 of the Civil Code.
   (c) In an action under subdivision (b), any penalty collected
shall be paid into the treasury of the State Bar and the funds
received shall be used as the board may direct for the purposes of
providing relief  to, protecting, and benefiting 
 to  clients harmed by persons engaged in the unauthorized
practice of law and  improving the quality of legal services
  for the purposes established pursuant to Section 6033
 . The board shall annually report any collection and
expenditure of funds authorized by this section to the Assembly and
Senate Committees on Judiciary in the report described in Section
6126.9.
  SEC. 2.  Section 6126.9 is added to the Business and Professions
Code, to read:
   6126.9.  Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code,
the State Bar shall, by April 30 of each year, report annually to the
Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary concerning the number of
complaints of the unauthorized practice of law received, referrals
made pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 6126.8, and proceedings
filed by the State Bar pursuant to Sections 6030, 6126.3, 6126.4, and
6126.8, during the preceding calendar year. The report shall also
include an accounting of any collection and expenditure of funds
authorized by Section 6126.8 during the preceding calendar year. The
report required by this section may be included in the report
described in Section 6086.15.
  SEC. 3.  Section 17206 of the Business and Professions Code is
amended to read:
   17206.  Civil Penalty for Violation of Chapter
   (a) Any person who engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in
unfair competition shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed
two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation, which
shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name
of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General, by
any district attorney, by any county counsel authorized by agreement
with the district attorney in actions involving violation of a
county ordinance, by any city attorney of a city having a population
in excess of 750,000, by any city attorney of any city and county,
or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor
in any city having a full-time city prosecutor, in any court of
competent jurisdiction.
   (b) The court shall impose a civil penalty for each violation of
this chapter. In assessing the amount of the civil penalty, the court
shall consider any one or more of the relevant circumstances
presented by any of the parties to the case, including, but not
limited to, the following: the nature and seriousness of the
misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the
misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred,
the willfulness of the defendant's misconduct, and the defendant's
assets, liabilities, and net worth.
   (c) If the action is brought by the Attorney General, one-half of
the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in
which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the General Fund. If
the action is brought by a district attorney or county counsel, the
penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in
which the judgment was entered. Except as provided in subdivision
(e), if the action is brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor,
one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of
the city in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the
treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. The
aforementioned funds shall be for the exclusive use by the Attorney
General, the district attorney, the county counsel, and the city
attorney for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
   (d) The Unfair Competition Law Fund is hereby created as a special
account within the General Fund in the State Treasury. The portion
of penalties that is payable to the General Fund or to the Treasurer
recovered by the Attorney General from an action or settlement of a
claim made by the Attorney General pursuant to this chapter or
Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 shall be
deposited into this fund. Moneys in this fund, upon appropriation by
the Legislature, shall be used by the Attorney General to support
investigations and prosecutions of California's consumer protection
laws, including implementation of judgments obtained from such
prosecutions or investigations and other activities which are in
furtherance of this chapter or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section
17500) of Part 3. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government
Code, any civil penalties deposited in the fund pursuant to the
National Mortgage Settlement, as provided in Section 12531 of the
Government Code, are continuously appropriated to the Department of
Justice for the purpose of offsetting General Fund costs incurred by
the Department of Justice.
   (e) If the action is brought at the request of a board within the
Department of Consumer Affairs, a local consumer affairs agency, or
the State Bar of California, the court shall determine the reasonable
expenses incurred by the board, local agency, or the State Bar in
the investigation and prosecution of the action.
   Before any penalty collected is paid out pursuant to subdivision
(c), the amount of any reasonable expenses incurred by the board
shall be paid to the Treasurer for deposit in the special fund of the
board described in Section 205. If the board has no such special
fund, the moneys shall be paid to the Treasurer. The amount of any
reasonable expenses incurred by a local consumer affairs agency shall
be paid to the general fund of the municipality or county that funds
the local agency. The amount of any reasonable expenses incurred by
the State Bar shall be paid to the State Bar to fund its
investigation and enforcement of Sections 6125 and 6126.
   (f) If the action is brought by a city attorney of a city and
county, the entire amount of the penalty collected shall be paid to
the treasurer of the city and county in which the judgment was
entered for the exclusive use by the city attorney for the
enforcement of consumer protection laws. However, if the action is
brought by a city attorney of a city and county for the purposes of
civil enforcement pursuant to Section 17980 of the Health and Safety
Code or Article 3 (commencing with Section 11570) of Chapter 10 of
Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, either the penalty
collected shall be paid entirely to the treasurer of the city and
county in which the judgment was entered or, upon the request of the
city attorney, the court may order that up to one-half of the
penalty, under court supervision and approval, be paid for the
purpose of restoring, maintaining, or enhancing the premises that
were the subject of the action, and that the balance of the penalty
be paid to the treasurer of the city and county.
  SEC. 4.  This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate
preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the
meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate
effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
   The unauthorized practice of law and the victimization of
consumers by nonlawyers continues to be a problem in California, as
evidenced by the scams of persons who offered to assist homeowners
with home loan modifications during the recent economic downturn and
housing crisis, and by "notarios" who continue to prey on immigrants.
Proposed immigration reform legislation pending in the United States
Congress has resulted in nonlawyers soliciting and taking advantage
of immigrants with the promise of benefits and relief under that
legislation before it is enacted. To prevent these nonattorneys from
committing fraud upon immigrants and other consumers by engaging in
the unauthorized practice of law, it is necessary that this act take
effect immediately.