California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1521


Introduced by Committee on Judiciary (Assembly Members Mark Stone (Chair), Alejo, Chau, Chiu, Cristina Garcia, Holden, and O'Donnell)

March 10, 2015


An act to amend Sections 17, 581d, 582, and 1003 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil procedure.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1521, as introduced, Committee on Judiciary. Civil procedure: electronic signatures.

(1) Existing law provides definitions for particular terms used within the Code of Civil Procedure, including the terms “signature” or “subscription,” which are defined to include a mark of a person, when the person cannot write, with his or her name being written near it by a person who writes his or her own name as a witness, as specified.

This bill would provide that the terms “signature” or “subscription” also include an electronic signature, defined as an electronic image or symbol of a person’s signature that is attached to, or logically associated with, a document and executed or adopted by the person with an intent to sign the document.

(2) Existing law provides, in a dismissal of an action by a court, that the court is required to sign a written order and file the order in the action, which constitutes a judgment that is effective for all purposes. In all other cases, existing law provides that a judgment is required to be rendered on the merits.

This bill would require all judgments to be signed by the court, and would provide that an electronic signature is as effective as an original signature.

The bill also would include technical changes to these provisions.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

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

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure is
2amended to read:

3

17.  

(a) Words used in this code in the present tense include
4the future as well as thebegin delete present; wordsend deletebegin insert present. Wordsend insert used in the
5masculine gender include the feminine andbegin delete neuter; theend deletebegin insert neuter. Theend insert
6 singular number includes the plural and the pluralbegin insert number includesend insert
7 the begin delete singular; the word “person” includes a corporation as well as
8a natural person; the word “county” includes “city and county”;
9writing includes printing and typewriting; oath includes affirmation
10or declaration; and every mode of oral statement, under oath or
11affirmation, is embraced by the term “testify,” and every written
12one in the term “depose”; signature or subscription includes mark,
13when the person cannot write, his or her name being written near
14it by a person who writes his or her own name as a witness;
15provided, that when a signature is by mark it must, in order that
16the same may be acknowledged or may serve as the signature to
17any sworn statement, be witnessed by two persons who must
18subscribe their own names as witness thereto.end delete
begin insert singular.end insert

begin delete

19(b) The following words have in this code the signification
20attached to them in this section, unless otherwise apparent from
21the context:

22(1) The word “property” includes both real and personal
23property.

24(2) The words “real property” are coextensive with lands,
25tenements, and hereditaments.

26(3) The words “personal property” include money, goods,
27chattels, things in action, and evidences of debt.

28(4) The word “month” means a calendar month, unless otherwise
29expressed.

30(5) The word “will” includes codicil.

P3    1(6) The word “writ” signifies an order or precept in writing,
2issued in the name of the people, or of a court or judicial officer,
3and the word “process” signifies a writ or summons issued in the
4course of judicial proceedings.

5(7) The word “state,” when applied to the different parts of the
6United States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories,
7and the words “United States” may include the district and
8territories.

9(8) The word “section,” whenever hereinafter employed, refers
10to a section of this code, unless some other code or statute is
11expressly mentioned.

12(9) The word “affinity,” when applied to the marriage relation,
13signifies the connection existing in consequence of marriage,
14between each of the married persons and the blood relatives of the
15other.

16(10) The word “sheriff” shall include “marshal.”

end delete
begin insert

17(b) As used in this code, the following words have the following
18meanings, unless otherwise apparent from the context:

end insert
begin insert

19(1) “Affinity,” when applied to the marriage relation, signifies
20the connection existing in consequence of marriage between each
21of the married persons and the blood relatives of the other.

end insert
begin insert

22(2) “County” includes “city and county.”

end insert
begin insert

23(3) “Month” means a calendar month, unless otherwise
24expressed.

end insert
begin insert

25(4) “Oath” includes an affirmation or declaration.

end insert
begin insert

26(A) “Depose” includes any written statement made under oath
27or affirmation.

end insert
begin insert

28(B) “Testify” includes any mode of oral statement made under
29oath.

end insert
begin insert

30(5) “Person” includes a corporation as well as a natural person.

end insert
begin insert

31(6) “Process” means a writ or summons issued in the course
32of a judicial proceeding.

end insert
begin insert

33(7) “Property” includes both personal and real property.

end insert
begin insert

34(A) “Personal property” includes money, goods, chattels, things
35in action, and evidences of debt.

end insert
begin insert

36(B) “Real property” is coextensive with lands, tenements, and
37hereditaments.

end insert
begin insert

38(8) “Section” means to a section of this code, unless some other
39code or statute is expressly mentioned.

end insert
begin insert

40(9) “Sheriff” includes marshal.

end insert
begin insert

P4    1(10) “Signature” is synonymous with “subscription,” and
2includes both of the following:

end insert
begin insert

3(A) An electronic signature, which is an electronic image or
4symbol of a person’s signature that is attached to, or logically
5associated with, a document and executed or adopted by the person
6with an intent to sign the document.

end insert
begin insert

7(B) A mark of a person’s name, if the person cannot write, with
8his or her name being written near it by a person who writes his
9or her own name as a witness. In order that a mark may be
10acknowledged or serve as the signature to any sworn statement,
11it shall be witnessed by two persons who shall subscribe their own
12names as witnesses thereto.

end insert
begin insert

13(11) “State,” when applied to the different parts of the United
14States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories of the
15United States.

end insert
begin insert

16(12) “United States” may include the District of Columbia and
17the territories of the United States.

end insert
begin insert

18(13) “Will” includes codicil.

end insert
begin insert

19(14) “Writ” means an order or precept in writing, issued in the
20name of the people or of a court or judicial officer.

end insert
begin insert

21(15) “Writing” includes printing and typewriting.

end insert
22

SEC. 2.  

Section 581d of the Code of Civil Procedure is
23amended to read:

24

581d.  

begin deleteA end deletebegin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertA end insertwritten dismissal of an action shall be entered
25in the clerk’s register and is effective for all purposes when so
26entered.

begin delete

27All dismissals

end delete

28begin insert(b)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertA dismissalend insert ordered by the court shall be in the form of a
29written order signed by the court and filed in the actionbegin insert,end insert andbegin delete those
30orders when so filedend delete
begin insert, once filed,end insert shall constitutebegin insert aend insertbegin delete judgments and
31beend delete
begin insert judgment, which isend insert effective for allbegin delete purposes, and theend deletebegin insert purposes.
32An electronic signature, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section
3317, of the court shall be effective as an original signature. Theend insert

34 clerk shall notebegin delete thoseend delete judgments in the register of actions in the
35case.

36

SEC. 3.  

Section 582 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended
37to read:

38

582.  

In all other casesbegin insert, aend insert judgment shall be rendered on the
39merits.begin insert The judgment shall be signed by the court. An electronic
P5    1signature, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 17, of the court
2shall be effective as an original signature.end insert

3

SEC. 4.  

Section 1003 of the Code of Civil Procedure is
4amended to read:

5

1003.  

begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insert Every direction of a court or judge, made or entered
6in writing, and not included in a judgment, is denominated an
7order. An application for an order is a motion.

begin insert

8(b) If any provision of this code requires the court to sign an
9order, an electronic signature, as defined in subdivision (b) of
10Section 17, of the court shall be as effective as an original
11signature.

end insert


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