Amended in Senate August 17, 2015

Amended in Senate July 16, 2015

Amended in Senate July 2, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 21, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 6, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1521


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

March 10, 2015


An act to amend Sections 55.3 and 55.54 of, and to add Sectionbegin delete 54.35,end deletebegin insert 54.35 to,end insert the Civil Code, to amend Section 425.50 of, and to add Section 425.55 to, the Code of Civil Procedure, and to add Sections 68085.35 and 70616.5 to the Government Code, relating to disability access, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1521, as amended, Committee on Judiciary. Disability access: construction-related accessibility claims.

Existing law provides that individuals with disabilities or medical conditions have the same right as the general public to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, medical facilities, public facilities, and other public places, and allows a person who is aggrieved or potentially aggrieved by a violation of specific provisions of law to bring an action to enjoin the violation. Existing law requires an attorney to provide a written advisory with each demand letter or complaint, as defined, sent to or served upon a defendant or potential defendant for any construction-related accessibility claim, as specified.

This bill would require the above-described advisory to include additional information regarding the rights and obligations of business owners and commercial tenants, as specified. In addition to the written advisory, the bill would require an attorney to provide a defendant or potential defendant of a construction-related accessibility claim with an answer form developed by the Judicial Council, which would allow a defendant to respond in the event a complaint is filed, as specified. The bill would, on or before July 1, 2016, require the Judicial Council to update the advisory form and adopt the answer form, as specified.

Existing law authorizes commencement of an action for damages against persons who interfere with these access rights, including, but not limited to, actions against owners and tenants of property for construction-related barriers.

This bill would, with certain exceptions, require the owner of property to which the general public is invited to indemnify a microbusiness tenant, as defined, from liability arising from any construction-related accessibility claims, as specified.

begin insert

Existing law requires every pleading, petition, or other similar paper to be signed by an attorney, or the party in cases where the party is not represented by counsel, as specified. Existing law further provides that an attorney or unrepresented party who presents a pleading, petition, or other similar paper to the court is certifying that specified conditions have been met, including, but not limited to, that the action is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay.

end insert

This bill wouldbegin delete require that the attorney, or the party in cases where the party is not represented by counsel, certify that specified conditions have been met, including, but not limited to, that the action is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay. By expanding the definition of the crime of perjury, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.end deletebegin insert specify that those requirements and provisions apply to a complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility claim.end insert

Existing law authorizes a defendant to file a request for a court stay and an early evaluation conference in the proceedings under certain circumstances, and tolls the period for responsive pleadings.

This bill would specify that these provisions also apply if a defendant is a business that has been served with a complaint filed by a high-frequency litigant, as defined, or is a business requesting an early evaluation conference.

Existing law, upon the filing of an application for a court stay and an early evaluation conference by a defendant, requires the court to immediately issue an order that does certain things, including, but not limited to, scheduling a mandatory early evaluation conference for a date as soon as possible from the date of the order, but in no event later than 70 days after the issuance of the order.

This bill would, if requested by the defendant,begin insert additionallyend insert require the court order to direct the parties and their counsel to meet at the premises, or other place as specified, no later than 30 days after issuance of the court order, to jointly inspect the premises, and review any programmatic or policy issues, that are claimed to constitute a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard.begin insert The bill would authorize the court to allow a plaintiff who is unable to meet in person at the premises to be excused from participation, or participate by alternative means, for good cause and would provide that a plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel is not required to attend more than one in-person site meeting.end insert

Existing lawbegin insert requires a complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility claim to be verified by the plaintiff or be subject to a motion to strike, and furtherend insert requires that an allegation of a construction-related accessibility claim in a complaint state facts sufficient to allow a reasonable person to identify the basis of the violation, including, but not limited to, a plain language explanation of the specific access barrier or barriers the individual encountered, or by which the individual alleges he or she was deterred.

This bill would, for cases filed by or on behalf of a high-frequency litigant, require the complaint to also state that the complaint is filed by, or on behalf of, a high-frequency litigant, the number of complaints alleging a construction-related accessibility claim that the high-frequency litigant has filed during the 12 months prior to filing the complaint, and the reason why the individual visited the place of public accommodation.begin insert By expanding the definition of the crime of perjury, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.end insert

Existing law imposes a supplemental fee for filing first papers in certain civil proceedings, including, but not limited to, certain complex cases.

This bill would, in addition to the first paper filing fee, require payment of a single high-frequency litigant feebegin delete at an amount established by the Judicial Council, not to exceedend deletebegin insert ofend insert $1,000, at the time of the filing of the first paper if the complaint alleges a construction-related accessibility claim and the plaintiff is a high-frequency litigant, and would make conforming changes related to the distribution of those fees.

Existingbegin delete Constitutionalend deletebegin insert constitutionalend insert provisions require a statute that limits the right of public access to meeting or writings of public officials to be adopted with findings demonstrating thebegin delete interestedend deletebegin insert interestend insert to be protected by that limitation and the need to protect that interest.

This bill would declare that it includes limitations on access, that the interests to be protected are the privacy rights of the litigants, and that the need to protect those interests is to prevent a chilling effect on litigation.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Vote: 23. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

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

P4    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 54.35 is added to the Civil Code, 2immediately following Section 54.3, to read:

3

54.35.  

(a) Notwithstanding any law, the owner of property to
4which the general public is invited, as set forth in Section 54.1,
5shall indemnify a microbusiness tenant of that property for any
6liability under this part arising from any construction-related
7accessibility claims, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a)
8of Section 55.3, if the owner of the property had knowledge or
9notice that either of the following applied:

10(1) The construction-related barrier existed prior to the initiation,
11renewal, or extension of the lease which is the basis of the
12microbusiness tenant’s liability.

P5    1(2) The construction-related barrier was created by parties other
2than the microbusiness tenant after the initiation, renewal, or
3extension of the lease which is the basis of the microbusiness
4tenant’s liability.

5(b) The duty of the owner to indemnify a microbusiness tenant
6pursuant to subdivision (a) may be modified through a written
7agreement that may be included as a separate rider to the lease
8agreement, setting forth the terms under which the microbusiness
9tenant is accepting some or all of the potential liability for
10construction-related claims, including, but not limited to, a grant
11of the authority for the microbusiness tenant to modify the structure
12in order to comply with this part, and a process for determining
13the owner’s share of the costs of those modifications.

14(c) For the purposes of this section, “microbusiness” has the
15same meaning as set forth in Section 14837 of the Government
16Code.

17(d) This section shall apply only to construction-related liability
18arising from leases entered into, amended, or extended, on and
19after January 1, 2016.

20

SEC. 2.  

Section 55.3 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

21

55.3.  

(a) For purposes of this section, the following apply:

22(1) “Complaint” means a civil complaint that is filed or is to be
23filed with a court and is sent to or served upon a defendant on the
24basis of one or more construction-related accessibility claims, as
25defined in this section.

26(2) “Construction-related accessibility claim” means any claim
27of a violation of any construction-related accessibility standard,
28as defined by paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52,
29with respect to a place of public accommodation.
30“Construction-related accessibility claim” does not include a claim
31of interference with housing within the meaning of paragraph (2)
32of subdivision (b) of Section 54.1, or any claim of interference
33caused by something other than the construction-related
34accessibility condition of the property, including, but not limited
35to, the conduct of any person.

36(3) “Demand for money” means a prelitigation written document
37or oral statement that is provided or issued to a building owner or
38tenant, or the owner’s or tenant’s agent or employee, that does all
39of the following:

P6    1(A) Alleges that the site is in violation of one or more
2construction-related accessibility standards, as defined in paragraph
3(6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52, or alleges one or more
4construction-related accessibility claims, as defined in paragraph
5(2).

6(B) Contains or makes a request or demand for money or an
7offer or agreement to accept money.

8(C) Is provided or issued whether or not the attorney intends to
9file a complaint, or eventually files a complaint, in state or federal
10court.

11(4) “Demand letter” means a prelitigation written document that
12is provided to a building owner or tenant, or the owner’s or tenant’s
13agent or employee, that alleges the site is in violation of one or
14more construction-related accessibility standards, as defined in
15paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52, or alleges one
16or more construction-related accessibility claims, as defined in
17paragraph (2), and is provided whether or not the attorney intends
18to file a complaint, or eventually files a complaint, in state or
19federal court.

20(b) An attorney shall provide the following items with each
21demand letter or complaint sent to or served upon a defendant or
22potential defendant alleging a construction-related accessibility
23claim:

24(1) A written advisory on the form described in subparagraph
25(B), or, until that form is available, on a separate page or pages
26that are clearly distinguishable from the demand letter or complaint.
27The advisory shall not be required in subsequent communications
28following the initial demand letter or initial complaint unless a
29new construction-related accessibility claim is asserted in the
30subsequent demand letter or amended complaint.

31(A) The advisory shall state as follows:

3233STATE LAW REQUIRES THAT YOU GET THIS
34IMPORTANT ADVISORY INFORMATION FOR BUILDING
35OWNERS AND TENANTS
36

37This information is available in English, Spanish, Chinese,
38Vietnamese, and Korean through the Judicial Council of California.
39Persons with visual impairments can get assistance in viewing this
P7    1form through the Judicial Council Internet Web site at
2www.courts.ca.gov.

3California law requires that you receive this information because
4the demand letter or court complaint you received with this
5document claims that your building or property does not comply
6with one or more existing construction-related accessibility laws
7or regulations protecting the civil rights of persons with disabilities
8to access public places.

9YOU HAVE IMPORTANT LEGAL OBLIGATIONS.
10Compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant
11responsibility that applies to all California building owners and
12tenants with buildings open for business to the public. You may
13obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply
14with disability access laws through the Division of the State
15Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov. Information is also available from
16the California Commission on Disability Access at
17www.ccda.ca.gov/guide.htm.

18YOU HAVE IMPORTANT LEGAL RIGHTS. The allegations
19made in the accompanying demand letter or court complaint do
20not mean that you are required to pay any money unless and until
21a court finds you liable. Moreover, RECEIPT OF A DEMAND
22LETTER OR COURT COMPLAINT AND THIS ADVISORY
23DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN YOU WILL BE FOUND
24LIABLE FOR ANYTHING. You will have the right if you are
25later sued to fully present your explanation why you believe you
26have not in fact violated disability access laws or have corrected
27the violation or violations giving rise to the claim.

28You have the right to seek assistance or advice about this demand
29letter or court complaint from any person of your choice. If you
30have insurance, you may also wish to contact your insurance
31provider. Your best interest may be served by seeking legal advice
32or representation from an attorney, but you may also represent
33yourself and file the necessary court papers to protect your interests
34if you are served with a court complaint. If you have hired an
35attorney to represent you, you should immediately notify your
36attorney.

37If a court complaint has been served on you, you will get a
38separate advisory notice with the complaint advising you of special
39options and procedures available to you under certain conditions.

40ADDITIONAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

P8    1 ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT. Except for limited circumstances,
2state law generally requires that a prelitigation demand letter from
3an attorney MAY NOT MAKE A REQUEST OR DEMAND FOR
4MONEY OR AN OFFER OR AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT
5MONEY. Moreover, a demand letter from an attorney MUST
6INCLUDE THE ATTORNEY’S STATE BAR LICENSE
7NUMBER.

8If you believe the attorney who provided you with this notice
9and prelitigation demand letter is not complying with state law,
10you may send a copy of the demand letter you received from the
11attorney to the State Bar of California by facsimile transmission
12to 1-415-538-2171, or by mail to the State Bar of California, 180
13Howard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105, Attention: Professional
14Competence.

15REDUCING YOUR DAMAGES. If you are a small business
16owner and correct all of the construction-related violations that
17are the basis of the complaint against you within 30 days of being
18served with the complaint, you may qualify for reduced damages
19if the matter results in a court judgment. If you believe you qualify
20for reduced damages, you may wish to consult an attorney to obtain
21legal advice, or contact the California Commission on Disability
22Access for additional information about the rights and obligations
23of business owners.

24COMMERCIAL TENANT. If you are a commercial tenant, you
25may not be responsible for ensuring that some or all portions of
26the premises you lease for your business, including common areas
27such as parking lots, are accessible to the public because those
28areas may be the responsibility of your landlord. You may want
29to refer to your lease agreement and consult with an attorney or
30contact your landlord, to determine if your landlord is responsible
31under the terms of your lease for maintaining and improving some
32or all of the areas you lease to operate your business.


34(B) On or before July 1, 2016, the Judicial Council shall update
35the advisory form that may be used by an attorney to comply with
36the requirements of subparagraph (A). The advisory form shall be
37in substantially the same format and include all of the text set forth
38in subparagraph (A). The advisory form shall be available in
39English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean, and shall
40include a statement that the advisory form is available in additional
P9    1languages, and the Judicial Council Internet Web site address
2where the different versions of the advisory form are located. The
3advisory form shall include Internet Web site information for the
4Division of the State Architect and the California Commission on
5Disability Access.

6(2) An answer form developed by the Judicial Council, which
7allows a defendant to respond to the complaint in the event a
8complaint is filed.

9(A) The answer form shall be written in plain language and
10allow the defendant to state any relevant information affecting the
11defendant’s liability or damages including, but not limited to, the
12following:

13(i) Specific denials of the allegations in the complaint, including
14whether the plaintiff has demonstrated that he or she was denied
15full and equal access to the place of public accommodation on a
16particular occasion pursuant to Section 55.56.

17(ii) Potential affirmative defenses available to the defendant,
18including:

begin delete

19(I) An assertion that the defendant qualifies for reduced damages
20pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 55.56,
21and facts supporting that assertion.

end delete
begin delete

22(II)

end delete

23begin insert(I)end insert An assertion that the defendant’s landlord is responsible for
24ensuring that some or all of the property leased by the defendant,
25including the areas at issue in the complaint, are accessible to the
26public. The defendant shall provide facts supporting that assertion,
27and the name and contact information of the defendant’s landlord.

begin delete

28(III)

end delete

29begin insert(II)end insert Any other affirmative defense the defendant wishes to assert.

begin delete

30(iii) Whether the defendant made a written settlement offer that
31was rejected by the plaintiff, or met with the plaintiff in a good
32faith effort to negotiate a settlement of the complaint.

end delete
begin insert

33(iii) A request to meet in person at the subject premises, if the
34defendant qualifies for an early evaluation conference pursuant
35to Section 55.54.

end insert

36(iv) Any other information that the defendant believes is relevant
37to his or her potential liability orbegin delete damages.end deletebegin insert damages, including
38that the defendant qualifies for reduced damages pursuant to
39paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 55.56, and, if so,
40any facts supporting that assertion.end insert

P10   1(B) The answer form shall provide instructions to a defendant
2who wishes to file the form as an answer to the complaint. The
3form shall also notify the defendant that he or she may use the
4completed form as an informal response to a demand letter or for
5settlement discussion purposes.

6(C) On or before July 1, 2016, the Judicial Council shall adopt
7the answer form that may be used by an attorney to comply with
8the requirements of this paragraph, and shall post the answer form
9on the Judicial Council Internet web site.

10(c) Subdivision (b) applies only to a demand letter or complaint
11made by an attorney. This section does not affect the right to file
12a civil complaint under any other law or regulation protecting the
13physical access rights of persons with disabilities. Additionally,
14this section does not require a party to provide or send a demand
15letter to another party before proceeding against that party with a
16civil complaint.

17(d) This section does not apply to an action brought by the
18Attorney General or any district attorney, city attorney, or county
19counsel.

20

SEC. 3.  

Section 55.54 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

21

55.54.  

(a) (1) An attorney who causes a summons and
22complaint to be served in an action that includes a
23construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not limited
24to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, shall, at the
25same time, cause to be served a copy of the application form
26specified in subdivision (c) and a copy of the following notice,
27including, until January 1, 2013, the bracketed text, to the defendant
28on separate papers that shall be served with the summons and
29complaint:


31ADVISORY NOTICE TO DEFENDANT


32
33YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO ASK FOR A COURT
34STAY (AN ORDER TEMPORARILY STOPPING ANY
35LAWSUIT) AND EARLY EVALUATION CONFERENCE
36IN THIS LAWSUIT AND MAY BE ASSESSED REDUCED
37STATUTORY DAMAGES IF YOU MEET CERTAIN
38CONDITIONS.


39If the construction-related accessibility claim pertains to a
40site that has a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection
P11   1report for that site, or to a site where new construction or
2improvement was approved after January 1, 2008, by the local
3building permit and inspection process, you may make an
4immediate request for a court stay and early evaluation
5conference in the construction-related accessibility claim by
6filing the attached application form with the court. You may
7be entitled to the court stay and early evaluation conference
8regarding the accessibility claim only if ALL of the statements
9in the application form applicable to you are true.


10FURTHER, if you are a defendant described above (with a
11CASp inspection report or with new construction after January
121, 2008), and, to the best of your knowledge, there have been
13no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
14the CASp report or building department approval of the new
15construction or improvement that impacted compliance with
16construction-related accessibility standards with respect to the
17plaintiff’s claim, your liability for minimum statutory damages
18may be reduced to $1,000 for each offense, unless the violation
19was intentional, and if all construction-related accessibility
20violations giving rise to the claim are corrected within 60 days
21of being served with this complaint.

begin delete

22ALSO,

end delete

begin insertend insert
23begin insertALSO,end insert if your business has been served with a complaint
24filed by a high-frequency litigant, as defined in subdivision
25(b) of Section 425.55 of the Code of Civil Procedure, asserting
26a construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not
27limited to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55
28of the Civil Code, you may also be entitled to a court stay,
29early evaluation conference, and a site visit. If you choose to
30request a stay and early evaluation conference, you may also
31request to meet in person with the plaintiff and counsel for
32both parties, as well as experts if the parties so elect, at the
33subject premises no later than 30 days after issuance of the
34court order to jointly inspect the portions of the subject
35premises and review any conditions that are claimed to
36constitute a violation of a construction-related accessibility
37standard.


38IN ADDITION, if your business is a small business that,
39over the previous three years, or the existence of the business
40if less than three years, employs 25 or fewer employees on
P12   1average over that time period and meets specified gross
2receipts criteria, you may also be entitled to the court stay and
3early evaluation conference and your minimum statutory
4damages for each claim may be reduced to $2,000 for each
5offense, unless the violation was intentional, and if all the
6alleged construction-related accessibility violations are
7corrected within 30 days of being served with the complaint.


8If you plan to correct the violations giving rise to the claim,
9you should take pictures and measurements or similar action
10to document the condition of the physical barrier asserted to
11be the basis for a violation before undertaking any corrective
12action in case a court needs to see the condition of a barrier
13before it was corrected.


14The court will schedule the conference to be held within 70
15days after you file the attached application form.

16[If you are not a defendant with a CASp inspection report,
17until a form is adopted by the Judicial Council, you may use
18the attached form if you modify the form and supplement it
19with your declaration stating any one of the following:


20(1) Until January 1, 2018, that the site’s new construction
21or improvement on or after January 1, 2008, and before January
221, 2016, was approved pursuant to the local building permit
23and inspection process; that, to the best of your knowledge,
24there have been no modifications or alterations completed or
25commenced since the building department approval that
26impacted compliance with construction-related accessibility
27standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim; and that all
28violations giving rise to the claim have been corrected, or will
29be corrected within 60 days of the complaint being served.


30(2) That the site’s new construction or improvement passed
31inspection by a local building department inspector who is a
32certified access specialist; that, to the best of your knowledge,
33there have been no modifications or alterations completed or
34commenced since that inspection approval that impacted
35compliance with construction-related accessibility standards
36with respect to the plaintiff’s claim; and that all violations
37giving rise to the claim have been corrected, or will be
38corrected within 60 days of the complaint being served.


39(3) That your business is a small business with 25 or fewer
40employees and meets the gross receipts criteria set out in
P13   1Section 55.56 of the Civil Code, and that all violations giving
2rise to the claim have been corrected, or will be corrected
3within 30 days of being served with the complaint.]


4The court will also issue an immediate stay of the
5proceedings unless the plaintiff has obtained a temporary
6restraining order in the construction-related accessibility claim.
7You may obtain a copy of the application form, filing
8instructions, and additional information about the stay and
9early evaluation conference through the Judicial Council
10Internet Web site at www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.


11You may file the application after you are served with a
12summons and complaint, but no later than your first court
13pleading or appearance in this case, which is due within 30
14days after you receive the summons and complaint. If you do
15not file the application, you will still need to file your reply
16to the lawsuit within 30 days after you receive the summons
17and complaint to contest it. You may obtain more information
18about how to represent yourself and how to file a reply without
19hiring an attorney at www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.


20You may file the application without the assistance of an
21attorney, but it may be in your best interest to immediately
22seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in disability
23access laws when you receive a summons and complaint. You
24may make an offer to settle the case, and it may be in your
25interest to put that offer in writing so that it may be considered
26under Section 55.55 of the Civil Code.


28(2) An attorney who files a Notice of Substitution of Counsel
29to appear as counsel for a plaintiff who, acting in propria persona,
30had previously filed a complaint in an action that includes a
31construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not limited
32to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, shall, at the
33same time, cause to be served a copy of the application form
34specified in subdivision (c) and a copy of the notice specified in
35paragraph (1) upon the defendant on separate pages that shall be
36attached to the Notice of Substitution of Counsel.

37(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, upon being served with
38a summons and complaint asserting a construction-related
39accessibility claim, including, but not limited to, a claim brought
40under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, a qualified defendant, or other
P14   1defendant as defined in paragraph (2), may file a request for a court
2stay and early evaluation conference in the proceedings of that
3claim prior to or simultaneous with that defendant’s responsive
4pleading or other initial appearance in the action that includes the
5claim. If that defendant filed a timely request for stay and early
6evaluation conference before a responsive pleading was due, the
7period for filing a responsive pleading shall be tolled until the stay
8is lifted. Any responsive pleading filed simultaneously with a
9request for stay and early evaluation conference may be amended
10without prejudice, and the period for filing that amendment shall
11be tolled until the stay is lifted.

12(2) This subdivision shall also apply to a defendant if any of
13the following apply:

14(A) Until January 1, 2018, the site’s new construction or
15improvement on or after January 1, 2008, and before January 1,
162016, was approved pursuant to the local building permit and
17inspection process, and the defendant declares with the application
18that, to the best of the defendant’s knowledge, there have been no
19modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
20approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
21accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim, and
22that all violations have been corrected, or will be corrected within
2360 days of being served with the complaint.

24(B) The site’s new construction or improvement was approved
25by a local public building department inspector who is a certified
26access specialist, and the defendant declares with the application
27that, to the best of the defendant’s knowledge, there have been no
28modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
29approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
30accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim, and
31that all violations have been corrected, or will be corrected within
3260 days of being served with the complaint.

33(C) The defendant is a small business described in subdivision
34(f) of Section 55.56, and the defendant declares with the application
35that all violations have been corrected, or will be corrected within
3630 days of being served with the complaint.

37(D) The defendant is a business that has been served with a
38complaint filed by a high-frequency litigant, as defined in
39subdivision (b) of Section 425.55 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
P15   1asserting a construction-related accessibility claim, including, but
2not limited to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55.

3(3) Notwithstanding any other law, if the plaintiff had acted in
4propria persona in filing a complaint that includes a
5construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not limited
6to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, a qualified
7 defendant, or a defendant described by paragraph (2), who is served
8with a Notice of Substitution of Counsel shall have 30 days to file
9an application for a stay and an early evaluation conference. The
10application may be filed prior to or after the defendant’s filing of
11a responsive pleading or other initial appearance in the action that
12includes the claim, except that an application may not be filed in
13a claim in which an early evaluation conference or settlement
14conference has already been held on the claim.

15(c) (1) An application for an early evaluation conference and
16stay by a qualified defendant shall include a signed declaration
17that states both of the following:

18(A) The site identified in the complaint has been
19CASp-inspected or meets applicable standards, or is CASp
20determination pending or has been inspected by a CASp, and if
21the site is CASp-inspected or meets applicable standards, there
22have been no modifications completed or commenced since the
23date of inspection that may impact compliance with
24construction-related accessibility standards to the best of the
25defendant’s knowledge.

26(B) An inspection report pertaining to the site has been issued
27by a CASp. The inspection report shall be provided to the court
28and the plaintiff at least 15 days prior to the court date set for the
29early evaluation conference.

30(2) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
31by a defendant described by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of
32subdivision (b), which may be filed until January 1, 2018, shall
33include a signed declaration that states all of the following:

34(A) The site’s new construction or improvement was approved
35pursuant to the local building permit and inspection process on or
36after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016.

37(B) To the best of the defendant’s knowledge there have been
38no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
39that approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
40accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim.

P16   1(C) All construction-related violations giving rise to the claim
2have been corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days of the
3complaint being served upon the defendant.

4(3) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
5by a defendant described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of
6subdivision (b) shall include a signed declaration that states all of
7the following:

8(A) The site’s new construction or improvement was approved
9by a local building department inspector who is a certified access
10specialist.

11(B) To the best of the defendant’s knowledge there have been
12no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
13that approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
14accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim.

15(C) All construction related violations giving rise to the claim
16have been corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days of the
17complaint being served upon the defendant.

18(4) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
19by a defendant described by subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of
20subdivision (b) shall include the materials listed in paragraphs (5)
21and (6) of this subdivision, and shall include a signed declaration
22that states both of the following:

23(A) The defendant is a small business that employs 25 or fewer
24employees and meets the gross receipts eligibility criteria provided
25in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 55.56.

26(B) All construction-related violations giving rise to the claim
27have been corrected, or will be corrected within 30 days of the
28complaint being served upon the defendant.

29(5) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
30by a small business defendant under paragraph (4) shall include
31evidence showing correction of all violations within 30 days of
32the service of the complaint and served upon the plaintiff with the
33reply unless the application is filed prior to completion of the
34corrections. In that event, the evidence shall be provided to the
35court and served upon the plaintiff within 10 days of the court
36order as provided in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d). This
37paragraph shall not be construed to extend the permissible time
38under subdivision (f) of Section 55.56 to make the corrections.

39(6) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
40by a small business defendant under paragraph (4) shall also
P17   1include both of the following, which shall be confidential
2documents filed only with the court and not served upon or
3available to the plaintiff:

4(A) Proof of the defendant’s number of employees, as shown
5by wage report forms filed with the Employment Development
6Department.

7(B) Proof of the defendant’s average gross receipts for the
8previous three years, or for the existence of the business if less
9than three years, as shown by a federal or state tax document.

10(7) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
11by a defendant described by subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of
12subdivision (b) shall include a declaration that the defendant was
13served with a complaint filed by a high-frequency litigant, as
14defined in subdivision (b) of Section 425.55 of the Code of Civil
15Procedure, asserting a construction-related accessibility claim,
16including, but not limited to, a claim brought under Section 51,
1754, 54.1, or 55.

18(8) The following provisional request and notice forms may be
19used and filed by a qualified defendant until forms are adopted by
20the Judicial Council for those purposes pursuant to subdivision
21(l):

P18   1PRINTER PLEASE NOTE: TIP-IN MATERIAL TO BE
2INSERTED

[4 pages]

P22   1(9) The provisional forms and any replacement Judicial Council
2forms shall include the defendant’s declaration of proof of service
3of the application, the notice of the court’s order, and the court’s
4order pursuant to subdivision (d).

5(d) Upon the filing of an application for stay and early evaluation
6conference by a qualified defendant, or a defendant described by
7paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), the court shall immediately issue
8an order that does all of the following:

9(1) Grants a 90-day stay of the proceedings with respect to the
10construction-related accessibility claim, unless the plaintiff has
11obtained temporary injunctive relief that is still in place for the
12construction-related accessibility claim.

13(2) Schedules a mandatory early evaluation conference for a
14date as soon as possible from the date of the order, but in no event
15later than 70 days after issuance of the order, and in no event earlier
16than 50 days after the filing of the request.

17(3) Directs the parties, and any other person whose authority is
18required to negotiate and enter into settlement, to appear in person
19at the time set for the conference. Appearance by counsel shall not
20satisfy the requirement that the parties or those with negotiation
21and settlement authority personally appear, provided, however,
22that the court may allow a party who is unable to attend in person
23due to his or her disability to participate in the hearing by telephone
24or other alternative means or through a representative authorized
25to settle the case.

26(4) (A) Directs the qualified defendant to file with the court
27and serve on the plaintiff a copy of any relevant CASp inspection
28report at least 15 days before the date of the conference. The CASp
29inspection report is confidential and is available only as set forth
30in paragraph (5) of this subdivision and in paragraph (4) of
31subdivision (e).

32(B) Directs a defendant described by subparagraph (A) or (B)
33of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) who has filed a declaration
34stating that the violation or violations have been corrected, or will
35be corrected within 60 days of service of the complaint to file with
36the court and serve on the plaintiff evidence showing correction
37of the violation or violations within 10 calendar days after the
38completion of the corrections.

39(C) Directs a defendant described by subparagraph (C) of
40paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) who has filed a declaration stating
P23   1that the violation or violations have been corrected, or will be
2corrected within 30 days of service of the complaint to file with
3the court and serve on the plaintiff within 10 days after issuance
4of the court order evidence of correction of the violation or
5violations, if that evidence showing correction was not filed
6previously with the application and served on the plaintiff.

7(5) Directs the parties that the CASp inspection report may be
8disclosed only to the court, the parties to the action, the parties’
9attorneys, those individuals employed or retained by the attorneys
10to assist in the litigation, and insurance representatives or others
11involved in the evaluation and settlement of the case.

12(6) If the defendant so requests, directs the parties that no later
13than 30 days after issuance of the court order the parties and their
14counsel, accompanied by their experts if the parties so elect, shall
15meet in person at the subject premises. They shall jointly inspect
16the portions of the subject premises, and shall review any
17programmatic or policy issues, that are claimed to constitute a
18violation of a construction-related accessibility standard.begin insert The court
19may allow a plaintiff who is unable to meet in person at the subject
20premises to be excused from participating in a site visit or to
21participate by telephone or other alternative means for good cause.
22A plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel is not required, but may agree, to
23attend more than one in-person site meeting. A site inspection
24pursuant to this paragraph shall not affect the right of the parties
25to conduct otherwise appropriate discovery.end insert

26(7) Directs the plaintiff to file with the court and serve on the
27defendant at least 15 days before the date of the conference a
28statement that includes, to the extent reasonably known, for use
29solely for the purpose of the early evaluation conference, all of the
30following:

31(A) An itemized list of specific conditions on the subject
32premises that are the basis of the claimed violations of
33 construction-related accessibility standards in the plaintiff’s
34complaint.

35(B) The amount of damages claimed.

36(C) The amount of attorney’s fees and costs incurred to date, if
37any, that are being claimed.

38(D) Any demand for settlement of the case in its entirety.

39(e) (1) A party failing to comply with any court order may be
40subject to court sanction at the court’s discretion.

P24   1(2) (A) The court shall lift the stay when the defendant has
2failed to file and serve the CASp inspection report prior to the
3early evaluation conference and has failed also to produce the
4report at the time of the early evaluation conference, unless the
5defendant shows good cause for that failure.

6(B) The court shall lift the stay when a defendant described by
7paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) has failed to file and serve the
8evidence showing correction of the violation or violations as
9required by law.

10(3) The court may lift the stay at the conclusion of the early
11evaluation conference upon a showing of good cause by the
12plaintiff. Good cause may include the defendant’s failure to make
13reasonably timely progress toward completion of corrections noted
14by a CASp.

15(4) The CASp inspection report filed and served pursuant to
16subdivision (d) shall remain confidential throughout the stay and
17shall continue to be confidential until the conclusion of the claim,
18whether by dismissal, settlement, or final judgment, unless there
19is a showing of good cause by any party. Good cause may include
20the defendant’s failure to make reasonably timely progress toward
21completion of corrections noted by a CASp. The confidentiality
22of the inspection report shall terminate upon the conclusion of the
23claim, unless the owner of the report obtains a court order pursuant
24to the California Rules of Court to seal the record.

25(f) All discussions at the early evaluation conference shall be
26subject to Section 1152 of the Evidence Code. It is the intent of
27the Legislature that the purpose of the evaluation conference shall
28include, but not be limited to, evaluation of all of the following,
29as applicable:

30(1) Whether the defendant is entitled to the 90-day stay for some
31or all of the identified issues in the case, as a qualified defendant.

32(2) The current condition of the site and the status of any plan
33of corrections, including whether the qualified defendant has
34corrected or is willing to correct the alleged violations, and the
35timeline for doing so.

36(3) Whether subdivision (f) of Section 55.56 may be applicable
37to the case, and whether all violations giving rise to the claim have
38been corrected within the specified time periods.

39(4) Whether the case, including any claim for damages or
40injunctive relief, can be settled in whole or in part.

P25   1(5) Whether the parties should share other information that may
2facilitate early evaluation and resolution of the dispute.

3(g) Nothing in this section precludes any party from making an
4offer to compromise pursuant to Section 998 of the Code of Civil
5Procedure.

6(h) For a claim involving a qualified defendant, as provided in
7paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), the court may schedule additional
8conferences and may extend the 90-day stay for good cause shown,
9but not to exceed one additional 90-day extension.

10(i) Early evaluation conferences shall be conducted by a superior
11court judge or commissioner, or a court early evaluation conference
12officer. A commissioner shall not be qualified to conduct early
13evaluation conferences pursuant to this subdivision unless he or
14she has received training regarding disability access requirements
15imposed by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
16(Public Law 101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), state laws
17that govern access to public facilities, and federal and state
18regulations adopted pursuant to those laws. For purposes of this
19subdivision, a “court early evaluation conference officer” means
20an attorney employed by the court who has received training
21regarding disability access requirements imposed by the federal
22Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, state laws that govern
23access to public facilities, and federal and state regulations adopted
24pursuant to those laws. Attorneys serving in this capacity may also
25be utilized by the court for other purposes not related to these
26proceedings.

27(j) Nothing in this part shall be deemed to make any inspection
28report, opinion, statement, or other finding or conclusion of a CASp
29binding on the court, or to abrogate in any manner the ultimate
30authority of the court to make all appropriate findings of fact and
31law. The CASp inspection report and any opinion, statement,
32finding, or conclusion therein shall be given the weight the trier
33of fact finds that it deserves.

34(k) Nothing in this part shall be construed to invalidate or limit
35any California construction-related accessibility standard that
36 provides greater or equal protection for the rights of individuals
37with disabilities than is afforded by the federal Americans with
38Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et
39seq.) and the federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.

P26   1(l) (1) The Judicial Council shall, by January 1, 2013, prepare
2and post on its Internet Web site instructions and a form for use
3by a qualified defendant, or other defendant described by paragraph
4(2) of subdivision (b), to file an application for stay and early
5evaluation conference as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), a
6form for the court’s notice of stay and early evaluation conference,
7and any other forms appropriate to implement the provisions
8relating to early evaluation conferences. Until those forms are
9adopted, the Judicial Council shall post on its Internet Web site
10the provisional forms set forth in subdivision (c).

11(2) Until the adoption of the forms as provided in paragraph
12(1), the provisional application form may be used by a defendant
13described by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b).

14(3) In lieu of the provisions specified in number 3 of page 1 of
15the application form set forth in paragraph (7) of subdivision (c),
16the application shall include one of the following declarations of
17the defendant as to the basis for the application, as follows:

18(A) That all of the following apply to a defendant described by
19subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b):

20(i) The site’s new construction or improvement was approved
21pursuant to the local building permit and inspection process on or
22after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016.

23(ii) To the best of the defendant’s knowledge there have been
24no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
25that approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
26accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim.

27(iii) All the violations giving rise to the claim have been
28corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days of the complaint
29being served.

30(B) That all of the following apply to a defendant described by
31subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b):

32(i) The site’s new construction or improvement was approved
33by a local public building department inspector who is a certified
34access specialist.

35(ii) To the best of the defendant’s knowledge there have been
36no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
37that approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
38accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim.

P27   1(iii) All the violations giving rise to the claim have been
2corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days of the complaint
3being served.

4(C) That both of the following apply to a defendant described
5by subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b):

6(i) The defendant is a small business described in paragraph (2)
7of subdivision (f) of Section 55.56.

8(ii) The violation or violations giving rise to the claim have been
9corrected, or will be corrected within 30 days of the complaint
10being served.

11(4) In lieu of the provision specified in number 4(c) of page 1
12of the application form set forth in paragraph (7) of subdivision
13(c), the application shall include a request that the court order the
14defendant to do either of the following:

15(A) For a defendant who has filed a declaration stating that all
16violations have been corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days
17of service of the complaint, file with the court and serve on the
18plaintiff evidence showing correction of the violation or violations
19within 10 calendar days of the completion of the corrections.

20(B) For a defendant who is a small business that has filed a
21declaration stating that all the violations have been corrected, or
22will be corrected within 30 days of the service of the complaint,
23file with the court and serve on the plaintiff evidence showing
24correction of the violation or violations within 10 calendar days
25after issuance of the court order, if that evidence showing correction
26was not filed previously with the application and served on the
27plaintiff.

28(5) The Judicial Council shall also prepare and post on its
29Internet Web site instructions and cover pages to assist plaintiffs
30and defendants, respectively, to comply with their filing
31responsibilities under subdivision (d). The cover pages shall also
32provide for the party’s declaration of proof of service of the
33pertinent document served under the court order.

34(m) The stay provisions shall not apply to any
35construction-related accessibility claim in which the plaintiff has
36been granted temporary injunctive relief that remains in place.

37(n) This section shall not apply to any action brought by the
38Attorney General, or by any district attorney, city attorney, or
39county counsel.

P28   1(o) The amendments to this section made by Senate Bill 1186
2of the 2011-12 Regular Session of the Legislature shall apply only
3to claims filed on or after the operative date of that act. Nothing
4in this part is intended to affect any complaint filed before that
5date.

6(p) Nothing in this part is intended to affect existing law
7regarding class action requirements.

8

SEC. 4.  

Section 425.50 of the Code of Civil Procedure is
9amended to read:

10

425.50.  

(a) An allegation of a construction-related accessibility
11claim in a complaint, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.52
12of the Civil Code, shall state facts sufficient to allow a reasonable
13person to identify the basis of the violation or violations supporting
14the claim, including all of the following:

15(1) A plain language explanation of the specific access barrier
16or barriers the individual encountered, or by which the individual
17alleges he or she was deterred, with sufficient information about
18the location of the alleged barrier to enable a reasonable person to
19identify the access barrier.

20(2) The way in which the barrier denied the individual full and
21equal use or access, or in which it deterred the individual, on each
22particular occasion.

23(3) The date or dates of each particular occasion on which the
24claimant encountered the specific access barrier, or on which he
25or she was deterred.

26(4) (A) Except in complaints that allege physical injury or
27damage to property, a complaint filed by or on behalf of a
28high-frequency litigant shall also state all of the following:

29(i) That the complaint is filed by, or on behalf of, a
30high-frequency litigant.

31(ii) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff,
32the number of complaints alleging a construction-related
33accessibility claim that the high-frequency litigant has filed during
34the 12 months prior to filing the complaint.

35(iii) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff,
36the reason the individual was in the geographic area of the
37defendant’s business.

38(iv) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff,
39the reason why the individual desired to access the defendant’s
P29   1business, including the specific commercial, business, personal,
2social, leisure, recreational, or other purpose.

3(B) As used in this section “high-frequency litigant” has the
4same meaning as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 425.55.

5(b) A complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility
6claim, as those terms are defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3
7of the Civil Code, shall be verified by the plaintiff. A complaint
8filed without verification shall be subject to a motion to strike.

9(c) A complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility
10claim shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the
11attorney’s individual name, or, if the party is not represented by
12an attorney, shall be signed by the party. By signing the complaint,
13the attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that, to the best
14of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after
15an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, all of the following
16conditions are met:

17(1) It is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose,
18such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase
19in the cost of litigation.

20(2) The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein
21are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for
22the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the
23establishment of new law.

24(3) The allegations and other factual contentions have
25evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to
26have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further
27investigation or discovery.

28(4) The denials of factual contentions are warranted on the
29evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on
30a lack of information or belief.

31(d) A court may, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to
32respond, determine whether subdivision (c) has been violated and,
33if so, impose sanctions as provided in Section 128.7 for violations
34of subdivision (b)begin insert ofend insert Section 128.7.

35(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the right of a plaintiff to
36amend a complaint under Section 472, or with leave of the court
37under Section 473. However, an amended pleading alleging a
38construction-related accessibility claim shall be pled as required
39by subdivision (a).

40(f) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.

P30   1

SEC. 5.  

Section 425.55 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure,
2tobegin delete readend deletebegin insert read:end insert

3

425.55.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
4following:

5(1) Protection of the civil rights of persons with disabilities is
6of the utmost importance to this state, and private enforcement is
7the essential means of achieving that goal, as the law has been
8designed.

9(2) According to information from the California Commission
10on Disability Access, more than one-half, or 54 percent, of all
11construction-related accessibility complaints filed between 2012
12and 2014 were filed by two law firms. Forty-six percent of all
13complaints were filed by a total of 14 parties. Therefore, a very
14small number of plaintiffs have filed a disproportionately large
15number of the construction-related accessibility claims in the state,
16from 70 to 300 lawsuits each year. Moreover, these lawsuits are
17frequently filed against small businesses on the basis of boilerplate
18complaints, apparently seeking quick cash settlements rather than
19correction of the accessibility violation. This practice unfairly
20taints the reputation of other innocent disabled consumers who are
21merely trying to go about their daily lives accessing public
22accommodations as they are entitled to have full and equal access
23under the state’s Unruhbegin insert Civil Rightsend insert Actbegin delete (Chapter 1 (commencing
24with Section 1801 of Title 2)end delete
begin insert (Section 51 of the Civil Code)end insert and
25the federal Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (Public Law
26101-336).

27(3) Therefore, given these special and unique circumstances,
28the provisions of this section are warranted for this limited group
29of plaintiffs.

30(b) For the purposes of this article, “high-frequency litigant”
31means a person who utilizes court resources in actions arising from
32alleged construction-related access violations at such a high level
33that it is appropriate that additional safeguards apply so as to ensure
34that the claims are warranted and appropriate. A “high-frequency
35litigant” means one or more of the following:

36(1) A plaintiff who has filed 10 or more complaints alleging a
37construction-related accessibility violation within the 12-month
38period immediately preceding the filing of the current complaint
39alleging a construction-related accessibility violation.

P31   1(2) An attorney who has represented 10 or more plaintiffsbegin delete in
2complaints alleging a construction-related accessibility violationend delete

3begin insert who were high-frequency litigants at the time when complaints
4alleging construction-related accessibility violations were filed
5on their behalfend insert
within the 12-month period immediately preceding
6the filing of the current complaint alleging a construction-related
7accessibility violation.

8

SEC. 6.  

Section 68085.35 is added to the Government Code, 9immediately following Section 68085.3, to read:

10

68085.35.  

(a) Fees collected under Section 70616.5 shall be
11deposited in a bank account established by the Administrative
12Office of the Courts for deposit of fees collected by the courts.

13(b) For each one-thousand-dollar ($1,000) fee listed in
14subdivision (a), the Administrative Office of the Courts shall
15distribute specified amounts as follows:

16(1) Five hundred dollars ($500) to the General Fund for use,
17upon appropriation by the Legislature, by the California
18Commission on Disability Access.

19(2) The remainder of the fee to the Trial Court Trust Fund.

20(c) If any of the fees listed in subdivision (a) are reduced or
21partially waived, the amount of the reduction or partial waiver
22shall be deducted from the amount to be distributed to each fund
23in the same proportion as the amount each distribution bears to
24the total amount of the fee.

25(d) No revenue collected pursuant to Section 70616.5 shall be
26used to supplant existing program funding of the California
27Commission on Disability Access.

28

SEC. 7.  

Section 70616.5 is added to the Government Code, to
29read:

begin delete
30

70616.5.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
31following:

32(1) The total fees and costs paid by litigants do not directly
33correspond to the total costs of providing access to the judicial
34system, the actual costs are much higher.

35(2) Much of the actual court costs are supported by taxpayer
36dollars because there is a strong public policy to make access to
37the judicial system affordable for all.

38(3) The public policy reasons for mitigating the financial burden
39on litigants is not as strong in the case of a high-frequency litigant,
40as defined in Section 425.55 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

P32   1(4) Therefore, for reasons set forth in Section 425.55 of the
2Code of Civil Procedure, the Legislature finds that it is appropriate
3that a high-frequency litigant pay fees that more closely resemble,
4but do not exceed, the total courts costs related to the action.

5(b)

end delete
6begin insert

begin insert70616.5.end insert  

end insert

begin insert(a)end insert In addition to the first paper filing fee required
7by Section 70611 or 70613, a single high-frequency litigant fee
8shall be paid to the clerk on behalf of a plaintiff who is a
9high-frequency litigant, as that term is defined in Section 425.55
10of the Code of Civil Procedure, at the time of the filing of the first
11paper if the complaint alleges a construction-related accessibility
12claim, as those terms are defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3
13of the Civil Code.

begin delete

14(c)

end delete

15begin insert(b)end insert Thebegin delete amount of theend delete feebegin delete pursuant toend deletebegin insert established byend insert this section
16shall be begin delete established by the Judicial Council at an amount sufficient
17to cover, but not exceed, the actual costs to the court resulting from
18the claim of the high-frequency litigant. The fee shall not exceedend delete

19 one thousand dollars ($1,000). The fee shall be transmitted as
20provided in Section 68085.35.

begin delete

21(d)

end delete

22begin insert(c)end insert Failure to pay the fees required by this section shall have
23the same effect as the failure to pay a filing fee, and shall be subject
24to the same enforcement and penalties.

25

SEC. 8.  

The Legislature finds and declares that Section 3 of
26this act limits the public’s right of access to public documents
27within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California
28Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the
29Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest
30and the need for protecting that interest:

31(a) The interest protected by this limitation is the privacy rights
32of litigants.

33(b) The need for protecting those interests is to preclude the
34chilling effect on litigation if public disclosure were required.

35

SEC. 9.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
36Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
37the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
38district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
39infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
40for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
P33   1the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
2the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
3Constitution.

4

SEC. 10.  

This act is an urgency statute necessary for the
5immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within
6the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into
7immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

8In order to ensure that the courts are not overburdened and are
9able to provide access to the judicial system for all persons seeking
10redress of their construction-related accessibility claims, it is
11necessary that these reasonable requirements placed on
12high-frequency litigants take effect immediately.


CORRECTIONS:

Text--Page 20.




O

Corrected 8-18-15—See last page.     94