AB 539: High-frequency Litigants
A high-frequency litigant would be prohibited from recovering any amount, other than actual damages
By Chris Micheli, March 27, 2023 12:43 pm
Assembly Bill 539 by Assemblywoman Stephanie Nguyen (D-Elk Grove) would address the issue of “high-frequency litigants” involved in the Unruh Civil Rights Act. AB 539 would amend Civil Code Section 52 and amend Code of Civil Procedure Sections 425.50 and 425.55.
Section 1 of the bill would amend Civil Code Section 52 to provide that, if a party alleges an accessibility-related violation due to disability, the plaintiff may allege only a single violation per defect and would be prohibited, through repeated visits, from using the previously identified defect as the basis for additional damages. Moreover, the plaintiff would be prohibited from alleging an accessibility-related violation unless the plaintiff had a bona fide intent to be a customer of the business at the time that the plaintiff accessed the business.
Section 2 of the bill would amend Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.50 to provide that, in an effort to prevent forum shopping and the evasion of state law by high-frequency litigants, the Legislature declares that this law is to be viewed as substantive law and urges federal courts governing questions of this state law to apply these standards when relevant litigation appears in their court.
Section 3 of the bill would amend Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.55 to include a legislative finding and declaration that, in an effort to circumvent recent legislation to prevent abuse of this section, some high-frequency litigants are pursuing litigation in federal courts and stretch their claims in a manner not originally contemplated by the Legislature in an attempt to evade state-mandated requirements. Those evasive tactics serve to violate the purpose of this section.
In addition, the bill would change the language “alleged construction-related access violations” to “accessibility-related violations.” The term “accessibility-related violation” would be defined.
Finally, a high-frequency litigant would be prohibited from recovering any amount, other than actual damages, that exceeds $1,000 for each offense. And, in an effort to prevent forum shopping and the evasion of state law by high-frequency litigants, the Legislature would declare that this section is to be viewed as substantive law and urges federal courts governing questions of this state law to apply these standards when relevant litigation appears in their court.
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One thought on “AB 539: High-frequency Litigants”
AB 539 seems to be a reasonable approach to curb the abuses of high-frequency litigants involved in the Unruh Civil Rights Act? It’s surprising that it came from a liberal Democrat like Assemblywoman Stephanie Nguyen. It’s a shame that she chose to join the radical Marxist Democrats on the California Legislative Women’s Caucus that are obsessed with aborting babies. How many babies has she aborted?