We are back in full swing here in Sacramento and it would be really nice to see some serious legal reform implemented. Look, I get it, the trial lawyers have spent millions on lobbying making sure their playground is undisturbed, but the people in California are ready for legal reform and they are tired of not being listened too. I know the Legislature understands that lawsuit abuse hurts California since they were able to rally last year to pass Assemblyman Henry Perea's AB 1219.
So here is the California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse Legal Reform Wish List for 2012:
1. Stop AB 1207 by Assembly member Furutani, which would create more lawsuits by removing the statute of limitations related to the exposure to a pollutant or hazardous substance. This has already been granted, thanks to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
2. Pass and implement legitimate ADA lawsuit reform.
3. Pass class action reform similar to AB 271 by Assemblyman Nestande, which would give defendants the same right of appeal that plaintiffs have on class action certification.
4. If AB 1062, which would weaken arbitration, by Assemblyman Dickinson is revived from the inactive file, defeat it.
5. Attorney General Kamala Harris has to stop shakedown Prop. 65 lawsuits.
6. Stop cutting the funding of the California courts. Our court system is still reeling from cuts last year, and more cuts would only reduce access to the courts even more.
7. Real action from the California Commission on Disability Access toward stopping abusive ADA lawsuits.
8. Before California voters choose who to vote for, they ask their candidates what their position is on legal reform.
9. Do not allow AB 52 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer to be pulled from the Inactive File. AB 52 would create new lawsuits by allowing lawyers to sue as "interveners" on behalf of the general public whether they have a client who has been harmed or not - a recipe for abusive claims.
10. Support and pass Congressman Dan Lungren's HR 3356, the ACCESS Act of 2011, which would help facilitate ADA compliance by requiring plaintiffs who intend to sue businesses for ADA violations to provide notice of ADA violations to the business they are targeting.
These are just a few items that would help improve California’s business climate, attract more investment and spur job creation. If the Legislature and the people of California do not prioritize legal reform, California will continue to be known as a place that is not friendly to business. When businesses move or do not locate here that means one thing - no jobs. And if you have not figured it out yet, it is all about jobs.