Why Can't All Legal Reform Be So Easy?

AB 83, dubbed the “Good Samaritan Bill” will soon be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This common sense bill has the support of both CALA and the Consumer Attorneys, one of the only times I can ever remember that happening.

CALA enthusiastically supports the bill – it makes sense. If someone helps another person in jeopardy, they should be protected from civil liability when they help instead of being subject to a civil lawsuit, as the law now stands. The bill’s author Mike Feuer was a Good Samaritan himself once, saving a family from a truck that had fallen on its side. He approached the family and asked if they wanted help. They did. He pulled the family from the truck, but knew of the civil liability ramifications.

Last December, the California Supreme Court tossed the whole issue of providing aid to accident victims into question. The ruling suggested the person providing the aid may be subject to civil liability if helping someone has a negative outcome. That ruling lead to AB 83 and legal reform everyone could get behind.

If only all civil justice reform could come together so smoothly, but unfortunately special interest influence often gets in the way. The plaintiffs’ bar made more than $4.1 million in campaign contributions in the last election cycle alone, hoping its candidates would help pass laws to make it easier for people to sue. And at the end of April, they again descended on the State Capitol to collect the return on their investment.  

The legislature needs to do all it can to make California the economic engine it once was. This will only be accomplished through making meaningful reforms that keep money flowing into the economy, not the pockets of personal injury lawyers. Never before have special interests been so dangerous and never before has it been more important to urge our legislators to do what is right for all Californians, not just those who fund their campaigns.

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