Low auto insurance limits, court reporter issues and lack of uniformity in local court rules on the agenda
Courts and the functioning of our legal system will remain a major focus for Consumer Attorneys of California during the 2020 legislative year.
While we are still awaiting the launch of our 2020 legislative program that comes with the formal introduction of bills, there are some issues we want you to be aware of – and get your input on.
First, a reminder: CAOC tracked over 300 bills in 2019 and killed all 18 “tort reform” anti-consumer bills that were introduced. Gov. Newsom signed all eight CAOC-sponsored bills that reached his desk. On courts, CAOC successfully advocated for 25 new judicial appointments, which should help in our ongoing battle to ensure that court rooms are available for you and your clients.
For 2020, we’ll be putting a priority on modernizing our state’s outdated minimum auto insurance financial responsibility law. Adopted in 1967 and not adjusted for inflation in 53 years, our auto insurance minimums – $15,000 for a single injury or death, $30,000 for multiple casualties and $5,000 for property damage – put California among the three lowest states in the nation. We are sponsoring legislation that proposes raising those minimal levels to a more reasonable limit.
We have commissioned a study that demonstrates that cost to customers each month will be about the same as the price of one cup of coffee. The biggest beneficiaries will be low-income drivers, who are not only more likely to be hit by at-fault motorists with minimal coverage, but also have less ability to financially recover from an accident that sends them to the hospital or totals their car.
We are hearing more and more complaints related to court reporter issues from our members. In Southern California, some court reporters are failing to honor the “Southern California Stipulation” that has increased costs and hardships to our members and their clients.
Local court issues
We are also working on legislation to address the issue of lack of uniformity in e-filings, costs, et cetera, among local courts. We understand that members have issues with difficult-to-find e-filing information, varying costs among courts and special local court rules that can act as a “gotcha” for those not familiar with the rules. We want your feedback on this issue.
Finally, we are working on legislation that will address several civil procedure issues with the aim of improving the practice of law. Our leadership met with officials from the California Defense Counsel and discussed the issues that our members hope will be addressed. Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) will be carrying a bill on this front.
Thank you for your support of the CAOC legislative team. As a reminder, we need trial lawyers like you to assist in reviewing legislation in specialty areas. Please use this link to sign up: https://tinyurl.com/CAOCLegReview.
As I said earlier, we cannot accomplish any of this without the support of the entire California trial lawyers community. Whether you are a member of CAOC or not, we welcome your participation in our efforts, which inevitably help ensure the health of your practice.
One big way all trial lawyers can help is by joining us for Justice Day, CAOC’s annual lobbying event at the state Capitol. This year, we’ll be meeting April 27 and 28. If you haven’t ever attended this fun event, which allows you an opportunity to venture into the Capitol and discuss important issues with lawmakers and their staff members, you should sign up today at www.caoc.org/20justiceday.
This year’s event will be better than ever. Things get rolling Monday April 27 at 5:30 p.m. with the Legislative Reception at the tony Mix Downtown night spot a couple blocks from the statehouse. Justice Day starts the next morning and features speakers, food, collegiality and lobbying trips in the morning and afternoon to the state Capitol. I hope I’ll see you there!
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