CA residents– SOL reform can happen w your help!

Please sign the petition and if your case was blocked by an expired SOL, tell your story on Facebook.

CA Alert:  Please urge Gov. Brown to sign SB 926, which passed the Assembly unanimously and is now on the way to his desk for his signature. It extends the criminal SOL to 40 and is a great development for CA’s victims.

Here is a sample letter:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Dear Governor Brown:

I urge you to support and sign SB 926 into law for the sake of California’s children.

Sincerely,

Name/Title
Address

Cc:       June Clark, Deputy Legislative Secretary
Senator Jim Beall
(916) 651-4915 fax

Senate Bill 926 would reform the criminal statute of limitations by raising the age at which an adult survivor of childhood sex abuse can seek prosecution from 28 to 40 years. The bill would affect sex crimes against children including lewd and lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and other offenses. The bill has co-authors from both parties.

A second bill, SB 924, proposes to reform the two standards that now govern the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits by:

  • Increasing the age deadline to file to 40 years old from 26. This existing deadline is currently used when the victim makes his or her causal connection to their trauma before they reach their 26th birthday.
  • Increasing the time from the date of discovery of their trauma to child sex abuse to five years from the current standard of three years. Additionally, it stipulates the five-year period starts when a physician, psychologist, or clinical psychologist first informs the victim of the link between their adult psychological injures and the abuse.

Contact your representative NOW!

Current Civil Law

    Up to Age 26 (8 years)

    • Discovery: Discovery + 3 years
    • Tolling: Yes
  • Special Childhood Sexual Abuse Statute Of Limitations: 8 Years (up to age 26) or 3 years after the date

    “the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse.”

    (with certificate of merit only).Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.1(a)- (h)

  • Limited Discovery Rule: 3 years. Actions against a person for committing childhood sexual abuse may be brought “within 3 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse . . . .” Id. Actions for liability against a person who owed the victim a duty of care and actions against a third party whose intentional act was the legal cause of the sexual abuse are barred on the victim reaches age 26, unless that person failed to take reasonable steps to prevent future unlawful sexual conduct by an employee or representative that it knew or had reason to know had engaged in such conduct. Id. § 340.1(b).
  • 1 Year Window : From January 1, 2003. Id. § 340.1(c)

    • Note: § 340.1(c) and (d)(1) (relating to the 2003 window) were found unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Roe 1, 146 Cal. App. 4th 171 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2006)

Current Criminal Law

Up to Age 28 for felony sexual offenses against a child

  • Tolling: No  -  Exceptions: Yes

Delayed Statute Of Limitations For Most Sex Crimes Against Victims Less Than 16: Until victim is 28 years old. Ca. Penal Code § 801.1 allows prosecutions for a number of felony sex crimes committed against victims younger than 18 to be brought any time before the victim’s 28th birthday. Felony sex crimes are sodomy, oral copulation, and sexual penetration of victims less than 16, §§ 286, 288a, 288.7, and performing lewd or lascivious acts against a child under the age of 14, § 288.

Reporting Window: 1 Year: After the above Statute of Limitations has expired, prosecutions for a sexual crime committed against a victim younger than 18 may be brought within 1 year of the date a report is filed with a state law enforcement agency. Ca. Penal Code § 803(f). In this case, the allegations must be corroborated by admissible, independent evidence other than the victim’s own testimony. Id.

Leading Cases

  • APA_Amicus_Brief_in_Stogner (2003) - Amicus brief of the American Psychiatric Association in the U.S. Supreme court case of Stogner v.  California. The brief contains a lengthy list of scientific studies on the impact of sexual abuse and the difficulties survivors face coming forward. This was the case that dealt with California’s efforts to revive previously time barred criminal cases back in 2002.  Ultimately, the U.S.  Supreme Court held that effort to be unconstitutional.

Pending Bills: SB 924 (Civil)

Current Bill Text as of 5/27/14:

BILL NUMBER: SB 924 AMENDED
BILL TEXT

AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 27, 2014
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 13, 2014

INTRODUCED BY Senators Beall and Lara

JANUARY 29, 2014

An act to amend Section 340.1 of , and to add Section 340.105
to,
the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to damages.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 924, as amended, Beall. Damages: childhood sexual abuse:
statute of limitations.

Existing law requires that an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse, as defined, be commenced within 8 years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority or within 3 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by sexual abuse, whichever occurs later. Existing law provides that certain actions may be commenced on and after the plaintiff’s 26th birthday if specified conditions are met.
This bill would instead require that an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse establish 2 separate statute of limitations for an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse. An action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse occurring prior to January 1, 2015, would be subject to the above provisions of existing law. An action involving childhood sexual abuse occurring on or after January 1, 2015, would be required to be commenced within 22 years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority, or within 3 years of the date the fact of the psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is first communicated to the plaintiff by a licensed mental health practitioner practicing within the state  plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse , whichever period expires later. The bill would make conforming changes.

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

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 340.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:
340.1. (a) In an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse that occurred prior to January 1, 2015 , the time for commencement of the action shall be within eight years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority or within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later, for any of the following actions:
(1) An action against any person for committing an act of childhood sexual abuse.
(2) An action for liability against any person or entity who owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, where a wrongful or negligent act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse which that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(3) An action for liability against any person or entity where an intentional act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse which that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(b) (1) No action described in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) may be commenced on or after the plaintiff’s 26th birthday.
(2) This subdivision does not apply if the person or entity knew or had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent, and failed to take reasonable steps, and to implement reasonable safeguards, to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct in the future by that person, including, but not limited to, preventing or avoiding placement of that person in a function or environment in which contact with children is an inherent part of that function or environment. For purposes of this subdivision, providing or requiring counseling is not sufficient, in and of itself, to constitute a reasonable step or reasonable safeguard.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any claim for damages described in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) that is permitted to be filed pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) that would otherwise be barred as of January 1, 2003, solely because the applicable statute of limitations has or had expired, is revived, and, in that case, a cause of action may be commenced within one year of January 1, 2003. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to alter the applicable statute of limitations period of an action that is not time barred as of January 1, 2003.
(d) Subdivision (c) does not apply to either of the following:
(1) Any claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits in any court of competent jurisdiction prior to January 1, 2003. Termination of a prior action on the basis of the statute of limitations does not constitute a claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits.
(2) Any written, compromised settlement agreement which that has been entered into between a plaintiff and a defendant where the plaintiff was represented by an attorney who was admitted to practice law in this state at the time of the settlement, and the plaintiff signed the agreement.
(e) “Childhood sexual abuse” as used in this section includes any act committed against the plaintiff that occurred when the plaintiff was under the age of 18 years of age  and that would have been proscribed by Section 266j of the Penal Code; Section 285 of the Penal Code; paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of subdivision (c), of Section 286 of the Penal Code; subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code; paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of subdivision (c), of Section 288a of the Penal Code; subdivision (h), (i), or (j) of Section 289 of the Penal Code; Section 647.6 of the Penal Code; or any prior laws of this state of similar effect at the time the act was committed. Nothing in this subdivision limits the availability of causes of action permitted under subdivision (a), including causes of action against persons or entities other than the alleged perpetrator of the abuse.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the otherwise applicable burden of proof, as defined in Section 115 of the Evidence Code, that a plaintiff has in a civil action subject to this section.
(g) Every plaintiff 26 years of age or older at the time the action is filed shall file certificates of merit as specified in subdivision (h).
(h) Certificates of merit shall be executed by the attorney for the plaintiff and by a licensed mental health practitioner selected by the plaintiff declaring, respectively, as follows, setting forth the facts which that support the declaration:
(1) That the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, that the attorney has consulted with at least one mental health practitioner who is licensed to practice and practices in this state and who the attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and that the attorney has concluded on the basis of that review and consultation that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action. The person consulted may not be a party to the litigation.
(2) That the mental health practitioner consulted is licensed to practice and practices in this state and is not a party to the action, that the practitioner is not treating and has not treated the plaintiff, and that the practitioner has interviewed the plaintiff and is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and has concluded, on the basis of his or her knowledge of the facts and issues, that in his or her professional opinion there is a reasonable basis to believe that the plaintiff had been subject to childhood sexual abuse.
(3) That the attorney was unable to obtain the consultation required by paragraph (1) because a statute of limitations would impair the action and that the certificates required by paragraphs (1) and (2) could not be obtained before the impairment of the action. If a certificate is executed pursuant to this paragraph, the certificates required by paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be filed within 60 days after filing the complaint.
(i) Where certificates are required pursuant to subdivision (g), the attorney for the plaintiff shall execute a separate certificate of merit for each defendant named in the complaint.
(j) In any action subject to subdivision (g), no defendant may be served, and the duty to serve a defendant with process does not attach, until the court has reviewed the certificates of merit filed pursuant to subdivision (h) with respect to that defendant, and has found, in camera, based solely on those certificates of merit, that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action against that defendant. At that time, the duty to serve that defendant with process shall attach.
(k) A violation of this section may constitute unprofessional conduct and may be the grounds for discipline against the attorney.
( l ) The failure to file certificates in accordance with this section shall be grounds for a demurrer pursuant to Section 430.10 or a motion to strike pursuant to Section 435.
(m) In any action subject to subdivision (g), no defendant may be named except by “Doe” designation in any pleadings or papers filed in the action until there has been a showing of corroborative fact as to the charging allegations against that defendant.
(n) At any time after the action is filed, the plaintiff may apply to the court for permission to amend the complaint to substitute the name of the defendant or defendants for the fictitious designation, as follows:
(1) The application shall be accompanied by a certificate of corroborative fact executed by the attorney for the plaintiff. The certificate shall declare that the attorney has discovered one or more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging allegations against a defendant or defendants, and shall set forth in clear and concise terms the nature and substance of the corroborative fact. If the corroborative fact is evidenced by the statement of a witness or the contents of a document, the certificate shall declare that the attorney has personal knowledge of the statement of the witness or of the contents of the document, and the identity and location of the witness or document shall be included in the certificate. For purposes of this section, a fact is corroborative of an allegation if it confirms or supports the allegation. The opinion of any mental health practitioner concerning the plaintiff shall not constitute a corroborative fact for purposes of this section.
(2) Where the application to name a defendant is made prior to that defendant’s appearance in the action, neither the application nor the certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall be served on the defendant or defendants, nor on any other party or their counsel of record.
(3) Where the application to name a defendant is made after that defendant’s appearance in the action, the application shall be served on all parties and proof of service provided to the court, but the certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall not be served on any party or their counsel of record.
(o) The court shall review the application and the certificate of corroborative fact in camera and, based solely on the certificate and any reasonable inferences to be drawn from the certificate, shall, if one or more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging allegations against a defendant has been shown, order that the complaint may be amended to substitute the name of the defendant or defendants.
(p) The court shall keep under seal and confidential from the public and all parties to the litigation, other than the plaintiff, any and all certificates of corroborative fact filed pursuant to subdivision (n).
(q) Upon the favorable conclusion of the litigation with respect to any defendant for whom a certificate of merit was filed or for whom a certificate of merit should have been filed pursuant to this section, the court may, upon the motion of a party or upon the court’s own motion, verify compliance with this section by requiring the attorney for the plaintiff who was required by subdivision (h) to execute the certificate to reveal the name, address, and telephone number of the person or persons consulted with pursuant to subdivision (h) that were relied upon by the attorney in preparation of the certificate of merit. The name, address, and telephone number shall be disclosed to the trial judge in camera and in the absence of the moving party. If the court finds there has been a failure to comply with this section, the court may order a party, a party’s attorney, or both, to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by the defendant for whom a certificate of merit should have been filed.
(r) The amendments to this section enacted at the 1990 portion of the 1989-90 Regular Session shall apply to any action commenced on or after January 1, 1991, including any action otherwise barred by the period of limitations in effect prior to January 1, 1991, thereby reviving those causes of action which had lapsed or technically expired under the law existing prior to January 1, 1991.
(s) The Legislature declares that it is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting the amendments to this section enacted at the 1994 portion of the 1993-94 Regular Session, that the express language of revival added to this section by those amendments shall apply to any action commenced on or after January 1, 1991.
(t) Nothing in the amendments to this section enacted at the 1998 portion of the 1997-98 Regular Session is intended to create a new theory of liability.
(u) The amendments to subdivision (a) of this section, enacted at the 1998 portion of the 1997-98 Regular Session, shall apply to any action commenced on or after January 1, 1999, and to any action filed prior to January 1, 1999, and still pending on that date, including any action or causes of action which would have been barred by the laws in effect prior to January 1, 1999. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to revive actions or causes of action as to which there has been a final adjudication prior to January 1, 1999.

SEC. 2. Section 340.105 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, immediately following Section 340.1, to read:
340.105. (a) In an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse that occurred on or after January 1, 2015, the time for commencement of the action shall be within 22
years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority or within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after
the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later, for any of the following actions:
(1) An action against any person for committing an act of childhood sexual abuse.
(2) An action for liability against any person or entity who owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, where a wrongful or negligent act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(3) An action for liability against any person or entity where an intentional act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(b) (1) No action described in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision
(a) may be commenced on or after the plaintiff’s 40th birthday.
(2) This subdivision does not apply if the person or entity knew or had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent, and failed to take reasonable steps, and to implement reasonable safeguards, to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct in the future by that person, including, but not limited to, preventing or avoiding placement of that person in a function or environment in which contact with children is an inherent part of that function or environment. For purposes of this subdivision, providing or requiring counseling is not sufficient, in and of itself, to constitute a reasonable step or reasonable safeguard.
(c) “Childhood sexual abuse” as used in this section includes any act committed against the plaintiff that occurred when the plaintiff was under 18 years of age and that would have been proscribed by Section 266j of the Penal Code; Section 285 of the Penal Code; paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of subdivision (c), of Section 286 of the Penal Code; subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code; paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of subdivision (c), of Section 288a of the Penal Code; subdivision (h), (i), or (j) of Section 289 of the Penal Code; Section 647.6 of the Penal Code; or any prior laws of this state of similar effect at the time the act was committed. Nothing in this subdivision limits the availability of causes of action permitted under subdivision (a), including causes of action against persons or entities other than the
alleged perpetrator of the abuse.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the otherwise applicable burden of proof, as defined in Section 115 of the Evidence Code, that a plaintiff has in a civil action subject to
this section.
(e) Every plaintiff 40 years of age or older at the time the action is filed shall file certificates of merit as specified in subdivision (f).
(f) Certificates of merit shall be executed by the attorney for the plaintiff and by a licensed mental health practitioner selected by the plaintiff declaring, respectively, as follows, setting forth the facts that support the declaration:
(1) That the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, that the attorney has consulted with at least one mental health practitioner who is licensed to practice and practices in this state and who the attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and that the attorney has concluded on the basis of that review and consultation that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action. The person consulted may not be a party to the litigation.
(2) That the mental health practitioner consulted is licensed to practice and practices in this state and is not a party to the action, that the practitioner is not treating and has not treated the plaintiff, and that the practitioner has interviewed the plaintiff and is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and has concluded, on the basis of his or her knowledge of the facts and issues, that in his or her professional opinion there is a reasonable basis to believe that the plaintiff had been subject to childhood sexual abuse.
(3) That the attorney was unable to obtain the consultation required by paragraph (1) because a statute of limitations would impair the action and that the certificates required by paragraphs (1) and (2) could not be obtained before the impairment of the action. If a certificate is executed pursuant to this paragraph, the certificates required by paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be filed within 60 days after filing the complaint.
(g) Where certificates are required pursuant to subdivision (e), the attorney for the plaintiff shall execute a separate certificate of merit for each defendant named in the complaint.
(h) In any action subject to subdivision (e), no defendant may be served, and the duty to serve a defendant with process does not attach, until the court has reviewed the certificates of merit filed pursuant to subdivision (f) with respect to that defendant, and has found, in camera, based solely on those certificates of merit, that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action against that defendant. At that time, the duty to serve that defendant with process shall attach.
(i) A violation of this section may constitute unprofessional conduct and may be the grounds for discipline against the attorney.
(j) The failure to file certificates in accordance with this section shall be grounds for a demurrer pursuant to Section 430.10 or a motion to strike pursuant to Section 435.
(k) In any action subject to subdivision (e), no defendant may be named except by “Doe” designation in any pleadings or papers filed in the action until there has been a showing of corroborative fact as to the charging allegations against that defendant.
(l) At any time after the action is filed, the plaintiff may apply to the court for permission to amend the complaint to substitute the name of the defendant or defendants for the fictitious designation,
as follows:
(1) The application shall be accompanied by a certificate of corroborative fact executed by the attorney for the plaintiff. The certificate shall declare that the attorney has discovered one or
more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging allegations against a defendant or defendants, and shall set forth in clear and concise terms the nature and substance of the corroborative fact. If
the corroborative fact is evidenced by the statement of a witness or the contents of a document, the certificate shall declare that the attorney has personal knowledge of the statement of the witness or of
the contents of the document, and the identity and location of the witness or document shall be included in the certificate. For purposes of this section, a fact is corroborative of an allegation if
it confirms or supports the allegation. The opinion of any mental health practitioner concerning the plaintiff shall not constitute a corroborative fact for purposes of this section. (2) Where the application to name a defendant is made prior to that defendant’s appearance in the action, neither the application nor the certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall be served on the defendant or defendants, nor on any other party or their counsel of record.
(3) Where the application to name a defendant is made after that defendant’s appearance in the action, the application shall be served on all parties and proof of service provided to the court, but the certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall not be served on any party or their counsel of record.
(m) The court shall review the application and the certificate of corroborative fact in camera and, based solely on the certificate and any reasonable inferences to be drawn from the certificate, shall, if one or more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging allegations against a defendant has been shown, order that the complaint may be amended to substitute the name of the defendant or defendants.
(n) The court shall keep under seal and confidential from the public and all parties to the litigation, other than the plaintiff, any and all certificates of corroborative fact filed pursuant to subdivision (l).
(o) Upon the favorable conclusion of the litigation with respect to any defendant for whom a certificate of merit was filed or for whom a certificate of merit should have been filed pursuant to this
section, the court may, upon the motion of a party or upon the court’s own motion, verify compliance with this section by requiring the attorney for the plaintiff who was required by subdivision (f) to
execute the certificate to reveal the name, address, and telephone number of the person or persons consulted with pursuant to subdivision (f) that were relied upon by the attorney in preparation
of the certificate of merit. The name, address, and telephone number shall be disclosed to the trial judge in camera and in the absence of the moving party. If the court finds there has been a failure to
comply with this section, the court may order a party, a party’s attorney, or both, to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by the defendant for whom a certificate of merit
should have been filed.

SECTION 1.
Section 340.1 of the Code of Civil
Procedure is amended to read:
340.1. (a) In an action for recovery of damages suffered as a
result of childhood sexual abuse, the time for commencement of the
action shall be within 22 years of the date the plaintiff attains the
age of majority or within three years of the date the plaintiff
discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological
injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by
the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later, for any of the
following actions:
(1) An action against any person for committing an act of
childhood sexual abuse.
(2) An action for liability against any person or entity who owed
a duty of care to the plaintiff, where a wrongful or negligent act by
that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual
abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(3) An action for liability against any person or entity where an
intentional act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the
childhood sexual abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
(b) (1) No action described in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision
(a) may be commenced on or after the plaintiff’s 40th birthday.
(2) This subdivision does not apply if the person or entity knew
or had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful
sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent,
and failed to take reasonable steps, and to implement reasonable
safeguards, to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct in the future by
that person, including, but not limited to, preventing or avoiding
placement of that person in a function or environment in which
contact with children is an inherent part of that function or
environment. For purposes of this subdivision, providing or requiring
counseling is not sufficient, in and of itself, to constitute a
reasonable step or reasonable safeguard.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any claim for
damages described in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) that is
permitted to be filed pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b)
that would otherwise be barred as of January 1, 2003, solely because
the applicable statute of limitations has or had expired, is revived,
and, in that case, a cause of action may be commenced within one
year of January 1, 2003. Nothing in this subdivision shall be
construed to alter the applicable statute of limitations period of an
action that is not time
barred as of January 1, 2003.
(d) Subdivision (c) does not apply to either of the following:
(1) Any claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits in
any court of competent jurisdiction prior to January 1, 2003.
Termination of a prior action on the basis of the statute of
limitations does not constitute a claim that has been litigated to
finality on the merits.
(2) Any written, compromised settlement agreement that has been
entered into between a plaintiff and a defendant where the plaintiff
was represented by an attorney who was admitted to practice law in
this state at the time of the settlement, and the plaintiff signed
the agreement.
(e) “Childhood sexual abuse” as used in this section includes any
act committed against the plaintiff that occurred when the plaintiff
was under 18 years of age and that would have been proscribed by
Section 266j of the Penal Code; Section 285 of the Penal Code;
paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of subdivision (c), of
Section 286 of the Penal Code; subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288
of the Penal Code; paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or of
subdivision (c), of Section 288a of the Penal Code; subdivision (h),
(i), or (j) of Section 289 of the Penal Code; Section 647.6 of the
Penal Code; or any prior laws of this state of similar effect at the
time the act was committed. Nothing in this subdivision limits the
availability of causes of action permitted under subdivision (a),
including causes of action against persons or entities other than the
alleged perpetrator of the abuse.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the
otherwise applicable burden of proof, as defined in Section 115 of
the Evidence Code, that a plaintiff has in a civil action subject to
this section.
(g) Every plaintiff 40 years of age or older at the time the
action is filed shall file certificates of merit as specified in
subdivision (h).
(h) Certificates of merit shall be executed by the attorney for
the plaintiff and by a licensed mental health practitioner selected
by the plaintiff declaring, respectively, as follows, setting forth
the facts that support the declaration:
(1) That the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, that the
attorney has consulted with at least one mental health practitioner
who is licensed to practice and practices in this state and who the
attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable of the relevant facts
and issues involved in the particular action, and that the attorney
has concluded on the basis of that review and consultation that there
is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the action.
The person consulted may not be a party to the litigation.
(2) That the mental health practitioner consulted is licensed to
practice and practices in this state and is not a party to the
action, that the practitioner is not treating and has not treated the
plaintiff, and that the practitioner has interviewed the plaintiff
and is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the
particular action, and has concluded, on the basis of his or her
knowledge of the facts and issues, that in his or her professional
opinion there is a reasonable basis to believe that the plaintiff had
been subject to childhood sexual abuse.
(3) That the attorney was unable to obtain the consultation
required by paragraph (1) because a statute of limitations would
impair the action and that the certificates required by paragraphs
(1) and (2) could not be obtained before the impairment of the
action. If a certificate is executed pursuant to this paragraph, the
certificates required by paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be filed within
60 days after filing the complaint.
(i) Where certificates are required pursuant to subdivision (g),
the attorney for the plaintiff shall execute a separate certificate
of merit for each defendant named in the complaint.
(j) In any action subject to subdivision (g), no defendant may be
served, and the duty to serve a defendant with process does not
attach, until the court has reviewed the certificates of merit filed
pursuant to subdivision (h) with respect to that defendant, and has
found, in camera, based solely on those certificates of merit, that
there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the
action against that defendant. At that time, the duty to serve that
defendant with process shall attach.
(k) A violation of this section may constitute unprofessional
conduct and may be the grounds for discipline against the attorney.
( l
) The failure to file certificates in
accordance with this section shall be grounds for a demurrer pursuant
to Section 430.10 or a motion to strike pursuant to Section 435.
(m) In any action subject to subdivision (g), no defendant may be
named except by “Doe” designation in any pleadings or papers filed in
the action until there has been a showing of corroborative fact as
to the charging allegations against that defendant.
(n) At any time after the action is filed, the plaintiff may apply
to the court for permission to amend the complaint to substitute the
name of the defendant or defendants for the fictitious designation,
as follows:
(1) The application shall be accompanied by a certificate of
corroborative fact executed by the attorney for the plaintiff. The
certificate shall declare that the attorney has discovered one or
more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging allegations
against a defendant or defendants, and shall set forth in clear and
concise terms the nature and substance of the corroborative fact. If
the corroborative fact is evidenced by the statement of a witness or
the contents of a document, the certificate shall declare that the
attorney has personal knowledge of the statement of the witness or of
the contents of the document, and the identity and location of the
witness or document shall be included in the certificate. For
purposes of this section, a fact is corroborative of an allegation if
it confirms or supports the allegation. The opinion of any mental
health practitioner concerning the plaintiff shall not constitute a
corroborative fact for purposes of this section.
(2) Where the application to name a defendant is made prior to
that defendant’s appearance in the action, neither the application
nor the certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall be
served on the defendant or defendants, nor on any other party or
their counsel of record.
(3) Where the application to name a defendant is made after that
defendant’s appearance in the action, the application shall be served
on all parties and proof of service provided to the court, but the
certificate of corroborative fact by the attorney shall not be served
on any party or their counsel of record.
(o) The court shall review the application and the certificate of
corroborative fact in camera and, based solely on the certificate and
any reasonable inferences to be drawn from the certificate, shall,
if one or more facts corroborative of one or more of the charging
allegations against a defendant has been shown, order that the
complaint may be amended to substitute the name of the defendant or
defendants.
(p) The court shall keep under seal and confidential from the
public and all parties to the litigation, other than the plaintiff,
any and all certificates of corroborative fact filed pursuant to
subdivision (n).
(q) Upon the favorable conclusion of the litigation with respect
to any defendant for whom a certificate of merit was filed or for
whom a certificate of merit should have been filed pursuant to this
section, the court may, upon the motion of a party or upon the court’
s own motion, verify compliance with this section by requiring the
attorney for the plaintiff who was required by subdivision (h) to
execute the certificate to reveal the name, address, and telephone
number of the person or persons consulted with pursuant to
subdivision (h) that were relied upon by the attorney in preparation
of the certificate of merit. The name, address, and telephone number
shall be disclosed to the trial judge in camera and in the absence of
the moving party. If the court finds there has been a failure to
comply with this section, the court may order a party, a party’s
attorney, or both, to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney’
s fees, incurred by the defendant for whom a certificate of merit
should have been filed.
(r) The amendments to this section enacted at the 1990 portion of
the 1989-90 Regular Session shall apply to any action commenced on or
after January 1, 1991, including any action otherwise barred by the
period of limitations in effect prior to January 1, 1991, thereby
reviving those causes of action which had lapsed or technically
expired under the law existing prior to January 1, 1991.
(s) The Legislature declares that it is the intent of the
Legislature, in enacting the amendments to this section enacted at
the 1994 portion of the 1993-94 Regular Session, that the express
language of revival added to this section by those amendments shall
apply to any action commenced on or after January 1, 1991.
(t) Nothing in the amendments to this section enacted at the 1998
portion of the 1997-98 Regular Session is intended to create a new
theory of liability.
(u) The amendments to subdivision (a) of this section, enacted at
the 1998 portion of the 1997-98 Regular Session, shall apply to any
action commenced on or after January 1, 1999, and to any action filed
prior to January 1, 1999, and still pending on that date, including
any action or causes of action which would have been barred by the
laws in effect prior to January 1, 1999. Nothing in this subdivision
is intended to revive actions or causes of action as to which there
has been a final adjudication prior to January 1, 1999.

View older bill text:

SB 924 CA

Pending Bills: SB 926 (criminal)

State Outreach Organizations

Contact:

Jeffrey R. Dion
Deputy Executive Director
National Center for Victims of Crime

Director
National Crime Victim Bar Association
2000 M ST, NW Ste 480
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 467-8717
www.victimbar.org

An affiliate of the National Center for Victims of Crime
www.VictimsOfCrime.org
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests: California

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