Louisiana and California legislative committees approve bills to require courts report how often they are punishing lawyers for filing frivolous cases/pleadings

Plans in California and Louisiana to require courts report how often they are penalizing attorneys and parties for frivolous filings are advancing through the committee process.

The California proposal first discussed here takes the form of AB 2494 as amended. It would resurrect a statute the expired in 1994 (Code of Civil Procedure 128.5) regarding punishment and sanctions for frivolous “actions or tactics” and require the courts, through the state’s Judicial Council, report out on punishments.

On or before June 30, 2018, the Judicial Council shall submit a report to the Legislature examining the impact and effect of this act, including the number of motions made under both Sections 128.5 and 128.7 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the number of motions made pursuant to those sections resulting in an award of sanctions, the nature and amount of any sanctions awarded pursuant to those sections, and whether or not the enactment of Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure in this act has had a demonstrable effect on reducing the frequency and severity of bad faith actions or tactics that would not be subject  to sanction under Section 128.7 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

AB 2494 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations committee on a 17-0 vote on May 23.

The Louisiana legislative plan (HCR 137) first discussed here two weeks ago is similar to the California bill. HCR 137 requests the Judicial Council of the Supreme Court of Louisiana to gather information in order to determine the frequency and effectiveness of judicial enforcement of sanctions for filing
pleadings that violate Code of Civil Procedure Article 863(B). Where the original HCR 137 used the word “frivolous” three times in the text, the amended version dropped that word and replaced it with specific reference to CCP 863(B) which covers more than just “frivolous” filings and encompasses filings made for an “improper purpose”, that lack “evidentiary support”, or that fail to meet several other criteria. The amended bill was approved 14-0 by the House Judiciary Committee on May 22.