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Warning! This is a not the current version of this legislative bill.
Italicized text includes proposed additions to law or the previous version of the bill.
Struck text includes proposed deletions to law or the previous version of the bill.

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AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY AUGUST 30, 2012
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY AUGUST 24, 2012
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JUNE 20, 2012
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 16, 2012
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 30, 2012

INTRODUCED BY Senators Steinberg and Dutton
( Principal coauthor: Assembly Member
John A. Pérez )
(Coauthors: Senators Cannella and Gaines)

FEBRUARY 22, 2012

An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 6106.2 of the Business
and Professions Code, to amend Sections 55.3, 55.52, 55.53, 55.54,
and 55.56 of, to add Sections 55.31, 55.545, and 1938 to, and to add,
repeal, and add Section 55.32 of, the Civil Code, to add Section
425.50 to the Code of Civil Procedure, and to
amend Sections 4459.8 and 8299.05 of, to add Chapter 7.5 (commencing
with Section 4465) to Division 5 of Title 1 of, and to repeal and add
Sections 8299.06, 8299.07, and 8299.08 of, the Government Code,
and to add and repeal Section 18944.5 of the Health and Safety
Code,
relating to disability access, making an appropriation
therefor, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect
immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1186, as amended, Steinberg. Disability access.
(1) Existing law requires an attorney to provide a written
advisory to a building owner or tenant with each demand for money or
complaint for any construction-related accessibility claim, as
specified. A violation of this requirement may subject the attorney
to disciplinary action.
This bill would, instead, require an attorney to provide a written
advisory with each demand letter or complaint, as defined, sent to
or served upon a defendant or potential defendant for any
construction-related accessibility claim, as specified. The bill
would require the Judicial Council to update the form that may be
used by attorneys to comply with this requirement on or before July
1, 2013. The bill would require an allegation of a
construction-related accessibility claim in a demand letter
, or any allegation of noncompliance with a construction-related
accessibility standard in a
or complaint
, to state facts sufficient to allow the
defendant
a reasonable person to identify the
basis for the claim. The bill would require any complaint
alleging a construction-related accessibility claim to be verified by
the plaintiff, and would make any complaint filed without
verification subject to a motion to strike.
The bill would
prohibit a demand letter from including a request or demand for money
or an offer or agreement to accept money. The bill also would
prohibit an attorney , or other person acting at the
direction of an attorney,
from issuing a demand for money to a
building owner or tenant, or an authorized agent or employee of a
building owner or tenant, on the basis of one or more
construction-related accessibility violations, as specified. The bill
would require an attorney to include his or her State Bar license
number in a demand letter, and to submit copies of the demand letter
to the California Commission on Disability Access and, until January
1, 2016, to the State Bar. The bill also would require, until January
1, 2016, an attorney to submit a copy of a complaint to the
commission. The bill would provide that a violation of these
requirements may subject the attorney to disciplinary action ,
as specified
.
This bill would require the commission to review and report on the
demand letters and complaints it receives until January 1, 2016. The
bill also would require the State Bar, commencing July 31, 2013, and
annually each July 31 thereafter, to report specified information to
the Legislature regarding the demand letters that it receives.
(2) Existing law provides, upon being served with a summons and
complaint asserting a construction-related accessibility claim, a
qualified defendant, as defined, may file a request for a court stay
and early evaluation conference in the proceedings, as specified.
Existing law requires the Judicial Council to prepare and post on its
Internet Web site instructions and a form for a qualified defendant
to use to file an application for stay and early evaluation
conference pursuant to this provision.
This bill would permit other defendants to file a request for a
court stay and early evaluation conference pursuant to this
provision, including (A) a defendant, until January 1, 2018, whose
site's new construction or improvement on or after January 1, 2008,
and before January 1, 2016, was approved pursuant to the local
building permit and inspection process, (B) a defendant whose site's
new construction or improvement was approved by a local public
building department inspector who is a certified access specialist,
and (C) a defendant who is a small business, as described. The bill
would require the Judicial Council to modify the form that
may be used by
prepare and post a form for filing an
application for stay and early evaluation conference for use by
qualified defendants and
these additional defendants
to apply for a court stay and early evaluation
, and
any additional forms appropriate to implement these provisions

, as specified. The bill also would authorize a defendant who does
not qualify for an early evaluation conference pursuant to these
provisions, or who forgoes those provisions, to request a mandatory
evaluation conference, as specified. The bill would authorize a
plaintiff to make that request if the defendant does not make that
request.
(3) Existing law provides statutory damages in a
construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public
accommodation if a violation of construction-related accessibility
standards denied the plaintiff full and equal access to that site on
a particular occasion. A plaintiff is denied full and equal access
only if, on a particular occasion, the plaintiff personally
encountered the violation or was deterred from accessing the site.
These statutory damages are in the amount of actual damages and any
additional amount determined by a jury or the court up to a maximum
of 3 times the amount of actual damages but not less than $4,000, or,
for certain violations, $1,000.
This bill would require the court, in assessing liability in any
action alleging multiple claims for the same construction-related
accessibility violation on different particular occasions, to
consider the reasonableness of the plaintiff's conduct in light of
the plaintiff's obligation, if any, to mitigate damages. The bill
would reduce a defendant's minimum liability for statutory damages in
a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public
accommodation to $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has
corrected all construction-related violations that are the basis of
the claim within 60 days of being served with the complaint and other
specified conditions apply, and would reduce that minimum liability
to $2,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all
construction-related violations that are the basis of the claim
within 30 days of being served with the complaint and the defendant
is a small business, as specified. The bill would require the
Department of General Services to make a biannual adjustment to
financial criteria defining a small business for these purposes, and
to post those adjusted amounts on its Internet Web site.
(4) Existing law requires the State Architect to develop and
submit for approval and adoption building standards for making
buildings, structures, sidewalks, curbs, and related facilities
accessible to, and usable by, persons with disabilities, as
specified. Existing law provides for the inspection of places of
public accommodation by certified access specialists to determine if
the sites meet all applicable construction-related accessibility
standards, and the provision of specified certificates and reports
regarding those inspections. Existing law regulates the hiring of
real property.
This bill would require a commercial property owner to state on a
lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July 1, 2013, if
the property being leased or rented has undergone inspection by a
certified access specialist.
(5) The federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the
California Building Standards Code require that specified buildings,
structures, and facilities be accessible to, and usable by, persons
with disabilities. Existing law establishes in the Department of
General Services, the Division of the State Architect with
responsibilities relating to architectural services, state buildings,
and disability access. Existing law requires the State Architect to
establish a certified access specialist program for voluntary
certification by the state of any person who meets specified criteria
as a certified access specialist. Existing law authorizes the State
Architect to require applicants for certification and renewal of
certification under the certified access specialist program to pay
specified fees, including an application fee, a course fee, and an
examination fee, at a level sufficient to meet the costs of
administering the program, for deposit into the Certified Access
Specialist Fund.
In administering the certified access specialist program, this
bill would require the State Architect to periodically review its
schedule of fees for certification under the program to ensure that
the fees are not excessive. The bill would prohibit the State
Architect from charging a California licensed architect, landscape
architect, civil engineer, or structural engineer, an application fee
for certification that exceeds $250.
This bill would impose, on and after January 1, 2013, and until
December 31, 2018, an additional state fee of $1 on any applicant for
a local business license or similar
equivalent
instrument or permit, or renewal thereof, for
purposes of increasing disability access and compliance with
construction-related accessibility requirements and developing
educational resources for businesses to facilitate compliance with
federal and state disability laws, as specified. The bill would
divide those moneys for the state between the local entity that
collected the moneys and the Division of the State Architect,
pursuant to specified percentages. The bill would create a
continuously appropriated fund, the Disability Access and Education
Revolving Fund, for the deposit of funds to be transferred to the
Division of the State Architect, thereby making an appropriation.
This bill would make an appropriation by authorizing local government
entities to retain 70% of the fees imposed.
By adding to the duties of a local entity, this bill would impose
a state-mandated local program.
(6) Existing law establishes the California Commission on
Disability Access for purposes of developing recommendations to
enable persons with disabilities to exercise their right to full and
equal access to public facilities and facilitating business
compliance with the laws and regulations to avoid unnecessary
litigation. Existing law sets forth the powers and duties of the
commission, as specified. Existing law requires the commission to
study and make reports to the Legislature regarding disability access
laws and compliance, as specified. Existing law requires the
commission to act as an information center on the status of
compliance with disability access laws, to publish a biennial report,
and to coordinate with other state agencies and local building
departments to ensure the uniformity of information provided to the
public on disability access.
This bill would revise and recast those duties and powers, as
specified, and eliminate the biennial reporting requirement. The bill
would instead provide that a priority of the commission shall be the
development and dissemination of educational materials and
information to promote and facilitate disability access compliance,
including a requirement that the commission work with the Division of
the State Architect and the Department of Rehabilitation to develop
educational materials for use by businesses. The bill would require
the commission to post specified information on its Internet Web
site, including, but not limited to, educational materials and
information that will assist business owners. The bill would require
the commission to report to the Legislature on its implementation by
a specified date. The bill would require the commission to compile
data with respect to any demand letter or complaint sent to the
commission and post that information on its Internet Web site.
(7) Existing law, the California Building Standards Law, requires
a state agency responsible for the adoption of building standards to
submit its standards to the California Building Standards Commission
for review and approval, subject to specified procedures and a
triennial code adoption cycle. Existing law requires the commission
to codify and publish approved standards in the California Building
Code, as set forth in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
Existing law provides that building standards become effective 180
days after its publication, as specified.

This bill would provide, for the purpose of an alleged violation
of a construction-related accessibility standard, that upon
publication of the 2013 California Building Standards Code, but prior
to its effective date, as specified, compliance with the building
standards for disabled accessibility in the 2013 California Building
Standards Code is authorized as an alternative method of compliance.

(7)

(8) The California Constitution requires the state to
reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs
mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for
making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
statutory provisions.
(8)

(9) This bill would declare that it is to take effect
immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3. Appropriation: yes. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


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

SECTION 1. Section 6106.2 of the Business and Professions Code is
amended to read:
6106.2. (a) It shall constitute cause for the imposition of
discipline of an attorney within the meaning of this chapter for an
attorney to engage in any conduct in violation of Section
55.3,
55.3 of the Civil Code.
(b) Commencing January 1, 2013, it
shall constitute cause for the imposition of discipline of an
attorney within the meaning of this chapter for an attorney to engage
in any conduct in violation of
subdivision (b) or (c) of
Section 55.31, or paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) or subdivision (b)
of Section 55.32 of the Civil Code, or paragraph (2) of subdivision
(a) of Section 55.32 of the Civil Code as provided in subdivision (c)
of that section.
(b)

(c) This section shall remain in effect only until
January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later
enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2016, deletes or
extends that date.
SEC. 2. Section 6106.2 is added to the Business and Professions
Code, to read:
6106.2. (a) It shall constitute cause for the imposition of
discipline of an attorney within the meaning of this chapter for an
attorney to engage in any conduct in violation of Section 55.3,
subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 55.31, or paragraph (2) of
subdivision (a) or subdivision (b) of Section 55.32 of the
Civil Code.
(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2016.
SEC. 3. Section 55.3 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
55.3. (a) For purposes of this section, the following shall
apply:
(1) "Complaint" means a civil complaint that is filed or is to be
filed with a court and is sent to or served upon a defendant on the
basis of one or more construction-related accessibility claims, as
defined in this section.
(2) "Construction-related accessibility claim" means any claim of
a violation of any construction-related accessibility standard, as
defined by paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52, with
respect to a place of public accommodation. "Construction-related
accessibility claim" does not include a claim of interference with
housing within the meaning of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of
Section 54.1, or any claim of interference caused by something other
than the construction-related accessibility condition of the
property, including, but not limited to, the conduct of any person.
(3) "Demand for money" means a prelitigation written document or
oral statement that is provided or issued to a building owner or
tenant, or the owner's or tenant's authorized
agent or employee, that does all of the following:
(A) Alleges that the site is in violation of one or more
construction-related accessibility standards, as defined in paragraph
(6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.52, or alleges one or more
construction-related accessibility claims, as defined in paragraph
(2) , against the recipient of the demand .
(B) Contains or makes a request or demand for money or an offer or
agreement to accept money.
(C) Is provided or issued whether or not the attorney intends to
file a complaint, or eventually files a complaint, in state or
federal court.
(4) "Demand letter" means a prelitigation written
document that is provided to a building owner or tenant, or the owner'
s or tenant's authorized agent or employee, that
alleges the site is in violation of one or more construction-related
accessibility standards, as defined in paragraph (6) of subdivision
(a) of Section 55.52, or alleges one or more construction-related
accessibility claims, as defined in paragraph (2), and is provided
whether or not the attorney intends to file a complaint, or
eventually files a complaint, in state or federal court.
(b) An attorney shall provide a written advisory on the form
described in subdivision (c), or, until that form is available, on a
separate page or pages that are clearly distinguishable from the
demand letter or complaint, with each demand letter or complaint sent
to or served upon a defendant or potential defendant. The advisory
shall not be required in responsive
subsequent
communications following the initial demand letter
or initial complaint unless a new construction-related
accessibility claim is asserted in the subsequent demand letter
or amended complaint
. The advisory shall state as follows:

STATE LAW REQUIRES THAT YOU GET THIS IMPORTANT ADVISORY
INFORMATION FOR BUILDING OWNERS AND TENANTS

This information is available in English, Spanish, Chinese,
Vietnamese, and Korean through the Judicial Council of California.
Persons with visual impairments can get assistance in viewing this
form through the Judicial Council Internet Web site at
www.courts.ca.gov.
California law requires that you receive this information because
the demand letter or court complaint you received with this document
claims that your building or property does not comply with one or
more existing construction-related accessibility laws or regulations
protecting the civil rights of persons with disabilities to access
public places.
YOU HAVE IMPORTANT LEGAL OBLIGATIONS. Compliance with disability
access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies
to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open for
business to the public. You may obtain information about your legal
obligations and how to comply with disability access laws through the
Division of the State Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov. Information is
also available from the California Commission on Disability Access at
www.ccda.ca.gov/guide.htm.
YOU HAVE IMPORTANT LEGAL RIGHTS. The allegations made in the
accompanying demand letter or court complaint do not mean that you
are required to pay any money unless and until a court finds you
liable. Moreover, RECEIPT OF A DEMAND LETTER OR COURT COMPLAINT AND
THIS ADVISORY DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN YOU WILL BE FOUND LIABLE FOR
ANYTHING. You will have the right if you are later sued to fully
present your explanation why you believe you have not in fact
violated disability access laws or have corrected the violation or
violations giving rise to the claim.
You have the right to seek assistance or advice about this demand
letter or court complaint from any person of your choice. If you have
insurance, you may also wish to contact your insurance provider.
Your best interest may be served by seeking legal advice or
representation from an attorney, but you may also represent yourself
and file the necessary court papers to protect your interests if you
are served with a court complaint. If you choose to hire
have hired an attorney to represent you,
the attorney who sent you the demand letter or complaint is
prohibited from contacting you further unless your attorney has given
the other attorney permission to contact you. If the other attorney
does try to contact you,
you should immediately notify your
attorney.
If a court complaint has been filed and served
on you, you will get a separate advisory notice with the complaint
advising you of special options and procedures available to you
if your property has been inspected by a Certified Access
Specialist (an individual with specialized expertise to assist in
compliance with disability access laws, known as a CASp; see
www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Programs/programCert/casp.aspx). In addition, you
may also be entitled to a court stay and early evaluation conference
if your business is a small business that meets specified financial
criteria and employs 25 or fewer employees on average over a certain
time period and you did not make any modification or alteration that
created the condition constituting the violation, or, alternatively,
if the site's new construction or improvement was approved pursuant
to the local building permit and inspection process on or after
January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016, and to the best of your
knowledge there have been no modifications or alterations that
impacted compliance with construction-related accessibility standards
with respect to the plaintiff's claim
under certain
conditions
.
ADDITIONAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW: If the document accompanying
this notice is a demand letter from a lawyer and not a formal court
complaint, the lawyer is generally required by law to also
provide a copy of it to the State Bar of California , until
January 1, 2016,
in order that the State Bar may determine
whether the demand letter complies with legal requirements, INCLUDING
THAT THE DEMAND LETTER MAY NOT MAKE A REQUEST OR DEMAND FOR MONEY OR
AN OFFER OR AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT MONEY. Any demand letter or court
complaint must list the lawyer's State Bar license number on the
document.
You are encouraged, but are not required, to provide the State Bar
with a copy of the demand letter so the State Bar is aware that you
received this demand letter and may determine whether it is in
compliance with specified legal requirements. A copy of the letter
can be sent to the State Bar by facsimile transmission to
1-415-538-2171, or by mail to the State Bar of California, 180 Howard
Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105, Attention: Professional
Competence.

(c) On or before July 1, 2013, the Judicial Council shall update
the form that may be used by attorneys to comply with the
requirements of subdivision (b). The form shall be in substantially
the same format and include all of the text set forth in subdivision
(b). The form shall be available in English, Spanish, Chinese,
Vietnamese, and Korean, and shall include a statement that the form
is available in additional languages, and the Judicial Council
Internet Web site address where the different versions of the form
may be located. The form shall include Internet Web site information
for the Division of the State Architect and the California Commission
on Disability Access.
(d) Subdivision (b) shall apply only to a demand letter or
complaint made by an attorney. Nothing in this section is intended to
affect the right to file a civil complaint under any other law or
regulation protecting the physical access rights of persons with
disabilities. Additionally, nothing in this section requires a party
acting in propria persona to provide or send a
demand letter to another party before proceeding against that party
with a civil complaint.
(e) This section shall not apply to any action brought by the
Attorney General, or by any district attorney, city attorney, or
county counsel.
SEC. 4. Section 55.31 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
55.31. (a) An allegation of Commencing
January 1, 2013, a demand letter alleging
a
construction-related accessibility claim in a demand letter
, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3, shall
state facts sufficient to allow the defendant
a reasonable person
to identify the basis for
of the violation or violations supporting the
claim, including all of the following:
(1) An A plain language explanation
of the specific access barrier or barriers the individual
encountered, or by which the individual alleges he or she was
deterred, with sufficient information about the location of the
barrier to reasonably enable the defendant
enable a reasonable person
to identify the access barrier.
(2) The manner way in which the
barrier was encountered interfered with the
individual's full and equal use or access
, or in which it
deterred the individual , on each particular occasion .
(3) The date or dates of each particular occasion on
which the individual encountered the specific access barrier, or on
which he or she was deterred.
(b) A demand letter may offer prelitigation settlement
negotiations, but shall not include a request or demand for money or
an offer or agreement to accept money.
(1) With respect to potential monetary damages for an alleged
construction-related accessibility claim or claims, a demand letter
shall not state any specific potential monetary liability for any
asserted claim or claims, and may only state: "The property owner or
tenant, or both, may be civilly liable for actual and statutory
damages for a violation of a construction-related accessibility
requirement."
(2) A Notwithstanding any other law, a
demand letter meeting the requirements of this section shall be
deemed to satisfy the requirements for prelitigation notice of a
potential claim when prelitigation notice is required by statute or
common law for an award of attorney's fees.
(3) This subdivision and subdivision (a) do not apply to a demand
for money, which is governed by subdivision (c).
(c) An attorney , or a person acting at
the direction of an attorney,
shall not issue a demand for
money as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3. This subdivision
does not apply to a demand letter as defined in subdivision (a) of
Section 55.3.
(d) (1) A violation of subdivision (b) or
(c) constitutes cause for the imposition of discipline of an
attorney. Subdivisions (b) and (c) do not prohibit an attorney from
presenting a settlement figure or specification of damages in
response to a request from the building owner or tenant, or the owner'
s or tenant's authorized agent or employee, following a demand letter
provided pursuant to Section 55.3.
(2) Any liability for a violation of subdivision (c) is as
provided in paragraph (1) of this subdivision. A violation of
subdivision (c) does not create a new cause of action.

(e) Subdivision (c) does not prohibit any prelitigation settlement
discussion of liability for damages and attorney's fees that occurs
after a written or oral agreement is reached between the parties for
the repair or correction of the alleged violation or violations of a
construction-related accessibility standard.
(f) Subdivision (c) shall not apply to a claim involving physical
injury and resulting special damages, but a demand for money relating
to that claim that is sent shall otherwise comply with the
requirements of subdivision (a) and Section 55.32.
(g) Nothing in this section shall apply to a demand or statement
of alleged damages made in a prelitigation claim presented to a
governmental entity as required by state or federal law, including,
but not limited to, claims made under Part 3 (commencing with Section
900) of Division 3.6 of the Government Code.
(h) If subdivision (c) is not operative or becomes inoperative for
any reason, the requirements of subdivision (a) and Section 55.32
shall apply to any written demand for money.
SEC. 5. Section 55.32 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
55.32. (a) An attorney who provides a demand letter, as defined
in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3, shall do all of the following:
(1) Include the attorney's State Bar license number in the demand
letter.
(2) Contemporaneously with providing the demand letter, send a
copy of the demand letter to the State Bar of California by facsimile
transmission at 1-415-538-2171, or by mail to 180 Howard Street, San
Francisco, CA, 94105, Attention: Professional Competence.
(3) Within five business days of providing the demand letter, send
a copy of the demand letter to the California Commission on
Disability Access.
(b) An attorney who sends or serves a complaint, as defined in
subdivision (a) of Section 55.3, shall send a copy of the complaint
to the California Commission on Disability Access within five
business days of sending or serving the complaint.
(c) A violation of paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) or
subdivision (b) shall constitute cause for the imposition of
discipline of an attorney where a copy of the complaint or demand
letter is not sent to the California Commission on Disability Access
within five business days, or a copy of the demand letter is not sent
to the State Bar within five business days. In the event the State
Bar receives information indicating that an attorney has failed to
send a copy of the complaint or demand letter to the California
Commission on Disability Access within five business days, the State
Bar shall investigate to determine whether paragraph (3) of
subdivision (a) or subdivision (b) has been violated.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), an attorney is not
required to send to the State Bar of California or the California
Commission on Disability Access a copy of any subsequent demand
letter or amended complaint in the same dispute following the initial
demand letter or complaint, unless that subsequent demand letter or
amended complaint alleges a new construction-related accessibility
claim.

(d)

(e) A demand letter or complaint sent to the California
Commission on Disability Access shall be for the informational
purposes of Section 8299.08 of the Government Code. A demand letter
received by the State Bar from either the sender or recipient of the
demand letter shall be reviewed by the State Bar to determine whether
subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 55.31 has been violated.
(e)

(f) (1) Commencing July 31, 2013, and annually each
July 31 thereafter, the State Bar shall report to the Legislature and
the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary, both
of the following with respect to demand letters received by the State
Bar:
(A) The number of investigations opened to date on a suspected
violation of subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 55.31.
(B) Whether any disciplinary action resulted from the
investigation, and the results of that disciplinary action.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(f)

(g) The California Commission on Disability Access
shall review and report on the demand letters and complaints it
receives as provided in Section 8299.08 of the Government Code.
(h) Paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a) and subdivision (b)
shall not apply to a demand letter or complaint sent or filed by an
attorney employed or retained by a qualified legal services project
or a qualified support center, as defined in Section 6213 of the
Business and Professions Code, when acting within the scope of
employment in asserting a construction-related accessibility claim.
The Legislature finds and declares that qualified legal services
projects and support centers are extensively regulated by the State
Bar of California, and that there is no evidence of any abusive use
of demand letters or complaints by these organizations. The
Legislature further finds that, in light of the evidence of the
extraordinarily small number of construction-related accessibility
cases brought by regulated legal services programs, and given the
resources of those programs, exempting regulated legal services
programs from the requirements of this section to report to the
California Commission on Disability Access will not affect the
purpose of the reporting to, and tabulation by, the commission of all
other construction-related accessibility claims.

(i) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.


(g)

(j) This section shall remain in effect only until
January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later
enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2016, deletes or
extends that date.
SEC. 6. Section 55.32 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
55.32. (a) An attorney who provides a demand letter, as defined
in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3, shall do all of the following:
(1) Include the attorney's State Bar license number in the demand
letter.
(2) Within five business days of providing the demand letter, send
a copy of the demand letter to the California Commission on
Disability Access.
(b) An attorney who sends or serves a complaint, as defined in
subdivision (a) of Section 55.3, shall send a copy of the complaint
to the California Commission on Disability Access within five
business days of sending or serving the complaint.

(b)

(c) A violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a)
or subdivision (b) shall constitute cause for the
imposition of discipline of an attorney if a copy of the demand
letter or complaint is not sent to the California
Commission on Disability Access within five business days. In the
event the State Bar receives information indicating that an attorney
has failed to send a copy of the demand letter or complaint
to the California Commission on Disability Access within five
business days, the State Bar shall investigate to determine whether
paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) or subdivision (b) has
been violated.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), an attorney is not
required to send to the California Commission on Disability Access a
copy of any subsequent demand letter or amended complaint in the same
dispute following the initial demand letter or complaint, unless
that subsequent demand letter or amended complaint alleges a new
construction-related accessibility claim.

(c)

(e) A demand letter sent to the California Commission
on Disability Access shall be for the informational purposes of
Section 8299.08 of the Government Code. A demand letter received by
the State Bar from the recipient of the demand letter shall be
reviewed by the State Bar to determine whether subdivision (b) or (c)
of Section 55.31 has been violated.
(d)

(f) (1) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the
Government Code, on or before July 31, 2016, and annually thereafter,
the State Bar shall report to the Legislature and the Chairs of the
Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees, both of the following with
respect to demand letters received by the State Bar:
(A) The number of investigations opened to date on a suspected
violation of subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 55.31.
(B) Whether any disciplinary action resulted from the
investigation, and the results of that disciplinary action.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(e) Any conduct prior to January 1, 2016, that constituted cause
for imposition of discipline of an attorney under a former version of
this section shall continue to constitute cause for the imposition
of discipline of an attorney on and after that date.

(g) The California Commission on Disability Access shall review
and report on the demand letters and complaints it receives as
provided in Section 8299.08 of the Government Code.

(h) The expiration of any ground for discipline of an attorney
shall not affect the imposition of discipline for any act prior to
the expiration. An act or omission that constituted cause for
imposition of discipline of an attorney when committed or omitted
prior to January 1, 2016, shall continue to constitute cause for the
imposition of discipline of that attorney on and after January 1,
2016.

(i) Paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) and subdivision (b) shall not
apply to a demand letter or complaint sent or filed by an attorney
employed or retained by a qualified legal services project or a
qualified support center, as defined in Section 6213 of the Business
and Professions Code, when acting within the scope of employment in
asserting a construction-related accessibility claim. The Legislature
finds and declares that qualified legal services projects and
support centers are extensively regulated by the State Bar of
California, and that there is no evidence of any abusive use of
demand letters or complaints by these organizations. The Legislature
further finds that, in light of the evidence of the extraordinarily
small number of construction-related accessibility cases brought by
regulated legal services programs, and given the resources of those
programs, exempting regulated legal services programs from the
requirements of this section to report to the California Commission
on Disability Access will not affect the purpose of the reporting to,
and tabulation by, the commission of all other construction-related
accessibility claims.

(f)

(j) This section shall become operative on January 1,
2016.
SEC. 7. Section 55.52 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
55.52. (a) For purposes of this part, the following definitions
apply:
(1) "Construction-related accessibility claim" means any civil
claim in a civil action with respect to a place of public
accommodation, including, but not limited to, a claim brought under
Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, based wholly or in part on an alleged
violation of any construction-related accessibility standard, as
defined in paragraph (6).
(2) "Application for stay and early evaluation conference" means
an application to be filed with the court that meets the requirements
of subdivision (c) of Section 55.54.
(3) "Certified access specialist" or "CASp" means any person who
has been certified pursuant to Section 4459.5 of the Government Code.

(4) "Meets applicable standards" means the site was inspected by a
CASp and determined to meet all applicable construction-related
accessibility standards pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a)
of Section 55.53. A site that is "CASp inspected" on or before the
effective date of the amendments made to this section by Senate Bill
1186 of the 2011-12 Regular Session of the Legislature means that the
site "meets applicable standards."
(5) "Inspected by a CASp" means the site was inspected by a CASp
and is pending a determination by the CASp that the site meets
applicable construction-related accessibility standards pursuant to
paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.53. A site that is
"CASp determination pending" on or before the effective date of the
amendments made to this section by Senate Bill 1186 of the 2011-12
Regular Session of the Legislature means that the site was "inspected
by a CASp."
(6) "Construction-related accessibility standard" means a
provision, standard, or regulation under state or federal law
requiring compliance with standards for making new construction and
existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities,
including, but not limited to, any provision, standard, or regulation
set forth in Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55 of this code, Section
19955.5 of the Health and Safety Code, the California Building
Standards Code (Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations), the
federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336;
42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), and the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (Appendix A to Part 36 of
Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations).
(7) "Place of public accommodation" has the same meaning as
"public accommodation," as set forth in Section 12181(7) of Title 42
of the United States Code and the federal regulations adopted
pursuant to that section.
(8) "Qualified defendant" means a defendant in an action that
includes a construction-related accessibility claim that is asserted
against a place of public accommodation that met the requirements of
"meets applicable standards" or "inspected by a CASp" prior to the
date the defendant was served with the summons and complaint in that
action. To be a qualified defendant, the defendant is not required to
have been the party who hired any CASp, so long as the basis of the
alleged liability of the defendant is a construction-related
accessibility claim. To determine whether a defendant is a qualified
defendant, the court need not make a finding that the place of public
accommodation complies with all applicable construction-related
accessibility standards as a matter of law. The court need only
determine that the place of public accommodation has a status of
"meets applicable standards" or "inspected by a CASp."
(9) "Site" means a place of public accommodation.
(b) Unless otherwise indicated, terms used in this part relating
to civil procedure have the same meanings that those terms have in
the Code of Civil Procedure.
SEC. 8. Section 55.53 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
55.53. (a) For purposes of this part, a certified access
specialist shall, upon completion of the inspection of a site, comply
with the following:
(1) For a meets applicable standards site, if the CASp determines
the site meets all applicable construction-related accessibility
standards, the CASp shall provide a written inspection report to the
requesting party that includes both of the following:
(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
and areas of the site.
(B) A signed and dated statement that includes both of the
following:
(i) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
structures and areas of the site meet construction-related
accessibility standards. The statement shall clearly indicate whether
the determination of the CASp includes an assessment of readily
achievable barrier removal.
(ii) If corrections were made as a result of the CASp inspection,
an itemized list of all corrections and dates of completion.
(2) For an inspected by a CASp site, if the CASp determines that
corrections are needed to the site in order for the site to meet all
applicable construction-related accessibility standards, the CASp
shall provide a signed and dated written inspection report to the
requesting party that includes all of the following:
(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
and areas of the site.
(B) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
structures and areas of the site need correction to meet
construction-related accessibility standards. This statement shall
clearly indicate whether the determination of the CASp includes an
assessment of readily achievable barrier removal.
(C) An identification and description of the structures or areas
of the site that need correction and the correction needed.
(D) A schedule of completion for each of the corrections within a
reasonable timeframe.
(b) For purposes of this section, in determining whether the site
meets applicable construction-related accessibility standards when
there is a conflict or difference between a state and federal
provision, standard, or regulation, the state provision, standard, or
regulation shall apply unless the federal provision, standard, or
regulation is more protective of accessibility rights.
(c) Every CASp who conducts an inspection of a place of public
accommodation shall, upon completing the inspection of the site,
provide the building owner or tenant who requested the inspection
with the following notice, which the State Architect shall make
available as a form on the State Architect's Internet Web site:

NOTICE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER/TENANT:

YOU ARE ADVISED TO KEEP IN YOUR RECORDS ANY WRITTEN INSPECTION
REPORT AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTATION CONCERNING YOUR PROPERTY SITE THAT
IS GIVEN TO YOU BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST.
IF YOU BECOME A DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT THAT INCLUDES A CLAIM
CONCERNING A SITE INSPECTED BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST, YOU MAY
BE ENTITLED TO A COURT STAY (AN ORDER TEMPORARILY STOPPING ANY
LAWSUIT) OF THE CLAIM AND AN EARLY EVALUATION CONFERENCE.
IN ORDER TO REQUEST THE STAY AND EARLY EVALUATION CONFERENCE, YOU
WILL NEED TO VERIFY THAT A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST HAS INSPECTED
THE SITE THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE CLAIM. YOU WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED
TO PROVIDE THE COURT AND THE PLAINTIFF WITH THE COPY OF A WRITTEN
INSPECTION REPORT BY THE CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST, AS SET FORTH IN
CIVIL CODE SECTION 55.54. THE APPLICATION FORM AND INFORMATION ON
HOW TO REQUEST A STAY AND EARLY EVALUATION CONFERENCE MAY BE OBTAINED
AT www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO REQUEST, FROM A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST
WHO HAS CONDUCTED AN INSPECTION OF YOUR PROPERTY, A WRITTEN
INSPECTION REPORT AND OTHER DOCUMENTATION AS SET FORTH IN CIVIL CODE
SECTION 55.53. YOU ARE ALSO ENTITLED TO REQUEST THE ISSUANCE OF A
DISABILITY ACCESS INSPECTION CERTIFICATE, WHICH YOU MAY POST ON YOUR
PROPERTY.

(d) (1) Commencing July 1, 2010, a local agency shall employ or
retain at least one building inspector who is a certified access
specialist. The certified access specialist shall provide
consultation to the local agency, permit applicants, and members of
the public on compliance with state construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to inspections of a place of
public accommodation that relate to permitting, plan checks, or new
construction, including, but not limited to, inspections relating to
tenant improvements that may impact access. If a local agency employs
or retains two or more certified access specialists to comply with
this subdivision, at least one-half of the certified access
specialists shall be building inspectors who are certified access
specialists.
(2) Commencing January 1, 2014, a local agency shall employ or
retain a sufficient number of building inspectors who are certified
access specialists to conduct permitting and plan check services to
review for compliance with state construction-related accessibility
standards by a place of public accommodation with respect to new
construction, including, but not limited to, projects relating to
tenant improvements that may impact access. If a local agency employs
or retains two or more certified access specialists to comply with
this subdivision, at least one-half of the certified access
specialists shall be building inspectors who are certified access
specialists.
(3) If a permit applicant or member of the public requests
consultation from a certified access specialist, the local agency may
charge an amount limited to a reasonable hourly rate, an estimate of
which shall be provided upon request in advance of the consultation.
A local government may additionally charge or increase permitting,
plan check, or inspection fees to the extent necessary to offset the
costs of complying with this subdivision. Any revenues generated from
an hourly or other charge or fee increase under this subdivision
shall be used solely to offset the costs incurred to comply with this
subdivision. A CASp inspection pursuant to subdivision (a) by a
building inspector who is a certified access specialist shall be
treated equally for legal and evidentiary purposes as an inspection
conducted by a private CASp. Nothing in this subdivision shall
preclude permit applicants or any other person with a legal interest
in the property from retaining a private CASp at any time.
(e) (1) Every CASp who completes an inspection of a place of
public accommodation shall, upon a determination that the site meets
applicable standards pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) or
is inspected by a CASp pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a),
provide the building owner or tenant requesting the inspection with a
numbered disability access inspection certificate indicating that
the site has undergone inspection by a certified access specialist.
The disability access inspection certificate shall be dated and
signed by the CASp inspector, and shall contain the inspector's name
and license number. Upon issuance of a certificate, the CASp shall
record the issuance of the numbered certificate, the name and address
of the recipient, and the type of report issued pursuant to
subdivision (a) in a record book the CASp shall maintain for that
purpose.
(2) Beginning March 1, 2009, the State Architect shall make
available for purchase by any local building department or CASp
sequentially numbered disability access inspection certificates that
are printed with a watermark or other feature to deter forgery and
that comply with the information requirements specified in
subdivision (a). GRAPHIC INSERT HERE: SEE PRINTED VERSION OF THE
BILL]
(3) The disability access inspection certificate may be posted on
the premises of the place of public accommodation, unless, following
the date of inspection, the inspected site has been modified or
construction has commenced to modify the inspected site in a way that
may impact compliance with construction-related accessibility
standards.
(f) Nothing in this section or any other law is intended to
require a property owner or tenant to hire a CASp. A property owner's
or tenant's election not to hire a CASp shall not be admissible to
prove that person's lack of intent to comply with the law.
SEC. 9. Section 55.54 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
55.54. (a) (1) An attorney who causes a summons and complaint to
be served in an action that includes a construction-related
accessibility claim, including, but not limited to, a claim brought
under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, shall, at the same time, cause to
be served a copy of the application form specified in subdivision (c)
and a copy of the following notice , including, until January
1, 2013, the bracketed text,
to the defendant on separate
papers that shall be served with the summons and complaint:


ADVISORY NOTICE TO DEFENDANT


YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO ASK FOR A COURT STAY (AN ORDER TEMPORARILY
STOPPING ANY LAWSUIT) AND EARLY EVALUATION CONFERENCE IN THIS LAWSUIT
AND MAY BE ASSESSED REDUCED STATUTORY DAMAGES IF YOU MEET CERTAIN
CONDITIONS.
If the construction-related accessibility claim pertains to a site
that has a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection report for
that site, or for claims filed until January 1, 2018, if the
to a site where new construction or improvement
was approved after January 1, 2008, and before
January 1, 2016, was approved
by the local building permit
and inspection process, you may make an immediate request for a court
stay and early evaluation conference in the construction-related
accessibility claim by filing the attached application form with the
court. You may be entitled to the court stay and early evaluation
conference regarding the accessibility claim only if ALL of the
statements in the application form applicable to you are
true.
FURTHER, if you are a defendant described above (with a CASp
inspection report or with new construction after January 1, 2008),
and, to the best of your knowledge, there have been no modifications
or alterations completed or commenced since the CASp report or
building department approval of the new construction
or improvement
that impacted compliance with
construction-related accessibility standards with respect to the
plaintiff's claim, your liability for minimum statutory damages may
be reduced to $1,000 for each claim offense,
unless the violation was intentional, and
if all
construction-related accessibility violations giving rise to the
claim are corrected within 60 days of being served with this
complaint.
IN ADDITION, if your business is a small business that, over the
previous three years, or the existence of the business if less than
three years, employs 25 or fewer employees on average over that time
period and meets specified financial gross
receipts
criteria, you may also be entitled to the court stay
and early evaluation conference and your minimum statutory damages
for each claim may be reduced to $2,000 for each offense, unless
the violation was intentional, and
if all the alleged
construction-related accessibility violations are corrected within 30
days of being served with the complaint so long as the
violation or violations were not caused by any modifications or
alterations made by you
.
If you plan to correct the violations giving rise to the claim, you
should take pictures and measurements or similar action to document
the condition of the physical barrier asserted to be the basis for a
violation before undertaking any corrective action in case a court
needs to see the condition of a barrier before it was corrected.
The court will schedule the conference to be held within
65
70 days after you file the attached
application form. If
If you are not a defendant with a CASp
inspection report, until a form is adopted by the Judicial
Council,
you may still use the attached form
if you modify the form and supplement it with your declaration
stating any one of the following:
(1) Until January 1, 2018, that the site's new construction or
improvement on or after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016,
was approved pursuant to the local building permit and inspection
process , ; that, to the best of your
knowledge, there have been no modifications or alterations completed
or commenced since the building department approval that impacted
compliance with construction-related accessibility standards with
respect to the plaintiff's claim , ;
and that all violations giving rise to the claim have been
corrected
, or will be , corrected within 60
days of the complaint being served.
(2) That the site's new construction or improvement passed
inspection by a local building department inspector who is a
certified access specialist , ; that,
to the best of your knowledge, there have been no modifications or
alterations completed or commenced since that inspection approval
that impacted compliance with construction-related accessibility
standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim ,
; and that all violations giving rise to the claim have
been corrected, or will be corrected within 60 days of the
complaint being served.
(3) That your business is a small business with 25 or fewer
employees and meets the financial gross
receipts
criteria set out in Section 55.56 of the Civil Code,
and that all violations giving rise to the claim have been
corrected
, or will be , corrected within 30
days of being served with the complaint.
complaint.
]
The court will also issue an immediate stay of the proceedings
unless the plaintiff has obtained a temporary restraining order in
the construction-related accessibility claim. At your
option, you may be, but need not be, represented by an attorney to
file the application to request the early evaluation conference.
You may obtain a copy of the application form, filing
instructions, and additional information about the stay and early
evaluation conference through the Judicial Council Internet Web site
at www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.
You may file the application after you are served with a summons
and complaint, but no later than your first court pleading or
appearance in this case, which is due within 30 days after you
receive the summons and complaint. If you do not file the
application, you will still need to file your reply to the lawsuit
within 30 days after you receive the summons and complaint to contest
it. You may obtain more information about how to represent yourself
and how to file a reply without hiring an attorney at
www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.
You may file the application without the assistance of an attorney,
but it may be in your best interest to immediately seek the
assistance of an attorney experienced in disability access laws when
you receive a summons and complaint. You may make an offer to settle
the case, and it may be in your interest to put that offer in writing
so that it may be considered under Section 55.55 of the Civil Code.

(3)

(2) An attorney who files a Notice of Substitution of
Counsel to appear as counsel for a plaintiff who, acting in propria
persona, had previously filed a complaint in an action that includes
a construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not
limited to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, shall,
at the same time, cause to be served a copy of the application form
specified in subdivision (c) and a copy of the notice specified in
paragraph (1) upon the defendant on separate pages that shall be
attached to the Notice of Substitution of Counsel.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, upon being served with a
summons and complaint asserting a construction-related accessibility
claim, including, but not limited to, a claim brought under Section
51, 54, 54.1, or 55, a qualified defendant, or other defendant as
defined in paragraph (2), may file a request for a court stay and
early evaluation conference in the proceedings of that claim prior to
or simultaneous with that defendant's responsive pleading or other
initial appearance in the action that includes the claim. If that
defendant filed a timely request for stay and early evaluation
conference before a responsive pleading was due, the period for
filing a responsive pleading shall be tolled until the stay is
lifted. Any responsive pleading filed simultaneously with a request
for stay and early evaluation conference may be amended without
prejudice, and the period for filing that amendment shall be tolled
until the stay is lifted.
(2) This subdivision shall also apply to a defendant if any of the
following apply:
(A) Until January 1, 2018, the site's new construction or
improvement on or after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016,
was approved pursuant to the local building permit and inspection
process, and the defendant declares with the application that, to the
best of the defendant's knowledge, there have been no modifications
or alterations completed or commenced since that approval that
impacted compliance with construction-related accessibility standards
with respect to the plaintiff's claim, and that all violations have
been corrected , or will be , corrected
within 60 days of being served with the complaint.
(B) The site's new construction or improvement was approved by a
local public building department inspector who is a certified access
specialist, and the defendant declares with the application that, to
the best of the defendant's knowledge, there have been no
modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessability
accessibility standards with
respect to the plaintiff's claim, and that all violations have been
corrected , or will be , corrected
within 60 days of being served with the complaint.
(C) The defendant is a small business described in subdivision (f)
of Section 55.56, and the defendant declares with the application
that, to the best of the defendant's knowledge, there have
been no modifications or alterations completed or commenced since
that approved that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim, and
that all violations have been corrected , or
will be , corrected within 30 days of being served
with the complaint.
(3) Notwithstanding any other law, if the plaintiff had acted in
propria persona in filing a complaint that includes a
construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not limited
to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, a qualified
defendant, or a defendant described by paragraph (2), who is served
with a Notice of Substitution of Counsel shall have 30 days to file
an application for a stay and an early evaluation conference. The
application may be filed prior to or after the defendant's filing of
a responsive pleading or other initial appearance in the action that
includes the claim, except that an application may not be filed in a
claim in which an early evaluation conference or settlement
conference has already been held on the claim.
(c) (1) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay
by a qualified defendant shall include a signed declaration that
states both of the following:
(A) The site identified in the complaint has been CASp-inspected
or meets applicable standards, or is CASp determination pending or
has been inspected by a CASp, and if the site is CASp-inspected or
meets applicable standards, there have been no modifications
completed or commenced since the date of inspection that may impact
compliance with construction-related accessibility standards to the
best of the defendant's knowledge.
(B) An inspection report pertaining to the site has been issued by
a CASp. The inspection report shall be provided to the court and the
plaintiff at least 15 days prior to the court date set for the early
evaluation conference.
(2) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay by
a defendant described by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of
subdivision (b), which may be filed until January 1, 2018, shall
include a signed declaration that states all of the following:
(A) The site's new construction or improvement was approved
pursuant to the local building permit and inspection process on or
after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016.
(B) To the best of the defendant's knowledge there have been no
modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim.
(C) All construction-related violations giving rise to the claim
have been corrected , or will be ,
corrected within 60 days of the complaint being served upon the
defendant.
(3) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay by
a defendant described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of
subdivision (b) shall include a signed declaration that states all
the of the following:
(A) The site's new construction or improvement was approved by a
local building department inspector who is a certified access
specialist.
(B) To the best of the defendant's knowledge there have been no
modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim.
(C) All construction related violations giving rise to the claim
have been corrected , or will be ,
corrected within 60 days of the complaint being served upon the
defendant.
(4) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay by
a defendant described by subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of
subdivision (b) shall include the materials listed in paragraphs (5)
and (6) of this subdivision, and shall include a signed declaration
that states all both of the following:
(A) The defendant is a small business that employs 25 or fewer
employees and meets the financial gross
receipts
eligibility criteria provided in paragraph (2) of
subdivision (f) of Section 55.56.
(B) The condition constituting the alleged violation was not
caused by any modification or alteration by the defendant.


(C)

(B) All construction-related violations giving rise to
the claim have been corrected , or will be ,
corrected within 30 days of the complaint being served upon
the defendant.
(5) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay by
a small business defendant under paragraph (4) shall include evidence
showing correction of all violations within 30 days of the service
of the complaint and served upon the plaintiff with the reply
unless the application is filed prior to completion of the
corrections. In that event, the evidence shall be provided to the
court and served upon the plaintiff within five
10 days of the court order as provided in paragraph (4) of
subdivision (d). This paragraph shall not be construed to extend the
permissible time under subdivision (f) of Section 55.56 to make the
corrections.
(6) An application for an early evaluation conference and stay by
a small business defendant under paragraph (4) shall also include
both of the following, which shall be confidential documents filed
only with the court and not served upon or available to the
plaintiff:
(A) Proof of the defendant's number of employees, as shown
by workers' compensation insurance records or by
wage report forms filed with the Employment Development Department.
(B) Proof of the defendant's average gross receipts for the
previous three years, or for the existence of the business if less
than three years, as shown by a federal or state tax document.
(7) The following provisional request and notice forms may be used
and filed by a qualified defendant until forms are adopted by the
Judicial Council for those purposes pursuant to subdivision (l):
GRAPHIC INSERT HERE: SEE PRINTED VERSION OF THE BILL] GRAPHIC INSERT
HERE: SEE PRINTED VERSION OF THE BILL]
(8) The provisional forms and any replacement Judicial Council
forms shall include the defendant's declaration of proof of service
of the application, the notice of the court's order, and the court's
order pursuant to subdivision (d).
(d) Upon the filing of an application
for stay and early evaluation conference by a qualified defendant, or
a defendant described by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), the court
shall immediately issue an order that does all of the following:
(1) Grants a 90-day stay of the proceedings with respect to the
construction-related accessibility claim, unless the plaintiff has
obtained temporary injunctive relief that is still in place for the
construction-related accessibility claim.
(2) Schedules a mandatory early evaluation conference for a date
as soon as possible from the date of the order, but in no event later
than 65 70 days after issuance of the
order, and in no event earlier than 45 50
days after the filing of the request.
(3) Directs the parties, and any other person whose authority is
required to negotiate and enter into settlement, to appear in person
at the time set for the conference. Appearance by counsel shall not
satisfy the requirement that the parties or those with negotiation
and settlement authority personally appear, provided, however, that
the court may allow a party who is unable to attend in person due to
his or her disability to participate in the hearing by telephone or
other alternative means or through a representative authorized to
settle the case.
(4) (A) Directs the qualified defendant to file with the court and
serve on the plaintiff a copy of any relevant CASp inspection report
at least 15 days before the date of the conference. The CASp
inspection report is confidential and is available only as set forth
in paragraph (5) of this subdivision and in paragraph (4) of
subdivision (e).
(B) Directs a defendant described by subparagraph (A) or (B) of
paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) who has filed a declaration stating
that the violation or violations have been corrected , or
will be , corrected within 60 days of service of
the complaint to file with the court and serve on the plaintiff
evidence of showing correction of the
violation or violations within five 10
calendar days after the completion of the corrections.
(C) Directs a defendant described by subparagraph (C) of paragraph
(2) of subdivision (b) who has filed a declaration stating that the
violation or violations have been corrected , or will be
, corrected within 30 days of service of the
complaint to file with the court and serve on the plaintiff within
five 10 days after issuance of the
court order evidence of correction of the violation or violations, if
that evidence of showing correction
was not filed previously with the application and served on the
plaintiff.
(5) Directs the parties that the CASp inspection report may be
disclosed only to the court, the parties to the action, the parties'
attorneys, those individuals employed or retained by the attorneys to
assist in the litigation, and insurance representatives or others
involved in the evaluation and settlement of the case.
(6) Directs the plaintiff to file with the court and serve on the
defendant at least 15 days before the date of the conference a
statement that includes, to the extent reasonably known, for use
solely for the purpose of the early evaluation conference, all of the
following:
(A) An itemized list of specific conditions on the subject
premises that are the basis of the claimed violations of
construction-related accessibility standards in the plaintiff's
complaint.
(B) The amount of damages claimed.
(C) The amount of attorney's fees and costs incurred to date, if
any, that are being claimed.
(D) Any demand for settlement of the case in its entirety.
(e) (1) A party failing to comply with any court order may be
subject to court sanction at the court's discretion.
(2) (A) The court shall lift the stay when the defendant has
failed to file and serve the CASp inspection report prior to the
early evaluation conference and has failed also to produce the report
at the time of the early evaluation conference, unless the defendant
shows good cause for that failure.
(B) The court shall lift the stay when a defendant described by
paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) has failed to file and serve the
evidence of showing correction of the
violation or violations as required by law.
(3) The court may lift the stay at the conclusion of the early
evaluation conference upon a showing of good cause by the plaintiff.
Good cause may include the defendant's failure to make reasonably
timely progress toward completion of corrections noted by a CASp.
(4) The CASp inspection report filed and served pursuant to
subdivision (d) shall remain confidential throughout the stay and
shall continue to be confidential until the conclusion of the claim,
whether by dismissal, settlement, or final judgment, unless there is
a showing of good cause by any party. Good cause may include the
defendant's failure to make reasonably timely progress toward
completion of corrections noted by a CASp. The confidentiality of the
inspection report shall terminate upon the conclusion of the claim,
unless the owner of the report obtains a court order pursuant to the
California Rules of Court to seal the record.
(f) All discussions at the early evaluation conference shall be
subject to Section 1152 of the Evidence Code. It is the intent of the
Legislature that the purpose of the evaluation conference shall
include, but not be limited to, evaluation of all of the following,
as applicable:
(1) Whether the defendant is entitled to the 90-day stay for some
or all of the identified issues in the case, as a qualified
defendant.
(2) The current condition of the site and the status of any plan
of corrections, including whether the qualified defendant has
corrected or is willing to correct the alleged violations, and the
timeline for doing so.
(3) Whether subdivision (f) of Section 55.56 is
may be applicable to the case, and whether all violations
giving rise to the claim have been corrected within the specified
time periods.
(4) Whether the case, including any claim for damages or
injunctive relief, can be settled in whole or in part.
(5) Whether the parties should share other information that may
facilitate early evaluation and resolution of the dispute.
(g) Nothing in this section precludes any party from making an
offer to compromise pursuant to Section 998 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
(h) For a claim involving a qualified defendant, as provided in
paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), the court may schedule additional
conferences and may extend the 90-day stay for good cause shown, but
not to exceed one additional 90-day extension.
(i) Early evaluation conferences shall be conducted by a superior
court judge or commissioner, or a court early evaluation conference
officer. A commissioner shall not be qualified to conduct early
evaluation conferences pursuant to this subdivision unless he or she
has received training regarding disability access requirements
imposed by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
(Public Law 101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), state laws that
govern access to public facilities, and federal and state regulations
adopted pursuant to those laws. For purposes of this subdivision, a
"court early evaluation conference officer" means an attorney
employed by the court who has received training regarding disability
access requirements imposed by the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, state laws that govern access to public
facilities, and federal and state regulations adopted pursuant to
those laws. Attorneys serving in this capacity may also be utilized
by the court for other purposes not related to these proceedings.
(j) Nothing in this part shall be deemed to make any inspection
report, opinion, statement, or other finding or conclusion of a CASp
binding on the court, or to abrogate in any manner the ultimate
authority of the court to make all appropriate findings of fact and
law. The CASp inspection report and any opinion, statement, finding,
or conclusion therein shall be given the weight the trier of fact
finds that it deserves.
(k) Nothing in this part shall be construed to invalidate or limit
any California construction-related accessibility standard that
provides greater or equal protection for the rights of individuals
with disabilities than is afforded by the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.)
and the federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.
(l) (1) The Judicial Council shall , by January 1, 2013,
prepare and post on its Internet Web site instructions and a
form for use by a qualified defendant, or other defendant described
by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), to file an application for stay
and early evaluation conference as provided in subdivisions (b) and
(c), and a form for the court's notice of stay and
early evaluation conference , and any other forms appropriate
to implement the provisions relating to early evaluation conferences
. Until those forms are adopted, the Judicial Council shall
post on its Internet Web site the provisional forms set forth in
subdivision (c).
(2) The Until the adoption of the forms as
provided in paragraph (1), the provisional
application form
described in paragraph (1) may be used by a
defendant described by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b).
(3) In lieu of the provisions specified in number 3 of page 1 of
the application form set forth in paragraph (7) of subdivision (c),
the application shall include one of the following declarations of
the defendant as to the basis for the application, as follows:
(A) That all of the following apply to a defendant described by
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b):
(i) The site's new construction or improvement was approved
pursuant to the local building permit and inspection process on or
after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2016.
(ii) To the best of the defendant's knowledge there have been no
modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim.
(iii) All the violations giving rise to the claim have been
corrected
, or will be , corrected within 60
days of the complaint being served.
(B) That all of the following apply to a defendant described by
subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b):
(i) The site's new construction or improvement was approved by a
local public building department inspector who is a certified access
specialist.
(ii) To the best of the defendant's knowledge there have been no
modifications or alterations completed or commenced since that
approval that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff's claim.
(iii) All the violations giving rise to the claim have been
corrected
, or will be , corrected within 60
days of the complaint being served.
(C) That all both of the following
apply to a defendant described by subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2)
of subdivision (b):
(i) The defendant is a small business described in paragraph (2)
of subdivision (f) of Section 55.56.
(ii) The violation or violations giving rise to the claim were not
caused by any modification or alteration of the property by the
defendant.

(iii)

(ii) The violation or violations giving rise to the
claim have been corrected , or will be ,
corrected within 30 days of the complaint being served.
(4) In lieu of the provision specified in number 4(c) of page 1 of
the application form set forth in paragraph (7) of subdivision (c),
the application shall include a request that the court order the
defendant to do either of the following:
(A) For a defendant who has filed a declaration stating that all
violations have been corrected , or will be ,
corrected within 60 days of service of the complaint, file
with the court and serve on the plaintiff evidence of
showing correction of the violation or
violations within five 10 calendar days
before of the completion of the
corrections.
(B) For a defendant who is a small business that has filed a
declaration stating that all the violations have been corrected
, or will be , corrected within 30 days of
the service of the complaint, file with the court and serve on the
plaintiff evidence of showing
correction of the violation or violations within five
10 calendar days after issuance of the court
order, if that evidence of showing
correction was not filed previously with the application and served
on the plaintiff.
(5) The Judicial Council shall also prepare and post on its
Internet Web site instructions and cover pages to assist plaintiffs
and defendants, respectively, to comply with their filing
responsibilities under subdivision (d). The cover pages shall also
provide for the party's declaration of proof of service of the
pertinent document served under the court order.
(m) The stay provisions shall not apply to any
construction-related accessibility claim in which the plaintiff has
been granted temporary injunctive relief that remains in place.
(n) This section shall not apply to any action brought by the
Attorney General, or by any district attorney, city attorney, or
county counsel.
(o) The amendments to this section made by Senate Bill 1186 of the
2011-12 Regular Session of the Legislature shall apply only to
claims filed on or after the operative date of that act. Nothing in
this part is intended to affect litigation
any complaint
filed before that date.
(p) Nothing in this part is intended to affect existing law
regarding class action requirements.
SEC. 10. Section 55.545 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
55.545. (a) A defendant who does not qualify for an early
evaluation conference pursuant Section 55.54, or who forgoes the
provisions of Section 55.54, may request a mandatory evaluation
conference. A plaintiff may, if the defendant does not make the
request with the filing of the responsive pleadings, request a
mandatory evaluation conference by filing an application within 15
days of the defendant's filing of responsive pleadings.
(b) Upon being served with a summons and complaint asserting a
construction-related accessibility claim, including, but not limited
to, a claim brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55, a defendant
may file an application for a mandatory evaluation conference in the
proceedings of that claim simultaneous with the defendant's
responsive pleading or other initial appearance in the action that
includes the claim. Until the application form for the mandatory
evaluation conference is developed by the Judicial Council and posted
on its Internet Web site pursuant to subdivision (j), a defendant
may request the calendaring of the mandatory evaluation conference in
a separate application filed with the defendant's responsive
pleadings.
(c) Upon the filing of a request or application for a mandatory
evaluation conference by a defendant or plaintiff, the court shall
schedule a mandatory evaluation conference for a date as soon as
possible from the date of the request or application, but in no event
later than 120 180 days after the date
of request or application, or earlier than 90
120 days after the filing of the request or application.
Upon mutual stipulation for an extension of the conference date, the
mandatory evaluation conference may be extended for up to 30 days.
The court court's notice of conference
shall also do all of the following:
(1) Direct the parties, and any other person whose authority is
required to negotiate and enter into settlement, to appear in person
at the time set for the conference. Appearance by counsel shall not
satisfy the requirement that the parties, or those with negotiation
and settlement authority, personally appear. However, the court may
allow a party who is unable to attend in person due to his or her
disability to participate in the hearing by telephone or other
alternative means, or through a representative authorized to settle
the case.
(2) Direct the plaintiff to file with the court and serve on the
defendant, at least 30 days before the date of mandatory evaluation
conference, a statement that includes, to the extent reasonably
known, for use solely for the purpose of the mandatory evaluation
conference, all of the following:
(A) An itemized list of specific conditions on the site that are
the basis of the claimed violations of construction-related
accessibility standards in the plaintiff's complaint.
(B) The amount of damages claimed.
(C) The amount of attorney's fees and costs incurred to date, if
any, that are being claimed.
(D) Any demand for settlement of the case in its entirety.
(3) Direct the defendant to file with the court and serve on the
plaintiff, at least 30 days before the date of the mandatory
evaluation conference, a statement of the defendant detailing any
remedial action or remedial correction plan undertaken, or to be
undertaken, by the defendant to correct the alleged violations.
(d) A party failing to comply with any court order is subject to
court sanction at the court's discretion.
(e) All discussions at the mandatory evaluation conference shall
be subject to Section 1152 of the Evidence Code. It is the intent of
the Legislature that the purpose of the evaluation conference shall
include, but not be limited to, evaluation of all of the following:
(1) The current condition of the site and the status of any plan
of correction, including whether the defendant has corrected, or is
willing to correct, the alleged violations, and the timeline for
doing so.
(2) Whether the case, including any claim for damages or
injunctive relief, can be settled in whole or in part.
(3) Whether the parties should share other information that may
facilitate evaluation and resolution of the dispute.
(f) Nothing in this section precludes any party from making an
offer to compromise pursuant to Section 998 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
(g) The court may schedule additional conferences.
(h) Mandatory evaluation conferences shall be conducted by a
superior court judge or commissioner, or by a court early evaluation
conference officer as provided in subdivision (i) of Section 55.54.
(i) If an inspection report by a certified access specialist is
offered by the defendant, the provisions of Section 55.54 relating to
the use and confidentiality of that report shall apply.
(j) (1) The Judicial Council shall prepare and post on its
Internet Web site instructions and a form for a party to use to file
an application for a mandatory evaluation conference and a form for
the court's notice of the mandatory evaluation conference. Until
those forms are adopted, a party and the court may use an ad hoc form
that complies with the requirements of this section.
(2) The Judicial Council shall also prepare and post on its
Internet Web site instructions and cover pages to assist plaintiffs
and defendants, respectively, to comply with their filing
responsibilities under subdivision (c).
(k) The mandatory evaluation conference may be in lieu of
any initial case management conference required by the court rules
where the mandatory evaluation conference satisfies the duty of the
parties to meet and confer under the court rules
,
at the court's discretion, be scheduled or combined with
the case management conference within the time period specified in
subdivision (c)
.
(l) This section shall not apply to any action brought by the
Attorney General, or by any district attorney, city attorney, or
county counsel.
(m) This section shall apply only to claims filed on or after
January 1, 2013. Nothing in this section is intended to affect
any compliant complaint filed
before that date.
SEC. 11. Section 55.56 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
55.56. (a) Statutory damages under either subdivision (a) of
Section 52 or subdivision (a) of Section 54.3 may be recovered in a
construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public
accommodation only if a violation or violations of one or more
construction-related accessibility standards denied the plaintiff
full and equal access to the place of public accommodation on a
particular occasion.
(b) A plaintiff is denied full and equal access only if the
plaintiff personally encountered the violation on a particular
occasion, or the plaintiff was deterred from accessing a place of
public accommodation on a particular occasion.
(c) A violation personally encountered by a plaintiff may be
sufficient to cause a denial of full and equal access if the
plaintiff experienced difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment
because of the violation.
(d) A plaintiff demonstrates that he or she was deterred from
accessing a place of public accommodation on a particular occasion
only if both of the following apply:
(1) The plaintiff had actual knowledge of a violation or
violations that prevented or reasonably dissuaded the plaintiff from
accessing a place of public accommodation that the plaintiff intended
to use on a particular occasion.
(2) The violation or violations would have actually denied the
plaintiff full and equal access if the plaintiff had accessed the
place of public accommodation on that particular occasion.
(e) Statutory damages may be assessed pursuant to subdivision (a)
based on each particular occasion that the plaintiff was denied full
and equal access, and not upon the number of violations of
construction-related accessibility standards identified at the place
of public accommodation where the denial of full and equal access
occurred. If the place of public accommodation consists of distinct
facilities that offer distinct services, statutory damages may be
assessed based on each denial of full and equal access to the
distinct facility, and not upon the number of violations of
construction-related accessibility standards identified at the place
of public accommodation where the denial of full and equal access
occurred.
(f) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant's liability for
statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim
against a place of public accommodation is reduced to a minimum of
one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense if the defendant
demonstrates that it
has corrected all construction-related
violations that are the basis of a claim within 60 days of being
served with the complaint, and the defendant demonstrates any of the
following:
(A) The structure or area of the alleged violation was determined
to be "CASp-inspected" or "meets applicable standards" and, to the
best of the defendant's knowledge, there were no modifications or
alterations that impacted compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff
plaintiff's claim that were completed or
commenced between the date of that determination and the particular
occasion on which the plaintiff was allegedly denied full and equal
access.
(B) The structure or area of the alleged violation was the subject
of an inspection report indicating "CASp determination pending" or
"Inspected by a CASp," and the defendant has either implemented
reasonable measures to correct the alleged violation prior to the
particular occasion on which the plaintiff was allegedly denied full
and equal access, or the defendant was in the process of correcting
the alleged violation within a reasonable time and manner prior to
the particular occasion on which the plaintiff was allegedly denied
full and equal access.
(C) For a claim alleging a construction-related accessibility
violation filed before January 1, 2018, the structure or area of the
alleged violation was a new construction or an improvement that was
approved by, and passed inspection by, the local building department
permit and inspection process on or after January 1, 2008, and before
January 1, 2016, and, to the best of the defendant's knowledge,
there were no modifications or alterations that impacted compliance
with respect to the plaintiff plaintiff's
claim
that were completed or commenced between the completion
date of the new construction or improvement and the particular
occasion on which the plaintiff was allegedly denied full and equal
access.
(D) The structure or area of the alleged violation was
newly constructed or improved and
new construction or
an improvement that was approved by, and
passed inspection by a
local building department official who is a certified access
specialist, and, to the best of the defendant's knowledge, there were
no modifications or alterations that affected compliance with
respect to the plaintiff plaintiff's claim
that were completed or commenced between the completion date of
the new construction or improvement and the particular occasion on
which the plaintiff was allegedly denied full and equal access.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant's liability for
statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim
against a place of public accommodation is reduced to a minimum of
two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each offense if the defendant
demonstrates
both of the following apply :
(A) The defendant has corrected all construction-related
violations that are the basis of a claim within 30 days of being
served with the complaint.
(B) The defendant is a small business that has employed 25 or
fewer employees on average over the past three years, or for the
years it has been in existence if less than three years, as evidenced
by wage report forms filed with the Economic Development Department,
and has average annual gross receipts of less than three million
five hundred thousand dollars ($3,500,000) over the previous three
years, or for the years it has been in existence if less than three
years, as evidenced by federal or state income tax returns. The
average annual gross receipts dollar amount shall be adjusted
biannually by the Department of General Services for changes in the
California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as compiled
by the Department of Industrial Relations. The Department of General
Services shall post that adjusted amount on its Internet Web site.

(3) Paragraph (2) shall not apply if the defendant made
modifications or alterations to the property that created the
condition constituting the violation.

(4)

(3) This subdivision shall not be applicable to
intentional violations , including, but not limited to,
where the defendant had knowledge of the alleged violation from a
prior notice or demand letter from the plaintiff or plaintiff's
attorney, but failed to act in a reasonable time and manner

.
(5)

(4) Nothing is in this
subdivision affects the awarding of actual damages, or affects the
awarding of treble actual damages.
(6)

(5) This subdivision shall apply only to claims filed
on or after the effective date of Senate Bill 1186 of the 2011-12
Regular Session of the Legislature. Nothing in this subdivision is
intended to affect litigation a complaint
filed before that date.
(g) This section does not alter the applicable law for the
awarding of injunctive or other equitable relief for a violation or
violations of one or more construction-related accessibility
standards, nor alter any legal obligation of a party to mitigate
damages.
(h) In assessing liability under subdivision (d), in any action
alleging multiple claims for the same construction-related
accessibility violation on different particular occasions, the court
shall consider the reasonableness of the plaintiff's conduct in light
of the plaintiff's obligation, if any, to mitigate damages.
SEC. 12. Section 1938 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
1938. A commercial property owner or lessor shall state on every
lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July 1, 2013,
whether the property being leased or rented has undergone inspection
by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp), and, if so, whether the
property has or has not been determined to meet all applicable
construction-related accessibility standards pursuant to Section
55.53.
SEC. 13. Section 425.50 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure,
to read:
425.50. Any allegation of noncompliance with a
construction-related accessibility standard
(a)
An allegation of a construction-related accessibility
claim
in a complaint, as defined in subdivision (a) of
Section 55.3 Section 55.52 of the Civil
Code, shall state facts sufficient to allow the defendant
a reasonable person to identify the basis
for of the violation or violations supporting
the claim, including all of the following:

(a) An

(1) A plain language explanation
of the specific access barrier or barriers the individual
encountered, or by which the individual alleges he or she was
deterred, with sufficient information about the location of the
alleged barrier to reasonably enable the defendant
enable a reasonable person to identify the access
barrier.
(b)

(2) The manner way in
which the barrier was encountered, denied the
individual full and equal use or access,
or in which it
deterred the individual , on each particular occasion .

(c)

(3) The date or dates of each particular occasion
on which the claimant encountered the specific access barrier,
or on which he or she was deterred.
(b) Any complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility
claim, as those terms are defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3
of the Civil Code, shall be verified by the plaintiff. A complaint
filed without verification shall be subject to a motion to strike.

(c) Nothing in this section shall limit the right of a plaintiff
to amend a complaint under Section 472, or with leave of court under
Section 473. However, any amended pleading alleging a
construction-related accessibility claim shall be pled as required by
subdivision (a).

(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.

SEC. 14. Section 4459.8 of the Government Code is amended to read:

4459.8. (a) The certification authorized by Section 4459.5 is
effective for three years from the date of initial certification and
expires if not renewed. The State Architect, upon consideration of
any factual complaints regarding the work of a certified access
specialist or of other relevant information, may suspend
certification or deny renewal of certification.
(b) (1) The State Architect shall require each applicant for
certification as a certified access specialist to pay fees, including
an application and course fee and an examination fee, at a level
sufficient to meet the costs of application processing, registration,
publishing a list, and other activities that are reasonably
necessary to implement and administer the certified access specialist
program. The State Architect shall require each applicant for
renewal of certification to pay a fee sufficient to cover the
reasonable costs of reassessing qualifications of renewal applicants.

(2) The State Architect shall periodically review its schedule of
fees to ensure that its fees for certification are not excessive
while covering the costs to administer the certified access
specialist program. The application fee for a California licensed
architect, landscape architect, civil engineer, or structural
engineer shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(c) All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited
into the Certified Access Specialist Fund, which is hereby created
in the State Treasury. Notwithstanding Section 13340, this fund is
continuously appropriated without regard to fiscal years for use by
the State Architect to implement Sections 4459.5 to 4459.8,
inclusive.
SEC. 15. Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 4465) is added to
Division 5 of Title 1 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER 7.5. DISABILITY ACCESS AND EDUCATION


4465. (a) There is hereby established in the Division of the
State Architect a Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund, as
set forth in Section 4470, for the purpose of increasing disability
access and compliance with construction-related accessibility
requirements by the following means:
(1) Increasing the number of private and public certified access
specialists available to assist building owners and tenants to
understand and comply with construction-related accessibility
requirements by using some of the funds to moderate some of the costs
of certification and testing.
(2) Establishing and maintaining oversight of the certified access
specialist program, including, but not limited to, adopting best
practices guidelines for certified access specialists, providing
continuing education on construction-related accessibility
requirements, and performing its audit and discipline functions under
Sections 4459.7 and 4459.8.
(3) Increasing outreach efforts and developing educational
resources for persons with disabilities and businesses to facilitate
compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
(42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section
51 of the Civil Code), and Title 24 of the California Code of
Regulations, as they relate to providing full and equal access to
public facilities for persons with disabilities.
(b) In developing educational resources with this fund, emphasis
shall be placed on the development and dissemination of educational
materials, such as toolkits, modules, and checklists, as appropriate,
to facilitate a commercial property owner's or tenant's
understanding of, and compliance with, the construction-related
accessibility requirements.
(c) In developing and disseminating educational resources with
this fund, the Division of the State Architect shall consult and work
with the Department of Rehabilitation and the California Commission
on Disability Access, and may contract with those agencies to develop
educational resources. It is the intent of the Legislature that any
development or dissemination of educational resources under this
section shall be coordinated with educational efforts by other state
agencies so as to expand the reach and effectiveness of each effort
or the combined efforts.
4467. (a) On and after January 1, 2013, and until December 31,
2018, any applicant for a local business license or similar
equivalent instrument or permit, and from any
applicant for the renewal of a business license or similar
equivalent instrument or permit, shall pay an
additional fee of one dollar ($1) for that license, instrument, or
permit, which shall be collected by the city, county, or city and
county that issued the license, instrument, or permit.
(b) The city, county, or city and county shall retain 70 percent
of the fees collected under this section, of which up to 5 percent of
the retained moneys may be used for related administrative costs of
this chapter. The remaining moneys shall be used to fund increased
certified access specialist (CASp) services in that jurisdiction
to for the public and to facilitate
compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements. The
highest priority shall be given to the training and retention of
certified access specialists to meet the needs of the public in the
jurisdiction as provided in Section 55.53 of the Civil Code.
(c) The remaining 30 percent of all fees collected under this
section shall be transmitted on a quarterly basis to the Division of
the State Architect for deposit in the Disability Access and
Education Revolving Fund established under Sections 4465 and 4470.
The funds shall be transmitted within 15 days of the last day of the
fiscal quarter. The Division of the State Architect shall develop and
post on its Internet Web site a standard reporting form for use by
all local jurisdictions. Up to 75 percent of the collected funds in
the Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund shall be used to
establish and maintain oversight of the CASp program and to moderate
the expense of CASp certification and testing.
(d) Each city, county, or city and county shall make an annual
report, commencing March 1, 2014, to the Legislature and to the
Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary, and the
Chair of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and the
Chair of the Assembly Committee on Budget, of the total fees
collected in the previous calendar year and of its distribution,
including the moneys spent on administrative services, the moneys
spent to increase CASp services, the moneys spent to fund programs to
facilitate compliance, and the moneys transmitted to the Disability
Access and Education Revolving Fund. A report to be submitted
pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with
Section 9795.
4469. (a) On and after
January 1, 2013, each city, county, or city and county shall provide
to an applicant for a business license or similar
equivalent instrument or permit and to an applicant for
the renewal of a business license or similar
equivalent
instrument or permit, the following information:

"Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access
laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all
California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the
public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and
how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:
The Division of the State Architect at
www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Home.aspx.
The Department of Rehabilitation at www.rehab.cahwnet.gov.
The California Commission on Disability Access at www.ccda.ca.gov."


(b) If the addresses of the Internet Web sites in subdivision (a)
are modified, the city, county, or city and county shall provide to
an applicant the most updated addresses of the Internet Web sites of
those entities.

4470. (a) All funds received by the Division of the State
Architect under this chapter shall be deposited in the Disability
Access and Education Revolving Fund, which is hereby established in
the State Treasury.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 13340, moneys deposited in the fund
are hereby continuously appropriated without regard to fiscal years
to the Division of the State Architect for purposes of this chapter.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5, the State Architect shall
make an annual report, commencing March 1, 2014, to the Legislature
and to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary,
and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review
and the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Budget, of the total fees
transmitted to the fund in the previous calendar year and of its
distribution, including the moneys spent on administrative services,
the moneys spent to moderate certification and examination fees for
the certified access specialist program, the moneys spent on
establishing and maintaining oversight of the certified access
specialist program, and the moneys spent on developing and
disseminating educational materials to facilitate compliance. A
report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision, shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795.
SEC. 16. Section 8299.05 of the Government Code is amended to
read:
8299.05. (a) The commission may recommend, develop, prepare, or
coordinate materials, projects, or other activities, as appropriate,
relating to any subject within its jurisdiction.
(b) The commission shall provide, within its resources,
information regarding any of the following:
(1) Preventing or minimizing problems of compliance by California
businesses by providing educational services, including outreach
efforts, and by preparing and hosting on its Internet Web site a
Guide to Compliance with State Laws and Regulations Regarding
Disability Access Requirements.
(2) Recommending programs to enable persons with disabilities to
obtain full and equal access to public facilities.
(3) Providing information as requested by the Legislature on
disability access issues and compliance.
SEC. 17. Section 8299.06 of the Government Code is repealed.
SEC. 18. Section 8299.06 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8299.06. (a) A priority of the commission shall be the
development and dissemination of educational materials and
information to promote and facilitate disability access compliance.
(b) The commission shall work with other state agencies, including
the Division of the State Architect and the Department of
Rehabilitation, to develop educational materials and information for
use by businesses to understand its obligations to provide disability
access and to facilitate compliance with construction-related
accessibility standards.
(c) The commission shall develop and make available on its
Internet Web site, or make available on its Internet Web site if
developed by another governmental agency, including Americans with
Disabilities Act centers, toolkits or educational modules to assist a
California business to understand its obligations under the law and
to facilitate compliance with respect to the top 10 alleged
construction-related violations, by type, as specified in subdivision
(a) of Section 8299.08. Upon completion of this requirement, the
commission shall develop and make available on its Internet Web site,
or work with another agency to develop, other toolkits or
educational modules that would educate businesses of the
accessibility requirements and to facilitate compliance with that
requirement.
(d) The commission shall post on its Internet Web site educational
materials and information that will assist building owners, tenants,
building officials, and building inspectors to understand the
disability accessibility requirements and to facilitate compliance
with disability access laws. The commission shall at least annually
review the educational materials and information on disability access
requirements and compliance available on the Internet Web site of
other local, state, or federal agencies, including Americans with
Disabilities Act centers, to augment the educational materials and
information developed by the commission.
(e) The commission shall, to the extent feasible, coordinate with
other state agencies and local building departments to ensure that
information provided to the public on disability access requirements
is uniform and complete.
SEC. 19. Section 8299.07 of the Government Code is repealed.
SEC. 20. Section 8299.07 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8299.07. (a) On or before April 15, 2013, the commission shall
report to the Legislature, and to the Chairs of the Senate and
Assembly Committees on Judiciary, of its activities and efforts since
the commission was established to implement Sections 8299.05 and
8299.06, including the provisions that were law prior to amendment or
repeal in the 2011-12 Regular Session. Commencing in 2014, and
notwithstanding Section 10231.5, the commission shall report on or
before January 31 and annually thereafter to the Legislature, and to
the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary, of its
ongoing efforts to implement Sections 8299.05 and 8299.06, as
amended in the 2011-12 Regular Session.
(b) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795.
SEC. 21. Section 8299.08 of the Government Code is repealed.
SEC. 22. Section 8299.08 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8299.08. The commission shall compile the following data with
respect to any demand letter or complaint sent to the commission
pursuant to Section 53.32 of the Civil Code and post the information
on its Internet Web site, pursuant to the following:
(a) The commission shall identify the various types of
construction-related physical access violations alleged in the demand
letters and in the complaints, respectively, and shall tabulate the
number of claims alleged for each type of violation in the demand
letters and complaints, respectively. For purposes of this
subdivision, all types of demand any demand
for money
letters shall be grouped as demand letters.
(b) Periodically, but not less than every six months beginning
July 31, 2013, the commission shall post on its Internet Web site a
list, by type, of the 10 most frequent types of accessibility
violations alleged in the demand letters and in the complaints,
respectively, and the numbers of alleged violations for each listed
type of violation for the prior two quarters.
(c) The commission shall, on a quarterly basis, identify and
tabulate the number of demand letters and complaints received by the
commission. The commission shall further ascertain whether a
complaint was filed in state or federal court and tabulate the number
of complaints filed in state or federal court, respectively. This
data shall be posted on the commission's Internet Web site
periodically, but not less than every six months beginning July 31,
2013.
(d) Commencing in 2014, and notwithstanding Section 10231.5, the
commission shall make an annual report to the Legislature and the
Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary by January
31 of each year of the tabulated data for the preceding calendar year
as set forth in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive. A report to be
submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in
compliance with Section 9795.
SEC. 23. Section 18944.15 is added to the
Health and Safety Code , to read:
18944.15. (a) Upon the publication date of the 2013 California
Building Standards Code as adopted by the commission as part of the
2012 triennial code adoption cycle, for the purpose of any claim
brought under Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55 of the Civil Code based in
whole, or in part, on an alleged violation of a construction-related
accessibility standard, compliance with the building standards for
disabled accessibility as provided in Chapter 11B of Part 2 of Title
24 of the 2013 California Building Standards Code shall be authorized
as an alternative method of compliance.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall become inoperative when the provisions
of the 2013 California Building Standards Code become effective
pursuant to Section 18938.
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.
(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2015, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2015, deletes or extends
that date.

SEC. 23. SEC. 24. The Legislature
finds and declares that a very small number of plaintiffs' attorneys
have been abusing the right of petition under Sections 52 and
54 54.3 of the Civil Code by issuing a
demand for money to a California business owner that demands the
owner pay a quick settlement of the attorney's alleged claim under
those laws or else incur greater liability and legal costs if a
lawsuit is filed. These demands for money allege one or more, but
frequently multiple, claims for asserted violations of a
construction-related accessibility standard and often demand a quick
money settlement based on the alleged multiple claims without seeking
and obtaining actual repair or correction of the alleged violations
on the site. These "pay me now or pay me more" demands are used to
scare businesses into paying quick settlements that only financially
enrich the attorney and claimant and do not promote accessibility
either for the claimant or the disability community as a whole. These
practices, often involving a series of demand for money letters sent
to numerous businesses, do not promote compliance with the
accessibility requirements and erode public support for and
confidence in our laws. Therefore, the Legislature finds and declares
that it is necessary and appropriate to enact Sections 55.31 and
55.32 of the Civil Code, and Section 425.50 of the Code of Civil
Procedure to protect the public's confidence and support of the right
to petition under Sections 52 and 54 54.3
of the Civil Code.
SEC. 24. SEC. 25. The Legislature
finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Subdivision (h) of Section 55.56 of the Civil Code, as added
by Section 11 of this act, is intended to address the misuse of
Sections 52 and 54.3 of the Civil Code by a small minority of
disability rights lawyers and plaintiffs. These lawyers and
plaintiffs have alleged in demand letters and complaints that they
were deterred on repeated occasions by the same violation of a
construction-related accessibility standard and thereby assert
multiple claims for the same violation without a reasonable
explanation for the repeated conduct in light of the obligation to
mitigate damages. Their assertions of these "stacked" multiple claims
for the same construction-related accessibility violation on
different occasions are made to substantially increase the purported
statutory liability of a defendant in order to intimidate and
pressure the defendant into making a quick monetary settlement. The
provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 55.56 of the Civil Code
reiterate that where multiple claims for the same
construction-related accessibility violation on separate particular
occasions are alleged, a plaintiff's conduct must have a reasonable
explanation for the asserted need for multiple visits to a site where
a known barrier violation would deny full and equal access, in light
of the obligation to mitigate damages.
(b) Correspondingly, if there is a reasonable explanation in light
of the obligation to mitigate damages for the need to make multiple
visits to a site where a known barrier violation would deny full and
equal access, a multiple claim for repeated violations of the same
construction-related accessibility standard may properly lie. In
addition, there are may be clear
instances when the needs of a person with a disability and
circumstances may make mitigation efforts impossible or futile in
cases involving multiple instances of deterrence on separate
particular occasions where the individual has a
reasonable explanation for the need for multiple visits to the same
site
.
(c) Further, nothing in subdivision (h) of Section 55.56 of the
Civil Code is intended to change existing law with respect to the
fact that an alleged failure to mitigate damages is pled and proven
as an affirmative defense.
SEC. 26. The provisions of this act are severable.
If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid,
that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications
that can be given effect without the invalid provision or
application.

SEC. 25. SEC. 27. The Legislature
finds and declares that promoting uniform statewide compliance with
construction-related accessibility requirements set forth in the
federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101
et seq.) and the California Building Standards Code is a matter of
statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used
in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore,
this act shall apply to all cities, including charter cities.
SEC. 26. SEC. 28. If the Commission
on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by
the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for
those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section
17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
SEC. 27. SEC. 29. This act is an
urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the
public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of
the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts
constituting the necessity are:
In order to avoid unnecessary litigation and to facilitate
compliance with the disability access law, it is necessary that this
act take effect immediately.