On August 17, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law A.B. 2159, which becomes effective on January 1, 2017. A.B. 2159 bars the admission or discovery of evidence related to a person’s immigration status in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Previously, some defendants had argued that damages in these cases should be based on what a plaintiff would prospectively earn in his or her country of origin or what medical costs would be in his or her country of origin, rather than in California.
Employers in California should take particular note of this decision because it is another reminder to employers that hiring an undocumented worker does not alleviate the employer’s liability for compliance with employment laws.