It looks like Governor Jerry Brown is taking on Prop 65 in an effort to make California more business friendly, and put a limit on frivolous “shake-down” lawsuits. For decades, manufacturers from all over the globe have had the unpleasant problem of having to pay legal fees to the bounty-hunting plaintiff’s attorneys just to avoid the defensive costs of litigation even when the lawsuit has no merit. Thanks to the excess of one such bounty-hunting plaintiff’s attorney recently skewered in a Sacramento Bee op-ed, Assemblyman Gatto has introduced a bill (AB 227) that looks like it will now get serious traction.

2013 could be the year that we finally see some of the following reforms:  

  • Cap or limit attorney’s fees in Proposition 65 cases.
  • Require stronger demonstration by plaintiffs that they have information to support claims before litigation begins.
  • Require greater disclosure of plaintiff’s information.
  • Set limits on the amount of money in an enforcement case that can go into settlement funds in lieu of penalties.
  • Provide the State with the ability to adjust the level at which Proposition 65 warnings are needed for chemicals that cause reproductive harm.
  • Require more useful information to the public on what they are being exposed to and how they can protect themselves.