ASSEMBLY BILL 1310 (BERMAN – 1977)
CHAPTER 1197, STATUTES OF 1977
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Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 was enacted in 1977 following legislative approval of Assembly Bill 1310, a single-section bill that proposed only to add this section. (See Exhibit A, #1e) Assembly member Howard Berman introduced this measure on March 31, 1977, at the request of the California State Bar. (See Exhibit A, #1a; #3, page 2; and #4, document AP-1)
While it was before the Legislature, Assembly Bill 1310 was heard by the Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary and Assembly and Senate Committees on Revenue and Taxation where policy issues raised by the bill were considered. (See Exhibit A, #2, #3, and #6)
Three amendments were made to Assembly Bill 1310 during the legislative process, one in the Assembly and two in the Senate. (See Exhibit A, #1b through #1d and #2) Upon legislative approval, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed Assembly Bill 1310 on September 30, 1977, and it was recorded by the Secretary of State on October 1, 1977 as Chapter 1197 of the Statutes of 1977. (See Exhibit A, #1e and #2)
The Third Reading analysis prepared by the Senate Republican Caucus provided the following description of Assembly Bill 1310 as last amended on September 2, 1977:
This bill, would authorize a court, upon motion, in any action not involving a public entity, to award attorneys’ fees to a successful party in any public interest action if the following conditions are met: (1) a significant benefit has been conferred on the general
public or large class of persons; (2) the necessity and financial burden of private enforcement make the award appropriate; and (3) such fees should not be paid out of the recovery, if any.
Requires a court to make such award of attorneys’ fees in an action involving a public entity, but would prohibit such award of attorneys’ fee in favor of a public entity.
(See Exhibit A, #9, page 1)