Assembly Bill 3214 (Nolan – 1980)
Chapter 1209, Statutes of 1980, AB 3214
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Assembly Bill 3214 was introduced on March 11, 1980 by Assembly member Patrick Nolan at the request of the Southern California Joint Powers Insurance Authority. (See Exhibit #6) A single-section bill, Assembly Bill 3214 only added section 1038 to the Code of Civil Procedure. (See Exhibit #1g)
Assembly Bill 3214 was heard by the Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary. (See Exhibits #3 and #6) The bill was amended five times while under legislative consideration. (See Exhibit #1a through #1f) Because the Assembly did not adopt the Senate amendments to its bill, the measure was sent to a Conference Committee.The purpose of a Conference Committee is to bring together six legislators, three from each House, in an attempt to reach a compromise on a bill's language where the Senate and Assembly have approved different language in the bill, and the House in which the bill originated will not accept the other House's amendments.
The Conference Committee on Assembly Bill 3214 made amendments to the bill, which were accepted by both Houses of the Legislature. (See Exhibit A, #1f) Assembly Bill 3214 was then approved by former Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., on September 27, 1980, and recorded by the Secretary of State on September 29, 1980 as Chapter 1209 of the Statutes of 1980. (See Exhibits #1g and #2)
The analysis of the Senate Committee on Judiciary noted the purpose of the bill to “. . . allow public entities to recover the costs of defending frivolous lawsuits brought against them.” (See Exhibit #6, page 2)
This same analysis, in commenting on the rationale for this change in the law, stated:
According to proponents, the defense of groundless lawsuits has been a long-standing problem for defendants, particularly public entities. The plaintiffs have an essentially risk-free situation in which they have an incentive to bring actions against the public entity in the hope of obtaining a judgment without any substantial risk of financial loss to themselves.
(See Exhibit #6, page 2)