Fong introduces bill to limit abusive lawsuits

SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Vince Fong announced legislation this week that will reform the Private Attorneys General Act to protect local small businesses from frivolous legal actions.

Assembly Bill 1429 and AB 1430 aim to limit the scope of the act and will require the state to investigate alleged labor code violations to determine if there is cause to bring a PAGA lawsuit.

“The high costs of defending against predatory lawsuits have prevented many small-business owners from expanding their businesses and creating new jobs,” said Fong. “These bills are common-sense measures to improve our state’s business climate and help our local economy.”

PAGA allows private citizens to sue their employers on behalf of the state for specific labor code violations. Since its enactment, trial lawyers have used PAGA to file expensive and frivolous lawsuits, costing businesses millions of dollars in legal costs. AB 1429 and AB 1420 aim to curb these abusive practices while maintaining PAGA for legitimate claims.

“What may have had good intentions originally, PAGA now predominantly serves to line the pockets of trial lawyers while doing very little to protect workers,” commented NFIB/CA State Executive Director Tom Scott. “Assemblyman Fong’s bills are an important step in the right direction toward reigning in costly, frivolous lawsuits which are crippling small businesses across this state.”

AB 1429 and AB 1430 will be assigned to a policy committee in the coming weeks.

Fong represents the 34thAssembly District, encompassing most of Kern County including the communities of Bakersfield, Bear Valley Springs, China Lake, Frazier Park, Golden Hills, Inyokern, Lebec, Oildale, Ridgecrest, Taft, and Tehachapi.

Story First Published: 2017-03-24