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California's AB 1891 and the curate's egg



Once a familiar expression, the "curate's egg" meant an egg that would not be rejected because it was good (unspoiled) in parts -- curates being perhaps seen as desperate enough to accept such a thing. The phrase also describes many lawsuits, which are not meritless in their entirety but include some meritless elements. According to the Civil Justice Association of California, section 128.5 of the state's Code of Civil Procedure currently allows judges to impose sanctions only if an entire lawsuit is without merit -- and since many of the suits in question are curates' eggs, good in part, targets are left with no effective remedy for their (perhaps predominant) baseless elements. Hence the introduction of Assembly Bill 1891 (Niello), which allows judges more latitude to impose sanctions for partially baseless actions. Cal Law's Legal Pad gives the measure little chance in the Democratic-dominated Assembly -- and yet, according to a legislative calendar, it is getting a hearing today.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.