California Code of Civil Procedure Section 128.5
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California Laws > Code of Civil Procedure > California Code of Civil Procedure Section 128.5
128.5. (a) Every trial court may order a party, the party's
attorney, or both to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney'
s fees, incurred by another party as a result of bad-faith actions or
tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary
delay. This section also applies to judicial arbitration proceedings
under Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Actions or tactics" include, but are not limited to, the
making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a
complaint or cross-complaint only if the actions or tactics arise
from a complaint filed, or a proceeding initiated, on or before
December 31, 1994. The mere filing of a complaint without service
thereof on an opposing party does not constitute "actions or tactics"
for purposes of this section.
(2) "Frivolous" means (A) totally and completely without merit or
(B) for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.
(c) Expenses pursuant to this section shall not be imposed except
on notice contained in a party's moving or responding papers; or the
court's own motion, after notice and opportunity to be heard. An
order imposing expenses shall be in writing and shall recite in
detail the conduct or circumstances justifying the order.
(d) In addition to any award pursuant to this section for conduct
described in subdivision (a), the court may assess punitive damages
against the plaintiff upon a determination by the court that the
plaintiff's action was an action maintained by a person convicted of
a felony against the person's victim, or the victim's heirs,
relatives, estate, or personal representative, for injuries arising
from the acts for which the person was convicted of a felony, and
that the plaintiff is guilty of fraud, oppression, or malice in
maintaining the action.
(e) The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any
other liability imposed by law for acts or omissions within the
purview of this section.
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Last modified: October 1, 2013