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California Civil Code Section 52.1

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Civil Code > California Civil Code Section 52.1

52.1.  (a) If a person or persons, whether or not acting under color
of law, interferes by threats, intimidation, or coercion, or
attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the
exercise or enjoyment by any individual or individuals of rights
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of the
rights secured by the Constitution or laws of this state, the
Attorney General, or any district attorney or city attorney may bring
a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief
in the name of the people of the State of California, in order to
protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the right or rights
secured. An action brought by the Attorney General, any district
attorney, or any city attorney may also seek a civil penalty of
twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). If this civil penalty is
requested, it shall be assessed individually against each person who
is determined to have violated this section and the penalty shall be
awarded to each individual whose rights under this section are
determined to have been violated.
   (b) Any individual whose exercise or enjoyment of rights secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of rights
secured by the Constitution or laws of this state, has been
interfered with, or attempted to be interfered with, as described in
subdivision (a), may institute and prosecute in his or her own name
and on his or her own behalf a civil action for damages, including,
but not limited to, damages under Section 52, injunctive relief, and
other appropriate equitable relief to protect the peaceable exercise
or enjoyment of the right or rights secured.
   (c) An action brought pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) may be
filed either in the superior court for the county in which the
conduct complained of occurred or in the superior court for the
county in which a person whose conduct complained of resides or has
his or her place of business. An action brought by the Attorney
General pursuant to subdivision (a) also may be filed in the superior
court for any county wherein the Attorney General has an office, and
in that case, the jurisdiction of the court shall extend throughout
the state.
   (d) If a court issues a temporary restraining order or a
preliminary or permanent injunction in an action brought pursuant to
subdivision (a) or (b), ordering a defendant to refrain from conduct
or activities, the order issued shall include the following
statement: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME PUNISHABLE UNDER
SECTION 422.77 OF THE PENAL CODE.
   (e) The court shall order the plaintiff or the attorney for the
plaintiff to deliver, or the clerk of the court to mail, two copies
of any order, extension, modification, or termination thereof granted
pursuant to this section, by the close of the business day on which
the order, extension, modification, or termination was granted, to
each local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the
residence of the plaintiff and any other locations where the court
determines that acts of violence against the plaintiff are likely to
occur. Those local law enforcement agencies shall be designated by
the plaintiff or the attorney for the plaintiff. Each appropriate law
enforcement agency receiving any order, extension, or modification
of any order issued pursuant to this section shall serve forthwith
one copy thereof upon the defendant. Each appropriate law enforcement
agency shall provide to any law enforcement officer responding to
the scene of reported violence, information as to the existence of,
terms, and current status of, any order issued pursuant to this
section.
   (f) A court shall not have jurisdiction to issue an order or
injunction under this section, if that order or injunction would be
prohibited under Section 527.3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
   (g) An action brought pursuant to this section is independent of
any other action, remedy, or procedure that may be available to an
aggrieved individual under any other provision of law, including, but
not limited to, an action, remedy, or procedure brought pursuant to
Section 51.7.
   (h) In addition to any damages, injunction, or other equitable
relief awarded in an action brought pursuant to subdivision (b), the
court may award the petitioner or plaintiff reasonable attorney's
fees.
   (i) A violation of an order described in subdivision (d) may be
punished either by prosecution under Section 422.77 of the Penal
Code, or by a proceeding for contempt brought pursuant to Title 5
(commencing with Section 1209) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. However, in any proceeding pursuant to the Code of Civil
Procedure, if it is determined that the person proceeded against is
guilty of the contempt charged, in addition to any other relief, a
fine may be imposed not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or
the person may be ordered imprisoned in a county jail not exceeding
six months, or the court may order both the imprisonment and fine.
   (j) Speech alone is not sufficient to support an action brought
pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), except upon a showing that the
speech itself threatens violence against a specific person or group
of persons; and the person or group of persons against whom the
threat is directed reasonably fears that, because of the speech,
violence will be committed against them or their property and that
the person threatening violence had the apparent ability to carry out
the threat.
   (k) No order issued in any proceeding brought pursuant to
subdivision (a) or (b) shall restrict the content of any person's
speech. An order restricting the time, place, or manner of any person'
s speech shall do so only to the extent reasonably necessary to
protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of constitutional or
statutory rights, consistent with the constitutional rights of the
person sought to be enjoined.
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Last modified: March 17, 2014