(a) An allegation of a construction-related accessibility claim in a complaint, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.52 of the Civil Code, shall state facts sufficient to allow a reasonable person to identify the basis of the violation or violations supporting the claim, including all of the following:
(1) A plain language explanation of the specific access barrier or barriers the individual encountered, or by which the individual alleges he or she was deterred, with sufficient information about the location of the alleged barrier to enable a reasonable person to identify the access barrier.
(2) The way in which the barrier denied the individual full and equal use or access, or in which it deterred the individual, on each particular occasion.
(3) The date or dates of each particular occasion on which the claimant encountered the specific access barrier, or on which he or she was deterred.
(4) (A) Except in complaints that allege physical injury or damage to property, a complaint filed by or on behalf of a high-frequency litigant shall also state all of the following:
(i) Whether the complaint is filed by, or on behalf of, a high-frequency litigant.
(ii) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff, the number of complaints alleging a construction-related accessibility claim that the high-frequency litigant has filed during the 12 months prior to filing the complaint.
(iii) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff, the reason the individual was in the geographic area of the defendant’s business.
(iv) In the case of a high-frequency litigant who is a plaintiff, the reason why the individual desired to access the defendant’s business, including the specific commercial, business, personal, social, leisure, recreational, or other purpose.
(B) As used in this section “high-frequency litigant” has the same meaning as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 425.55.
(b) (1) A complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility claim, as those terms are defined in subdivision (a) of Section 55.3 of the Civil Code, shall be verified by the plaintiff. A complaint filed without verification shall be subject to a motion to strike.
(2) A complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility claim filed by, or on behalf of, a high-frequency litigant shall state in the caption “ACTION SUBJECT TO THE SUPPLEMENTAL FEE IN GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 70616.5.”
(c) A complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility claim shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. By signing the complaint, the attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that, to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, all of the following conditions are met:
(1) It is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
(2) The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.
(3) The allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.
(4) The denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
(d) A court may, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, determine whether subdivision (c) has been violated and, if so, impose sanctions as provided in Section 128.7 for violations of subdivision (b) of Section 128.7.
(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the right of a plaintiff to amend a complaint under Section 472, or with leave of the court under Section 473. However, an amended pleading alleging a construction-related accessibility claim shall be pled as required by subdivision (a).
(f) The determination whether an attorney is a high-frequency litigant shall be made solely on the basis of the verified complaint and any other publicly available documents. Notwithstanding any other law, no party to the proceeding may conduct discovery with respect to whether an attorney is a high-frequency litigant.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 755, Sec. 5. (AB 1521) Effective October 10, 2015.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018