(a) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages shall arise against, any professional society or any nonprofit corporation authorized by a professional society to operate a referral service, or their agents, employees, or members, for referring any member of the public to any professional member of the society or service, or for acts of negligence or conduct constituting unprofessional conduct committed by a professional to whom a member of the public was referred, so long as any of the foregoing persons or entities has acted without malice, and the referral was made at no cost added to the initial referral fee as part of a public service referral system organized under the auspices of the professional society. Further, there shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages shall arise against, any professional society for providing a telephone information library available for use by the general public without charge, nor against any nonprofit corporation authorized by a professional society for providing a telephone information library available for use by the general public without charge. “Professional society” includes legal, psychological, architectural, medical, dental, dietetic, accounting, optometric, podiatric, pharmaceutic, chiropractic, veterinary, licensed marriage and family therapy, licensed clinical social work, professional clinical counselor, and engineering organizations having as members at least 25 percent of the eligible persons or licentiates in the geographic area served by the particular society. However, if the society has less than 100 members, it shall have as members at least a majority of the eligible persons or licentiates in the geographic area served by the particular society. “Professional society” also includes organizations with referral services that have been authorized by the State Bar of California and operated in accordance with its Minimum Standards for a Lawyer Referral Service in California, and organizations that have been established to provide free assistance or representation to needy patients or clients.
(b) This section shall not apply whenever the professional society, while making a referral to a professional member of the society, fails to disclose the nature of any disciplinary action of which it has actual knowledge taken by a state licensing agency against that professional member. However, there shall be no duty to disclose a disciplinary action in either of the following cases:
(1) Where a disciplinary proceeding results in no disciplinary action being taken against the professional to whom a member of the public was referred.
(2) Where a period of three years has elapsed since the professional to whom a member of the public was referred has satisfied any terms, conditions, or sanctions imposed upon the professional as disciplinary action; except that if the professional is an attorney, there shall be no time limit on the duty to disclose.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 381, Sec. 17. (SB 146) Effective January 1, 2012.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018