(a) The Legislature finds and declares that even though the Legislature has provided for immunity from liability, pursuant to Section 11161.9, for persons required or authorized to report pursuant to this article, that immunity does not eliminate the possibility that actions may be brought against those persons based upon required reports of abuse pursuant to other laws.
In order to further limit the financial hardship that those persons may incur as a result of fulfilling their legal responsibility, it is necessary that they not be unfairly burdened by legal fees incurred in defending those actions.
(b) (1) Therefore, a health practitioner may present a claim to the Department of General Services for reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in any action against that person on the basis of that person reporting in accordance with this article if the court dismisses the action upon a demurrer or motion for summary judgment made by that person or if that person prevails in the action.
(2) The Department of General Services shall allow the claim pursuant to paragraph (1) if the requirements of paragraph (1) are met, and the claim shall be paid from an appropriation to be made for that purpose. Attorney’s fees awarded pursuant to this section shall not exceed an hourly rate greater than the rate charged by the Attorney General at the time the award is made and shall not exceed an aggregate amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
(3) This subdivision shall not apply if a public entity has provided for the defense of the action pursuant to Section 995 of the Government Code.
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 256. (SB 836) Effective June 27, 2016.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018