There were a couple major changes to California civil litigation during the 2022 legislative cycle. After 47 years, the medical malpractice damages cap was significantly raised, with annual increases and future plans to adjust for inflation. Additionally, a private right of action was created to target illegal gun manufacturers and unlawful gun sales in California.
SB 1327 creates a private right of action against any person in California who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits in violation of state law. Under the new law, individuals can also sue gun dealers who illegally sell firearms to people under 21.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, AB 35 raises the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical mal practice cases to $500,000 for suits involving a wrongful death claim, with that cap increasing by $50,000 each year until it reaches $1 million. For cases that don’t involve a wrongful death claim, the cap starts at $350,000 and increases annually by $40,000 until it reaches $750,000. Once those limits are reached, the law adjusts them for annual inflation by 2 percent starting Jan. 1, 2034.