Karen Frostrom levels the playing field for California Victims

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Karen FrostromPartner Karen R. Frostrom spent four years working to restore fairness for victims who under California law were at risk for paying costs to defendants even though they could not, under parallel circumstances, recover those same costs from the defendant. Until Karen took up their cause, the law unfairly allowed only defendants to recover all expert costs but limited plaintiffs’ recovery of those same costs.

Karen worked with the Conference of California Bar Associations and Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) to sponsor AB 1141 amending the Code of Civil Procedure Section 998 and giving equal rights to plaintiffs under the law. “I read a case in 2011 interpreting a 2005 amendment of the statute that encourages settlement by allowing the parties to make settlement offers that give rise to cost liability if a better result is not obtained. The way the case interpreted the statute created an inequity between what costs victims could recover and what costs defendants could recover. I immediately began to look for a way to fix it. Nowhere in the legislative history was there any indication that the legislature had intended this result by the 2005 amendments. As such, the amendment inadvertently introduced an inequity that should be fixed – and we fixed it, restoring fairness to the law,” said Karen about her four-year long effort.

Among the co-sponsors were Conference of California Bar Associations and the Consumer Attorneys of California. Other supporters included the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Building Association, the American Insurance Association, the California Insurance Association and more. There was no opposition to the bill from any source. The final votes were 40-0 in the Senate and 79-0 in the Assembly.

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