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Prop 64

A Major Success Story in the Fight Against Lawsuit Abuse


On November 2, 2004, Californians voted 59.1% to 40.9% to stop extortion lawsuits being brought by private lawyers under the state’s unique Unfair Competition Law. The victory came after a carefully crafted, $14.5 million campaign funded by an unusually broad spectrum of the business community whose members had been victims of shakedown lawsuits for years leading up to the election.

Newspaper editorials ran 4 to 1 in support of Proposition 64, with at least 29 newspapers urging their readers to vote “yes.”

The victory came after years of unsuccessful efforts by the Civil Justice Association to persuade the Legislature to stop the abuses under Business & Professions Code Sec. 17200. The powerful plaintiffs’ lawyer lobby, who for years denied that the law was being used to extort settlements, blocked bi-partisan attempts at reform.

In the fall of 2001, the CJAC Board of Directors initiated a research and drafting project that methodically explored options and built support during the many months leading up to the November 2004 statewide election.

Proposition 64 – How It Works

Proposition 64: How It Works (11/04/04)
Full Text of Proposition 64
Official Title and Summary, and Ballot Arguments
Introduction, Voter Information, Arguments, Key Web Sites, and Articles

For more information about Proposition 64 & pending cases, please visit CJAC’s Appellate Center.

Proposition 64 – History of a Win

Special edition of CJAC’s Balance newsletter
Governor’s Endorsement of Proposition 64
Examples of Unfair Competition Lawsuits filed by Private Attorneys

Proposition 64 Win Articles

Wall Street Journal
San Francisco Chronicle
Sacramento Bee

Proposition 64 Votes by District

Senate District
Assembly District


Autoshop Victim
Governor Schwarzenegger’s Support
Lawyers Plotting Shakedowns
Newspaper Editorial Support

Abuses That Led to Proposition 64

A Growing Problem
Call It Gonzo Law – The Unfair Competition Statute covers any claim, if it’s presented with a straight face. by John H. Sullivan, President, Civil Justice Association of California
California’s Notorious “17200” - Written by Lewis Carroll, Adapted by Stephen King? (October 24, 2002)
Why Californians Need Never Say, “There ought’a be a law.” by Fred J. Hiestand, General Counsel, Civil Justice Association of California

Victims & Examples

Picture Your Company on the Receiving End of One of these More Recent Examples of Private Lawyer 17200 Lawsuits (July 16, 2003)

Do You Think You Are a Victim Of a “17200” Shakedown Frivolous Lawsuit? Here Is What You Can Do Now! (April 22, 2003)

News & Opinion

The Shakedown State, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2003
Consumer-Protection Law Abused in Legal Shakedown, Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2003
Call for Reform, Editorial, Sacramento Bee, May 28, 2003
17200 Reform, The Daily Recorder Editorial Cartoon
Democrats Side With Lawyers Over Small Business Owners, Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee, May 9, 2003
Time To End the Legal Shakedowns, John H. Sullivan, CAA Perspective Magazine, March-April 2003
Alleged Abuses Prompt Review of Consumer Law, California Bar Journal (February 14, 2003)
Bollywood Bills - The Recorder, Tuesday, May 7, 2002
What Others Are Saying About…The Unfair Competition Law

Letters, Testimony, Reports

Letters of Opposition to AB 95 and SB 122 (May 13, 2003)
CJAC President Testimony to Joint Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee (January 14, 2003)
CJAC President Testimony to Assemblyman Lou Correa Town Hall Meeting (January 10, 2003)
Coalition Letter to Assemblyman Lou Correa Commending His Initiative for Action
Joint Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee Letter to Chief Justice of California Supreme Court Urging Action
1996 California Law Revision Commission Recommendation to Amend the UCL
Attorney General Lockyer’s August 2, 2002 Response to July 11, 2002 Letter
Attorney General Urged to Investigate ‘Legal Shakedowns’ Under State’s Unfair Competition Law (July 11, 2002)
CJAC Letter to Attorney General Bill Lockyer (July 10, 2002)

Reform Proposals

17200 Abuses Prompt 11 Legislative Proposals (April 30, 2003)


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