Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/10/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 54(JUD) Out of Committee
         HB 104-REPEAL COLLECTION OF CIVIL LITIG. INFO                                                                      
2:08:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of HB 104.                                                                            
2:08:52 PM                                                                                                                    
LIZZIE  KUBITZ, Staff,  Representative Matt  Claman, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  introduced   HB  104  on  behalf  of   the  sponsor,                                                              
speaking to the following prepared statement:                                                                                   
     House  Bill  104  eliminates   the  automatic  reporting                                                                   
     information  about  civil   case  settlements  currently                                                                   
     required  by law.  The bill  follows the  advice of  the                                                                   
     Alaska  Judicial  Council,  which has  recommended  that                                                                   
     the legislature eliminate this requirement.                                                                                
     To  give some  historical context:  In 1997,  responding                                                                   
     to public interest   in tort reform and the  work of the                                                                   
     Governor's  Advisory Task  Force on  Civil Justice,  the                                                                   
     legislature  passed tort  reform  legislation. One  part                                                                   
     of  the  legislation  responded   to  the  Task  Force's                                                                   
     recommendation that  the Alaska Judicial  Council report                                                                   
     on closed civil  cases, using data from  forms completed                                                                   
     by  attorneys  and parties  in  the cases.  Since  then,                                                                   
     pursuant   to   statute,  the   Judicial   Council   has                                                                   
     collected data  provided by attorneys and  litigants and                                                                   
     has  produced three  reports. However,  much more  often                                                                   
     than  not,  attorneys  and   litigants  have  failed  to                                                                   
     comply with the reporting requirement.                                                                                     
     In its most  recent report from November  2011, included                                                                   
     in  your  bill  packets,  the  Alaska  Judicial  Council                                                                   
     reports that  from January  2001 through December  2010,                                                                   
     88,873 cases  were resolved  in the Alaska Court  system                                                                   
     that   were  subject  to   the  reporting   requirement.                                                                   
     Because  each  case  had  at   least  two  parties,  the                                                                   
     Council should  have received  177,746 or more  reports.                                                                   
     However,  the  Council  only  received  23,257  reports.                                                                   
     This   represents   13   percent    of   the   Council's                                                                   
     conservative  estimate  of  the  number  of  reports  it                                                                   
     should have received.                                                                                                      
     The  low rate  of reporting  is the  reason the  Council                                                                   
     has not  issued a report  since 2011. An analysis  based                                                                   
     on 13  percent of potentially  available data  would not                                                                   
     be  reliable.  Eliminating   the  requirement  has  also                                                                   
     received  support from  attorneys  and civil  litigants,                                                                   
     as the  reporting requirement  is onerous for  those who                                                                   
     follow it and unenforceable for those who don't.                                                                           
     The  Alaska Judicial  Council  lacks  the authority  and                                                                   
     resources to  enforce this outdated requirement  and the                                                                   
     Council renews  its recommendation that  the legislature                                                                   
     eliminate it.                                                                                                              
MS.  KUBITZ offered  to provide  a sectional  analysis, and  noted                                                              
that  Suzanne  DiPietro  from  The  Alaska  Judicial  Council  was                                                              
available to answer questions.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  COGHILL asked  for  an explanation  of  "outdated" in  this                                                              
MS. KUBITZ offered  her understanding that the  Judicial Council's                                                              
efforts  to  encourage  reporting achieved  limited  success.  She                                                              
deferred further explanation to Ms. DiPietro.                                                                                   
CHAIR  COGHILL asked  Ms. DiPietro  to answer  the first  question                                                              
and whether there is value in maintaining the requirement.                                                                      
2:12:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SUZANNE  DIPIETRO, Executive  Director,  Alaska Judicial  Council,                                                              
Anchorage,  Alaska, opined  that the information  on closed  civil                                                              
cases  is  no  longer  of great  value  to  the  legislature.  The                                                              
purpose  for  collecting   the  information  was   to  inform  the                                                              
legislature  about the  effect of  tort reform  and those  effects                                                              
are  well  established.  The Judicial  Council  does  not  receive                                                              
requests about the  data it collects and its  efforts to encourage                                                              
reporting  initially were  resource intensive  and never  achieved                                                              
anything close to 100 percent.                                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  voiced support  for the bill.  He asked  Ms. Kubitz                                                              
to go through the sectional analysis.                                                                                           
2:15:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KUBITZ provided the following sectional analysis for HB 104:                                                                
     Section  1.  Repeals  Rule  41(a)(3),  Alaska  Rules  of                                                                 
     Civil  Procedure  and  Rules  511 (c)  and  (e),  Alaska                                                                   
     Rules of Appellate Procedure.                                                                                              
     Section   2.   Repeals   AS   09.68.130,   relating   to                                                                 
     collection  of  settlement  information  by  the  Alaska                                                                   
     Judicial Council.                                                                                                          
     Section 3. Provides  that the Act will only  take effect                                                                 
     if sec.  1 of the Act  receives the two-thirds  majority                                                                   
     vote  required  by  the Constitution  of  the  State  of                                                                   
     Alaska for a court rule change.                                                                                            
     Section  4.  Provides  that  the Act  will  take  effect                                                                 
     immediately  if  it  receives  the  two-thirds  majority                                                                   
     vote under sec. 3 of the Act.                                                                                              
MS. KUBITZ said  copies of the referenced Court  Rules and Statute                                                              
are included in the bill packets.                                                                                               
2:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER asked why the bill didn't pass in previous years.                                                                 
CHAIR COGHILL  opined that it was  a matter of timing  and perhaps                                                              
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked what will  happen to the reports  that the                                                              
Judicial Council has received.                                                                                                  
MS. DIPIETRO  explained that once  the data is transferred  to the                                                              
database   the  paper   documents   are  disposed   of   correctly                                                              
considering  that  they  are confidential  documents.  Should  the                                                              
bill  pass, any  documents that  have  not been  entered into  the                                                              
database  would  be destroyed.  The  information  already  entered                                                              
will remain in the database.                                                                                                    
2:18:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL held  HB 104 in committee for  further consideration                                                              
with public testimony open.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 77 - Sectional Summary.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 - Backup Document.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 104 - Additional Document - Civil Case Form.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Additional Document - AS 09.68.130.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Additional Document - Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 41 (a)(3).pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Additional Document - Rules of Appellate Procedure 511 (c) and (e).pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Supporting Document - Alaska Civil Case Data 1999-2000.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Supporting Document - Alaska Civil Case Data 2001-2010.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Supporting Document - Letter Kenneth Jacobus.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 - Supporting Document - Letter Michael Schneider.pdf SJUD 3/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 104