In his Daily Journal article “AB 1690: Protecting Immigrants from Fraud,” Attorney Steven Kronenberg discusses how Assembly Bill (AB) 1690 will prevent discovery of a plaintiff’s immigration status in most consumer protection claims.
Although millions of undocumented immigrants live and work in California, some unscrupulous businesses still try to prevent them from enforcing their rights in an honest deal. In a recent example, the California State Senate considered the plight of an undocumented resident bought a used car from a dealership and later sued the dealer, alleging that the dealer violated the Automobile Sales Finance Act by not properly disclosing the vehicle’s history.
“The dealer propounded discovery by requesting the buyer admit he did not have a Social Security number (essentially admitting that he was undocumented),” wrote Kronenberg. “The plaintiff objected and refused to respond to the discovery, and the superior court denied defendant’s motion to compel. However the court did not sanction the defense counsel because existing law was unclear regarding whether immigration status was discoverable in consumer protection claims.”
“Consumer Attorneys of California was one of many consumer and immigrants’ rights groups that supported AB 1690, because ‘allowing defendants to make immigration status an issue can act as a disincentive for victims attempting to hold wrongdoers accountable.’” The bill took effect January 1, 2018.