FPC VICTORY: Federal Judge Blocks California’s Discriminatory Firearm Lawsuit Fee-Shifting Regime

Gun News

SAN DIEGO, CA (December 19, 2022) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that United States District Judge Roger Benitez has issued an order enjoining the fee-shifting provision in California SB 1327, which was enacted as retribution for Texas’s SB 8 abortion law in order to suppress legitimate challenges to firearms regulations. The opinion in Miller v. Bonta (Miller II) can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.

“When a § 1983 plaintiff needs representation, § 1021.11(a) makes any attorney understandably reluctant, if not terrified,” wrote Judge Benitez in his opinion. “The provisions of § 1021.11(a) would expose the attorney to the risk of joint and several liability for the government’s fees. And unlike typical fee-shifting provisions, the risk would extend for three years after the conclusion of appellate review of the original litigation, as opposed to being part of the judgment in the original litigation. California’s § 1021.11 system of litigation rewards and punishments is completely contrary to that which was intended by Congress as expressed in § 1988.”

“This Court concludes that the purpose and effect of § 1021.11 is to trench on a citizen’s right of access to the courts and to discourage the peaceful vindication of an enumerated constitutional right,” he went on to write. “Because the state fee-shifting statute undermines a citizen’s constitutional rights, it is this Court’s role to declare its invalidity and enjoin its threat.”

“The enactment of SB 1327 was intended to do only one thing: chill the rights of the people and dissuade them from pursuing justice from tyranny.” said Bill Sack, FPC Director of Legal Operations. “The Court made it clear today that cynical political grandstanding will not be tolerated when it infringes on the rights of the people.”

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FPC is joined in this lawsuit by the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC (SDCGO); the California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF), and the Second Amendment Foundation.

Individuals who would like to Join the FPC Grassroots Army and support important pro-rights lawsuits and programs can sign up at JoinFPC.org. Individuals and organizations wanting to support charitable efforts in support of the restoration of Second Amendment and other natural rights can also make a tax-deductible donation to the FPC Action Foundation. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs.

FPC Law (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s first and largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.

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