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The Consumer Attorneys of California has filed three ballot initiatives for the state’s 2008 election that are aimed at punishing corporate wrongdoers. All three initiatives were filed with the California Attorney General’s office on Aug. 13, one month after the Civil Justice Association of California submitted its own ballot initiative proposal designed to curb class action lawsuits. The proposal, called the California Class Action Lawsuit Fairness Act, outlines detailed rules for determining whether to grant class action status in cases. “We know that since the federal Class Action Fairness Act was passed, there have been approximately 3,000 class action lawsuits filed in this state in the major counties,” said John H. Sullivan, president of the Civil Justice Association of California. “So, this is still a hotbed for class action lawsuits, and it’s still very pro plaintiff. For those two reasons, it’s really all the more important for California to get its house in order.” The Consumer Attorneys of California filed a proposed initiative, called the No Say No Pay Act, that would expand the reporting of public companies in California to include, among other things, the compensation paid to their board directors and their 10 highest-paid executives, including their chief executive. The act also would require disclosure of employee health insurance, pension plans and hours worked. Right now, public companies in California must report the compensation granted to their board directors and their five highest-paid executives. The act also would give shareholders the right to approve compensation packages and sue directors for the amount of illegal compensation. Another proposed initiative, the Class Action Reform and Corporate Accountability Act, proposes that 25% of punitive damage awards go toward the state of California to fund police and fire departments, enforcement of consumer laws and protection of pension plans and shareholders. The initiative is reminiscent of previous proposals by the Consumer Attorneys of California and a failed idea pushed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger three years ago to give 75% of punitive damage awards to the state. A third initiative, the Corporate Accountability Act, holds executives, directors and other corporate officers individually liable for their compensation derived during the period in which a violation occurred. Ray Boucher, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California and a partner at Kiesel, Boucher & Larson in Beverly Hills, Calif., did not return calls.

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