Governor Fallin has called a Special Session of the Oklahoma Legislature. The session will begin on Monday, Sept. 25. During this session only legislation dealing with the budget can be addressed.
In the judiciary arena, the Oklahoma Legislature, this year, modified judicial districts to bring an additional judge to Canadian County; enacted measures that give victims of childhood sexual abuse additional time to file an action against their abusers; modified the scope and limits of discovery, and makes paid protestors liable for damages to property.
HB 1470 extends the statute of limitations for alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse or exploitation by allowing them to sue for civil damages until their 45th birthday.
The measure also removes the requirement that evidence of the alleged abuse include proof that the victim had psychologically repressed the memory of the facts upon which the claim was predicated and that there is corroborating evidence that the se3cual abuse or exploitation or incest actually occurred.
Furthermore, the measure creates a two-year grace period to allow victims that were previously barred from filing a civil suit due to the expiration of the statute of limitations to commence an action between the period of Nov. 1, 2017 and Oct. 31, 2019.
A related bill, HB 1570, removes the requirement that there be a finding of gross negligence in order to be awarded damages in a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit and removes the requirement that the court award court costs and attorney fees to the prevailing party in most civil cases.
The measure also makes several changes to the Oklahoma Discovery Code including: modifying the scope and limits of discovery; allowing the court to limit the frequency or extent of discovery if a request is outside the scope of any party’s claim or defense; modifying the sequence and timing of discovery by allowing the parties to stipulate methods of discovery; clarifying the scope of items, particularly items stored in electronic format, for production and authorizing a responding party to provide copies of discoverable items in lieu of inspet6ion; and allowing parties to user existing procedures to motion the court for an order compelling discovery when a responding party fails to produce requested documents.
Lastly, the measure gives an officer, director or managing agent of a corporation or a government official who has been served with a notice of a deposition or subpoena, the ability to submit an affidavit stating the individual has no knowledge regarding the matter at issue and to identify a person within the corporation or government who does have knowledge of the subject matter.
In response to the concerns regarding paid protesters, HB 2128 holds an individual arrested or convicted of trespassing, including a person or entity that compensates an individual for trespassing, liable for damages to personal or real property while trespassing.
HB 1823 decreases from five to four the number of district judges for judicial district No. 24 (Okmulgee, Okfuskee, and Creek counties) and increases from one to two the number of district judges for judicial district No. 26, (Canadian County) for elections occurring after January 1, 2018.
Rep. Will Fourkiller (D- District 86) represents the 86th district in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 405-557-7394.