SACRAMENTO — Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1309 by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) into law. The bill, which received broad bipartisan support moving through both houses in the legislature, will fix a loophole in current law that has allowed professional athletes with little to no employment connection to California to file cumulative trauma workers’ compensation claims and receive large cash settlements.
According to a recent study, as many as 4,000 claims remain open with a cost that could come close to $1 billion. In addition, the California Insurance Guarantee Association has paid over $41.7 million in losses on professional athlete claims since 2002 and has reported an average of thirty four new claims per month. The increasing influx of new claims has shown no signs of slowing down and appears to have been enough to warrant its’ signing into law.
“Our workers’ compensation system will no longer be unfairly targeted by out-of-state professional athletes and California businesses will finally be protected from these claims,” said Assemblymember Perea. “This legislation has come a long way from its introduction and provides a fair, balanced and practical approach which still allows former California athletes to file here. I applaud Governor Brown for signing this into law.”
“This new law sets reasonable standards to close an expensive loophole unique to California and to professional sports,” said Dennis Kuhl, Chairman, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. “This change isn’t just good for California baseball teams – it’s good for all California businesses and their workers and ensures that our Workers’ Compensation system is there for in-state players. We applaud Assemblyman Perea for carrying this important bill and Governor Brown for signing it into law.”
“This bill is good, narrowly-tailored public policy that is fair to California teams, players, and all employers and employees who rely on a just and equitable Workers’ Compensation system,” said John Tortora, Chief Operating Officer of the San Jose Sharks.
The bill maintains the ability for former California professional athletes to file claims in California if they meet certain requirements and is supported by California’s professional sports teams, businesses, and labor unions.
CONTACT: Minnie Santillan, 916-752-4080