REPORT TITLE:
Civil Rights


DESCRIPTION:
Permits lawsuits to be filed for violation of civil rights.
Allows for attorneys' fees.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.1643       
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO CIVIL RIGHTS.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  The purpose of this Act is to provide relief to
 
 2 individuals whose civil rights have been violated, by permitting
 
 3 them to directly file suit in court.  Hawaii's present civil
 
 4 rights enforcement laws cover only public accommodations, real
 
 5 property, and employment, and require compliance with the
 
 6 administrative procedures of the civil rights commission.  The
 
 7 purpose of this Act is to give wronged parties a direct remedy
 
 8 for their injury by filing suit directly with the court system.
 
 9 It does not add any new rights.
 
10      This language is taken directly from federal law, 42 United
 
11 States Code section 1983.  It is the intent of this Act that case
 
12 law construing the federal law apply to this Act as well.  In
 
13 addition, this Act includes the attorneys' fees provision of 42
 
14 United States Code section 1988.  In many civil rights actions,
 
15 the plaintiff is an individual with limited means, and providing
 
16 for recovery of attorneys' fees will help reduce spurious actions
 
17 while protecting legitimate complainants who will not have to
 
18 vindicate a right for all at the cost of bankrupting themselves.
 

 
Page 2                                                     
                                     H.B. NO.1643       
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1      SECTION 2.  Chapter 368, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 
 2 by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read
 
 3 as follows:
 
 4        "PART    .  CIVIL ACTION FOR DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS
 
 5      368-    Civil action permitted.  Every person who, under
 
 6 color of any statute, ordinance, rule, custom, or usage of this
 
 7 State or its political subdivisions, subjects or causes to be
 
 8 subjected any person in this State to the deprivation of any
 
 9 right, privilege, or immunity secured by state constitution or
 
10 law shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law,
 
11 suit at equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
 
12      368-    Attorney fees.  In any action to enforce this part,
 
13 the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party,
 
14 other than the State, reasonable attorney fees as part of the
 
15 costs."
 
16      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 
17 
 
18                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________