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California Proposition 202, 15% Cap on Attorney Contingency Fees (1996)

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California Proposition 202, also known as the Attorney's Contingency Fees/Limits Initiative, was on the March 26, 1996 primary election ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.

Proposition 202 was an effort to alter California's Business and Professions Code through the initiative process. If it had been approved, it would have capped at 15% the amount of so-called "contingency fees" that attorneys or law firms were allowed to charge their clients, in cases where the defendant made a prompt offer to settle.

Election results

Proposition 202
Defeatedd No2,907,34751.21%
Yes 2,769,466 48.79%

Text of measure



The official ballot summary that appeared on the ballot said:

  • Limits fees which plaintiffs' attorneys may collect, if payable contingent on plaintiffs' recovery of compensation, in personal injury, wrongful death, other tort cases. Hourly rates not limited
  • Requires demand against defendants for compensation with supporting information. Allows defendants to respond with prompt settlement offer with supporting information. If accepted, plaintiffs' attorneys may not collect contingent fees exc eeding 15% of defendants' offer. If not accepted, they may collect fees above 15% only on part of recovery in excess of defendants' prompt settlement offer.
  • Fiduciary relationship applies to fee agreement between plaintiff, plaintiff's attorney.

Estimated fiscal impact

The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 202. That estimate was:

  • Adoption of this measure would have an unknown net fiscal impact on state and local governments.

Campaign donations

Supporters and opponents of Proposition 202 also supported or opposed Prop 200 and Prop 201. As a result, several campaign committees in 1996 raised and spent money for campaigns relating to all three ballot measures and, in the case of one or two campaign committees, several additional ballot propositions.

Single committees

According to the campaign finance reporting system sponsored by the California Secretary of State, no campaign committees raised or spent money exclusively to support or oppose Proposition 202.[1]

Multiple supporters

  • The "Alliance to Revitalize California" spent $15.7 million cumulatively in a campaign to support Prop 200, Prop 201 and Prop 202.[2]
  • A group called "Voter Revolt to Cut Insurance Rates" spent $247,561 cumulatively in a campaign to support Prop 200, Prop 201 and Prop 202.[3]

Multiple opponents

  • A group called "Citizens Against Phony Initiatives" spent $113,045 cumulatively in a campaign to oppose Prop 200, Prop 201 and Prop 202.[6]
  • A group called "Citizens for Retirement Protection and Security" spent $12.3 million cumulatively in a campaign to oppose Prop 200, Prop 201 and Prop 202 and to support Prop 211.[7]

See also

External links