Bill Status of HB5180 102nd General Assembly
Short Description: EVICTION-SEAL COURT FILE
Rep. Will Guzzardi and Anne Stava-Murray
|Session Sine Die
Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Eviction Article of the Code of Civil Procedure. Removes language providing for the discretionary sealing of a court file and the mandatory sealing of a court file. Provides that a court file shall be impounded upon the commencement of any residential eviction action. Allows the court to unimpound a court file if a judgment is entered in favor of the landlord, except for specified circumstances. Requires the court to impound the court file of any residential eviction case initiated 7 or more years prior to the amendatory Act regardless of the disposition of the case. Allows a tenant to file a motion to impound a court file for any residential eviction case filed less than 7 years ago that was not impounded. Requires an impounded or sealed court file to be made available only to a litigant in the case, litigant's counsel or prospective counsel, public employee responsible for processing the residential eviction action, and State or local government employee or contractor responsible for processing court-based rental assistance. Allows a scholarly, public policy, or court reform agency or educational, journalistic, or governmental body to access all impounded files by filing a motion with the judge presiding over evictions in that judicial district or county. Provides that any person who disseminates a sealed or impounded court file, or the information contained therein, for commercial purposes is liable for a civil penalty of $2,000 or twice the actual and consequential damages sustained, whichever is greater, as well as the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney's fees. Allows the Attorney General to enforce violations of the amendatory Act. Provides that a tenant need not report a court record that is sealed or impounded to a prospective landlord. Makes a conforming change in the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Effective immediately.