Relating to elder abuse; to amend Section 38-9F-6, Code of Alabama 1975; to require the redaction of sensitive information including addresses and phone numbers for an elder abuse plaintiff from court documents made available to the public; and to clarify that an elderly person who is of sound mind or body may hire legal representation to pursue a petition for relief in an elder abuse matter.
Section 38-9F-6, Code of Alabama 1975, is amended to read as follows: "§38-9F-6. "(a)(1) If a plaintiff lacks the physical or mental capacity to seek protection for himself or herself, the following may file a sworn petition for relief on behalf of the plaintiff: "(1)a. A court appointed guardian. The petition must include a copy of the court order appointing the petitioner as the plaintiff's guardian. "(2)b. A court appointed conservator. The petition must include a copy of the court order appointing the petitioner as the plaintiff's conservator. "(3)c. A temporary guardian appointed pursuant to Section 26-2A-107. The petition must include a copy of the court order appointing the petitioner as the plaintiff's temporary guardian. "(4)d. An agent, co-agent, or successor agent appointed under the plaintiff's validly executed power of attorney who acts within the authority of the power of attorney. The petition shall include a copy of the power of attorney. "(5)e. A health care proxy appointed under the plaintiff's validly executed Advance Directive for Health Care, or similar document, who acts within the authority of the designation. The petition shall include a copy of the Advance Directive for Health Care or similar document. "(6)f. An interested person who has the authority to petition for protective placement or other protective services under Section 38-9-6. "(2) A plaintiff possessing the physical or mental capacity to seek protection for himself or herself may either represent himself or herself or may choose to hire legal counsel for representation in all matters arising pursuant to this chapter. "(b) A sworn petition shall allege the incidents of abuse and the specific facts and circumstances that form the basis upon which relief is sought. "(c) Standardized petitions for actions pursuant to this chapter shall be made available through the circuit court clerk's offices throughout the state. A circuit court clerk and his or her staff shall not be required to provide assistance to individuals in completing the forms or in presenting the petitioner's case to the court. "(d) The elderly person for whom the petition is filed must be served with the petition pursuant to the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. "(e)(1) The following information shall be redacted from any court document filed on or after the effective date of the act adding this amendatory language by the filer: "a. The plaintiff's home address and, if applicable, business address. "b. The plaintiff's home phone number, cellular number, and business phone number. "c. Any home address, business address, home telephone number, cellular number, or business phone number of any member of the plaintiff's family or household. "d. Any address that would reveal the confidential location of a shelter for victims of domestic violence as defined in Section 30-6-1. "(2) If disclosure of an address otherwise required to be redacted pursuant to this subsection is necessary to determine jurisdiction or to consider an issue of venue, the disclosure shall only be made orally, in the private chambers of the judge assigned to the case, with no members of the public present. "(3) In the event the plaintiff or his or her representative does not disclose an address or telephone number for the plaintiff to the court, disclosure of either of the following shall be made to the court: "a. An alternative address. "b. The business address and business telephone number of the plaintiff's attorney of record. "(f) The court may not assess court costs or other fees for the filing or service of a petition or the issuance of a witness subpoena under this chapter against a petitioner or plaintiff. Costs and fees may be assessed against the defendant at the discretion of the court."
This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law. Senate Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary............................ 1.1-FEB-20Read for the second time and placed on the calen- dar............................................... 2.0-FEB-20Read for the third time and passed as amended .... 2.5-FEB-20 Yeas 32 Nays Patrick Harris, Secretary.
|March 12, 2020||H||Pending third reading on day 13 Favorable from Judiciary with 1 amendment|
|March 12, 2020||H||Judiciary first Amendment Offered|
|March 12, 2020||H||Read for the second time and placed on the calendar 1 amendment|
|February 27, 2020||H||Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Judiciary|
|February 27, 2020||S||Engrossed|
|February 25, 2020||S||Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 204|
|February 25, 2020||S||Motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 203|
|February 25, 2020||S||Smitherman Amendment Offered|
|February 25, 2020||S||Third Reading Passed|
|February 20, 2020||S||Read for the second time and placed on the calendar|
|February 11, 2020||S||Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary|