Thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, California took a step to ensure that courts can’t systematically decide that the life of a white person is worth more money than that of an African American or Latinx person.
At the end of July 2019, Newsom signed Senate Bill 41, bringing to an end a practice in which the legal system deliberately and explicitly used gender and race to determine how much compensation victims and families receive in civil cases involving injury or death.
“This breakthrough legislation will help ensure victims and their families — no matter their race or gender — get their fair share in court, and it will also prevent corporate ‘risk-assessment’ decisions from hurting communities of color,” says Gina Dalma, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s executive vice president for community action, policy and strategy.
The new law will bring greater equity to civil damage awards by banning the use of biased statistical tables used by forensic economists to predict an individual’s lifetime worth, following death or injury.