Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law Assembly Bill 2365, which the legislation's sponsor, Assemblymember Ted W. Lieu, says will protect California National Guard members and Reservists from financial obligations while they are deployed overseas.
Under current law, a servicemember who is deployed has the right to certain protections, such as a mortgage deferment or reduction in interest due to financial hardship. When a bank or other institution denies this request, however, the servicemember is in a difficult situation to enforce his or her rights because he or she is thousands of miles from the courts, Lieu says.
A.B.2365 will authorize servicemembers to recover actual damages, reasonable attorney's fees and costs from any person who violates these rights and protections.
The changes brought forth by A.B.2365 will provide more incentive for attorneys to represent servicemembers in cases where they are attempting to cope with financial hardships associated with prolonged absences from the state, Lieu says.