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Californians Defeat Plan To Limit Lawsuits But Support New S.F. Ballpark, Ban On Hunting Mountain Lions

Wed., March 27, 1996

Proposals to set up a no-fault auto insurance system and discourage shareholder lawsuits were soundly defeated in California’s primary Tuesday but voters were narrowly favoring a plan to cap lawyers’ fees in cases that settle before trial.

In other races:

San Francisco voters approved a plan to build a new stadium for baseball’s Giants.

Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti appeared headed toward a November runoff with one of his deputies;

A proposal to clear the way for hunting California’s mountain lions was going down to defeat.

With the GOP presidential nomination all but decided, the three propositions aimed at curbing what some see as abuses of the legal system drew the most interest in statewide voting.

The initiatives were backed by high-tech business interests and opposed by lawyers and consumer advocates, who dubbed them the “Terrible 2’s.”

Proposition 200 would have set up a no-fault auto insurance system, in which a person’s insurer pays for all damages, regardless of who is to blame. The measure had 1,412,884 no votes, or 64 percent, to 800,156 no votes, or 36 percent.

Proposition 201 would have required losing parties in securities class-action lawsuits to pay the winners’ attorney fees and other litigation expenses. It was losing 58 percent to 42 percent.

Proposition 202 would cap plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees - in cases ranging from personal injury to sexual harassment - to 15 percent of the settlement if the plaintiff agrees to settle within 60 days. Voters were favoring it 51 percent to 49 percent.

In other statewide ballot issues, a measure to repeal a 24-year-old ban on the sport hunting of cougars was losing 55 percent to 45 percent.

In San Francisco, a measure to replace cold, windy Candlestick Park, the Giants’ home since 1960, won by a 2-1 margin with 22 percent of the vote counted.

The proposed $255 million, 42,000-seat ballpark would be privately financed and erected on the bayfront in China Basin, one of the city’s sunniest neighborhoods.

Voters also approved an open-primary initiative that makes California the 30th state to let people cast ballots for candidates of any party.

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