Does Petition to Release of a Juvenile Court File Survive Death ?

In 1997, the Supreme Court stated the Legislature intended certain causes of action survive death by adopting the Law Revision Commission's recommendation that the survival statute (former Prob. Code, 573) should be expanded to include actions for personal torts that do not result in physical injury, such as malicious prosecution, false imprisonment or defamation. ( Sullivan v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal. 4th 288, 298-299 [63 Cal. Rptr. 2d 74, 935 P.2d 781].) However, all of the causes of action that the Supreme Court discussed as surviving death are torts with a monetary or anticipated monetary value. A petition under section 826 confers no pecuniary right and is not a tort. All of the rights addressed in Code of Civil Procedure section 377.10 et seq. address either the decedent's right to proceed with a cause of action to collect money or the decedent's monetary liability. The right to proceed under section 826 has no monetary value and thus is not the type of material to which a successor in interest gains title under Probate Code section 7000. Therefore, the right to petition for the release of a juvenile court file does not survive death. Further, the language of section 826, subdivision (a) also indicates that the Legislature did not intend this cause of action to survive the named minor's death. In pertinent part, that section provides, "any person who is the subject of the juvenile court record may by written notice request the juvenile court to release the court record to his or her custody." Had the Legislature wished to allow a successor in interest or legal representative to proceed under this section, the Legislature could have expressly stated that intent.