Category Archives: M

Medical Malpractice

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Medical Malpractice in California

Ballot Measure: Proposition 46

by Ben Adlin

A 39-year-old limit on medical malpractice damages doesn’t translate easily to a 30-second campaign spot. But a confluence of frustration, tragedy, and political bargaining has California consumer attorneys hopeful that Proposition 46 on November’s ballot is their best attempt yet to lift a cap on noneconomic damages that they say unfairly stymies victims.

The measure – which spawned one of the nation’s priciest electoral contests this year, with more than $67.5 million donated in support and opposition by September – is a mishmash. It would quadruple the damages cap to $1.1 million and add an inflation adjuster; it would require doctors to check patients’ narcotics prescription histories; and it would mandate drug testing of doctors. Advocates say the three prongs are equally important, but some have acknowledged they hope the last element would finally turn a long-running battle over damages in their favor.

The fight began in 1975, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA, capping noneconomic malpractice damages at $250,000 after a spike in insurance rates led some doctors to suspend services to all but emergency patients. (See Cal. Civ. Code § 3333.2(b).) Providers blamed plaintiffs lawyers for the rate increases. Tort lawyers blamed the hikes on insurers’ efforts to recoup unrelated investment losses. They challenged MICRA from the start as unconstitutional, lobbied legislators, and supported reform-minded candidates.
Similar arguments from both sides show up in this year’s campaign literature. But University of Pennsylvania law professor Tom Baker says neither explanation is right: The spike was a market correction after insurers competed too vigorously and found themselves short on cash to pay claims.

October 2003 was a turning point for lawyers fighting the cap. Just as they were closing in on success in the Legislature, they lost a key ally when Gov. Gray Davis was recalled. But they gained important champions after two young children were killed in Danville by a driver high on prescription drugs. When the grieving parents, Bob and Carmen Pack, consulted lawyers about suing Kaiser Permanente for negligence, the first nine refused their case, citing the cap on noneconomic damages. In addition, economic damages for victims with low incomes – or none, like children – may be reduced to zero. “Damages caps are a blunt instrument,” says Stanford University law professor Nora Engstrom. “They’re bad at what they purport to do, and they have terrible side effects.”

Bob Pack became a prominent spokesman for raising the cap. The former America Online executive, who co-founded Internet provider NetZero, also created the online version of a database where California doctors can check patients’ prescription records. And he got the Consumer Attorneys of California and the nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog to back requiring clinicians to use it.

The drug testing prong of Prop. 46 was added in part because it played well with likely voters and in part because supporters realized it could be awkward for the medical industry to oppose. “Most people don’t know that doctors aren’t drug tested and are appalled,” says Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president. Still, providers argued that raising the cap would be too costly.

And opponents of the measure, who have raised more than seven times as much money as supporters, are running ads that lean heavily on antipathy toward lawyers. They were particularly angry about the summary that Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office wrote for signature-gathering petitions because it gave top billing to the measure’s drug testing provision. “Harris intentionally deceived ballot signers by highlighting one of the fig leaves that trial lawyers attached to the measure to hide their real intent,” a San Diego newspaper editorial declaimed. A Field Poll in early September found the tide turning against the measure, with just 34 percent of likely voters in favor.

Medical Malpractice

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the medical malpractice laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of medical malpractice in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with medical malpractice. This introductory section covers case law related to medical malpractice in California, the legal approach on medical malpractice in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of medical malpractice in California.

Medical Malpractice in relation to Health Care Law

This section analizes the legal issue of medical malpractice in this context.

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Marriage

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Marriage

California Marriage

This section covers California-specific basic information on marriage and related topics. Many of California's laws on marriage are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California marriage laws on marriage are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on marriage, which is a basic matter in California law.

California Marriage

This section covers California-specific basic information on marriage and related topics. Many of California's laws on marriage are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California marriage laws on marriage are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on marriage, which is a basic matter in California law.Welcome to California's annulment and prohibited marriage laws introductory entry, with information on this family-related topic. In this introductory entry, the legal requirements and effects of annulment and prohibited marriage in California is addressed; cross-references to other annulment and prohibited marriage-related resources are provided; plus additional information and details about how courts determine annulment and prohibited marriage cases affecting California residents.

The sections and subsections below provide California-specific information on annulment and prohibited marriage's legal regime in California, including an overview of related California annulment and prohibited marriage statutes and regulations and resources.

Marriage and Dissolution

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the marriage and dissolution laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of marriage and dissolution in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with marriage and dissolution. This introductory section covers case law related to marriage and dissolution in California, the legal approach on marriage and dissolution in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of marriage and dissolution in California.

Marriage and Dissolution in relation to Family Law

This section analizes the legal issue of marriage and dissolution in this context, and provides information on its relation with Marriage and Dissolution.

Marriage as a Legal Status

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the Marriage as a legal status laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of Marriage as a legal status in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with Marriage as a legal status. This introductory section covers case law related to Marriage as a legal status in California, the legal approach on Marriage as a legal status in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of Marriage as a legal status in California.

Marriage as a Legal Status in relation to Family Law

This section analizes the legal issue of Marriage as a legal status in this context, and provides information on its relation with Marriage and Dissolution.

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Misconduct

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Misconduct in California

Sanctions for Civil Litigation Misconduct Before the Circuit Courts

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts. This introductory section covers case law related to sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts in California, the legal approach on sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts in California.

Sanctions for Civil Litigation Misconduct Before the Circuit Courts in relation to Civil Procedure

This section analizes the legal issue of sanctions for civil litigation misconduct before the circuit courts in this context.

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Malpractice

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Malpractice in California

For California Attorneys: Malpractice

There is more information about this subjet in the California legal portal in these entries: Legal Malpractice Malpractice Claims Legal Ethics

Malpractice

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the malpractice laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of malpractice in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with malpractice. This introductory section covers case law related to malpractice in California, the legal approach on malpractice in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of malpractice in California.

Malpractice in relation to Personal Injury and Torts

This section analizes the legal issue of malpractice in this context, and provides information on its relation with Particular Factual Situations.

Malpractice in California: General Overview

This entry offers readers with practical insight to the subject of malpractice in California, a general introduction to the legal issues relating to malpractice under California law and practice.

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Money Paid

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Money Paid

California Money Paid

This section covers California-specific basic information on money paid and related topics. Many of California's laws on money paid are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California money paid laws on money paid are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on money paid, which is a basic matter in California law.

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Marital Property

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Marital Property

California Marital Property Laws

General summary of marital property laws in California and how they impact the division of property following a divorce or separation in California, including the issue of who own possessions and real estate during and after the marriage (under the law of California), a list of property that is shared, and facts about community property in California.

Welcome to California's marital property laws introductory entry, with information on this family-related topic. In this introductory entry, the legal requirements and effects of marital property in California is addressed; cross-references to other marital property-related resources are provided; plus additional information and details about how courts determine marital property cases affecting California residents.

The sections and subsections below provide California-specific information on marital property's legal regime in California, including an overview of related California marital property statutes and regulations and resources.

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Municipal Corporations

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Municipal Corporations

California Municipal Corporations

This section covers California-specific basic information on municipal corporations and related topics. Many of California's laws on municipal corporations are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California municipal corporations laws on municipal corporations are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on municipal corporations, which is a basic matter in California law.

California Municipal Corporations

This section covers California-specific basic information on municipal corporations and related topics. Many of California's laws on municipal corporations are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California municipal corporations laws on municipal corporations are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on municipal corporations, which is a basic matter in California law.

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Mechanics' Liens

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Mechanics' Liens

California Mechanics' Liens

This section covers California-specific basic information on mechanics' liens and related topics. Many of California's laws on mechanics' liens are similar to those of other U.S. states, with some differences (in some cases, minor differences). California mechanics' liens laws on mechanics' liens are created and revised by the actions of lawmakers and the courts. Use the cross-references and topics below to learn more about California statutes and laws on mechanics' liens, which is a basic matter in California law.

Mechanics' Liens in California: General Overview

This entry offers readers with practical insight to the subject of mechanics' liens in California, a general introduction to the legal issues relating to mechanics' liens under California law and practice.

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Medical Treatment

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Medical Treatment in California

Medical Treatment Decisions

Welcome to the California legal encyclopedia's introductory part covering the medical treatment decisions laws of California, with explanations of the various implications of medical treatment decisions in California and the statutes enforced in California in connexion with medical treatment decisions. This introductory section covers case law related to medical treatment decisions in California, the legal approach on medical treatment decisions in the United States and related topics. The information below provides an California-specific general overview of the legal regime of medical treatment decisions in California.

Medical Treatment Decisions in relation to Health Care Law

This section analizes the legal issue of medical treatment decisions in this context.

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