A victim of Kaiser’s kidney-transplant program fiasco will have his lawsuit heard by a jury, and not by a panel of arbitrators as a result of the Ehrlich law firm’s victory in Burks v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plans (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1021. The California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District, in Sacramento, held on March 5, 2008, that Kaiser’s enrollment form failed to comply with the statutory disclosure requirements concerning arbitration clauses, and as a result the arbitration provision could not be enforced. The decision not only benefits Mr. Burks, but will allow other Kaiser members who signed similar defective enrollment forms to pursue their claims before a jury, in accordance with the constitutional right to a jury trial.
Ehrlich Law Firm obtains emergency stay from Court of Appeal for trial lawyer seeking to recuse trial judge. When a trial lawyer’s case was transferred from one Superior Court Judge to another at the Mosk Courthouse, the trial lawyer filed a peremptory challenge under Code Civ. Proc. section 170.6. The trial judge ruled that the challenge was not timely filed, because it had not been made at the moment the transfer was announced – before counsel even had a chance to confer with his client.
Insurance companies in California can no longer prevail in bad-faith lawsuits brought by their policyholders simply by showing that there was a “dispute” about whether the insurer should pay the claim. In Wilson v. 21st Century Ins. Co. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 713, the Supreme Court reined in the so-called “genuine dispute rule” that had become the insurance industries’ most potent defense in bad-faith cases, holding that the rule only applied at the summary-judgment stage, and then only in cases where a jury would be unable to make a finding that the insurer had acted unreasonably.
The Wilson ruling makes it much harder for insurers to obtain summary judgment in bad-faith lawsuit.
January 2007 — California law requires that health plans must disclose their use of binding arbitration. In Medeiros v. Superior Court (Health Net), __ Cal.App.4th __, the Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate directing the trial court to reverse its order compelling arbitration of the plaintiffs’ bad-faith claims against Health Net, because Health Net failed to properly disclose the arbitration provisions. The court rejected Health Net’s claim that the disclosures were not required for enrollees of group health plans.
January 2007 – The Court of Appeal in Los Angeles has reversed a trial court’s order requiring that Mary Medeiros arbitrate her claims against Health Net, arising from the company’s failure to provide her with timely medical care. Even though Health Net’s enrollment form failed to comply with the mandatory disclosure requirements concerning arbitration clauses, the trial court ordered the case to arbitration.
The Ehrlich Law Firm filed a writ of mandate, which was granted in a published opinion. (Medeiros v. Superior Court (Health Net) (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1008. Medeiros is a victory for public employees, because it held that health plans that provide coverage through public agencies must comply with the arbitration-disclosure requirements in the Health & Safety Code and the Insurance Code.
Ehrlich Law Firm retained to handle $1 million appeal in domestic-slavery case. October 2006 – attorneys representing a former domestic servant who sued her employer and claimed she had been held a virtual slave, has retained the Ehrlich Law Firm to defend the appeal of the $1 million judgment for unpaid wages, emotional distress, and attorney’s fees.
October 2006 – Three former Los Angeles Police Department officers who obtained a $15 million judgment against the City for wrongfully arresting them and accusing them of being corrupt have retained the Ehrlich Law Firm to defend their judgment in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ehrlich Law Firm retained to oppose 10 summary-judgment motions filed by primary and excess insurance carriers who had issued policies to the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, in a dispute involving the $34 million judgment obtained against the Coliseum by the Oakland Raiders pending in the Northern District of California.
Ehrlich Law Firm handling wrongful foreclosure appeal. August 2006 – The Ehrlich Law Firm is retained to handle the appeal of a developer who claims the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Pomona wrongfully foreclosed on her ownership interest in a commercial shopping center.
Ehrlich Law Firm defeats insurer’s summary-judgment motion in $20 million bad-faith dispute. June 2006 – The Ehrlich Law Firm was retained by Shernoff, Bidart & Darras to oppose a summary-judgment motion in a bad-faith lawsuit against an insurer arising from its refusal to defend its policyholder, who was ultimately hit with a $20 million judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the case settled for a confidential amount on the eve of trial in July 2006.
Ehrlich Law Firm handling $2 million appeal in bad-faith action against homeowner’s insurer. March 2006 — Shernoff, Bidart & Darras, LLP has retained the Ehrlich Law Firm to handle post-trial motions and to defend a $2 million judgment on appeal in a bad-faith case arising out of the manner in which a homeowner’s insurer handled it’s policyholders’ claim after the October 2003 wildfires destroyed their home.