E.R. v. Sutter Davis Hospital et al

Filing 138

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 3/28/2017 GRANTING IN PART 88 Plaintiff's MOTION IN LIMINE No. 2. Any evidence regarding E.R.'s future benefits under Medi-Cal is hereby excluded. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 E.R., a minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, CAROLYN YOUNG, CIV. NO. 2:14-2053 WBS CKD ORDER Plaintiff, v. SUTTER DAVIS HOSPITAL; SUTTER WEST WOMEN’S HEALTH; SUSAN MAAYAH, M.D.; Defendants. 19 20 21 AND RELATED THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS. ----oo0oo---- 22 23 Before the court is plaintiff’s Motion in Limine No. 2: 24 to Exclude Testimony about Collateral Sources to Reduce Future 25 Medical Expenses. 26 “collateral source” rule, “if an injured party received some 27 compensation for his injuries from a source wholly independent of 28 the tortfeasor, such payment should not be deducted from the (Docket No. 88.) 1 Under California’s 1 damages which the plaintiff would otherwise collect from the 2 tortfeasor.” 3 498, 504-05 (2d Dist. 2000). 4 Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, commonly known as 5 “MICRA,” modifies the collateral source rule with regard to 6 medical malpractice cases. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Hernandez v. Cal. Hosp. Med. Ctr., 78 Cal. App. 4th However, California’s Medical This section provides: (a) In the event the defendant so elects, in an action for personal injury against a health care provider based upon professional negligence, he may introduce evidence of any amount payable as a benefit to the plaintiff as a result of the personal injury pursuant to the United States Social Security Act, any state or federal income disability or worker's compensation act, any health, sickness or income-disability insurance, accident insurance that provides health benefits or income-disability coverage, and any contract or agreement of any group, organization, partnership, or corporation to provide, pay for, or reimburse the cost of medical, hospital, dental, or other health care services. Where the defendant elects to introduce such evidence, the plaintiff may introduce evidence of any amount which the plaintiff has paid or contributed to secure his right to any insurance benefits concerning which the defendant has introduced evidence. (b) No source of collateral benefits introduced pursuant to subdivision (a) shall recover any amount against the plaintiff nor shall it be subrogated to the rights of the plaintiff against a defendant. Cal. Gov’t Code § 3333.1. As explained by the California Court of Appeal in Hernandez, section 3333.1 was intended to reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance by allowing evidence of collateral sources including health insurance, under the assumption that the jury would take in account such benefits and reduce any damages award. 78 Cal. App. 4th at 505-06 (quoting Barme v. Wood, 37 Cal. 3d 174, 179 (1984)). “[S]ection 3333.1 does not preclude recovery of such damages; rather, it allows the jury to decide 2 1 how to apply the evidence in calculation of damages.” 2 506. 3 Id. at However, payments made through the California Medical 4 Assistance Program (“Medi-Cal”) “fall outside the scope of Civil 5 Code section 3333.1.” 6 barred from recovering any amount against the plaintiff under 7 section 3333.1(b), the Medi-Cal program may seek recovery of 8 Medi-Cal payments “against either the successful plaintiff 9 through the Medi-Cal lien procedure or in a direct action against Id. Thus, while private insurers are 10 the third party tortfeasor.” 11 Cal. App. 3d 331, 341 (3d Dist. 1982). 12 Id.; see also Brown v. Stewart, 129 If section 3333.1 does not apply to payments made 13 through Medi-Cal, then MICRA’s exception to the collateral source 14 rule for medical malpractice cases is inapplicable and does not 15 allow evidence of future Medi-Cal payments made on behalf of the 16 plaintiff. 17 from a plaintiff’s damages award, first by the jury due to 18 evidence of future Medi-Cal payments, and then by the Medi-Cal 19 program as it seeks to recover payments made on behalf of the 20 plaintiff in the future. 21 Such interpretation prevents a “double deduction” Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion in limine will be 22 granted with respect to evidence regarding future Medi-Cal 23 benefits. 24 However, defendants are not categorically barred from 25 introducing future benefits receivable under the Affordable Care 26 Act, by which plaintiff may receive benefits from private 27 insurance, although such insurance in some cases may be 28 subsidized by the federal government. 3 See Brewington v. United 1 States, Case No. CV 13-07672-DMG(CWx), 2015 WL 4511296, at *5-6 2 (C.D. Cal. July 24, 2015) (admitting evidence of Affordable Care 3 Act coverage as a collateral source of future medical care 4 expenses). 5 allows evidence both of past payments and future payments. 6 Indeed, section 3333.1(a)’s allowance of evidence of any amount 7 “payable as a benefit” encompasses both past and future medical 8 costs. 9 Permanente Med. Grp., 38 Cal. 3d 137, 164-65 (1985). Accordingly, Notwithstanding plaintiff’s objection, section 3333.1 See Barme v. Wood, 37 Cal. 3d 174, 177-78 (1984); Fein v. 10 plaintiff’s motion in limine will be denied with respect to 11 evidence of future benefits under the Affordable Care Act. 12 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion in 13 limine is GRANTED IN PART. Any evidence regarding E.R.’s future 14 benefits under Medi-Cal is hereby excluded. 15 Dated: March 28, 2017 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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