May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

Skip To Content

MIPTC Author:

Bookstore:



Listed in Latino Who's Who, June 2014
 Attorney
Locations of visitors to this page



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.



law-blogs.net


Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Quote of the Day - A hospital should also have a recovery room adjoining the cashier's office. - Francis O.
Adjust font size: A A+ A++
Claim Your Profile on Avvo
An Affiliate of the Law.com Network

From the Law.com Newswire

Sign up to receive Legal Blog Watch by email
View a Sample

Personal Injury Law Just Got Trickier For Hospitals

What Is Reasonable and Necessary?

We thought the tort law in personal injury cases was fairly well defined, but a new appellate opinion has got hospitals and their attorneys in a dither, while plaintiffs and their lawyers are throwing a big party.

Especially now that they can afford it.  Let me explain.

Michael Huff got injured in a car accident and went to the hospital.  When he left the hospital's care seven days later, it slapped him with a $34,000 bill that he didn't pay.  Huff's lawyer then sued Steven and Matthew Wilkins for negligence in causing the car collision that injured Huff.  State Farm insurance defended the Wilkinses.  The hospital, Pioneer's Memorial Healthcare District, duly filed a lien in Huff v. Wilkins, claiming the $34,000 that Huff owed.

The jury awarded Huff more than $350,000, and before State Farm could even get out its checkbook to pay Huff, the hospital said, "First dibs on the $34,000 that Huff owes us."

That's legal talk, in case you missed it.

Summoning all of the chutzpah they could muster, Huff's lawyers replied to the hospital, "Hold on there, bucko, those expenses weren't needed."

That's more legal talk.  I'm getting into a pattern here in case you were wondering.

Like any good neighbor, State Farm put the disputed $34,000 in the Court's hands and told Huff and the hospital that they had to fight over the disputed money. 

In legal talk, that step is called an interpleader.  I know, legal talk is really boring.  That's why I was warming you up to the first couple of legal phrases like "first dibs" and "bucko."  Well, sure enough, Huff and the hospital both told the Court that they wanted the $34,000.  At the trial of the matter, four things happened:

1.  The hospital submitted the bills that Huff didn't pay;

2.  Huff told the hospital that he had no insurance but should bill the Wilkinses;

3.  The hospital submitted its lien notice that it sent to State Farm; and,

4.   Huff's personal injury attorney confirmed that he had submitted all of Huff's medical bills in the case Huff filed against the Wilkinses and authenticated the $350K Judgment in Huff's favor.

Notice what's missing.  Didn't notice?  Well, how about the hospital's proof of the expenses it charged to Huff?  Nowhere did the hospital say that the charges were reasonable or necessary.  It just said Huff incurred the expenses.

Those are magic words in personal injury law.  "Reasonable and necessary."

You see, in order for the hospital to recover the $34,000 lien that it placed on Huff's recovery of the $350,000, the hospital should have proved that the expenses it charged Huff were both reasonable and necessary.  Under the Hospital Lien Act at California Civil Code sections 3045.1-3045.6 (a whopping five subparts), the hospital can only recover on its personal injury lien if it can prove that the expenses were both reasonable and necessary.

Look back on that list of four items that were introduced in the trial.  Look carefully to see if there's anything there about the expenses being "reasonable" or "necessary."  Can't find it?  Neither could I, and I wrote it.

That's because the hospital either forgot or failed to do so.  Now comes the Court's ruling.  Because the hospital had the opportunity in the trial to introduce this evidence, say through a doctor who treated Huff, but failed to do so, the hospital got stiffed.

That's right:  no recovery for the hospital, and Huff walked away with the $34,000.  But don't get excited.

I suspect this case isn't completely over, however.  Despite the hospital's failure to recover on its lien, the hospital can still sue Huff on both a breach of contract and equitable basis.  Huff did get $34,000 in services that he apparently still hasn't paid for, and with this loss, that debt is pretty high on the hospital's radar screen.  We'll see.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 14:01 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


Will Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Get the Death Penalty?

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Returns

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother of the accused for the Boston marathon bombings, has become a face of the media lately. His prosecution and potential sentence raises many questions for both the public and the legal world. Attorneys and co-hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi join Attorney Jack Cunha and Professor Douglas Berman to discuss the prosecution and trial of the suspect.

  • Jack Cunha, of Cunha & Holcomb, is a practicing criminal attorney based in Boston, Massachusetts. A former instructor at Suffolk and Harvard Law Schools, Cunha lectures nationally for various associations and schools such as The National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Harvard Law, and CLE Programs mainly on criminal defense.
  • Douglas Berman, Professor of Law at The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, has taught a myriad of courses at Ohio State including criminal law, criminal punishment and sentencing, and the death penalty. He is co-author of a casebook, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes, and Guidelines. He also writes a popular blog titled Sentencing Law and Policy.

Tune in to hear what these experienced professionals have to say as they answer questions such as: Although Massachusetts outlawed the death penalty in 1984, will prosecutors use federal law to seek the death penalty for Tsarnaev? Will the fact that the suspect is only 19 call for mitigation? and more.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 10:47 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


Legal Crackdown on Human Trafficking

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

Human trafficking is "modern-day slavery." And if you think it isn't happening near you, think again. The United Nations estimates nearly 2.4 million people may be the victims of this crime.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney, Bob Ambrogi, as we take a legal look at this troubling issue with Professor Bridgette Carr from the University of Michigan Law School, Attorney Ann Johnson from Houston, Texas and Mary C. Ellison, Director of Policy for Polaris Project.

Click on the link below and give a listen!

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 08:56 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


How Congress Takes A Congressional Junket Without Letting Anyone Know

Members of Congress and their staffers who travel at the expense of private organizations must follow a long list of legal restrictions and requirements.  However, there is a little known exemption that allows the same federal employees to travel with virtually no accountability and very little transparency.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney, Bob Ambrogi, as we welome ProPublica.org reporter Justin Elliott and Washington University Law Professor Kathleen Clark to examine the ethics, legalities and secrecy of these Congressional trips abroad.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 21:08 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


Women's Rights: Who Gets To Decide What Happens To Women's Bodies? Your Favorite Government?

From the Obama Administration's decision on female contraception coverage, to the Congressional hearing on women's health featuring an all-male panel of witnesses, to the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke firestorm, legislation targeting women's health is causing quite the political controversy across the country. Please join me as I welcome Attorney Shari Rendall, Director of Legislation and Public Policy for Concerned Women for America and Attorney Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel for Health and Reproductive Rights for the National Women's Law Center, to discuss current legislation aimed at women's issues, reaction from women's groups and the present state of women's rights.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 10:00 Comments Closed (3) |
 
Share Link  

 


Women's Rights: Who Gets To Decide What Happens To Women's Bodies? Your Favorite Government?

From the Obama Administration's decision on female contraception coverage, to the Congressional hearing on women's health featuring an all-male panel of witnesses, to the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke firestorm, legislation targeting women's health is causing quite the political controversy across the country. Please join me as I welcome Attorney Shari Rendall, Director of Legislation and Public Policy for Concerned Women for America and Attorney Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel for Health and Reproductive Rights for the National Women's Law Center, to discuss current legislation aimed at women's issues, reaction from women's groups and the present state of women's rights.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 10:00 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


What Are The Hottest Legal Trends For 2012?

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio

Decriminalizing medical marijuana, fighting to repeal healthcare reform and using social media as evidence are just a few of the topics trending in the legal industry in 2012.  My co-host, Bob Ambrogi, is off today, so please join me as I discuss the hottest trends currently transforming the legal world with attorney and legal trend-watcher Danny Cevallos, the founding partner of Cevallos & Wong, L.L.P.  

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:21 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


Predictions For 2012 And Grades For Last Year's Predictions

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

From the spectacle of the Casey Anthony trial, to the great debate over the health care law, to the controversial immigration law in Arizona, 2011 was a big year in the law.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney, Robert Ambrogi as we welcome our returning guest, Stephen L. Kaplan from the firm Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns, to review his 2011 predictions and look ahead to a brand new year, 2012!

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 05, 2012 at 10:05 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


The Fight For Legal Rights Of War Dogs

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

War dogs serve bravely alongside the men and women of the U.S. Military.  Their handlers consider them heroes, but the military still classifies military working dogs as equipment.  Up until recently, these canine soldiers were left behind or even euthanized after the fighting stopped.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney Robert Ambrogi as we welcome Ron Aiello, the president and co-founder of The United States War Dogs Association, and Carter Dillard, the director of litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and discuss what laws need to change so that war dogs get the respect that they deserve from the U.S. military.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 12:06 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


The PeaceTones Legal Empowerment Project & the Power of Music

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

Music makes the world go ‘round and on this holiday edition of Lawyer2Lawyer, please join me and my fellow co-host and attorney Bob Ambrogi as we celebrate with a music themed show!  First up, Bob and I welcome Attorney Jeffrey M. Aresty, founder and current President of Internetbar.org and Attorney Ruha Devanesan, the Executive Director & Vice President of IBO, to talk about the mission of the Internet Bar's PeaceTones Legal Empowerment project. Later in the program, we share a holiday treat from a great songwriter and longtime friend of our extended family, Attorney Larry Savell!

Happy Holidays!

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 13:25 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


Should Cameras Cover Supreme Court Arguments?

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

Should the U.S. Supreme Court broadcast its sessions to the American public or should cameras be kept out of the SCOTUS chamber? Proponents of cameras say they are needed for transparency.  Opponents call the idea potentially unconstitutional and harmful.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney Bob Ambrogi as we welcome Nancy Marder, Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Eric P. Robinson, Deputy Director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Courts and Media at the University of Nevada in Reno, for an in depth discussion on both sides of this very important issue.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 12:33 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


How to Help Veterans

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

With two wars winding down, there are great efforts in the legal community to help returning troops, their families and all other veterans with the many legal issues they face back home.  Please join me and my fellow Lawyer2Lawyer co-host and attorney, Bob Ambrogi, as we hear from Attorney Nan Heald, the Executive Director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Jim Strickland, a nationally recognized expert on disability benefits, to discuss their personal missions to assist our service members with disability benefits and the Service Members Civil Relief Act.  They also talk about the role of the VA and how lawyers can help these brave men and women who serve our country.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 08, 2011 at 09:28 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


The Legal Battle Against Drunk Driving

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio

The fight against drunk driving has been going on for more than a century.  On this week's Lawyer2Lawyer, please join my co-host Bob Ambrogi as he welcomes Atlanta DUI Defense Attorney, George Stein and the author of One for the Road: Drunk Driving since 1900, Dr. Barron Lerner of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, for an in-depth discussion on the history, laws, initiatives, and successes and failures surrounding drunk driving.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 01, 2011 at 17:11 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


The Impact Of Budget Cuts On The Court System

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

With court closings, dismissal of cases, and giant backlogs, the American court system is in crisis.  In this edition of Lawyer2Lawyer, please join me and my fellow co-host and attorney, Bob Ambrogi, as we are joined by Attorney Laura Abel from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and Attorney Stephen N. Zack, former President of the American Bar Association, to take a look at the impact of massive budget cuts on our courts, the cases, the staff and just how long this shortfall will all last.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 14:00 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


The Penn State Football Scandal

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Podcast

With former defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky accused of raping children and university officials charged with covering up the crimes,  the Penn State child sex abuse scandal raises countless legal questions.  Could the university be held liable? Could other university officials, including legendary coach Joe Paterno face criminal charges? What laws need to be changed to prevent this from happening again? In this edition of Lawyer2Lawyer, please join me and my fellow co-host and attorney, Bob Ambrogi, along with Professor Marci Hamilton of the Cardozo School of Law and Attorney Philip Masorti, Senior Partner at Masorti-Sullivan P.C. discuss the complexities of this growing scandal.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 13:31 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link  

 


  Text-Only Site