CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

CJAC Op-ed: MICRA Initiative Will Raise Health Care Costs

Posted on 08/05/2013 @ 11:00 AM

Tags: Medical Liability/MICRA

An op-ed from CJAC President Kim Stone was printed in The Recorder today explaining the dangers of the trial lawyer-sponsored initiative to raise California's limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

She writes, "There have been and will continue to be many heartbreaking stories you will hear about medical errors. But remember when you hear them that there is no appropriate price you can put on a tragedy, that making lawsuits more expensive will not improve the quality of care that anyone receives, and that the higher costs that would result will put more people in danger because there will be less access to doctors."

You can read the entire op-ed here.

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New Prop 65 Warning Regs Under Consideration - Public Workshop on 7/30

Posted on 07/25/2013 @ 08:00 PM

Tags: Proposition 65

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will be holding a public workshop on Tuesday, July 30th to gather input on a regulation that would address Proposition 65 warnings.

OEHHA is considering a rulemaking that would provide for more detailed warnings concerning exposures to substances labeled as toxic under Prop. 65. More specific warnings are also a component of Governor Jerry Brown's Prop. 65 reform proposal, but yesterday's announcement indicates that OEHHA may move forward with a regulation independent of what happens with the Governor's effort to reform Prop. 65 through legislation.

We urge you to weigh in with OEHHA if this issue affects you. Please consider sending a representative to the July 30th workshop, which will take place at:

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, Coastal Hearing Room
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA
10:00am to 3:30pm

The workshop will also be webcast (not active until the day and time of the meeting) at: http://calepa.ca.gov/Broadcast/.

Please note that the July 30th hearing is a pre-regulatory workshop and if OEHHA decides to formally propose a Proposition 65 warning regulation there will be additional opportunities for public input.

We recommend you look at the OEHHA announcement, which can be found here, as well as their examples of the proposed new warnings here.

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Voice Your Opposition to Trial Lawyers' MICRA Changes

Posted on 07/22/2013 @ 08:00 PM

Tags: Medical Liability/MICRA

Trial lawyers continue to wage an aggressive campaign to change California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) (see our previous post here). We urge you to contact your state representatives and explain the devastating impact this would have on California's healthcare system!

Below is a sample constituent letter that can also be used as talking points. You can find your legislators' contact information here. Please call us at 916-443-4900 if you have any questions.

Dear (legislator's name),

Recently there have been renewed efforts to alter California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which sets parameters for compensation in medical malpractice cases. Trial lawyers and their allies are calling for a legislative change to quadruple MICRA's limit on non-economic damages to $1 million or eliminate it altogether.

I urge you to oppose this change to MICRA.

Under MICRA, patients are entitled to unlimited economic damages for any and all past and future medical costs, lost wages, and lifetime earning potential. They are also entitled to unlimited punitive damages. Additionally, patients can receive up to $250,000 for non-economic damages.

Trial lawyers are targeting the limit on non-economic damages so that the payouts in lawsuits will be higher, making it easier for them to earn more in legal fees and creating greater incentives for filing meritless lawsuits.

Raising or eliminating the limit on non-economic damages will hurt doctors, hospitals, community clinics and other providers by increasing medical liability costs. One recent study shows that increasing the amount of non-economic damages allowed under MICRA just from $250,000 to $500,000 would raise healthcare costs in California by at least $9.5 billion annually.

Increased liability costs will limit the state’s ability to accommodate new patients and will make it harder to attract doctors when there is already a shortage of medical providers.

We need to stay focused on lowering health care costs and expanding access to all Californians, not on policy changes that would make lawyers richer at the expense of everyone else. The trial lawyer-sponsored changes are opposed by more than 700 healthcare and other organizations because of the negative impact they would have.

MICRA is good public policy because it fairly compensates patients while lowering health care costs and improving patient access to care. Please reject the trial-lawyer sponsored changes to MICRA and protect California's healthcare system.


(Your name)

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California Ranked 4th Worst State for Business in New CNBC Report

Posted on 07/11/2013 @ 01:00 PM

Tags: Legal Climate

CNBC has released a new report that scores all 50 states on their business climates and once again California has been ranked near the bottom of the nation - 47th in this report. This is just the latest of many reports over the years to give California such a ranking.

This should serve as a reminder that excessive litigation contributes to the extremely high cost of doing business in California.

Take a look at the rankings here.

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ADA Lawsuit Forces Popular Folsom Restaurant To Shut Down

Posted on 07/08/2013 @ 01:00 PM

Tags: Americans with Disabilities Act

We regret to report that the Lake Forest Cafe, a popular restaurant in Folsom that has been open for 31 years, served its final meal yesterday after succumbing to an ADA lawsuit. The restaurant was sued by a man who has filed 27 lawsuits since January 2012, according to KCRA.

Owner Barbara Rubin told KCRA, "I could see the writing on the wall once we went into litigation. I knew there was no way I could turn it around. I do not have the financial ability to stay."

The story shows that ADA lawsuits continue to take a toll even with the passage of SB 1186 in California last year.

Read more here.

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