(Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 5, B222570)
In this medical malpractice case, the trial court excluded all evidence of benefits paid on plaintiff's behalf by collateral sources contrary to the collateral source provision of MICRA (Civil Code section 3333.1). The jury then awarded the plaintiff damages for past medical expenses based on the entire amount billed by her health care providers, which was significantly in excess of the amount actually paid or incurred on her behalf. By barring evidence of collateral source benefits, the plaintiff received a windfall verdict MICRA was specifically designed to prevent and undermined the Legislature's purpose in enacting MICRA by eroding protections afforded to medical malpractice defendants under MICRA. In a September 9, 2011 unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeal found that the trial court erred by excluding evidence of collateral payments for the plaintiff's medical care under a Medicare Advantage Plan. The court held that the monthly payment from Medicare to the private health plan was admissible under section 3333.1 and was not a conditional payment reimbursable to Medicare, which would generally not be admissible under section 3333.1. CMA, together with other amici, filed a letter to the California Supreme Court requesting partial publication of the portions of the opinion related to the admissibility of collateral payments. The letter argued that partial publication of the Court of Appeal opinion is warranted because the admissibility of evidence involving Medicare Advantage and similar plans are not adequately addressed in current published California case law and the court's discussion would help clarify existing standards for California's bench and bar. The California Supreme Court denied the request for partial publication.
CMA Letter in Support of Partial Publication filed: 10/3/11