Law and Information

Unfair Competition: Standing to Sue

By on June 11, 2014 - Comments off

Law Offices of Mathew Higbee v. Expungement Assistance Services (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 544, 153 Cal.Rptr.3d 865

An attorney filed an action against an online legal services provider under California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof.Code, § 17200 et seq.) (the “UCL”), contending that the defendant was engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was undercutting competition by using unlicensed persons to perform legal work, thereby saving on attorney fees, and by employing unbounded and unregistered legal document assistants, thereby saving on the cost of posting statutorily mandated bonds and registration fees. The plaintiff further alleged that as a result of the defendant’s actions he had lost revenue and market share, and had sustained increased advertising costs as well as a loss in the value of his firm. Read the rest »

Posted in: Law and Information


Summary Judgment: Admissibility of Expert Testimony

By on May 29, 2014 - Comments off

Garrett v. Howmedica Osteonics Corporation (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 173, 153 Cal.Rptr.3d 693

A cancer patient whose prosthetic femur fractured less than two years after implantation filed suit against the manufacturers of the device, asserting, inter alia, that the fracture was caused by manufacturing defects. The defendants moved for summary judgment, contending that the device was not defective, that the fracture was caused by forces resulting from normal human activity, and that the force simply exceeded the load the product could bear over time.

In opposition, the plaintiff submitted the declaration of an expert metallurgist, who opined he had determined through destructive testing and other examinations that the fractured area was softer than minimum ASTM specifications for the material, that he had detected “a layer of polymeric-like material” which should not have been present, and that based upon these purported anomalies, “there were ‘strong arguments’ that the purported defect had caused the product to fail.” Read the rest »

Posted in: Law and Information


Invasion of Privacy: Verbal Disclosures

By on May 6, 2014 - Comments off

Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 808, 154 Cal.Rptr.3d 275

A woman who suffered from bipolar disorder filed an action against her former employer and her supervisor for invasion of privacy, alleging that while she was absent from work due to side effects of her medication, the supervisor had informed coworkers of her condition. The plaintiff alleged that upon her return to work she was shunned by coworkers, and one had even asked her supervisor if she was likely to “go postal” while at work.

The defendants moved for summary judgment based upon decisions following Melvin v. Reid (1931) 112 Cal. App. 285, holding that the right of privacy can only be violated by writings or other permanent publications, and not by word of mouth.   The trial court granted summary judgment but the court of appeal reversed, holding that disclosure in a writing should not be required to maintain a cause of action for public disclosure of private facts: Read the rest »


Amounts-Paid Cap: Mitigation Reduction

By on March 17, 2014 - Comments off

Luttrell v. Island Pacific Supermarkets, Inc. (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 196, 155 Cal.Rptr.3d 273

A supermarket patron who fractured his hip when an automatic door repeatedly struck him while he was leaving the premises, brought an action for personal injuries against the owner of the market. Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the trial court determined that the plaintiff’s recovery for medical expenses should be reduced by 50% due to his failure to mitigate his damages.

Appealing from the judgment, the plaintiff contended, inter alia, that the trial court had improperly applied the 50% reduction to the amount of medical bills paid, rather than the amounts billed. However, the court of appeal affirmed, holding that the amounts-paid limitation  for past medical expenses under Howell v. Hamilton Meats (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541 should be imposed before any reduction for failure to mitigate damages: Read the rest »

Posted in: Law and Information


Impact of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act on State Regulations: Where Federal Overrules State

By on May 30, 2013 - Comments off

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) was not established to replace state laws, but to build on them and remove redundancies. The PPSA requires “applicable manufacturers,” defined as “a manufacturer of a covered drug, device, biological, or medical supply,” to disclose payments and additional transfers of value to physicians or teaching hospitals. The Act defines “physician” as a doctor of medicine, a podiatrist, a dentist, a chiropractor or an optometrist.

In addition to disclosing all payments and transfers of value to physicians, the PPSA also requires that manufacturers report aggregate marketing expenses by state. Since several states and the District of Columbia have established their own laws related to disclosure of payments/gifts to physicians, the PPSA includes a preemption clause that overrules state laws that require disclosure of the same types of payments, or transfers of value. Aside from this, nearly all existing state regulations are kept intact. As a result, however, manufacturers may be required to report payments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as state health care authorities.

Read the rest »


Impact of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act on State Regulations: Adoption of General Compliance Programs, Data Mining, DOJ Compliance

By on May 27, 2013 - Comments off

In addition to the gift ban laws discussed in our last series post, certain states require drug companies to adopt general compliance programs. Both Connecticut and California require drug companies to adopt such programs in accordance with the Office of Inspector General’s “Compliance Program Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.” There are several elements in the guidance for manufacturers to consider when developing a compliance program, including:

  • Written policies;
  • Training program;
  • Designation of a compliance officer and other appropriate bodies;
  • Line of communication between all employees and compliance officer;
  • Risk evaluation to monitor compliance;
  • Policies for investigating noncompliance; and
  • Development of policies to deal with employees and entities excluded from participation in federal healthcare programs.

This legal requirement is generally not burdensome for manufacturers thanks to the autonomous nature of the laws and the broad language of the guidance.
Read the rest »


Impact of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act on State Regulations: Gift Ban Laws

By on May 23, 2013 - Comments off

In the first part of our Physician Payment Sunshine Act blog series, the experienced pharmaceutical litigation lawyers at Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. discussed existing disclosure laws of several jurisdictions. The disclosure of high-cost gifts was one of the stipulations of these laws, but there are also states which have established laws banning certain gifts from medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Vermont, Minnesota and Massachusetts outlawed certain gifts outright while other states, such as Nevada, Connecticut and California, and the District of Columbia, require device and drug companies to comply with the “Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals,” written in by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). In Colorado, certain gifts were banned for physicians affiliated with state university hospitals.

Read the rest »


Impact of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act on State Regulations: Disclosure Laws

By on May 20, 2013 - Comments off

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes, among its provisions, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA), which generally requires that pharmaceutical companies disclose payments to physicians for the marketing of their products. It is the first Congressional effort in the regulation of disclosure-related pharmaceutical marketing. The PPSA took effect in January 2012, but, as a federal law, does have an effect on any existing state regulations of drug marketing practices.

In this five-part blog series, we will identify particular state regulations in place before the Sunshine Act and then discuss the ultimate effect the federal law has on these state regulations.

Read the rest »


L.A. Civil Court Budget Cuts: Changing Trial Times and Staff

By on March 13, 2013 - Comments off

In addition to proposed Los Angeles County trial location changes, pending budget cuts will, if approved, range from $56 to 85 million dollars, and negatively impact multiple other aspects of the legal system. The law firm of Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. is against the cuts due to the limitations they will impose on justice and fairness in both civil and criminal courts if passed.

Read the rest »


L.A. Civil Court Budget Cuts: Changing Court Locations

By on March 6, 2013 - Comments off

Proposed cuts to the California state budget by Governor Jerry Brown, if approved, will be taking a toll on courts throughout the state, with Los Angeles feeling major effects. While there was previously a total of $105 million in reduction, another $56 to 85 million in cuts are expected to be made. Recently, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) held a New Court Procedures Seminar with supervising Judge Hon. Dan Buckley, providing vital information on alterations to the justice system in southern California. At Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc., we are against these cuts, which, if passed, will significantly impact a wide range of court cases, and therefore, the lives of those involved.

Read the rest »