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California Appellate Court Confirms Cap on Past Medical Expenses Applies to Medicare Payments and Should Be Imposed before Further Reductions for Contributory Negligence



by John R. Clifford
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - San Diego Office

Edward P. Garson
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - San Francisco Office

Laura P. Kelly
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - Los Angeles Office

Ian A. Stewart
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - Los Angeles Office

May 1, 2013

Previously published on April 25, 2013

In Luttrell v. Island Pacific Supermarkets, Inc. (April 8, 2013, A134089), California’s First District Court of Appeal held that Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541 specifically applies to limit a plaintiff’s recovery of past medical expenses to the amounts paid by Medicare/Medi-Cal as it would to amounts paid by a private insurer. In addition, the court held that the Howell reduction should be imposed before any additional reduction due to a plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages. The court stated that if the reduction were made to the total amount billed, (1) the plaintiff's failure to mitigate would have no consequence, (2) he would be receiving a windfall and (3) the defendant would be held liable for more than the damage it caused.


 

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