August 18th, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (August 18, 2011 ) – The California Supreme Court ruled this week that court awards to accident victims for past medical expenses must be limited to the amounts actually paid and accepted as payment in full by medical care providers. The case pitted personal injury lawyers against doctors, hospitals, local government and insurers who urged the Court to adopt limits on court damage awards. The case is Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc.,
S179115, decided on Aug. 18, 2011.
San Francisco business litigator David Newdorf represented the League of California Cities as a friend of the court, or amicus curiae, in the case. The Supreme Court cited Mr. Newdorf’s brief in rendering its decision.
Lawyers for accident victims had asked the Court to allow juries to award the full amount stated on doctor and hospital bills, even if the care provider accepted a reduced payment from insurance and neither the patient nor the insurance company was liable for higher billed amount. The doctors and hospitals would not be able to share in the increased recovery for medical expenses. The amount would be paid to the plaintiff and, under typical contingency fee agreements, shared with the plaintiff’s lawyer.
The higher medical expense awards would have added several billion dollars to court judgments annually, according to insurance industry estimates. California cities, which are often viewed as “deep pockets” by personal injury lawyers, would have faced higher tort payouts at a time when vital services are already being cut.
“Cities and businesses are interested in a tort system that fairly compensates injured persons while protecting taxpayers and citizens from undue expense,” Mr. Newdorf said. “The issues raised by this case have a significant effect on the ability of state and local government to provide vital services to all Californians.”
Founded in 1898, the League of California Cities is an association of 474 California cities dedicated to protecting and restoring local control to provide for the public health, safety, and welfare of their residents, and to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.
To read the Supreme Court decision or Mr. Newdorf’s amicus brief., visit newdorflegal.com.
Mr. Newdorf has been litigating this issue on behalf of clients since 2001, when he was appellate counsel in one of the seminal cases on medical damages, Nishihama v. City and County of San Francisco (2001) 93 Cal. App. 4th 298. The California Supreme Court decision in Howell affirmed the earlier decision in Nishihama.
Mr. Newdorf is managing attorney of San Francisco-based Newdorf Legal, which represents individuals, businesses and public entities in trials and appeals. The firm’s practice areas include business disputes, business torts/interference with contract, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, investment disputes, real estate, commercial landlord-tenant cases, and municipal law. Mr. Newdorf worked previously as a trial lawyer and team leader in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and was a litigation associate at a major international law firm. Mr. Newdorf was recently listed in the 2011 Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, an honor reserved for 5 percent of the State’s lawyers based on nomination by fellow lawyers and evaluation of professional reputation and achievement.
July 15th, 2010
San Francisco, CA (July 15, 2010) – Newdorf Legal, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading litigation boutique firms, announced that it is growing to better serve its clients. The firm has added a senior litigation attorney and senior paralegal.
Vicki Van Fleet has joined the firm as a Senior Associate. Previously, Van Fleet worked as Vice President and Senior Corporate Counsel in the Office of Corporate Counsel at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and as a litigation associate at firms in New York and Boston.
Senior Associate Vicki Van Fleet
Van Fleet is an accomplished attorney with more than two decades of experience. Her broad range of client work has included advising financial institutions, representing clients in court hearings and proceedings, and drafting and negotiating contracts. She has handled cases in diverse legal areas including corporate law, entertainment law, employment law, product liability, lender liability, and general civil litigation.
Van Fleet graduated from McGill University in Montreal and received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1984.
“We are fortunate to have added these accomplished and talented professionals to our litigation team. Vicki is a seasoned attorney with confidence and skill at handling complex legal issues at all stages, from pre-trial through appeal. Her substantial experience with corporate clients is an asset to our firm and our broad client base.”
Newdorf Legal provides business and public-entity clients a small-firm approach to tackle big problems. When business executives and public officials face complex legal challenges, they turn to Newdorf Legal for advice and representation.
Newdorf Legal handles business and public entity litigation throughout California. The firm practices at the trial and appellate levels in State and Federal courts, and also handles arbitrations and mediations. Newdorf Legal represents businesses, executives, financial institutions, investors, and public entities in contract disputes, business torts/interference with contract, joint venture/partnership claims, real property transactions, development rights, fraud, RICO and other commercial litigation.
Newdorf Legal represents clients in all phases of class actions, the State and Federal False Claims Act/Qui Tam cases, Unfair Practices/Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code section 17200), False Advertising, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act cases.
Mr. Newdorf also has extensive experience in government entity representation in California. He represents local government in a variety of litigation matters, from commercial disputes to challenges to local ordinances, policies and practices. Newdorf Legal represents public entities, public officials and law enforcement officers in state and federal civil rights lawsuits, including suits under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 alleging unconstitutional statutes and policies, false arrest, excessive force and unlawful search and seizure.
For more information, please visit the firm’s website, http://www.newdorflegal.com, or call Mr. Newdorf directly at 415-357-1234.