An important Howell-related decision, State Farm Auto Ins. Co. v. Huff (June 11, 2013), was published today by the California Appellate Court, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, holding that enforcing a lien under the Hospital Lien Act ( C.C. Section 3045.1, et seq.) requires a hospital to demonstrate the reasonableness and necessity of its claimed charges.
Pursuant to this decision, and until there is further judicial or legislative action on the issue, there is good authority,and controlling authority in the 4th Appellate District, supporting the defense contention that hospitals cannot collect on liens by merely putting on evidence of the gross billed amounts; they must show additionally that the services were attributable to the incident, that they were necessary, and that the charges for such services were reasonable.
Further questions? Please contact me directly. This case, read in conjunction with the Corenbaum case from the Second Appellate District published on April 30, 2013, demonstrates what appears to be a growing judicial acceptance of the defense position regarding the scope and intent of the Howell decision. We will continue to keep you promptly advised of this important developing area of California law, as it relates to personal injury litigation in general and to the unique issues presented by Medicare third-party liability cases.
Please see link at http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D062550.PDF