Legal News

Proposed Bill Would Overturn Howell

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced SB 1528 on February 24, 2012. The bill, sponsored by the Consumers Attorneys and California, is intended to overturn the California Supreme Court's decision last August in the case of Howell v. Hamilton Meats. There, the Court held that injured persons may not recover the undiscounted sum stated in a healthcare provider's bill but never paid by or on behalf of the injured person due to a negotiated rate between the provider and the injured party's insurance company. The bill states, "to ensure the public policy of all injured persons being compensated equally, an injured person shall be entitled to recover the reasonable value of medical services provided without regard to the amount actually paid."

On April 30th, the proposed bill was amended to read “It is the intent of the Legislature to establish a framework for compensating persons with injuries due to the fault of third parties.” The amendment makes it a “spot bill,” which means essentially that it is a “blank slate” that can move through the process and be filled in later, with or without a compromise or input by opposing factions.