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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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Horvitz & Levy obtained interlocutory relief for the second time in the same case, persuading the Court of Appeal that a plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages against a healthcare provider was untimely.

A woman died of multiple causes after refusing to go to the hospital despite deteriorating health.  Her heirs then sued Oroville Hospital’s in-home nursing team for allegedly failing to provide proper care for her worsening pressure sores.  Plaintiffs tried to avoid various statutory restrictions against medical malpractice claims by dressing up their complaint as one for “elder abuse” and “wrongful misconduct.”  Relying on this strategy, plaintiffs refused to comply with Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.13, which requires plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases to obtain leave to amend their complaint before adding punitive damages allegations.  In a prior writ petition, Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal to extinguish the claim for “elder abuse” because in-home nurses providing sporadic wound care do not have “the care or custody” of the elder as required for liability under the elder abuse statute.  

After the Court of Appeal extinguished the elder abuse claim, the plaintiffs filed, for the first time, a motion to amend the complaint to add a punitive damages claim under section 425.13.  The hospital contended that the motion should be denied because the deadline to file a motion under that statute expired years earlier.  The trial court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have to comply with that deadline and granted them leave to amend.  The hospital retained Horvitz & Levy for the second time, to file a writ petition challenging that order.  Horvitz & Levy argued that the trial court could not refuse to apply that deadline to the plaintiffs and that the limited exception that existed could not be applied, either.  The Court of Appeal found Horvitz & Levy’s arguments so compelling that it issued a notice to the trial court that if it did not immediately reverse its prior order and deny the motion to amend the complaint, the Court of Appeal would issue a peremptory writ of mandate.  The trial court quickly reversed itself, resulting in the hospital keeping punitive damages claims entirely out of this case as it proceeds towards trial.