KAISER PERMANENTE: Arbitration Suit Goes Back To Lower Court
"Kaiser Permanente, blasted by the state Supreme Court and the media last year over its allegedly fraudulent arbitration system, is going on the offensive in the case that sparked the controversy," the San Francisco Business Times reports. In a case that is now eight years old, a Kaiser member contracted lung cancer in 1986, but was not diagnosed until 1991. He filed an arbitration proceeding, but died before it was heard. His family sued under the claim that "Kaiser's arbitration system is so biased as to constitute fraud." Upon the case's appeal to the state Supreme Court, the "justices were not convinced by Kaiser's contention that the plaintiffs caused the delays," and remanded the case back to the court of original jurisdiction.
Coming Out Swinging
James Brosnahan, the lawyer representing Kaiser, plans to reiterate the defendant's argument that delays were caused by the plaintiff. "It is now time to stop the press conferences based on preliminary reviews of the evidence and begin the hard task of proving that an actual fraud occurred," he said. Plaintiff's attorney David Rand fired back by filing "a motion requesting that several new charges be added to the ... complaint, including unfair business practices and breach of fiduciary duty." The Business Times reports that the "new hardball tactics come at the same time Kaiser says it is moving to implement major changes to its arbitration system recommended by a blue-ribbon panel. ... in response to the criticisms of its system." The panel recommended that "an independent administrator run the program" (Rauber, 2/23 issue).