California Supreme Court preserves positive Futterman decision

NewsSeptember 7, 2023

Earlier this year, we reported the good news that a California appeals court had revived a class-action lawsuit by families of Kaiser Permanente mental health patients and published its ruling in the Official Records making it binding legal precedent.

We have even more good news about the case. On Aug. 22, the California Supreme Court denied Kaiser’s petition to review the Court of Appeal decision. This means that the Court of Appeal decision remains good and citable law, as a published decision. It also means that the lawsuit will be sent back to the Alameda Superior Court, to be set for trial absent resolution.

It’s important to note that while the ruling makes it easier for patients to sue their health plans to secure legally adequate mental health care, it does NOT create any new liability for individual providers employed by Kaiser or any other health plan, according to our attorney Meiram Bendat, who has helped write several recent mental health parity laws.

“The recent ruling merely clarifies that Kaiser Health Plan (rather than the medical groups) can be sued for direct acts/omissions that lead to lack of coverage required by law,” Bendat wrote.