Apr 04, 2008
Court of Appeal finds MICRA protection for registered social worker and licensed health care facility

Prince v. Sutter Health Central (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 971 (California Third District Court of Appeal) [published]. Plaintiffs in this professional negligence case sought noneconomic damages in excess of the MICRA cap (Civ. Code § 3333.2) from GMSR’s clients, a registered social worker and her employer, a licensed health care facility. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued two theories: that MICRA applies only to licensed health care providers, and that the social worker was not in full compliance with statutory provisions relating to registrants. GMSR argued that (a) because registration is a prerequisite for obtaining mandatory work credits necessary for licensure, it is an integral part of the statutory licensing procedure and subject to MICRA protections and (b) registrants do not forfeit those protections by technical breaches of provisions of the licensing statute. The Court of Appeal agreed, and affirmed summary judgment for GMSR’s clients. It relied in part on another GMSR case decided during the pendency of Prince, Chosak v. Alameda County Medical Center.