Horvitz & Levy LLP successfully petitioned the Court of Appeal for a writ of mandate on behalf of Safeway Inc.
Plaintiff suffered serious injuries and was in a coma for more than a month after taking a prescription drug dispensed by a Safeway pharmacy. Plaintiff sued Safeway and others, alleging that the pharmacy failed to provide adequate warnings about the drug’s potentially fatal side effects.
Safeway moved for summary judgment on the ground plaintiff failed to file her action within one year after she discovered or reasonably should have discovered her injury and Safeway’s alleged negligence, as required under California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA). MICRA governs actions against healthcare providers for professional negligence. Plaintiff opposed the motion on the ground that MICRA did not apply because Safeway was not acting as a healthcare provider when it made a corporate decision to scale back on the printed warnings its pharmacies provided to customers. Plaintiff contended Safeway made a business decision, not a medical decision. Plaintiff also argued that the timing of her discovery of her injury and its negligent cause after she emerged from her coma raised a triable issue of fact. The trial court denied Safeway’s motion for summary judgment.
Safeway retained Horvitz & Levy LLP to petition the Court of Appeal for a writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal granted the petition and ordered the trial court to grant summary judgment for Safeway, thereby eliminating Safeway’s exposure to a multi-million-dollar liability.