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Workers' Compensation Daily News for Feb 01, 2015

Employers Reminded to Post Injury Summaries
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:11:56 - Pacific Time
Cal/OSHA reminds all California employers to post their annual summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses from February 1 through April 30. "This yearly requirement is a graphic reminder on the importance of workplace safety. It provides important data about injuries and illnesses that took place at the worksite, and highlights the need to address potential hazards," said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, is a division of DIR.

"Employers must summarize information about every work-related death, and every recordable work-related injury or illness," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. The definitions of and requirements for recordable work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses are detailed in California Code of Regulations Title 8 Sections 14300 through 14300.48. Instructions and form templates can be downloaded for free on Cal/OSHA’s Record Keeping Overview. The overview includes the summary template, Form 300A, a required workplace posting which must be placed in a visible and easily accessible area at each worksite. All current and former employees, as well as employee representatives, must be allowed the opportunity to review any injury or illness that took place at the worksite during 2014.

Employers are required to complete and post Form 300A even if no workplace injuries occurred. More information on employers’ posting requirements or how to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses is available on the DIR’s Employer Information webpage.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA District Offices. Read More...

Office of Self Insurance Plans Opens E-Filing Portal
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:11:49 - Pacific Time
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Office of Self Insurance Plans (DIR/OSIP) has launched a new, more comprehensive and user-friendly actuarial e-filing portal. This new portal is part of the workers’ compensation reforms mandated by the passage of Senate Bill 863. This is an expansion to OSIP’s launch of its E-filing system for the filing of annual reports. This upgraded system facilitates the registration of qualified actuaries. It also allows self-insured employers to select their actuaries, and to file required actuarial studies online.

"This accomplishment is part of an overall strategic effort to modernize, streamline and be accessible to the public," said Christine Baker, DIR director. OSIP is a program within DIR. In the first 72 hours after launching in mid-January, nearly 90 percent of qualified actuaries from last year completed their registration. As the high adoption rate shows, the new E-filing portal enables more efficient and timely monitoring of self-insurer financial performance and solvency. Within the next few months, the E-filing system will also have the ability to electronically file annual independently audited financial statement modules that are a requirement of being self-insured.

Senate Bill 863 created a new requirement for self-insured employers to file annual independent actuarial studies to establish their self-insured workers’ compensation liabilities. This new methodology is used to determine the self-insurers’ required collateral deposit posting amount, and has proved to be very effective in more closely matching a self-insurer’s liabilities with the collateral they post. "These enhancements are designed to create ease and efficiency for the self-insured community, while reducing the costs associated with OSIP staff performing routine handling and processing functions," said Jon Wroten, OSIP chief. "This will ensure self-insurance continues as the highest quality and lowest-cost choice for California employers’ workers’ compensation needs."

Actuaries having questions about the new system or needing help to register should call the OSIP at (916) 464-7000. More information on California’s workers’ compensation self-insurance program is available at the OSIP website. One of every four California workers is protected by a self-insurance plan. Self-insured employers in the state represent large and mid-sized private companies, industry groups and public entities such as cities, counties, and school districts. The state currently has nearly 9,900 employers protecting more than 4 million workers through self-insurance workers’ compensation plans. For more information contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter Melton at (510) 286-7046. Read More...

Comp Award Precludes Sheriff's Case Against Restaurant
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:10:07 - Pacific Time
Steve Ferreira was employed as a deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. While off duty, Ferreira was with his nephews and two other friends when Anthony Cruz Carlin approached them in the parking lot of the King Taco Restaurant and began pushing and shoving Ferreira’s nephews. Carlin began to choke one of Ferreira’s nephews. Ferreira interceded and held Carlin "in a hold." Ferreira released Carlin and told everyone to "knock it off and get back into the car." Ferreira then noticed Carlin walking in his direction. Carlin stabbed Ferreira with a knife. After he was stabbed, Ferreira pulled out his badge, told Carlin to "drop the knife," and took steps to arrest Carlin. Following the incident, Ferreira was unable to work for nine months. He applied for and received workers’ compensation benefits.

Ferreira brought this lawsuit against the King Taco Restaurant, alleging the Restaurant was negligent in failing to provide adequate security to protect its customers. Ferreira sought damages, medical expenses, and loss of earning capacity in connection with the stabbing incident. The Restaurant filed a summary judgment motion, contending that the firefighter’s rule barred this action because Ferreira obtained workers’ compensation benefits and was, therefore, judicially estopped from claiming the stabbing incident was unrelated to Ferreira’s occupation as a peace officer. The trial court agreed and granted the motion. The Court of Appeal sustained the dismissal in the unpublished case of Ferreira v. King Taco Restaurant.

The defense created by the firefighter’s rule limits the duty of care the public owes to firefighters and police officers. "Under the firefighter’s rule, a member of the public who negligently starts a fire owes no duty of care to assure that the firefighter who is summoned to combat the fire is not injured thereby. Nor does a member of the public whose conduct precipitates the intervention of a police officer owe a duty of care to the officer with respect to the original negligence that caused the officer’s intervention." In Hodges v. Yarian, 53 Cal.App.4th 973, the court extended the firefighter’s rule to an off-duty deputy sheriff who suffered injuries when he shot and killed a suspected burglar in the deputy’s own apartment building. Because Hodges was performing off-duty the same activity he performed on-duty, that is, attempting to effectuate an arrest of the suspect, the court applied the firefighter’s rule to bar the lawsuit.

The firefighter’s rule, however, is "hedged about with exceptions." (Neighbarger v. Irwin Industries, Inc., supra, 8 Cal.4th at p. 538.) Ferreira unsuccessfully raised two statutory exceptions and one common law exception.

Ferreira contends that whether he was acting as an off-duty deputy sheriff at the time he was stabbed is a question of fact that should have been left to the jury. It is undisputed that Ferreira sought workers’ compensation benefits following the stabbing incident and stated in that application that the injury occurred when he was "stabbed in abdomen by suspect." It is further undisputed that the parties settled the case, and Ferreira obtained a stipulated award in which he received workers’ compensation benefits. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that because Ferreira obtained workers’ compensation benefits as an off-duty peace officer he was judicially estopped from asserting in this action that he was attempting "to break up a fight as a private citizen." Judicial estoppel precludes a party from gaining an advantage by taking one position, and then seeking a second advantage by taking an incompatible position.

In his claim for workers’ compensation benefits, Ferreira invoked an exception to the workers’ compensation laws for off-duty peace officers who are injured outside the workplace and outside assigned working hours. Off-duty peace officers may arrest lawbreakers at any time and are entitled to compensation whenever the officer is injured, dies, or is disabled from performing his duties as a peace officer by reason of engaging in the apprehension or attempted apprehension of law violators or suspected law violators, or protection or preservation of life or property, or the preservation of the peace anywhere in this state, including the local jurisdiction in which he is employed.

Ferreira also unsuccessfully attempted to apply other exceptions to the firefighter's rule contained in Civil.Code, §1714.9. The common law exception Ferreira invokes is referred to as the "independent cause exception," which applies when the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by an act of negligence that prompted the plaintiff to be present at the time and place where the injuries were sustained. One of these exceptions require that the defendant must commit an act of negligence injuring a peace officer "after the person knows or should have known of the presence of the peace officer." In the present case the Restaurant had no knowledge of his presence. Read More...

DWC Announces Winners of Carrie Nevans Award
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:10:00 - Pacific Time
The Division of Workers’ Compensation has announced the winners of the 2015 Carrie Nevans Community Service Award. This year’s award recipient in Southern California is Donald Marshall, Zenith vice president. Dr. Lee Snook, a pain management specialist, is the Northern California recipient. The awards will be presented at the upcoming 22nd annual DWC educational conference luncheons.

Donald C. Marshall is the vice president and national director of the Anti-Fraud Program for Zenith Insurance Company. He was a police officer for 12 years and worked as a patrolman and, later, became a Detective assigned to the White Collar Crime Unit. He was appointed to the State of California Fraud Assessment Commission by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010 and elected Chair in November 2011. Over the past 20 years, he has worked at a number of insurance carriers including Progressive, California Casualty, Nationwide (GatesMcDonald), CalFarm and Zenith. Mr. Marshall has also been qualified and has testified as an expert witness in insurance fraud in both Municipal and Superior court. He has received his Certified Fraud Examiner, Fraud Claim Law Specialist and Accredited Healthcare Fraud Investigator designations, is a former member of the Executive Board of the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association. He has his BS degree in Criminal Justice Administration from California State University East Bay and is a Licensed Private Investigator. His efforts at detecting and preventing workers’ compensation fraud have helped combat fraudulent practices, resulting in reducing insurance costs and protecting California employers and employees.

Dr. Lee Snook is the vice speaker of the California Medical Association House of Delegates and president of Metropolitan Pain Management Consultants in Sacramento. Dr. Snook has served as a qualified medical evaluator (QME) since 1995 and, since 2012, as the Pain Medicine expert on the Medical Evidence Evaluation Advisory Committee (MEEAC). Dr. Snook graduated from the University of Nevada, School of Medicine in Reno, NV. He did his internal medicine and anesthesiology residencies at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. He is board certified in anesthesiology, internal medicine, addiction Medicine and pain medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.He continues to play an active role in developing MEEAC’s recommendations for the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule, which forms the evidence-based guideline for treating workers in California. His reasoned, thoughtful approach balances practical patient management experience with scientific evidence from the medical literature.

The DWC’s 22nd annual educational conference is the largest workers’ compensation training in the state and allows claims administrators, attorneys, medical providers, return to work specialists, employers, and others to learn about the most recent developments in the system as well as ongoing DWC programs. The Los Angeles conference (February 9-10) is almost sold out; registration is still open for the Oakland training (February 19-20) at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel. Read More...

RAND Publishes Report on Home Health Care Fee Schedule
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:41:29 - Pacific Time
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) today posted the 2015 RAND study Home Health Care for California’s Injured Workers - Options for Implementing a Fee Schedule. California

The Medicare fee schedule for home health services covers only home health services provided when a homebound individual needs intermittent or part-time skilled care. To date, DWC has not implemented a Medicare-based fee schedule for home health services. Section 74 of Senate Bill 863 added Labor Code §5307.8, which requires that DWC adopt a fee schedule for home health services not covered by Medicare. This fee schedule must establish fees and service provider requirements based on the rules used by the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, a MediCal-funded program that provides supportive services necessary to enable elderly and disabled individuals to remain safely within their homes. The DWC asked RAND to provide technical assistance in developing the fee schedule and related coverage policies for home health services.

The 130 page RAND study found that neither the Medicare fee schedule nor the IHSS fee schedule would be sufficient to cover the full range of potential home care services provided to injured workers. Nonetheless the DWC, the fee schedule should build on existing fee schedules policies, coding system and payment amounts. This is the approach that has been taken with respect to other components of the OMFS. Given the SB 863 requirements, priority should be given to adapting the IHSS fee schedules as needed for the WC patient population. There should be standardized codes describing the type and volume of services provided to the injured worker. To the extent feasible, the codes should draw on existing code sets. The payment rates should be adequate to cover the estimated costs (including a fair return on investment) of providing the services efficiently, and the payment incentives should be structured to safeguard against the under- or over provision of care.  One of the more controversial RAND recommendations might be their suggestion that "To balance worker choice with safety and cost considerations, family members should be allowed to provide attendant care services when they have the training to do so and there is appropriate financial accountability and oversight."

The DWC will hold a public meeting to discuss issues related to the home health services fee schedule on Tuesday, March 3, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Elihu Harris State Office Building Auditorium located at 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The purpose of the meeting is to hear input from the public regarding issues including assessing the need for home health services, service provider requirements, fee amounts, and billing codes. Read More...

Additions to Saline Solution Reduce Risk of Osteoarthritis
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:41:23 - Pacific Time
Research scientists in Edinburgh have come up with a new 'solution' that could reduce the risk of osteoarthritis developing in tens of thousands of people who undergo orthopaedic surgery every year - sugar. According to the summary in Reuters Health, people who have surgery for joint problems are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis because the operation can damage cartilage cells. But a team at the University of Edinburgh have found that by simply adding sugar to the saline solution used to wash out joints during orthopaedic surgery protects the cartilage from being damaged and may even improve cartilage repair.

Osteoarthritis, which affects more than eight million people in the UK, occurs when cartilage at the ends of bones wears away, leading to stiff, painful joints. There is no cure and treatment is limited to pain relief and joint replacement in severe cases.

The main risk factors for developing for the condition are ageing, obesity, and joint damage. People who undergo surgery or arthroscopic procedures to treat joint problems - often because of a sports injury or unexplained joint pain - are at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis because surgery can damage the joint and tissue by destroying cartilage cells called chondrocytes.

But in experiments on rats, the team at Edinburgh University's Centre for Integrative Physiology found that by adding sugar to the saline solution used during surgery to wash out the joint they could protect the joints from this increased risk. Sugar raises the osmotic pressure of the saline, which protects the cells against injury during surgery. The researchers describe the solution as 'chondroprotective' because it protects the cartilage cells against injury.

The team have also shown that as well as protecting against cartilage damage there is better cartilage repair when the chondroprotective solution is used, compared to the usual saline currently used in orthopaedic surgery. Their research was funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Dr Andrew Hall, principal investigator and reader in cell physiology said: "Our findings could have major implications for tens of thousands of people who undergo arthroscopic surgery, such as footballers or other sportspeople who've damaged their cartilage. Or in fact anyone who's had exploratory surgery for a sore or painful knee. "There is a worry that all these people are at risk of developing osteoarthritis from their surgery. But if surgeons can be persuaded to use this chondroprotective solution as standard that risk could be substantially reduced. It's a cheap, simple solution that can protect the cartilage in the joint during arthroscopy and surgery."

Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research at Arthritis Research UK commented: "It's extraordinary that something as simple as a sugar solution can have such a beneficial, protective effect on the joints during surgery and can actually help repair cartilage damage. It seems a simple yet potentially valuable step that surgeons around the country could be persuaded to include in their procedures." Read More...

Traditional Insurance Distribution Networks Challenged
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:05:42 - Pacific Time
An article in Risk and Insurance speculates that as more insurance distribution channels are being created, the potential disruption of the ordinary course of business for underwriters and brokers increases. One of those channels, although details are hazy, involves Overstock.com Inc., a Utah-based e-commerce site that survived the dot-com bust by selling dying Internet companies’ inventories.

Since April 2014, Overstock.com has sold insurance, including auto, property, liability and workers’ comp for businesses, through an exchange where consumers receive live quotes, pick which the coverage they like, and then have a policy bound for them. But who is really doing the the underwriting? Apparently, the underwriters’ names had been confidential, but when asked Dave Nielsen, Overstock.com’s senior vice president, said shared some of them: 21st Century, Progressive, Safeco and American Strategic (ASI). Overstock.com is "seeing good traffic" on the site, Nielsen said, and he’s expecting to "see [sales] continually increasing month over month" as the company adds more products. The logistics of claims and other policy-servicing depends on the carrier, Nielsen added. Overstock services some accounts in-house; others it transfers directly to carriers. But no matter what, policyholders contact Overstock first.

Most of the insureds probably care little about the identify of the underwriters, said Denise Garth, partner and chief digital officer at consultancy Strategy Meets Action (SMA). As far as the insurance buyer goes, they’re a customer of Overstock.com. "[Overstock is] definitely the channel where it’s been sold, and it’s the channel where the customer is going to go to for service," Garth said.

And it’s just one channel of many it seems that are on the verge of disrupting well-tread insurance distribution networks. In particular, according to a report from London-based market risk and consulting firm Finaccord, as many as 281 retail brands around the world are selling insurance, up from 232 retailers in 2010. Global names like Walmart, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Carrefour are "leveraging" their brands and huge customer bases to sell mainstream insurance products, said Finaccord Director Alan Leach. "They can supplement the thin profit margin that they can earn from their core business by selling financial services," Leach said. They wield data they already collect on their customers to empower cross-selling. If they know which of their customers buy pet food, they know which of their customers to market pet insurance to.

At this point, however, this trend of retailers selling insurance is "not so much" in the United States, Leach said, and in many cases, they’re selling personal lines products to consumers. But retailers are just one group the traditional insurance world must confront. Some observers, like Garth, argue that this trend doesn’t just put the insurance distribution process at stake, but affects the industry’s business model as a whole. Some of the savviest, brawniest, data-driven companies in the world are coming. Alibaba, of the recent record-breaking IPO, launched an online insurance platform in 2013 called Leyebao, aimed at Alibaba’s online store owners and their employees. Google forayed into the insurance space in the U.K. in 2012, with a car insurance comparison tool. They’re coming because consumers apparently want them to.

"Competition in the insurance industry could quickly intensify as consumers become open to buying insurance not only from traditional competitors such as banks but also from Internet giants," said Michael Lyman, global managing director for management consulting within Accenture’s insurance industry practice, when he announced the Feb. 2014 research. The disruption will not be as black and white as an Alibaba launching an insurance company or Walmart taking jobs away from Main Street agents. The invaders seem to care less about the means than the end result. "They want to own a customer for a lifetime," Garth said.

Their success at that could leave insurers as mere "manufacturers" of insurance products, and agents and brokers as mere customer service representatives, for the companies that will own consumer loyalty and lifetime customer value. Read More...

Encino Physician Gets Jail Time
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:05:35 - Pacific Time
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that a 69-year-old Encino physician was sentenced to two years in jail for prescribing various narcotic drugs without a legitimate medical need. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin sentenced Dr. Yahya Hedvat to a total of seven years, but suspended five. He ordered the Encino physician, who operated a medical clinic called "Urgent Care," located at 18055 Ventura Blvd to surrender on Feb. 18 to begin serving his sentence.

In November, Hedvat pleaded no contest to all 11 counts contained in two cases, BA428107 and BA414896. He also admitted the allegation that he was out on bail when he continued criminal activity and a second case was filed in August. Hedvat was first charged in October 2013 with unlawfully prescribing controlled substances, including hydrocodone, suboxone and clonazepam, without a legitimate medical need in a 10-count Grand Jury indictment. After voluntarily surrendering his DEA license to prescribe controlled substances, Hedvat agreed to sell additional drugs, including Norco and Ativan, to an undercover agent with the California Medical Board on Aug. 8.

Deputy District Attorneys John Niedermann and Emily Street with the Major Narcotics Division prosecuted both cases.

Hedvat however continues to hold a California Physicians and Surgeons license although it is suspended by order of the Superior Court in the criminal cases pending against him. He is a 1972 graduate of Tabriz University located in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, Iran. He was issued a license to practice in California in 2004. The only current disciplinary charges pending against him are unrelated to his convictions. The Accusation alleges "gross negligence" in the practice of medicine. Two patients are the subject of the Accusation which claims he was "was grossly negligent and incompetent in the care and treatment of a patient." The two cases allege that he misdiagnosed both of them after failing to perform a competent physical examination, failed to keep proper chart entries of symptoms and physical complaints, and failed to properly refer them to competent care. Read More...

WCAB Warns Against Arbitrary Cycle of UR Review
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:01:30 - Pacific Time
Jesus Cordova was awarded 100% disability and future medical care as a result of his injury while employed by Graventa Enterprises who was insured by the State Fund. The current dispute involved the future medical care, and the UR process. The WCJ found that the defendant issued utilization review non-certification notices on June 28 and July 19,2013 and that neither denial was communicated timely to the applicant's primary treating physician or accompanied by the required Independent Medical Review form, thereby rendering the denials inadmissible. The WCJ awarded the contested medical treatment, penalties, and attorney's fees.

In a Petition for Reconsideration, the State Fund claimed in essence, that the WCJ erred in awarding the contested medical treatment, penalties, and attorneys fees, arguing that the Appeals Board lacks jurisdiction to decide a dispute over a utilization review decision which was communicated to the primary treating physician on or after July l, 2013 and in refusing to apply Labor Code section 4610(9)(6) to a request for treatment which issued within 12 months of a utilization review decision denying the same treatment. Defendant also contends that the WCJ is without power to award an attorney fee for enforcement of a medical award.

The WCAB panel in the case of Cordova v Graventa Enterprises that Labor Code section 4610.5, which provides for independent medical review of utilization review decisions, applies to "any dispute over a utilization review decision if the decision is communicated to the requesting physician on or after July  l, 2013, regardless of the date of injury. However none of the disputed denials of treatment were communicated to a requesting physician on or after July 1.2013, thus none of the disputed utilization review decisions are subject to independent medical review.

Labor code section 4610(9)(6) provides that "A utilization review decision to modify, delay, or deny a treatment recommendation shall remain effective for 12 months from the date of the decision without further action by the employer with regard to any further recommendation by the same physician for the same treatment unless the further recommendation is supported by a documented change in the facts material to the basis of the utilization review decision." The record had insufficient evidence to determine whether the utilization review decision or decisions were timely made and whether defendant relied on section 4610(e)(6) or submitted additional requests for that prescription to utilization review. Thus this issue was deferred with jurisdiction reserved at the trial level.

On the issue of penalties, defendant's delay of treatment that was authorized by a utilization review physician was unreasonable. However, with respect to the denied prescription for Nucynta, defendant could reasonably rely on the utilization review denial. Accordingly,the Findings and Award was amended to award a penalty and an attorneys fee on the delayed provision of Neurontin. Applicant's attorney is entitled to a fee pursuant to Labor Code section 5814.5 for successfully enforcing an award.

The WCAB also decided to "admonish defendant that applicant has an award of medical treatment and the utilization review cycle of denials and authorizations for applicant's prescription medications appears arbitrary. While defendant is entitled to submit every prescription request to utilization review, we suggest that defendant should consider whether doing so is cost effective and fulfills its obligation to provide applicant with medical treatment to cure or relieve him from the effects of his industrial injury." Read More...

US Supreme Court Rules on Drug Patent Cases
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:12:01 - Pacific Time
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated a lower court's ruling that had ended patent protection for Teva Pharmaceuticals' multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The decision could have broader implications for how courts decide future pharmaceutical patent disputes.

According to the summary in Modern Healthcare, the justices decided 7-2 to vacate a lower court's ruling that the Jerusalem-based pharmaceutical company's key patent on the drug was invalid. They ruled that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was wrong to evaluate the facts of the case independently rather than rely on the district court's previous finding of the facts.

The justices decided to send the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles patent issues, for further review in light of their ruling. The federal circuit court had ruled against Teva on a technical question having to do with whether Teva had adequately described the molecular weight of an active ingredient in Copaxone known as Copolymer 1 in its drug patents. More broadly, the justices' decision Tuesday will likely make it more difficult for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to overturn district court decisions in certain pharmaceutical patent cases moving forward, said Daryl Wiesen, an attorney for Teva with Goodwin Proctor.

Arti Rai, a professor at Duke University School of Law, also said that the ruling Tuesday might make appeals in certain patent cases less frequent. It might also make trial courts more willing to "engage in time-consuming" analysis when it comes to looking into claim construction, or what specific patents cover and prevent others from doing. "In the past, because trial courts knew they would be reviewed de novo in any event, they didn't want to do inquiries that were time consuming," Rai said. Rai co-authored a brief filed in the Teva case arguing for a result similar to the one reached by the Supreme Court. The brief was not in support of either side, however.

"We are encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision and look forward to the Federal Circuit's review," Erez Vigodman, Teva president and CEO, said in a statement. "We will continue to explore all available avenues to protect our intellectual property for COPAXONE 20mg/mL." In 2013, Teva sold $4.3 billion worth of the drug, according to a company financial statement.

Mylan Inc. CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement Tuesday that, "We continue to believe that the '808 patent is invalid as indefinite and we will address that issue with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals." The pharmaceutical company, along with Sandoz, Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Natco Pharma were respondents in the Supreme Court case. Read More...

Past Week News Archive

Portable X-ray More Common But Quality Questions Remain: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:09:54 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Calderon Corruption Trial Postponed to August: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:09:46 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Feds Say Los Angeles Major Source of Diverted Illegal Drugs: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:04:01 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Insurance Agent Sentenced to Three Years: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:03:49 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Growth in Outcome Based Medical Networks Predicted for 2015: Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:26:10 - Pacific Time: Read More...

LA County Probation Officer Faces Fraud Charges: Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:26:02 - Pacific Time: Read More...

WCJ Pamela A. Pully Appointed PJ in Santa Ana: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 07:57:15 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Santa Barbara Contractor Faces 43 Felonies: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 07:57:09 - Pacific Time: Read More...

California Claim Frequency Continues Relentless Increase: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:08:28 - Pacific Time: Read More...

WCRI Says Physician Dispensing Reforms Ineffective: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:08:22 - Pacific Time: Read More...