On Tuesday, May 24, the California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, "a case that will have ramifications for every future personal injury case in the state," explained San Francisco attorneys Don Willenburg and John Hughes in the article they authored in the May 23 issue of The Daily Journal. The key issue to be addressed in Howell is the proper measure of recoverable medical special damages: is it the amount billed by the provider or the amount actually paid and accepted as full payment?
In Howell the medical expenses billed were more than four times the amount actually paid. The case has attracted multiple amicus briefs on both sides. Currently, the only published decisions on point all favor the defense, and they are the law until Howell is decided. Two other appellate court decisions are the subject of "grant and hold" orders pending the decision in Howell.