Risk Update

Judicial Conflicts (Part 1) — Insurance Recusal, Homeless Advocacy

Several interesting stories and updates touching judges and courts have caught my eye recently. Thought readers would find them interesting as well. First up something you don’t see every day: “Judge rips insurance company for ‘immoral, barbaric’ cancer denials” —

  • “A federal judge blasted UnitedHealthcare last month for its ‘immoral and barbaric’ denials of treatment for cancer patients. He made the comments in recusing himself from hearing a class-action lawsuit because of his own cancer battle — and in so doing thrust himself into a heated debate in the oncology world.”
  • “The case that came before US District Judge Robert N. Scola was brought by a prostate cancer survivor who alleged that UnitedHealthcare wrongfully denied him and thousands of others coverage of proton beam therapy.”
  • “In his recusal, Scola cited his own battle with prostate cancer and how he consulted ‘with top medical experts around the country’ about treatment options. Scola said that he ultimately opted for surgery but that ‘all the experts opined that if I opted for radiation treatment, proton radiation was by far the wiser course of action.'”

Calif. Cities Say Judge In Homelessness Case An ‘Advocate‘” —

  • “Three cities in Orange County, California, on Friday asked a federal judge overseeing a case about their treatment of homeless residents to step aside, saying that the judge took on the role of an “advocate” in a similar case, calling his impartiality into question.”
  • “[Saying] Judge David O. Carter had taken steps in resolving a lawsuit against other Orange County cities that called into question his ability to be fair in the current dispute, including touring a homeless tent city multiple times, taking ex parte meetings with city officials and generally pushing the parties towards the resolution he preferred.”
  • “The motion said that the judge’s actions were not unethical in the prior case since he was acting with the blessing of the parties, but did not reflect well on his ability to be unbiased against the cities in the new suit.”
  • “In addition to his repeated visits to homeless encampments in the county and his efforts to work directly with the cities in the Catholic Worker suit, the motion to disqualify said, Judge Carter had criticized the cities that had not attended a meeting he organized, including the cities filing the motion. Moreover, at a recent hearing he had acted as though an injunction in the case were a foregone conclusion, before he’d had a chance to hear any legal arguments, the motion said.”