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Sarun v. Dignity Health

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Seventh Division

December 15, 2014

TONY SARUN, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
DIGNITY HEALTH, Defendant and Respondent.

[As modified Jan. 13, 2015.]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. BC483764, Lee Smalley Edmon, Judge.

Page 1160

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1161

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Law Offices of Barry L. Kramer, Barry L. Kramer; Strange & Carpenter, Brian R. Strange and Gretchen Carpenter, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Ogloza Fortney, Darius Ogloza, David Fortney and Brian D. Berry, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

PERLUSS, P. J.

Tony Sarun was uninsured when he received emergency healthcare services from a hospital owned and operated by Dignity Health. Upon admission Sarun signed an agreement to pay the hospital’s “full charges, unless other discounts apply.” The agreement explained uninsured patients might qualify for government aid programs or financial assistance from Dignity. After receiving an invoice for $23, 487.90, which reflected a $7, 871 “uninsured discount, ” and without applying for any other discount or financial assistance, Sarun filed a putative class action complaint asserting claims including unfair and/or deceptive business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq. (UCL) and violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Civ. Code, § 1750 et seq.). The complaint alleged Dignity had failed to disclose uninsured patients would be required to pay several times more than other patients receiving the same services, the charges set forth on the invoice were not readily available or discernable from the agreement, and the invoiced charges exceeded the reasonable value of the services.

The trial court sustained Dignity’s demurrer to Sarun’s second amended complaint without leave to amend and dismissed the action on the ground Sarun had not adequately alleged “actual injury, ” and, therefore, lacked standing. We reverse.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

1. The Terms of the Admissions Agreement

According to the allegations of the second amended complaint, Sarun was taken by ambulance to Northridge Hospital Medical Center after a motor vehicle accident. He was released three to four hours later after receiving various diagnostic tests.

While at the hospital Sarun signed a “Conditions of Admissions and Treatment” agreement, which included ...


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