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Nolte v. Cedars Sinai Medical Center

California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division

May 21, 2015

JUSTIN NOLTE et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant and Respondent.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC499194 William F. Highberger, Judge.

Page 1402

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1403

COUNSEL

Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, Lionel Z. Glancy, Marc L. Godino, Casey E. Sadler; Complex Litigation Group and Jeffrey A. Leon for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Page 1404

Jones Day, James L. Poth and Nathaniel P. Garrett for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

JOHNSON, J.

Justin Nolte appeals the trial court’s judgment sustaining the demurrer of Cedars Sinai Medical Center (Cedars). We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On January 17, 2013, Nolte filed a class action complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that he and others similarly situated who received treatment from a physician in a Cedars medical building were charged fees by Cedars although “[t]hey did not agree to pay Cedars or to in any way enter into a contract with Cedars.”

After Cedars filed a demurrer to the complaint, Nolte filed a first amended class action complaint (hereafter, the complaint) on July 18, 2013. Nolte alleged that on September 8, 2010, he visited a doctor at the Beverly Hills Spine Center, bringing in his own x-rays for a second opinion. The doctor’s office was in a facility owed by Cedars, which is prohibited by California law from employing doctors directly. “Cedars has a contract with Beverly Hills Spine and every other medical provider in its network by which it agrees to maintain computerized records for the medical provider’s patients, ” a function “often provided by the medical providers themselves.” Nolte acknowledged that at the doctor’s office, he “signed a general form document promising to pay Cedars for any services Cedars provides to Plaintiff, ” but he was never told by the doctor or by Cedars that after his doctor’s visit “he would be charged a fee for setting him up as a new patient account on a computer system, let alone that Beverly Hills Spine had contracted with Cedars to perform that overhead task, and that Cedars would issue Plaintiff a bill for that ‘service.’”

Attached as an exhibit was a three-page form bearing Nolte’s signature and entitled “Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Conditions of Admissions” (the COA). The COA stated that Nolte “is admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (‘Hospital’) for... outpatient... treatment subject to the following terms and conditions.” Nolte initialed paragraph 3, which stated that all physicians were independent contractors who “may bill separately for their services.” The COA also provided in paragraph 7 that “in consideration of the services to be rendered to the ...


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