$4.49 Million Jury Verdict Against Anthem Blue Cross For Excluding Dr. Jeffrey Nordella from Its Preferred Provider Network

In One of the Largest Verdicts of its Kind, a California Jury Awarded Compensatory Damages and Found that Anthem Blue Cross Acted with Malice, Oppression and Fraud, Setting the Stage for Punitive Damages

Apr 09, 2013, 12:36 ET from Jeffrey Nordella, MD

LOS ANGELES, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --A Los Angeles jury awarded damages to Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, a primary care doctor for 22 years, after finding that Anthem Blue Cross violated his right to Fair Procedure when he applied to join the Anthem Blue Cross Provider Network.  Dr. Nordella claimed that Anthem Blue Cross excluded him from its Provider Network because he is an advocate for his patients.

Dr. Nordella is the medical director of Porter Ranch Quality Care in California, which serves patients in the San Fernando Valley. In March 2010, Anthem Blue Cross denied Dr. Nordella's application to join its Provider Network contending that it had "no need" for another General Practitioner in its Network.

Dr. Nordella, an ardent patient advocate, claimed during trial that Anthem Blue Cross, the largest for-profit health insurer in California, puts profits before patients by unlawfully excluding qualified doctors from its Provider Network.  Because of a shortage of primary care doctors, Nordella's attorney, Theresa Barta, told the jury that Blue Cross was not acting in the best interests of its members and exclusion of primary care doctors (such as Dr. Nordella) restricts access to healthcare.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Dr. Nordella nearly $4.5 million in damages for lost salary and profits from his practice, but found him 15 percent responsible for his losses, resulting in a net award of $3.8 million.

The jury also found that Anthem Blue Cross acted with malice, oppression and fraud, setting the stage for a second phase of trial during which an award of punitive damages is possible.

"This verdict sends a message to doctors that they have a voice. They can stand up and fight back against insurers. This is a huge win, not only for my client, but for all physicians," said Theresa Barta.

Nordella is represented by Theresa J. Barta of the Law Offices of Theresa Barta in Newport Beach, California.  Anthem Blue Cross is represented by Ken Smersfelt and Junga Kim of Reed Smith LLP.

Phase II of the trial is set for Friday, April 12, 2013 at 10 a.m. in Los Angeles Superior Court, Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Department 71, Room 729, 111 North Hill Street, LA 90012.

Press Contact For Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, MD:
Ann D'Amato, (310) 963-2981

SOURCE Jeffrey Nordella, MD