Minors Compromise Update
 
 Deadline - June 17
 
Based upon complaints of our members about problems obtaining fair and reasonable rulings on Petitions to Compromise the claims of minors and adults with disabilities, CAOC was successful in having the Judicial Council create a working group to address the issues. Past Presidents Sharon Arkin and Bruce Brusavich, members of the Judicial Council Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, have been on the working group representing your interests. Based upon their efforts, new changes to the Rules of Court and the Minor’s Compromise Petition forms are currently out for comment. We encourage you to review new proposed rules and revised Minor’s Petition forms and submit your comments to the Judicial Council. These comments will be extremely helpful to Sharon and Bruce when the Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee takes up the issue of whether or not to approve the proposals and send them on for consideration by the full Judicial Council.

In summary, the rules do the following:
  1. Attorney’s fees. All local rules on attorney’s fees would be preempted by the new California Rule of Court which would provide that the court "must give consideration to the terms of any representation agreement." The rule then provides a list of criteria for the court to evaluate in determining if the contracted fee agreement is reasonable;
  2. An expedited petition is proposed whereby approval of a Minor’s Compromise in certain circumstances can be sought and obtained without the need for the appearance of the attorney, petitioner or minor; and
  3. Extensive revisions have been made to the Minor’s Compromise Petition form to assist our members in negotiating medical lien claims and to obtain judicial determinations of a reduction in a Medi-Cal lien where insufficient funds exist to fully satisfy the lien. It would no longer be required to itemize every medical care provider as in the past, provided that provider is not receiving part of the proceeds.
Comments in support of the proposed changes should include any problems you have experienced dealing with local rules or arbitrary fee caps. Many members have reported problems with obtaining reimbursement of costs or the subtraction of costs from the proceeds before the calculation of a fee.

Many judges think these cases settle easily and they do not understand the challenges faced by contingency fee practitioners. Comments that include the difficulty in representing minors and representing minors on a contingency fee basis would be helpful.

Any questions about the new proposals should be directed to Bruce Brusavich at brusavich@agnewbrusavich.com. Bruce would also request being contacted before any negative comments are submitted, perhaps based upon a lack of understanding as to our goals and objectives.

You can review the proposals and comment online at:  www.courtinfo.ca.gov/invitationstocomment/#minor.
 
The deadline for comment is June 17.