Former boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s longtime $250,000 cap on pain and suffering due to medical mistakes.
Mosely and the law firm of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley are the plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Superior Court suit brought against state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Alan Steinbrecher, chairman of the board of trustees for the State Bar of California.
Charles Johnson IV and his two minor children filed a separate similar suit Monday on allegations that medical malpractice led to the death of Johnson’s wife.
Like the Johnsons, Mosley and the law firm seek a declaration that the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act enacted by the state Legislature in 1975 is unconstitutional under state and federal law and that an injunction be issued enjoining its enforcement.
“In bringing this declaratory relief action, we ask the courts to do that which the bought-and-paid-for politicians will not do: render justice to medical negligence victims,” the Mosley lawsuit states.
The suit notes that the law was enacted when Gerald Ford was president and that the value of a $250,000 award is worth about $25,000 to $55,000 Wednesday.
In his underlying and still-pending lawsuit filed in June 2018 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mosley sued Dr. Gary Brazina and other medical defendants, including Marina del Rey Hospital and Playa Vista Urgent Care. That complaint alleges the defendants failed to exercise the proper degree of knowledge and skill in performing medical care to the former boxer in March 2017.
“For a variety of reasons, including the recent COVID-19 national emergency and (a) downturn in the economy, Mosley can no longer afford to pay the costs to litigate this matter,” the new suit says.
Mosley, 48, has sought to hire Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley in the underlying suit on a contingency-fee basis, according to his court papers.
However, Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley alleges that if the firm took the Mosley case, it would cost about $200,000 to prosecute on behalf of the ex-fighter and that at the end of the day, the recovery in attorneys’ fees would be about $20,000. The firm could only afford to take the case if it could charge its normal fee and the $250,000 cap was removed, according to the new Mosley suit.
“While the plaintiffs cannot spend more prosecuting a claim than he or she will recover, the defendant’s insurer is required to spend whatever is necessary to defend a claim without regard to the exposure,” the new Mosley suit states. “Despite diligent efforts, Mosley is unable to locate any alternative lawyer who is willing to accept the representation on the fee schedule set forth by the statutes referenced above and who is willing to advance all costs.”
Born in Lynwood, Mosley held multiple world championships in three weight classes.
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