Nicodemus v. Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

A class was ascertainable and should have been certified since the class was properly defined by objective criteria and its members could be identified from defendant’s records, even if those records also included an unknown number of non-class members.  The trial court erred in denying class certification in this case challenging the charges Healthport Technologies and Saint Francis imposed for providing copies of patients’ medical records to their attorneys pursuant to their pre-litigation requests.  Allegedly, the charges exceeded the amounts allowed under Evid. Code 1158.  The trial court erroneously held the class was not ascertainable.  The class definition was properly framed in terms of objective criteria that matched the applicability of section 1158, and Healthport had records identifying each attorney request for medical records.  That Healthport’s records might identify some attorney requests that did not fit the class defintion did not make the class unascertainable since there was no evidence about the number of non-qualifying requests included in the business records.  And the records provided a list that was adequate for the purpose of giving class notice.  The class also satisfied the commonality requirement even if class members might later have to prove their requests were governed by Evid. Code 1158 as well as the amount they were overcharged.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 4 (Rivera, J.); September 14, 2016 (published October 6, 2016); 2016 WL 4800893

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