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California Medical Assn. v. Brian

Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District

February 20, 1973

Civ. No. 13413


 [*641]  [**557]   On January 13, 1971, plaintiffs California Medical Association, et al. (hereafter "CMA"), filed a complaint against defendants Earl W. Brian, M.D., as Director, 3 Department of Health Care Services [***2]  (hereafter "Brian" or "DHCS"), and the State of California, seeking to enjoin the implementation of certain Medi-Cal regulations which were filed by Brian on December 11, 1970, to take effect on December 15, 1970. These regulations curtailed the medical benefits available under the Medi-Cal program and the CMA contended that such regulations were invalid. CMA filed an amendment to its complaint on March 1,  [**558]  1971, seeking to invalidate certain drug-product regulations issued February 11, 1971, and to enjoin their implementation by Brian.

Interveners Olga O'Reilly, et al. (hereafter "O'Reilly"), filed their complaint on January 19, 1971. O'Reilly sought an injunction restraining Brian from implementing the December 15, 1970, regulations. [***3]  O'Reilly is a recipient of categorical cash grants under the joint state and federal welfare system.

Interveners California Dental Association (hereafter "CDA") filed their complaint on February 1, 1971. The CDA sought to invalidate the December 15, 1970, regulations and to enjoin their implementation.

All parties stipulated that the cause should be heard on the merits and not on motions for preliminary injunction. After a trial before the court lasting approximately 18 days, the court made extensive findings of fact and conclusions of law. In effect, the court held that the Medi-Cal regulations and the drug formulary regulations were invalid since they were not promulgated in accordance with law. The court's judgment further enjoined Brian from enforcing such regulations and from "any reenactment, adoption, or revision of said Regulations or Guidelines or any part or portion thereof, substantially like the Regulations or Guidelines herein cited or any part of them, which adoption, reenactment, or revision is violative of the conclusions filed herein." This appeal followed.

We inquire into the contention of defendants that the case is moot, into the validity of the December [***4]  1970 Medi-Cal regulations, the February 1971 drug product regulations, as well as the permanent regulations of  [*642]  April 1972, which were later repealed in July 1972. We consider our task here to be as stated succinctly in Morris v. Williams (1967) 67 Cal.2d 733, 737 [63 Cal.Rptr. 689, 433 P.2d 697]: "Accordingly, as required by long established and unassailable California precedents, ] we here discharge our responsibility to determine whether the Agency has acted in obedience to the mandate of the Legislature or has ignored or violated it. CA(1)(1) Our function is to inquire into the legality of the regulations, not their wisdom. Nor do we superimpose upon the agency any policy judgments of our own. CA(2)(2) Administrative regulations that violate acts of the Legislature are void and no protestations that they are merely an exercise of administrative discretion can sanctify them. They must conform to the legislative will if we are to preserve an orderly system of government."

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30 Cal. App. 3d 637 *; 106 Cal. Rptr. 555 **; 1973 Cal. App. LEXIS 1196 ***

CALIFORNIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. EARL W. BRIAN, as Director, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants; OLGA O'REILLY et al., Interveners and Respondents

Subsequent History:  [***1]  Appellants' petition for a hearing by the Supreme Court was denied April 25, 1973.

Prior History: Superior Court of Sacramento County, No. 208390, William M. Gallagher, Judge.

Disposition: The portion of the judgment relating to an injunction is striken. The remainder of the judgment is affirmed in its entirety. Respondents are to recover their costs on appeal.


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Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, General Overview, Public Health & Welfare Law, Social Security, Medicare, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Mootness, Public Interest Exception, Evidence, Inferences & Presumptions, Agency Rulemaking, State Proceedings, Appeals, Healthcare, Services for Disabled & Elderly Persons, Reviewability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Remedies, Exceptions