ABOUT BARTA LAW
Barta Law specializes in the representation of physicians and other health care providers in matters arising out of employment, contractual or other relationships with Medical Groups, Hospitals, HMOs, and Insurance Companies.
The firm's principal, Theresa J. Barta, has a particular expertise in representing physicians in actions under
California's anti-retaliation statute, and is an aggressive litigator with thirty years of experience.
She has been selected as a California Super Lawyer and received the Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year award.
Generally speaking, the firm handles matters that arise out of physician’s employment, contractual,
or other business relationships with medical groups, hospitals, HMOs or insurance companies.
Representing both businesses and individuals alike, the firm handles matters
throughout California and litigates in both state and federal courts.
Admitted: 1990, California; United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits; U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern, Southern and Central Districts of California
Law School: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, J.D. (Order of the Coif, Cum laude)
Member: State Bar of California; Consumer Attorneys of California; Association of Trial Lawyers of America; Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles County; Orange County Trial Lawyers Association; Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles; American Trial Lawyers Association of America; National Association of Women Lawyers.
Biography: Morrison & Foerster; Shernoff, Bidart & Darras.
California Super Lawyer
Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year
Theresa J. Barta founded Barta Law in 1998 and has since focused her practice on the representation of physicians in a variety of matters unique to physicians and their rights. Ms. Barta's dedication, expertise and relentless advocacy have led to successful multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for her clients. Her litigation record is distinguished by impressive victories including, a $4.5 million jury verdict against Anthem Blue Cross, a unanimous $3.4 million verdict in federal court in a case involving fraud, a $1.6 million verdict and multiple findings that her physician client was entitled to punitive damages in one of the first cases tried in California under the anti-retaliation statute, an award of $1.4 million in attorneys fees, and multitude of cases resulting in multi-million dollar settlements.
Ms. Barta began her career with the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in Orange County, California, where she specialized in general business litigation. She then went to work for the preeminent law firm of Shernoff, Bidart & Darras in Claremont, California where she handled a variety of cases in the firm's health insurance practice; in particular, she successfully prosecuted bad faith disputes against
health insurers and HMOs.
Ms. Barta has been selected as "California Super Lawyer" (2020, 2021)
and named "Top Gun: Trial Lawyer of the Year"
Ms. Barta is admitted to practice in all the state and federal courts in California; she is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for each of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits. She obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from
Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California, where she graduated
Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, and in the top 5% of her class.
She received numerous American Jurisprudence Awards and was
a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society.
Most recently, Ms. Barta authored Greed on Trial, an award-winning book that exposes the truth behind today’s medical landscape.
Greed on Trial brings Theresa Barta’s work to life, following three actual cases from her files. In each case sits a doctor who was wrongfully terminated after rebelling against insurance policies in order
to provide appropriate medical care to patients.
In each story, we watch Ms. Barta assemble her evidence,
plan a strategy, and take the case to trial.
Through her page-turning narrative, Barta pulls back the curtain on the complex world of doctors who struggle to care for their patients while being told to comply with company regulations.
Winner of the 2018 Indies Gold Award
Medical Staff Credentialing
Partnership or Other Contractual Disputes
Covenants not to Compete
Interference with Business Interests
Unfair Business Practices
Infringement on the Right
to Practice Medicine
Patient - Physician Relationships
Health Care Contracts
Health Care Fraud
Managed Care Contracts
Medical Staff Credentialing
Unfair Insurance Practices
Representation of a surgeon who was investigated and disciplined by a hospital during the reappointment process for staff privileges. The court found the hospital’s actions improper, which resulted in a confidential settlement of all the surgeon’s claims. Those claims included violation of fair procedure, violation of the hospital’s bylaws, intentional interference with right to practice medicine, unfair competition and violation of the Unruh Act.
A hospitalist protested hospital policies and practices that he believed constituted unsafe conditions and interfered with patient care. The hospital then accused the hospitalist of failing to follow hospital policies and terminated him. The case was favorably settled for the physician without a lawsuit even being filed.
Representation of a physician who was discriminated against because he protested a health care system’s violation of the laws prohibiting the corporate practice of medicine.
Medical Director of a family/urgent care medical practice was terminated and retaliated against by the medical corporation that owned the practice after the physician advocated for patient care, including conducting health studies into the health impacts of the Porter Ranch gas leak. The termination and retaliation disrupted the physician’s relationships with this patients and violated California laws governing continuity of care.
Representation of a physician who was retaliated against (by being labeled a “disruptive physician”) after advocating against a health care system’s policies that interfered with patient care. Those policies included e.g., prohibiting referrals outside of the health system’s network, pressuring physicians to increase “productivity” (see more patients and bill more RVUs), reduced staffing, and utilization of EMR only.
Surgeon applied to become a participating provider in a Covered California provider network. The health plan denied the physician’s request, even though he was already in several of the plan’s other provider networks. The health plan claimed that its denial was based on the network being a “narrow network”.
An urgent care physician was excluded from Anthem Blue Cross Provider Network. Although Blue Cross claimed it had "no network need" for the physician, a jury awarded the physician millions of dollars in lost income damages after it found the exclusion violated the physician's legal right to "fair procedure."
A psychiatrist was terminated by his employer after he failed to heed memos regarding his prescribing practices. Although the employing medical group claimed that the doctor's employment contract was not renewed for financial reasons, the jury believed that the medical group had wrongfully terminated the doctor and awarded him more than $1.6 million in damages. The jury also found that the punitive damages were appropriate.
A doctor with a growing urgent care practice had his Participating Provider Contract terminated by Blue Cross after he challenged the insurer's claims that he was providing services that were "not medically necessary." The case involved application of Bus.& Prof. Code Section 2056, which specifically protects physicians from retaliation when they advocate for patient care.
Representation of a physician who was sued in a case involving a partnership dispute. The case involved claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and matters relating to business loans and distribution of profits.
Representation of a surgeon who was censured and placed on probation by a hospital, because of a biased peer review of his cases.
A physician partner/owner of a medical group wanted to open his own medical practice, but was restricted when the medical group attempted to enforce a non-compete clause in his partnership agreement. Without having to litigate the matter, an exit from the partnership and the opening of the doctor's new office was negotiated.
Physician who owned an urgent care practice sued a competing urgent care for unfair competition and intentional interference with business.
After being profiled as an "outlier" by an HMO, because his patients were older and in need of multiple preventive and curative medications and treatments, a doctor's contract with an IPA (an Independent Physicians Association) was terminated without cause.
A surgeon who chose not to contract with HMOs, but provided emergency care to HMO patients as part of his on-call status at a hospital, was sued after he refused to accept only partial payment from the HMO.
There are many nuances in the law that apply only to physicians, and many times physicians themselves are not aware of the laws that protect them. For example, California Bus. & Prof. Code Section 2056 applies only to physicians and surgeons and protects them from being penalized or retaliated against by their employers, medical groups, HMOs, insurers and others. Physicians are also entitled to due process before actions can be taken against them that could interfere with their medical practice and livelihood. There are also specific laws and procedures that govern peer review of physicians at hospitals as well as almost all other areas of a physician's practice (e.g., patient care, contracting with insurers, privileges at hospitals and medical facilities.)
The representation of physicians is a unique and specialized area, and many times physicians, and even the attorneys who know them, do not have the expertise or knowledge that is necessary to represent their
best interests -- Theresa Barta does.
Theresa Barta's dedication, expertise and relentless advocacy have
resulted in many successful and multi-million dollar verdicts and
settlements for her clients. The following are a few of the
verdicts and settlements she has achieved for her clients:
Doe v. Doe Insur. Co.: $10 Million Settlement
A civil case in state court involved claims for on-going medical care, as well as damages, for twins that suffered from life-threatening medical condition. The case was settled prior to trial with an agreement by the insurance company to provide the necessary medical care and pay an additional sum as damages to the plaintiffs.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Health Plans: $9 Million Settlement
Settlement of claims for unlawful and unfair business practices, violation of fair procedure and interference with prospective business relations.
Nordella, M.D. v. Anthem Blue Cross: $4.5 Million Jury Verdict
A jury trial for violation of "fair procedure" (that involved claims that the physician was wrongfully excluded from Blue Cross' PPO Network) resulted in a $4.5 million verdict and a finding that the doctor was entitled to punitive damages. A confidential settlement was reached prior to the punitive damages phase of the trial.
Doe v. Doe Health Ins.: $5 Million Settlement
A federal civil case that involved claims for payment of necessary medical care for a child with multiple life-threatening illnesses and medical conditions resulted in a settlement prior to trial.
In re Active Wallace Group: $3.6 Million Trial Verdict
A federal bench trial involving a claim of fraud resulted in a $3.6 million verdict that included a $1.8 million award of punitive damages.
Fontana v. Spartech: $3.4 Million Jury Verdict
Unanimous jury verdict in a case involving fraud and breach of contract. The case was tried in federal court and the verdict was upheld on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Med. Group: $2.5 Million Settlement
A jury trial for retaliatory termination and intentional interference with prospective business resulted in a $1.6 million jury verdict as well as multiple findings that the doctor was entitled to punitive damages. The case was settled prior to completion of the punitive damages phase for $2.5 million.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Health Ins.: $2.5 Million Settlement
Settlement following arbitration of case involving insurance company’s
intentional inference with physician-patient relationships and retaliation against the physician for advocating for medically appropriate health care.
Doe Co. v. Does: $2 Million Settlement
In a federal case, claims were brought against multiple corporate insiders (including individuals and businesses) for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conversion. The case resulted in multiple settlements, including one for $2 million.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Med. Group: $1.6 Million Jury Verdict
A jury trial on claims of wrongful termination and intentional interference with prospective business resulted in $1.6 million verdict and unanimous findings for punitive damages.
Fontana Prod. v. Spartech: $1.4 Million Award of Attorneys Fees
After a successful jury verdict of over $3.4 million, the federal court awarded an additional $1.4 million in attorneys fees. The attorneys fees award was upheld on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Med. Group: $1.4 Million Settlement
Settlement before trial on claims of wrongful termination and intentional interference with prospective business that involved California’s whistleblower laws.
Doe, M.D. v. Doe Med. Group: $1 Million Settlement
Settlement before lawsuit was filed that involved claims for wrongful termination and suspension of physician’s hospital staff privileges.
Doe, M.D. v. Does: $1 Million Settlement
Case involved claims of unfair competition, defamation and business interference between competing medical practices. Case was settled prior to trial.
*Note: The results in the cases portrayed on this website were dependent on the facts of the individual case, and the results in any case will differ because
they are based on different facts or law.
California Super Lawyer
Ms. Barta was selected to the 2020 California Super Lawyers list for health care law. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor.
Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year
Ms. Barta was named Trial Lawyer of the Year in Business Litigation by Orange County Trial Lawyers in 2013. The award recognizes individual attorneys who have demonstrated exceptional trial skills, commitment to their clients and have obtained outstanding results on behalf of their clients.
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Ms. Barta is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
Southern California Trial Lawyers Conference
An event featuring Southern California’s top trial attorneys, Ms. Barta spoke on “How Insurance Companies Practice Medicine”. (January 2017)
Attorneys of Distinction
Ms. Barta was featured in Orange Coast’s Attorneys of Distinction (April 2019).
Ms. Barta’s Book, Greed on Trial, Wins National Award
Greed on Trial won the 2018 Forward Indies Gold Award. More than 2,000 entries spread across various genres were submitted for consideration by a panel of national bookseller judges and librarians. (June 2019)
Los Angeles County Medical Association
Ms. Barta spoke on “Physician and Provider Reimbursement” to the Los Angeles County Medical Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association at their Sixth Annual Joint Educational Meeting. (March 2015)
Thompson Reuters Reports: “Doctor’s $3.8 Million Win
Sends Warning to Health Plans”
Theresa Barta was quoted in the Thomas Reuters article: “The importance of the verdict is it lets doctors know that they have a voice.” (April 10, 2013)
Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Physicians News Network and Law360 all cover Barta Law’s Trial, Verdict and Settlement in a Landmark Case:
“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.”
Anthem Lawsuit and Barta Law’s Representation of Doctor are Detailed in Book: Denied, by Jeffrey Nordella, M.D.
“This story illuminates a single medical practitioner locking arms with a solo-practicing attorney to challenge the unethical and illegal business practices of the multibillion-dollar insurance giant, Anthem Blue Cross.” – Denied, by Jeffrey Nordella, M.D. with Kim Beyer-Johnson.
“A San Bernardino jury awarded a psychiatrist $1.56 million after agreeing that he was fired by one of the state’s leading medical groups in retaliation for refusing to switch his patients to less expensive prescription medications.”