King v. CompPartnersAnnotate this Case
Kirk King sustained a back injury while at work for CompPartners, Inc. In July 2011, King suffered anxiety and depression due to chronic back pain resulting from the back injury. In 2011, King was prescribed a psychotropic medication known as Klonopin. The Klonopin was provided to King through Workers’ Compensation. In July 2013, a Workers’ Compensation utilization review was conducted to determine if the Klonopin was medically necessary. Naresh Sharma, an anesthesiologist, conducted the utilization review. Sharma determined the drug was unnecessary and decertified it. As a result, King was required to immediately cease taking the Klonopin. Typically, a person withdraws from Klonopin gradually by slowly reducing the dosage. Due to the sudden cessation of Klonopin, King suffered four seizures, resulting in additional physical injuries. In September 2013, someone requested King again be permitted to take Klonopin. In October 2013, Mohammed Ashraf Ali, a psychiatrist, conducted a second utilization review. Ali also determined Klonopin was medically unnecessary. Neither Sharma nor Ali examined King in-person, and neither warned King of the dangers of an abrupt withdrawal from Klonopin. King sued CompPartners and Sharma for: (1) professional negligence; (2) negligence; (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (4) negligent infliction of emotional distress. King's wife, Sara, sued CompPartners and Sharma for loss of consortium. The Kings sought general, special, exemplary, and punitive damages. The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer without leave to amend. The Kings raised three issues on appeal to the Court of Appeal: (1) their claims were not preempted by the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA); (2) defendants owed them a duty of care; and (3) the trial court erred by denying them leave to amend. The Court affirmed the sustaining of the demurrer but reversed the denial of leave to amend.