MPT’s outlook was reaffirmed as stable and its strong financial flexibility, capital strength, and sound invested asset base were highlighted as part of the rating.
CAP was founded on the principle of providing physicians with the best medical malpractice coverage available at the most affordable rates. That remains our commitment today.
Affordable. Reliable. Better.
CAP was established in 1975 by a group of California physicians concerned about the spiraling cost of medical malpractice coverage and who were galvanized to do something about it. The result was a unique medical malpractice liability cooperative whose core product—the Mutual Protection Trust (MPT)—provides medical professional liability protection to over 12,000 of California’s finest physicians.
In addition to better malpractice protection and benefits, CAP offers practice resources and risk management tools to help you thrive during this transformational time in healthcare.
Risk Management Education and Training
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Schmid & Voiles
CAP's Dedicated Law Firm
The right representation can go a long way. Our law firm, Schmid & Voiles, has been defending California healthcare providers like you since 1984. Schmid & Voiles is one of the largest law firms exclusively dedicated to the defense of medical professionals in California. Described by the Daily Journal as “Giant slayers: the small, hyper-focused law firms that take on big matters and win,” Schmid & Voiles was recognized as one of California's "Top Boutique" law firms in 2015. Schmid & Voiles attorneys are listed below.
Since 1991, Robert Fessinger has devoted his practice to the defense of doctors and hospitals throughout California. He has handled every aspect of medical malpractice defense litigation, from case inception through discovery and trial. He has successfully defended physicians in trials and binding arbitrations as well as handling class-action matters against healthcare providers.
In 2005, Mr. Fessinger relocated his practice to the San Diego office of Schmid & Voiles. Sharing his knowledge and insight, he frequently is asked to lecture to claims specialists, doctors, and attorneys. Mr. Fessinger is a 1991 graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. As part of his legal training, Robert attended London’s Regents College, Inns of Court, where he studied under Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Since 1982, Michael V. Lamb has specialized in the defense of physicians and hospitals. After working as an associate with Rushfeldt, Shelley & McCurdy for seven years, in 1989 he became a founding partner in Elliot, Lamb, Leibl & Snyder, a 17-attorney firm specializing in medical malpractice defense. As a trial attorney, Lamb has successfully defended physicians on numerous occasions in both the Superior Court and arbitration. Immediately prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 1997, he gained insight into the plaintiff’s bar, working at Grassini & Wrinkle, where he prevailed at trial in a legal malpractice case.
Following his graduation from Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu and his admission to the California State Bar in 1979. Mr. Lamb worked as a claims representative and supervisor for The Travelers Insurance Co., handling legal malpractice claims for nearly three years. Mr. Lamb received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he graduated with distinction.
Specializing in arbitration agreement enforcement and appellate advocacy, Denise H. Greer is an accomplished trial attorney that has successfully tried and arbitrated cases on behalf of CAP members.
Before her admission to the State Bar, Ms. Greer served as an operating room nurse in various units at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. For nearly eight years, she was instrumental in initiating and operating the Outpatient Surgery Center at Cedars and was the Lead Operating Room Nurse of the Gynecologic/Oncology Service. While at Cedars, Greer served as a member, and later as Head of the Operating Room Quality Assurance Committee.
A graduate of the University of the State of New York in Albany with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, Ms. Greer attended Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, earning her law degree in 1988. While at Southwestern, she gained recognition as a candidate for the Paul Wildman Scholarship, was a Dean’s Merit Scholarship recipient, and received the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Sales.
For most of her legal career, Lisa Agrusa has specialized in defending physicians and other healthcare providers. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 2003, she gained a positive reputation as an effective medical malpractice defense attorney.
Ms. Agrusa earned a bachelor’s degree in History with a specialization in Business Administration from UCLA in 1987 and was an intern for Congressman David Dreier in Washington, D.C. during the winter of 1987. She attended Loyola Law School and obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1990, and was admitted to the practice of law later that same year.
Before joining Schmid & Voiles, Doug Amo was partner and founding member of Pivo, Halbreich, Martin, Wilson & Amo in Costa Mesa, where he specialized in healthcare-related claims, including medical and hospital malpractice. His extensive experience includes numerous cases presented to Superior Court juries and binding arbitration panels, including complex medical malpractice and significant damages cases involving orthopedics, unusual infectious diseases, cardiac and vascular issues involving amputation, rare cardiac, vascular, and neurologic anomalies in both infants and adults, various cancer cases, and head and neck surgery.
Mr. Amo earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, and received his undergraduate degree from University of California, Davis.
Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles, Renei was most recently Associate Attorney with Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, and previously spent several years working as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Yolanda Orozco in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. She earned a BA in Communication with minors in Philosophy and Asian American Studies and earned her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
With a dual background in nursing and law, Margaret Cahill joined CAP as a claims specialist in 2003 and joined Schmid & Voiles in early 2009. Prior to CAP, her law practice from 1988 through 1993 included medical malpractice defense of hospitals and other personal-injury claims while employed by Madory, Booth, Zell & Pleiss. This was followed by 10 years in private practice at the Law Offices of Hardiman & Cahill, where she and her physician partner handled all aspects of medical malpractice and healthcare litigation, including defense of medical and nursing administrative actions. Ms. Cahill’s career includes federal court practice which resulted in several published and unpublished opinions after successful argument to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the state appellate courts.
Ms. Cahill earned her law degree in 1988 from Western State University’s College of Law, where she graduated in the top 20 percent of her class and earned several honors, including American Jurisprudence Awards in Criminal Law and Contract Law, as well as academic recognition on the Dean’s List. She received a bachelor’s degree in Laws from Western State University and had earlier received an associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing from Youngstown State University in 1979. She received National Honor Scores on her State Board exams. While attending law school, Ms. Cahill was employed as a registered nurse at the UC Irvine Medical Center and also was employed on a part-time basis handling medical malpractice claims for a private company.
From 1988 until joining Schmid & Voiles in 2003, John S. Cayley was with the Los Angeles law firm of Rushfeldt, Shelley & Drake, representing doctors and hospitals in a variety of cases, including birth injury, wrongful death, emergency medicine, and elder abuse.
Mr. Cayley is a native of North Dakota and 1985 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law. He graduated from the North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy in 1979 and practiced pharmacy on a full-time basis prior to law school. Since beginning his legal career in 1986, Mr. Cayley has specialized in the defense of healthcare providers.
With a wide range of experience in medical malpractice defense and litigation, prior to joining Schmid & Voiles, Kyle Cruse was an attorney with Dummit, Bucholz & Trapp, where he focused primarily on defending hospitals and care facilities.
Mr. Cruse earned his law degree from University of California, Davis and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1993. He graduated from Middlebury College with a double major in Russian Language and Political Science. A native of Marin County, Cruse and his wife moved to San Diego after law school.
Khuong T. Do has exclusively focused on the defense of healthcare providers in medical malpractice actions during his career. Before joining Schmid & Voiles, he was a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith where he represented healthcare providers and institutions in complex medical practices, elder abuse, wrongful death actions, and administrative hearings before the Medical Board of California.
In 1996, Mr. Do earned his law degree from the King Hall School of Law at the University of California, Davis. At UC Davis, he was Executive Editor of the UC Davis Journal of International Law and Policy. Mr. Do received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Sara attended undergrad at SUNY (State University of NY) in Albany while working full time at the state legislature meeting with lobbyists and assisting with drafting legislation. After spending several years in Florence, Italy, she came back to the States to attend Southwestern Law School’s SCALE program in Los Angeles, where she focused on trial advocacy. She has worked in medical malpractice on both the plaintiff side as well as the defense side.
Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles, Stephanie R. Hanning was affiliated with Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP (FBBC). As a member of FBBC’s writing department, she had the opportunity to focus her work on various areas of law, including lender liability, employment, trademark, and class actions. Before FBBC, Ms. Hanning worked for a Los Angeles civil litigation firm, where she participated in labor board, state court, and Court of Appeal proceedings. She has appeared before various tribunals and has successfully written and opposed dispositive motions in multiple forums.
Ms. Hanning graduated with Honors in 2004 from UC Santa Barbara, earning a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies and Communication with a minor in History. She then earned admission to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. At Loyola, in addition to a full class load, Ms. Hanning was a staff writer and research editor for the Entertainment Law Review and was the Social Chair for the Women’s Law Association. She received First Honors in her Family Law and Motion Picture Production and Finance classes. Ms. Hanning graduated from Loyola in 2007 and was admitted to the State Bar and Central District of California later that year.
Nazanin Houshyar began her legal career in 2010 as a civil trial attorney in Los Angeles, California. In 2020, she joined Schmid & Voiles, where she remains devoted to the defense of physicians and other healthcare providers. Previously, she was an attorney at Carroll Kelly Trotter & Franzen in Long Beach where she specialized in defense of physicians throughout California. In 2016, she relocated to Orange County and joined Doyle Schafer & McMahon, LLP, where she continued to defend physicians and other healthcare providers against allegations of professional negligence and other misconduct. With extensive civil litigation and trial experience, Ms. Houshyar has also successfully represented her clients in Appellate Court. She is admitted to all Courts of California.
Adam R. James is an attorney with extensive experience in medical malpractice defense. He became an attorney at the law firm of Dummit, Buchholz & Trapp in 1999. While there, his primary focus was medical malpractice, and he specialized in the defense of hospitals. He is experienced in all aspects of litigation, including participation in trials, mandatory settlement conferences, and mediations.
In 1999, Mr. James graduated from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. At Emory, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Bankruptcy Developments Journal as well as being a Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute Scholar. During this time, he was also Vice President of the Keener Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity and Treasurer of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. Mr. James also earned two undergraduate degrees from University of California, San Diego: in Political Science and in History. He was a member of the Dean’s List and a National Merit Scholar.
Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 2003, Fredrick James defended healthcare clients while at the Los Angeles litigation firm of O’Flaherty, Abrams & Carl. He also was associated with Fonda & Fraser, a Los Angeles. law firm specializing in healthcare professionals’ defense. With 12 jury trials to verdicts, Mr. James has defended cases in both arbitration and Superior Court.
Having served in the United States Navy for four years, Mr. James went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1983. He received his Juris Doctorate in 1986 from the USC Law Center.
Since joining Schmid & Voiles in 1990, Dena J. Hayden Lambirth has successfully arbitrated matters on behalf of CAP members and has excelled in obtaining favorable resolution of her cases. She came to the firm both with experience as a malpractice defense attorney and as a medical research assistant. Following her admission to the California State Bar, Ms. Lambirth worked at the Los Angeles-based law firm of Fonda & Garrard, gaining knowledge and expertise in medical malpractice defense. Prior to that, she worked as a medical and research assistant at UCLA from 1981 through 1984.
Ms. Lambirth earned her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in 1987 and received her bachelor’s degree in both Microbiology and Psychobiology in 1982 from UCLA. She is also a member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel and the Italian Lawyers Association.
Jessica Lamiero is an experienced managing attorney. Before joining Schmid & Voiles, she worked in the Law Offices of John A. Biard and in association with Travelers Insurance’s Northern California Liability group, where her title was Associate Managing Counsel. In this role, Ms. Lamiero litigated complex cases from inception through trial. She also oversaw office personnel and operations. Her responsibilities included recruiting, developing, and evaluating the performance of attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff.
Prior to her role at Travelers, Ms. Lamiero spent eight years at Craddick, Candland & Conti where she worked her way up from associate to partner. As a trial attorney, she specialized in the defense of medical malpractice, personal injury, and premises liability cases. Ms. Lamiero received her law degree from Boston College Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2000. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in English Language and Literature.
David joined Schmid & Voiles in 2021. He brings 29 years of legal experience to his position, having served as Senior Attorney for The Helton Law Group APC prior to arriving at CAP. David earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and his Juris Doctorate from Gould School of Law also at USC.
Since 1986, Patrick W. Mayer focused his practice of law on the representation and defense of healthcare professionals. From 1993 until joining Schmid & Voiles in 2002, he was a partner in a Century City law firm where he defended claims on behalf of physicians, medical groups, and institutional providers. His experience includes the successful resolution and trial to verdict in the Superior Court of numerous medical malpractice cases.
Mr. Mayer attained his Juris Doctorate in 1984 from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, where he received the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Real Property. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Catherine Schroeder has experience with handling all phases of medical malpractice litigation. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 2015, she specialized in the defense of general and professional liability and medical malpractice matters.
Ms. Schroeder is originally from Glendale, California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Economics from New York University in 2009. Thereafter, Ms. Schroeder attended the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctorate in 2012. While there, she served as the Executive Articles Editor for the Notre Dame Journal of Legislation. Ms. Schroeder was admitted to the California State Bar in 2012.
Since joining Schmid & Voiles in 1990, Deborah Taggart has become one of the firm’s most accomplished trial attorneys and has served as an arbitrator in binding arbitrations involving medical malpractice litigation. She joined the staff with 10 years of broad-based litigation expertise in both trials and arbitrations. From 1984 to 1990, Ms. Taggart represented healthcare providers while serving as a litigation associate with the law firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges. She gained expertise in defending medical malpractice actions in both binding arbitrations and at jury trials.
Ms. Taggart received her Juris Doctorate with academic honors from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. While attending Loyola, she participated in the Honor Society Speakers Program and Tutorial Project. Taggart’s undergraduate studies were completed at UCLA, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Cum Laude, with a French minor. Before receiving her undergraduate degree, Ms. Taggart attended the Sorbonne at the University of Paris, where she studied French literature and art history.
Michael Ting has extensive experience in medical malpractice defense. In 2003, he became an attorney at the law firm of Dummit, Buchholz & Trapp where his primary focus was in medical malpractice, specializing in the defense of hospitals. He is experienced in all aspects of litigation including participation in trials, mandatory settlement conferences, and mediations.
In 2002, Mr. Ting earned his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree in Economic/International Studies from UCLA.
Jennifer K. Villebro has focused exclusively on the defense of professional malpractice, elder abuse, and complex personal injury cases since 2003. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles, Ms. Villebro was an associate at Law + Brandmeyer where she provided representation to physicians, hospitals and healthcare providers in the medical malpractice cases. She was involved in all aspects of litigation up to trial or arbitration, including ongoing analysis of liability and damages, and developing a theory and strategy of the case. Ms. Villebro was selected as Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2014.
Ms. Villebro earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Juris Doctor from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. While attending Creighton University, Jennifer was a charter member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and was a member of the Order of Omega honor society. She is licensed to practice law in all California and Nebraska State courts, as well as the United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California and the District of Nebraska.
Lawrence Wong has been engaged in professional liability matters related to healthcare professionals since 1992. He began his legal career and gained specialized knowledge and proficiency in the defense of medical malpractice actions as an Associate Attorney in the Long Beach office of O’Flaherty & Belgum. In addition to his experience as a defense attorney, Mr. Wong also practiced on the plaintiff’s bar while working with a physician/lawyer specializing in catastrophic birth injury and products liability litigation and secured multi-million dollar awards.
Mr. Wong joined Schmid & Voiles in 1997 and devoted his practice exclusively to the defense of physicians throughout California. He is admitted to practice before the State and United States District Courts throughout California. He has been lead trial counsel in Superior Court trials and binding arbitrations since early 2000. Mr. Wong is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national, by-invitation-only association of accomplished trial lawyers. He is also a frequent lecturer on the issue of navigating medical malpractice cases before physicians at numerous Southern California Hospitals and was a keynote presenter at the annual Convention of Osteopathic Family Physicians in 2018.
Mr. Wong is a 1992 graduate of California Western School of Law in San Diego, where he was a dean’s scholarship recipient. While an undergraduate student at University of California, Irvine, he participated in the Economics Honors Program and earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics. Mr. Wong is a Southern California native having gone to St. John’s Lutheran School and Lutheran High School of Orange County.
Michele Raley is an attorney with more than 20 years of legal experience. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 2014, Ms. Raley Michele worked as an attorney at the Sacramento office of La Follette Johnson. A defense attorney for her entire career, she has extensive experience in medical malpractice defense. As outside counsel, she has represented many CAP members in complex medical malpractice cases.
Michele earned her JD from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
With a strong background in all areas of trial and arbitration, Rodney Tomlinson has specialized in the defense of healthcare providers since 1984, having tried and arbitrated to conclusion more than 50 cases involving complex medical and legal issues. A frequent speaker and lecturer, he shares his knowledge and insights with claims specialists, medical groups, residency programs, hospitals, and attorneys. Mr. Tomlinson’s presentation topics include effective risk management, efficient case handling, trial preparation, and successful arbitration practices.
Mr. Tomlinson earned his law degree in 1984 from the University of San Diego. While attending law school, he studied in England at the London Institute of International Comparative Law. He received his undergraduate degree at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
Presentations by experts from the CAP Speakers Bureau can help you answer questions like:
- How Can I Reduce Liability and Increase Patient Safety in My Practice?
- What Does My Office Need to Do to Remain HIPAA Compliant? What are the Benefits and Risks of Changing Technology?
- What Can My Specialty Do to Reduce Risk?
- How Can I Avoid a Lawsuit? And What Happens If I Get Sued?
- What is Enterprise Risk Management?
- What Do I Need to Learn About Professional Development?
- How Do I Turn My Practice Into a Successful Business?
Visit CAP Speakers Bureau for complete details or to request a presentation at your location.