For Your Protection. For Your Sucess.
As a physician, you have a thousand things to manage for your practice. We’re here to help. We protect, accelerate, and future-proof your business so that you have more time to spend with what matters most: your patients.
By Doctors, For Doctors
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
Practice Management Resources
Human Resources Support
The legislative and political climate bears greatly on liability issues in California. Maintaining an active public affairs component, CAP remains vigilant and ready to defend California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). With constant changes reshaping healthcare today, we focus on physician engagement through advocacy, education, and thought leadership. In collaboration with several state and national coalitions, we pursue tort reform so that patient access to care remains a priority in the public arena.
Access the latest reports on MICRA and other important topics. Studies have shown the significant advantages acquired securing access to care through the use and enforcement of a monetary cap on non-economic damages.
- MICRA and Access to Healthcare
- LECG Report on Estimated Increases in State of California Employee and Retiree Benefits Cost Caused by Doubling the MICRA Cap
- Malpractice Liability Costs and The Practice of Medicine in the Medicare Program
- RAND: Is Better Patient Safety Associated with Less Malpractice Activity?
In 2015, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). MACRA established two tracks for physician payment – the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs). It is the most comprehensive reform of Medicare since the creation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and took effect January 1, 2017. CAP is committed to providing comprehensive resources to our members to keep them informed about these regulatory updates.
- MACRA: What You Need to Know - Comprehensive Guide and Resources
- Increased Flexibility for MACRA: Pick Your Pace
- Merit-based Incentive Payment System Checklist: Steps You Can Take Now
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.
Jerry Martin is a frequent lecturer on trial practice subjects for local bar associations, continuing legal education providers, and in-service training for physicians and hospitals. He began the practice of law in Mississippi, where he gained both civil and criminal trial expertise. In 1984, he joined the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office where — as chief counsel -- he directed the Civil Litigation Division. Mr. Martin worked in both State and Federal courts defending medical malpractice claims brought against state-operated hospitals.
Mr. Martin was admitted to the California State Bar in 1989. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1968 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi in 1975, where he served on the staff of the Mississippi Law Journal. From 1968 to 1972, Mr. Martin served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was decorated for his work as a Shipboard Engineering Officer and served on a special advisory panel to the Chief of Naval Operations.
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.
Sheila Anne Alexander has extensive case-management experience from case inception through trial, having successfully defended dental and medical malpractice actions. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 1998, she worked for Baker, Silberberg & Keener handling complex, high-profile medical and legal professional liability cases. From 1992 to 1996, Ms. Alexander was an Associate in a law firm specializing in professional liability defense. She participated in the national breast implant class-action suit at both the State and Federal Court levels. In 1990, she joined a large Los Angeles medical malpractice defense firm in 1990, where she assisted the managing partner with case preparation as well as law and motion and appellate work.
Ms. Alexander graduated from Monterey College of Law in 1990. She received several awards for scholarship, including the Hornbook Award in 1987, the Corpus Juris Secundum Award for legal scholarship in 1988, 1989, and 1990, and was a Heisler Moot Court finalist in 1990. While in law school, Ms. Alexander was employed as the Executive Director of the Monterey County Bar Association and Lawyer Referral Service. She also established and administered the Pro Bono Program for Monterey County.
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.
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.
Since 1986, Bradley C. Clark has been defending hospitals, HMOs, physicians, and physician groups in professional negligence lawsuits. Before joining Schmid & Voiles in 2002, he was a named partner in the Glendale law firm of Hemer, Barkus & Clark, where he specialized in healthcare law with emphasis on representing individual physicians and hospitals in professional negligence lawsuits. Mr. Clark has extensive trial experience, as evidenced by his membership in the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA), a national, by-invitation-only association of accomplished trial lawyers. Acceptance into ABOTA is only possible after having tried a minimum of 20 jury trials to verdict.
Mr. Clark was raised in Santa Barbara and earned his law degree from the Santa Barbara College of Law in 1983. His undergraduate education was at the University of Redlands, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also holds an associate degree in Banking and Finance from Santa Barbara City College. Prior to that, Mr. Clark served in the United States Navy.
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.
Myrna L. D’Incognito spent her first 12 years of practice in defense litigation with emphasis on defending physicians and related healthcare practitioners. Experienced in all aspects of medical malpractice litigation, she has gained expertise in crafting winning defense strategies and cost-effective case resolutions. Ms. D’Incognito’s recognized expertise led to her appointment as the Administrative Malpractice Department Head with a major law firm with responsibilities that included supervising and training associate attorneys.
A graduate of the Southwestern University School of Law, Ms. D’Incognito was admitted to the California State Bar in 1990. While attending Southwestern, she received an Outstanding Achievement Award in Civil Rights. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, where she was a member of the National English Honor Society.
Ronan Duggan has experience in all aspects of medical malpractice defense litigation. Before joining Schmid & Voiles, he was an attorney at Reback, McAndrews, Kjar, Warford & Stockalper, where he specialized in healthcare-related claims. He has been a guest speaker at the Keck Hospital of USC, where he has lectured on the subject of adequate informed consent.
Mr. Duggan earned his barrister-at-law degree from The Honourable Society of King’s Inns in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Portobello College for his undergraduate education and was awarded an LLB from the University of Wales. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 2009.
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.
Rebecca J. Hogue possesses experience in every aspect of medical malpractice defense work, from case inception through discovery, trial, and appeal. She has successfully defended physicians in trial, arbitration, and administrative hearings initiated by the California Medical Board and managed care organizations.
Ms. Hogue has specialized exclusively in the defense of physicians and hospitals throughout her legal career. In 1984, she joined Rushfeldt, Shelley & McCurdy, a medical malpractice defense firm, as an Associate Attorney. In 1989, she became a Senior Associate, and in 1991, a partner of Elliot, Lamb, Leibl & Snyder, a 17-attorney firm specializing in the defense of physicians. Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 1998, Ms. Hogue was independent legal counsel to several healthcare providers, coordinating transaction matters and the global marketing of healthcare services on the internet.
In 1983, Ms. Hogue graduated cum laude from Western State University College of Law, earning the academic rank of number one in her class. She received numerous awards for legal scholarships including the Corpus Juris Secundum Award for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and four American Jurisprudence Awards for Excellence in Torts, Evidence, Criminal Law, and Community Property. Ms. Hogue was also a member of the Editorial Board of the Western State Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, where she majored in Social Ecology with a pre-law emphasis.
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.
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.
Since joining Schmid & Voiles in 1999, Kathleen McColgan has specialized in law and motion matters, where she researches, writes, and argues motions in professional liability matters on behalf of the firm’s trial attorneys. Ms. McColgan has more than 18 years of experience in personal-injury litigation as an attorney, law clerk, and paralegal and has worked for a number of prominent personal injury defense and plaintiff firms in Los Angeles. She has a wealth of experience in all aspects of personal injury litigation, and has a number of arbitration awards to her credit.
Ms. McColgan earned her Juris Doctorate from Whittier College School of Law in 1989, and received an American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Legal Process during law school. An accomplished textile artist, Ms. McColgan received her bachelor’s degree in Textiles from California College of the Arts in 1979.
Prior to joining Schmid & Voiles in 2003, Julia Murray had more than 16 years of experience in all facets of litigation, with emphasis on cases involving alleged medical negligence. During that time, she gained a unique perspective on medical malpractice litigation through the representation of plaintiffs. Initially with the firm of Sherman, Dan & Portugal, and later with the Law Offices of Michael A.K. Dan, she engaged in preparation of cases for trial and trials of complex litigation, including management of more than 300 cases in the breast implant global settlement. An effective legal writer, Ms. Murray spent several years as a research attorney with the Orange County Superior Court while also functioning as a practicing litigator.
Ms. Murray is a 1986 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu and was admitted to the California State Bar that same year. Her undergraduate studies were completed at UCLA in 1983, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
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.
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.
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.
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 limited his practice exclusively to the defense of physicians and other healthcare practitioners in professional liability matters since 1997. He began his legal career and gained 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.
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.
Catherine Zung 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. Zung is originally from Glendale, California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Economics from New York University in 2009. Thereafter, Ms. Zung 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. Zung was admitted to the California State Bar in 2012.
Our annual financial reports illustrate our ability to act as leaders in the frontlines of healthcare while protecting the bottom line. We’re proud to consistently show steady growth and unparalleled financial strength, thanks to our strong member base and physician-run leadership. Our financial stability is so solid that it has earned an A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best Company since 2006.