The surviving member of a prominent gay couple can seek damages on behalf of his deceased partner in a case that tested a statute expanding the legal rights of gays.

A recent appellate ruling reinstated the medical malpractice lawsuit of Charles Karel Bouley, whose partner, Andrew Lee Howard, died in May 2001 after being admitted to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The couple had a four-year stint hosting an afternoon radio show on KFI-AM (640) that was replaced by the "The John and Ken Show" after Howard died.

Bouley claims that the hospital's emergency room doctors were negligent in treating Howard the night he died, while the hospital points to the man's excessive drinking.

"He couldn't quit throwing up. He had reported to nurses he had eight glasses of wine and five tequila shooters," said Lynn Moyer, a Long Beach attorney who represents the hospital and a doctor sued in the case.

Bouley filed his action once a 2002 state law became effective that granted domestic partners the legal right to file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their deceased partners. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed the suit on grounds the statute was not retroactive.

In January, the statute was amended, and earlier this month, a local appellate panel reinstated the case, concluding that the amendments allowed the statute to apply retroactively. Defense attorneys have no plans to appeal.

"I disagree with the Court of Appeal's decision, but we'll live with it," said Terrence Schafer, a partner at Reback McAndrews & Kjar LLP. "We're better off on this case moving forward and defending it."

Bouley's lawyer, Michael Lotta, did not return calls.

Starting Lineups
Arte Moreno is sending out his ace. Anaheim has called in a reliever from the bullpen.

Like a classic pitching match up, the legal battle pitting Anaheim versus Angels Baseball LP is shaping up as a duel between two lawyers with differing styles and backgrounds.

At stake is Moreno's bid to make the Angels a top-tier team by linking it to the nation's second-largest media market. That effort has run afoul of Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle's own big-league ambitions for his city. The row stands to be the highest-profile legal battle in Orange County this year.

Anaheim has tapped Andrew Guilford, a trial attorney with the Costa Mesa office of Los Angeles law firm Sheppard Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.


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