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.


Moreno's guy is George Stephan, who heads the Los Angeles headquarters of Stephan Oringher Richman & Theodora. Stephan first worked as Moreno's lawyer a decade ago, representing Outdoor Systems, the billboard company Moreno co-owned until selling it in 1999 to what's now Viacom Inc. Stephan worked on the sale and later landed Viacom as a client.


He's a litigation guy, having handled contract and employment disputes as well as product liability cases.


Guilford, who argued for the city in February when Judge Peter Polos denied the Angels' bid to throw out part of the city's lawsuit, also is a business litigator.


The two lawyers have butted heads a couple of times already in the legal fight between the city and the Angels.


Earlier this month, the California Court of Appeals ordered Angels Baseball to show why an injunction against the name change shouldn't be granted. Stephan is set to respond this week, a few days before the start of baseball's regular season.


The city is appealing Polos' rejections of preliminary and temporary injunctions sought by Anaheim to change the name back to Anaheim Angels.


The legal fight also has a second front: a separate lawsuit filed by the city against the team. In the suit, the city charges the name change violates the team's 1996 lease at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, which was struck with prior owner Walt Disney Co. Moreno bought the Angels for $184 million in 2003.


*Orange County Business Journal reporter Chris Cziborr contributed to this column. Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com .

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