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Jury Awards Santa Ana Clinics Operator $2 Million in Damages

December 04, 1997|BARBARA MARSH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — An Orange County Superior Court jury awarded $2 million Wednesday to a Santa Ana operator of health clinics that had filed suit against a nonprofit foundation for allegedly withdrawing promised funding.

The jury awarded damages to the clinic operator, Health Reform Action Project, which had sued Archstone Foundation last March. The suit claimed the Long Beach foundation broke a contract to provide $3 million in grants to support clinics it operates for the poor.

The Santa Ana project received $1.5 million, which it used to set up two clinics, then was "cut off at the knees," said Cliff Roberts, a lawyer for the clinics.

Archstone is the successor organization to a foundation run by the former FHP International Corp., which was acquired earlier this year by PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.

The previous foundation launched the clinics in 1995 as a way to provide preventive care to the uninsured and reduce costs to society that arise when health problems go untreated. In a prepared statement, Archstone Chief Executive Joseph F. Prevratil described the jury's ruling as "disappointing."

He said Archstone fulfilled its contract to provide $1.5 million to Health Reform Action and had never signed a contract to provide the additional $3 million.

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