Filing Medical Expenses Claim - County Board of Supervisors

In State Dept. of Pub. Health v. Imperial (1944) 67 Cal. App. 2d 244, 153 P.2d 957, a claim was filed with a county board of supervisors for reimbursement of certain medical expenses. The board of supervisors took no action. Ten years later, the claimant filed suit to recover the amount of the medical expenses sought in the claim. the claimant relied on Political Code section 4078 (since repealed), which provided that the refusal or neglect of the board to act on the claim "'may, at the option of the claimant, be deemed equivalent to a final action and rejection on the ninetieth day,'" and that the claimant "'may sue the county therefor at any time within six months after the final action of the board, but not afterward.'" ( Imperial, supra, at p. 246.) The court rejected the claimant's argument that the six-month limitations period did not commence until the claimant exercised the option to consider the claim as having been rejected. Instead, it was ruled, the time to file suit would begin to run "'on the ninetieth day,'" which was the first day the board's failure to act could be deemed a rejection and, thus, the first day the claimant could bring a lawsuit. The court explained that the purpose of (former) Political Code section 4078 was to "prevent a situation where the board, by its failure to act, could indefinitely postpone a claimant's right to bring an action," but not to give the claimant an unlimited time within which to bring a lawsuit. (Imperial, 67 Cal. App. 2d at pp. 246-248.)