Lisa S. Kantor

Active Member

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Economics, 1980 Union College, Schenectady, New York, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; Juris Doctor, 1983, University of Virginia School of Law, Dillard Fellow

Employment History: Senior Judicial Attorney, Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (1995-1997); Partner and Associate, Quinn, Kully and Morrow (1987-1995); Associate, Kadison, Pfaelzer, Woodard, Quinn and Rossi (1983-1987)

Court Admissions: California State Bar (1983), United States District Court for the Central District (1984), Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals (1984), United States District Court for the Southern District (1986), United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1988)

Published Opinions:

  • Herberg v. California Institute of the Arts (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 142;
  • Migliore v. Mid-Century Ins. Co. (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 592;
  • Vu v. Prudential Property & Casualty Co. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1142;
  • Lorenz v. Commercial Acceptance Ins. Co. (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 981;
  • Howard v. Babcock (1993) 6 Cal.4th 409;
  • University of Southern California v. Superior Court (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 1028;
  • U.S. ex rel. Stillwell v. Hughes Helicopters, Inc. (C.D. 1989) 714 F. Supp. 1084;
  • Southern Nights Music Co. v. Moses (C.D. 1987) 669 F. Supp. 305.

Authority on Health Insurance Law and Mental Health Parity|| Eating Disorder Legal Assistance818\886-2525


Lisa Kantor, a Los Angeles lawyer and partner in Kantor & Kantor LLP, represents people denied health benefits for treatment of both physical and mental illnesses. Most recently, Ms. Kantor has focused her efforts litigating denials of medically necessary treatment for eating disorders. Kantor & Kantor is the only law firm in the country with a distinct eating disorder practice staffed with lawyers and other professionals experienced in the specific needs of people who have been denied benefits for residential care for eating disorder treatment.

Ms. Kantor sues health plans that refuse coverage or that agree to pay for treatment then deny benefits, forcing patients to be prematurely discharged. Ms. Kantor regularly wins benefit reinstatements through reviews at state healthcare regulatory agencies. She also appeals eating disorder denials to federal appellate courts. In 2007, she won the first published eating disorder decision in California in which the court applied the state's mental health parity law to beneficiaries who sought treatment outside California. In 2012, she won the first federal appellate court ruling that determined health plans in California must pay for all medically necessary treatment for severe mental illnesses, including residential treatment. In 2014, Ms. Kantor won a parallel state court appellate court ruling, extending coverage for all medically necessary treatment for severe mental illnesses to all Californians. She is currently challenging health plans' use of inappropriate guidelines to deny the proper level of care, and she speaks to lawmakers about the need for stronger laws to facility effective treatment for people with severe eating disorders.

Keynotes, Seminars, Breakouts and Workshops

ERISA Law and the Affordable Care Act: This program helps employers navigate the changing health insurance landscape and insurer obligations regarding coverage and benefits.

Mental Health Parity: What Does It Really Mean? A seminar that demystifies federal and state mental health parity laws and details health plans' responsibility to adhere to laws the supersede policy language.

Holding Insurance Companies Accountable: This seminar explains policy language and the law with tips and advice about how to use plan documents, relevant law and legal precedent to get benefits for treatment.

How to Document Evidenced-Based Treatment to Maximize Insurance Benefits: This seminar or breakout sessions explores how to document treatment to meet health plan guidelines and provides tips, forms and sample letters that prevent or minimize delays and denials.

On-the-Spot Problem Solving: This workshop invites health professionals to bring denial letters and examples of insurance abuse for hands-on legal advice to address the challenges of getting benefits for residential treatment and mental health care.

Partial List of Past Speaking: International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP); National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA); Binge Eating Disorders Association (BEDA); Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disorders (APTED); Center for Hope; Avalon Hills Family Week; Renfrew Center Foundation Conference; A New Journey; California Brain Injury Association (CBIA); Elisa Project Conference

Honors and Recognitions

  • Project Heal and Reasons Eating Disorder Center "Eating Disorder Advocate of the Year" 2016
  • Super Lawyers Award continuously since 2009-2017
  • Super Lawyers "Top Women Attorneys in Southern California" 2012 and 2013
  • Los Angeles Daily Journal "Top Women Lawyers" 2009 and 2012
  • San Francisco Recorder "Lawyer of the Year" award 2012
  • California Women Lawyers 2010-11 "Women of Distinction" award
  • International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Foundation 2012 "Special Recognition" award
  • Member, Board of Directors, Eating Disorder Coalition for Research, Policy and Action
  • Member, Board of Directors, International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals

Groundbreaking Cases

Rea v. Blue Shield: class action against Blue Shield of California finding the insurer must pay for medically necessary treatment, even though their plans specifically excluded it. Blue Shield was the only California insurance company that specifically excluded residential treatment in its plans, and the panel's decision on this case is recognition of the importance of such treatment for mental health care.

Harlick v. Blue Shield:landmark appellate court decision that ruled health plans must pay for all medically necessary treatment of severe mental illnesses under the same financial terms and conditions as they provide for physical illnesses. In particular, this ruling will help thousands of people suffering from eating disorders receive residential treatment crucial for recovery.

Burton v. Blue Shield of California: first decision interpreting Harlick and deciding that California's Mental Health Parity Act mandates that insurers provide benefits for residential treatment for major depressive disorder and panic disorder.

Shepard v. United HealthCare: Ms. Kantor successfully petitioned the California Department of Managed Health Care on behalf of a client with anorexia being discharged from a residential care facility, forcing her insurer to agree to pay for her treatment.

Jacobs v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: Ms. Kantor recovered benefits for a client suffering from bulimia when her medical plan declined to refer her to an out-of-plan treatment facility and refused to pay for the cost of treatment. The California Court of Appeal ruled that the decision to place the plaintiff in residential treatment, rather than follow the health insurers flawed treatment decisions, may have saved her life.

Thompkins v. BC Life & Health Insurance Co.: the first published appellate decision in California for an eating disorder case where her client was denied benefits for in-patient treatment of bulimia. The Court of Appeal interpreted California's mental health parity law to include beneficiaries from California policies who did not live in California and sought medical care outside of California.


"Lisa Kantor, JD, has provided a light of hope in our field. … She has gone above and beyond our greatest expectations to help the millions disabled by these crippling diseases which destroy lives, families, and hope." - Bonnie Harkin, Managing Director International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals

"We are all fortunate that Lisa has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of those who are routinely denied access to care they legally and morally deserve." - Carolyn Costin, Founder and Executive Director Monte Nido Treatment Center

"The impact of Lisa's work can hardly be overstated. Since people with mental disabilities so often need and are denied medical care, her work furthers access to justice, safeguards patients' health and wellbeing, and saves lives." - Patricia Sturdevant, Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning California Department of Insurance

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