Lisa S. Kantor
Lisa Kantor Photo

Lisa S. Kantor

Founding Partner
  • Profile

Lisa Kantor is a founding partner of Kantor & Kantor LLP. Lisa has focused her law practice on representing individuals whose health benefits have been denied for treatment of physical or mental illnesses. Since 2007, Lisa has been a nationwide advocate for patients suffering eating disorders and litigating denials of medically necessary treatment for eating disorders. Through Lisa’s dedication to her clients, Kantor & Kantor has become the only law firm in the country with a distinct health law practice staffed with attorneys experienced in the specific needs of clients who have been denied benefits for eating disorder treatment.

Attorney Lisa Kantor can help with:

Unmatched Experience & Skill

Lisa’s work includes federal lawsuits and administrative appeals to health plans that refuse coverage or discontinue benefits for treatment thereby forcing patients to be prematurely discharged. She handles multiple class actions regarding the systematic denials of mental health claims by insurance companies.

Lisa is an experienced appellate attorney and regularly argues appeals to the circuit court of appeals. In 2007, Lisa achieved the first published decision in California in which the court applied the state's mental health parity law to beneficiaries who sought treatment outside California. In 2012, Lisa obtained the first federal appellate court ruling that health plans in California must pay for all medically necessary treatment for severe mental illnesses, including residential treatment. In 2014, Lisa obtained a parallel state court appellate court ruling, extending coverage for all medically necessary treatment for severe mental illnesses to all residents of California.

Lisa’s advocacy extends to the legislature where she challenges inappropriate guidelines used to deny treatment and advocates for laws ensuring that health plans provide benefits for the medically necessary treatment of all individuals suffering from severe mental illnesses.


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


  • State Bar of California, 1983
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


  • 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

Honors & Awards

  • 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

Notable Decisions

  • Bowen v. Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. Employee Welfare Benefit Plan, 461 F.Supp.2d 1179 (C.D. Cal. 2006)
  • Burton v. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Ins. Co., 2012 WL 242841 (C.D. Cal.)
  • Harlick v. Blue Shield of California, 686 F. 3d 699 (9th Cir. 2012)
  • Alexandra H. v. Oxford Health Insurance Inc. Freedom Access Plan, 11-cv-23948-MORENO (S.D. Fla. Mar. 24, 2015)
  • Jacobs v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., 265 Fed.Appx. 652, 2008 (9th Cir. 2008)
  • Keller v. Albertsons, Inc. Employees’ Disability Benefits Plan, 589 F.Supp.2d 1025 (C.D. Cal. 2008)
  • Martinez v. The Beverly Hills Hotel, 695 F.Supp.2d 1085 (C.D. Cal. 2010)
  • Rea v. Blue Shield of California, 226 Cal. App. 4th 1209 (2014)
  • Shepard v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., 2011 WL 720063 (E.D.Cal. 2011)
  • Shane v. Albertson’s Inc., 504 F.3d 116 (9th Cir. 2007)
  • Welch v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 480 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2007)
  • Thompkins v. BC Life and Health Ins. Co., 414 F.Supp.2d 953 (C.D. Cal. 2006)
  • Vu v. Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance Company, 33P.3d 487 (2001)
  • 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.

In The News

  • Profiled, “Into the Snake Pit” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine 2019
  • Ms. Kantor explains the impact of insurer denials of benefits for residential care | Watch YouTube Video
  • The Eating Disorders Coalition applauds Lisa Kantor for her outstanding leadership in holding insurance companies accountable | Read Article
  • Ms. Kantor's speech to a Congressional Committee considering passage of the FREED Act
  • Ms. Kantor's argument before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Harlick v. Blue Shield | Play Audio
  • Ms. Kantor's CBS 2 News Chicago interview about eating disorders and insurance | Read Article
  • CBS News Anchor Pat Harvey interviewed Lisa Kantor and her client Valerie McCann in a segment airing May 13, 2011, about how health plan denials of residential treatment for eating disorders can lead to more serious health problems.
  • Interviewed in Daryl Robert's 2011 documentary, "America the Beautiful: Health for Sale," film about body image and the media's role in advancing unrealistic expectations.
  • Interviewed by Allison Kreiger in her eating disorder awareness DVD "Get REAL," distributed to colleges and universities nationwide.


  • 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

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