THE PARENTS’ QUALITY OF CARE FOR THE CHILD IS IRRELEVANT
The defense has no admissible testimony that the quality of care given to the minor child by his parents has in any manner contributed to the condition from which the child suffers. The child’s suffering and severe brain damage has not been caused or contributed to by the care of the parents.
Further, it is irrelevant whether the parents provide the extraordinary care necessary for this child or hire an outside attendant to do so. The fact that the parents may voluntarily choose to devote some or all of their lives to providing the extraordinary level of attendant care services required by the minor Plaintiff in this case does not, and should not, insulate the defendant from being liable for the reasonable value of nursing attendant care services required by this child solely as the result of the defendant’s negligence.
It would be confusing for the defense to suggest to the jury that the parents/relatives may, at no cost, provide those services and misleading to the jury in view of the current state of the law regarding Plaintiff’s damages as referred to earlier under the case of Hanif v. Housing Authority, supra, 200 Cal. App.3d at 644 (see discussion below).
Additionally, requiring the jury to deliberate in order to calculate the number of hours of future care that would be provided by the relatives versus an outside hired nurse [where both are entitled to the same compensation] would necessitate an undue and totally unnecessary consumption of time.
Consequently, any testimony regarding the quality of care by the minor’s parents has no tendency in reason to prove or disprove a disputed fact. It should be excluded as irrelevant evidence:
Relevant evidence means evidence, including evidence relevant to the credibility of a witness or hearsay declarant, having any tendency in reason to prove or disprove any disputed fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action. (Evid. Code § 210.) Further, irrelevant testimony on the parents’ quality of care for the minor is unduly lime consuming and can only prejudice the jury:
The court in its discretion may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will (a) necessitate undue consumption of time or (b) create substantial danger of undue prejudice, or confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury. (Evid. Code § 352.)
The Court should instruct the defense attorneys that they should not seek to elicit any testimony on the issue of the quality of care by the parents. (See Part 3 of 3.)
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