(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury case and its proceedings.)
EVIDENCE OF TREATMENT BELOW THE STANDARD OF CARE REQUIRES DENIAL OF THE MOTION
The fundamental rule on summary judgment is that the motion may not be granted where there is any triable issue as to a material fact. There is direct controverting evidence as to defendants’ neglect, and a clear causal connection between that neglect and the injuries suffered by Sean Taylor.
In a medical malpractice action involving a birthing injury against a hospital and delivering obstetrician, the appellate court reversed a non-suit granted to defendants based on plaintiffs’ failure to sufficiently establish the element of causation. Espinoza v. Little Company of Mary Hospital (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1304, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 541. The Court addressed the nature of plaintiffs burden of proof as follows:
Although a judgment of nonsuit must not be reversed if plaintiff’s proof raises nothing more than speculation, suspicion, or conjecture, reversal is warranted if there is some substance to plaintiff’s evidence upon which reasonable minds could differ…. [Citations.] (Carson v. Facilities Development Co., supra, 36 Cal.3d at pp. 838-839, 206 Cal.Rptr. 136, 686 P.2d 656.) If the existence of facts sufficient to support a recovery can logically and reasonably be inferred from the evidence, the motion must be denied, regardless of whether the evidence is also susceptible to conflicting inferences. [Citation.]… When there is doubt in the court’s mind about the inferences that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence it is the duty of the court to let the case go to the jury. [Citations.] [Citation.] (Ashcraft v. King (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 604, 611, 278 Cal.Rptr. 900, emphasis added.) [31 Cal.App.4th at 1313]
Citing BAJI No. 3.76 (8th ed. 1994) for the standard of causation – a substantial factor in bringing about an injury, damage, loss or harm – the Court went on to address the application of that test in medical malpractice matters stating:
In a medical malpractice action the element of causation is satisfied when a plaintiff produces sufficient evidence to allow the jury to infer that in the absence of the defendant’s negligence, there was a reasonable medical probability the plaintiff would have obtained a better result. [Citations.] (Alef v. Alta Bates Hospital (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 208, 216, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 900, emphasis added.) [31 Cal.App.4th at 1314-1315] (See Part 12 of 12.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.