(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this elder abuse/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
It is well settled that less particularity in pleading is necessary where the defendant may be assumed to have equal or superior knowledge of the facts than the plaintiff does. Burks v. Poppy Constr. Co. (1962) 57 Cal. 2d 463,474, 2 Cal. Rptr. 609; Dahlquist v. State of California (1966) 243 Cal. App. 2d 208, 212, 52 Cal. Rptr. 324; Doheny Park Terrace v. Truck Ins. (2005) 132 Cal. App. 4th 1076, 1099, 34 Cal. Rptr. 3d 157. The courts have reasoned that less particularity is required because [M]odern discovery procedures necessarily affect the amount of detail that should be required in a pleading. Ludgate Ins. Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2000) 82 Cal. App. 4 th 592, 608, 98 Cal. Rptr. 2d 277.
Moreover, not all statutory causes of action must be alleged with the specificity that defendant suggests. A cause of action based upon a defendant’s violation of business and professions code section 17200 does not have to be alleged with specificity. Quelimane Co. v. Stewart Title Guar. Co. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 26, 46, 77 Cal. Rptr. 2d 709.
Here, defendant, who has been Allen’s health care provider since he was hospitalized beginning February 11, 2004, may be assumed to have knowledge of the facts of this action that is equal to or superior to that of Allen. Defendant has Allen’s complete medical chart in its possession. Defendant’s employees at University Hospital who were responsible for Allen’s custodial care, including the nurses, knew or should have known that because Allen was paralyzed, he needed regular assistance with turning and movement.
Defendant and its employees at University Hospital also know, or should know about the causes of decubitus ulcers. Also, defendant has had an opportunity to interview those who were responsible for Allen’s custodial care and to conduct an investigation on the claims raised by Allen prior to bringing this action. Defendant has also conducted formal discovery on the issues thereby giving them the opportunity to ascertain every fact known to Allen and any witnesses. The facts of this matter are clearly in defendant’s possession, and therefore, Allen does not have to allege his statutory causes of action with the particularity that defendant urges.
(See Part 3 of 7.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.