(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.)
e. The PlaintifFs Should Have the Benefit of Delayed Accrual of the Elder Abuse Claims.
The principal purpose of the rule permitting postponed accrual of certain causes of action is to protect aggrieved parties who, with justification, are ignorant of their right to sue. [Seelenfreund v. Terminix of Northern Calif., Inc., supra, 84 Cal. App. 3d at 138, see Leaf v. City of San Mateo (1980) 104 Cal. App. 3d 398, 406, the rule applies where it is manifestly unjust to deprive plaintiffs of a cause of action before they are aware that they have been injured Two common themes support the delayed discovery rule:
First, the discovery rule is applied to actions in which it is generally difficult for plaintiffs to immediately detect or comprehend the breach or the resulting injuries (e.g., where the cause or injuries are hidden). [E-Fab, Inc. v. Accountants, Inc. Services (2007) 153 CA4th 1308, 1318] Second, courts have relied on the nature of the relationship between defendant and plaintiff to explain application of the delayed accrual rule (e.g., where confidential or fiduciary relationships are involved). [See Parsons v. Tkkner (1995) 31 CA4th 1513, 1526]
In this case the plaintiffs had to learn about why Paul Steinford died. They could not learn it from the medical records alone but rather had to have an expert interpret those for them. This is exactly the circumstances where the court can develop the rule to achieve justice.
The common law discovery rule, where applicable, indefinitely delays accrual of a cause of action until the plaintiff discovers or reasonably has cause to discover the facts constituting it.
As we have explained, the discovery rule may be expressed by the Legislature or implied by the courts and is the most important exception to the general rule that a cause of action accrues when the allegedly wrongful result occurs. (Samuels v. Mix (1999) 22 Cal. 4th 1, 9.)
f. The Plaintiffs Will Amend to Show the Other Daughter of Paul Steinford (Phoebe Steinford) as a Defendant.
A request was made of Phoebe Steinford to join as a plaintiff. She has not and shall be joined as a defendant.
The plaintiffs claims should be allowed to proceed. And the demurrers should be overruled.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.