(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this elder abuse/wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
PLAINTIFFS’ FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION STATES CLAIMS FOR WILFUL OR RECKLESS NEGLECT OR ABUSE OF AN ELDER
Plaintiffs State A Claim for Willful or Reckless Neglect of An Elder By Alleging That Defendants Chose To Maximize Profits By Understaffing And Underbudgeting Universal Care In Disregard Of Resident Safety and Welfare.
In 1991, the Legislature enacted anew article of the Welfare and Institutions Code (Welf. Code Section 15657 et seq.) Civil Actions for Abuse of Elderly or Dependent Adults, which provides for enhanced damages, fees, and costs recoverable in actions involving the abuse of an elderly or dependent adult. This article is part of a larger statutory framework known as the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Welf & Inst C § 15600 et seq.) (“The Elder Abuse Act”). See Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23, 33. Section 15657 provides that:
When it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for physical abuse as defined in Section 15610.63, or neglect as defined in Section 15610.57, and that the defendant has been guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of this abuse, the following shall apply, in addition to all other remedies otherwise provided by law: (a) the court shall award to the plaintiff reasonable attorney fees and costs …. (B) the limitations imposed by Section 377.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the damages recoverable shall not apply.
Section 15610.57 gives a general definition of Neglect as:
(a) (1) the negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise…
Section 15610.57 then gives example of neglect falling under the general definition:
(b) Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs; (3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration … Welf. & Inst. Code Section 156510.57. (See Part 3 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.