The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that medical malpractice situations similar to those described in this case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT MUST BE GRANTED AS A MATTER OF LAW WHEN NO TRIABLE ISSUE AS TO ANY MATERIAL FACTS EXIST
It is well-established that a motion for summary judgment shall be granted when the moving party demonstrates that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Code of Civil Procedure Section 437c(c). In making this determination, the court may rely on affidavits, declarations … and matters of which judicial notice shall or may be taken. Code of Civil Procedure Section 437c(b).
The summary judgment statute was revised as of January 1, 1993, and now specifies that a party bringing a motion for summary judgment need only establish a defense or only negate a necessary element of the challenged cause of action to justify entry of summary judgment. Code of Civil Procedure Section 437c(n); cf. Valdez v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1043, 1050. Under this new standard, once the moving party has met its burden of negating one necessary element of a claim, the opposing party must then show that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the questioned cause of action, or summary judgment shall be granted. Code of Civil Procedure Section 437c(n)(2).
The purpose of the summary judgment motion is to expedite litigation by avoiding needless trials and to penetrate through evasive language and adept pleading and to ascertain the existence or absence of triable issues. Michael H. v. Gerald D. (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 995, 1004 [236 Cal.Rptr. 810] (citations omitted). This results in judicial economy by allowing only meritorious claims to be litigated.
In the instant case, the undisputed facts, supported by medical expert testimony, demonstrate that plaintiffs cannot state a meritorious claim for medical negligence against the moving defendant. The Declaration of Dr. White establishes that he complied, at all times, with the applicable standard of care. Moreover, Dr. White’s Declaration further establishes that his care and treatment in no way caused, or contributed to, plaintiffs’ alleged injuries and damages. Accordingly, defendant Dr. White is entitled to summary judgment. (See Part 5 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.