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 birth injury/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that 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.
Plaintiffs’ opposition also relies on several cases involving a mother’s claim for NIED, which differ from the motion before the court. First, plaintiffs’ rely on Sesma v. M. Cuento, M.D., (1982) 129 Cal.App.3d 108. According to plaintiffs’ brief, Sesma involved a woman in labor who brought a cause of action for NIED based on a stillbirth. The motion at bar does not involve a mother’s claim for NIED. Rather, it involves Mr. Lee’s claim for NIED, which must be based on the bystander theory. Plaintiffs raise the issue of foreseeability, but, as put forth in moving parties’ motion, have alleged no facts that would support this theory. Rather, they rely on their strategy of intertwining the mother’s and father’s claims of NIED. Again, Johnson v. Superior Court, (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d 1002, involved a mother’s claim for NIED caused by a medically caused stillbirth.
Plaintiffs argue that Marlene F. v. Affiliated Psychiatric Medical Clinic Inc., (1989) 48 Cal.3d 583, applies. Marlene F., as stated in plaintiffs’ opposition, involved two mothers and their sons who sought therapy. Plaintiffs state it best: the court held that a mother of a minor child could state a claim for NIED against the psychotherapist who consulted to treat both the mother and son and then sexually molested the son.
Here, Timothy Lee was not the mother. Further, there was not a physician-patient relationship between Timothy Lee and moving defendants. This case law is inapplicable to the present motion. Therefore, it is clear that Mr. Lee cannot state a cause of action for NIED based on the direct victim theory. (See Part 4 of 4.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.