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 medical malpractice 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 Permanente, Regional Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, or O’Connor Hospital. For more information you are welcome to contact San Jose personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
PLAINTIFFS SHOULD BE COMPELLED TO ARBITRATE ALL OF THEIR CLAIMS AGAINST DR. LEE BECAUSE THE FEBRUARY 27, 2005, PHYSICIAN-PATIENT ARBITRATION AGREEMENT GOVERNS ALL OF PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIMS AGAINST DR. LEE.
A physician-patient arbitration agreement in compliance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1295 binds the signatory patient, as well as certain non-signatories. In Bolanos v. Khalatian, (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1586, the Court of Appeal ruled on the issue of whether an arbitration agreement applies to disputes by non-signatories. The facts in the Bolanos case are similar to those in the present case. Bolanos was a medical malpractice action brought against an obstetrician. (Id. at 1588.) The patient signed a physician-patient arbitration agreement, which was written in Spanish, because the patient did not read English. (Id. at 1589.) The defendant obstetrician moved to compel arbitration, and the plaintiffs challenged the submission of the matter to arbitration, in part, because the patient’s husband did not sign the physician-patient arbitration agreement. (Id. at 1591.)
Ultimately, the Court of Appeal held an arbitration agreement in which a patient expressly contracts to submit any dispute as to medical malpractice to arbitration must be deemed to apply to all disputes regardless of whether by the patient or a third party. (Id.) As explained by the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, in Norcal Mutual Ins. Co. v. Newton, (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 64, 73, the Bolanos decision, and other similar decisions, are supported by policy considerations holding non-signatory relatives to be bound by an arbitration agreement.
Here, the Patient-Physician Arbitration Agreement Mrs. Hernandez signed on February 27, 2005, is binding upon both plaintiffs. According to Articulo 2 (Article 2) of the Patient-Physician Arbitration Agreement, as quoted in English, it is the intention of the parties that [the] agreement shall cover all claims or controversies whether in tort, contract or otherwise, and shall bind all parties whose claims may arise out of or in any way relate to treatment or services … to a patient, including any spouse of the patient …
The February 27, 2005, Physician-Patient Arbitration Agreement expressly covers all claims arising out of or related to Dr. Lee’s treatment or services. Plaintiffs’ cause of action for medical malpractice arises from Dr. Lee’s prenatal care and treatment of Mrs. Hernandez. Similarly, Mr. Hernandez’s loss of consortium claim arose from Dr. Lee’s alleged negligence. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and loss of consortium causes of action fall under the terms of the Physician-Patient Arbitration Agreement as those issues arise from and are related to medical treatment and services provided by Dr. Lee.
For the reasons stated above, Dr. Lee is entitled to an order compelling binding arbitration. Accordingly, Dr. Lee respectfully requests this Court enter an order compelling binding arbitration between Plaintiffs and Dr. Lee. Dr. Lee further requests an order dismissing him from this action without prejudice. If the request for dismissal is not granted, Dr. Lee respectfully requests that the court action be stayed pending the binding arbitration.
For more information you are welcome to contact San Jose personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.