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.
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
PLAINTIFF HAS ALSO FAILED TO PLEAD WRONGFUL CONDUCT ON THE PART OF AN OFFICER, DIRECTOR OR MANAGING AGENT OF THE HOSPITAL WITH THE REQUIRED PARTICULARITY
There is no vicarious liability under the elder abuse statutes. Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657 provides in part:
(c) The standards set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3294 of the Civil Code regarding the imposition of punitive damages on an employer based upon the acts of an employee shall be satisfied before any damages or attorney’s fees permitted under this section may be imposed against an employer. Civil Code §3294 and thus Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657 require reckless or otherwise wrongful conduct on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporate/employer defendant. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Civil Code §3294 (b) reads as follows:
An employer shall not be liable for damages…based upon acts of an employee of the employer, unless the employer had advance knowledge of the unfitness of the employee and employed him or her with a conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others or authorized or ratified the wrongful conduct for which the damages are awarded or was personally guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. With respect to a corporate employer, the advance knowledge and conscious disregard, authorization, ratification or act of oppression fraud, or malice must be on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporation
Civil Code §3294 and thus Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657 require reckless or otherwise wrongful conduct on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporate/employer defendant.
In the first cause of action, plaintiff attempts to plead the requirements of § 3294, but his allegations are simply collective, and/or conclusory boilerplate. He alleges, for example, that the Hospital had advanced knowledge of the unfitness of staff, but offers no facts to show in what way the nurses were unfit or what knowledge the Hospital possessed regarding the alleged unfitness. Plaintiff alleges that accidents regularly happened, but does not allege with particularity any such incidents, let alone facts to show these incidents happen regularly. Similarly, the complaint alleges policies of understaffing, but does not allege any facts to show what the staffing was, or what it should have been, let alone facts to that would show that the Hospital was recklessly understaffing its facility. As for the alleged ratification, to show ratification, plaintiffs must allege facts that would permit an inference that an officer, director or managing agent not only had actual knowledge of the conduct, but actual knowledge of its outrageous nature as well. See College Hospital v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 704, 726. Here plaintiff failed to plead facts to show reckless conduct on the part of an employee, or facts to show that an officer, director or managing agent knew about the conduct, believed the conduct was reckless and outrageous and failed to take action. (See Part 6 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.