(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical negligence case and its proceedings.)
It is also worth noting that situations similar to those described in this elder abuse 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.
The pleading requirements for elder abuse actions was addressed in the leading treatise on elder abuse, California Elder Law Litigation: An Advocate’s Guide, § 6.40:
[t]o survive a challenge by a defendant, the plaintiff’s complaint must be pleaded with sufficient clarity to provide the defendant with clear notice of the plaintiff’s claim. The facts of the defendant’s conduct as pleaded must meet the requirements in CC § 3294.
To determine whether the facts as pleaded in an elder abuse complaint describing the defendant’s conduct satisfy the minimum statutory requirements of malice, oppression, or fraud, a Court must read the challenged allegations within the context of other facts alleged in the complaint. Even when a complaint pleads ultimate facts or conclusions of law, if it also contains specific allegations of acts attributed to the defendant showing the requisite evil motive, the complaint may survive a demurrer or motion to strike. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Accordingly, what is required by California law for a civil complaint is a statement of the facts pled with sufficient clarity so as to provide Defendant with clear notice of Plaintiffs’ elder abuse/neglect cause of action, in ordinary and concise language. Plaintiffs’ FAC clearly satisfies the above-mentioned requirements.
The Legal Standard for Pleading Concealment Claims
With respect to Plaintiff’s Concealment (Fraud) cause of action, while the general rule requires that fraud claim be pled with particularity, that is not always possible when the facts are solely within the defendant’s knowledge and control. The California Supreme Court in Committee on Children’s Television, Inc. v General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, the Court held that if the defendant is the party in possession of all the facts, the rule of specificity of pleading is more relaxed. Less specificity is required when it appears from the nature of the allegations that the defendant is a person who must necessarily possess full information concerning the facts of the controversy. Id.
Therefore, with respect to Plaintiffs’ Concealment cause of action, Plaintiffs’ FAC must be sufficiently specific to enable the court to determine whether a prima facie case exists for the claim. Scafidi v Western Loan & Bldg. Co. (1946) 72 Cal.App.2d 550, 553. (See Part 4 of 12.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.