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 also 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 MUST PRESENT AFFIDAVITS OR TESTIMONY OF COMPETENT EXPERTS TO AVOID THIS COURT’S GRANTING OF THE MOTION
In a medical negligence action, a plaintiff must present expert testimony to establish the necessary elements of the case – (1) the defendant did something in his care and treatment that fell below the standard of care and (2) the defendant’s negligent conduct caused the plaintiff his injuries. Jones, supra, 163 Cal. App. 3d at 402. In other words, a plaintiff’s testimony and/or Complaint are insufficient. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Thus, in this case, unless Plaintiffs present opposing evidence from a competent expert who has rendered an opinion that the care and treatment rendered to Mr. Smith by Memorial Medical Center employees caused or contributed to Ms. Smith’s death, Plaintiff simply cannot prevail in this lawsuit. See Ochoa v. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1480, 1487.
THE COURT’S POWER AND ROLE
Calfornia Code of Civil Procedure §437c provides the Court with authority to grant this Motion. California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c(a) provides that a defendant may move for summary judgment if it is contended that an action has no merit. A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all of the papers submitted show 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. See California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c(c).
The defendant bears the burden of persuasion that either one or more elements of the cause of action cannot be established or that there is a complete defense. See Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Corporation (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826. Once the defendant has met this burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that one or more issue of material fact exist. See Green v. Ralee Engineering Co., (1998) 19 Cal.4th 66, 22. The plaintiff cannot rely upon the mere allegations or denials in his or her pleadings. See California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c(o)(2); see also, Sangster v. Paethau, (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151, 162. The plaintiff must produce admissible evidence to raise a triable issue of fact. See Rochlis v. Walt Disney Co., (1993) 19 Cal. App. 4th 201. Summary judgment is mandatory when a moving party makes a requisite showing of entitlement to relief. See Krasley v. Superior Court (1931) 101 Cal.App. 3d 425, 432. Based on the arguments delineated above, there is no triable issue as to any material fact, therefore, moving Defendant is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.
Based upon the foregoing, Defendant Memorial Medical Center respectfully submits that this Motion establishes via competent expert testimony that nothing that Memorial Medical Center employees did or failed to do caused or contributed to Ms. Smith’s death. Therefore, Defendant respectfully submits that summary judgment is proper in this case.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.