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, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
(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.)
OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 10 – NO MENTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT DANI LENNON ASSESSED DAVID AS A FLIGHT RISK OR RECOMMENDED THAT HE BE RESTRAINED
Plaintiff seeks to exclude any mention of whether or not Dani Lennon assessed David Hill as a flight risk or whether she recommended restraints for him. There is no legal basis for Plaintiff to exclude this relevant and highly probative evidence. Rather, Plaintiff moves to exclude the evidence because it is bad for her case and not based on any statutorily recognized reason.
Plaintiff initially sued Health Care West/Universal Behavioral Health, but dismissed that party. Universal Behavioral Health was involved in the case because they sent their Behavioral Health Analyst to Sacramento Medical Center to assess David Hill and because David Hill was slated to transfer to Universal once he was medically cleared by . In response to a demand for production of documents from Plaintiff, Healthcare West provided certain documents that pertained to David Hill’s assessment. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Plaintiff, in her moving papers, argues that (a) Ms. Lennon was not trained to assess the issues of flight risk or restrains, she was only trained to assess the need for a 5150 hold and (2) if Ms. Lennon did assess flight risk, she was not doing so from the perspective of Sacramento Medical Center but was rather assessing whether Mr. Hill was a flight risk at Universal Behavioral Health, a locked facility.
Relevant evidence is defined by Evidence Code Section 210 as having any tendency in reason to prove or disprove any disputed fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action. See People v. Kelly (1992) 1 Cal.4th 495, 523. Any evidence pertaining to flight risk or restraints is highly relevant here for a myriad of reasons. First, any assessment of Ms. Lennon would be based on her interaction with him and observation of him during the time she was in his room assessing him. Thus, any decision-making pertaining to restraints and flight risk would have been based on his behavior at Sacramento Medical Center. One of Defendants’ key contentions in this case is that Mr. Hill did not exhibit any behavior requiring restraints or amounting to a flight-risk. Thus, Ms. Lennon’s assessment in these two areas is highly probative.
Defendants disagree that Ms. Lennon was not trained to assess flight risk or need for restraints. As a threshold matter, Ms. Lennon is a trained mental health professional who assesses suicidal ideation on a regular basis. In fact, although doctors in Sacramento County are not authorized by law to place a patient on a 5150 hold, Ms. Lennon is. Further, even allowing for Plaintiffs argument that Ms. Lennon was only there to assess whether the patient was a 5150, common sense would dictates that the very task of assessing whether someone is a 5150 for being a harm to themselves involves the assessment of whether someone is a flight risk or in need of restraints. For instance, if Ms. Lennon found a patient to be loudly declaring that he wants to leave the premises and hang himself, that patient may be assessed as a 5150 hold for danger to self and also a flight risk. In other words, these areas are not exclusive as Plaintiff is trying to spin them–they overlap.
For all the reasons cited above, there should be no prohibition on the defense making mention of flight risk and restraints as they pertain to Dani Lennon’s assessment of David Hill.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.