Sacramento Physicians Sued For Wrongful Death Of Veteran, Part 1 of 2

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, 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.)


Plaintiff seeks to exclude all reference at trial to plaintiff’s mental health history (except the information about his mental health included with Dan Lennon’s evaluation) under Evidence Code section 352, arguing that the probative value of such information is outweighed by the potential prejudice that may ensue if the evidence is revealed at trial. Defendants maintain that Mr. Hill’s prior mental health issues are relevant to the case and integral to Defendants’ affirmative defense of pre-existing condition and causation. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Decedent David Hill was not only diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but was also placed on a previous psychiatric hold by the US Military just a month prior to his elopement from Sacramento Medical Center. Despite this recent history of mental health issues, Mr. Hill was sent to California (his home was in Arizona) to train other soldiers. Mr. Hill took an overdose of Wellbutrin on February 23, 2008 and was taken to Sacramento Medical Center where he was placed on a 1799 hold by emergency room physician Stephen Brown, a temporary hold awaiting evaluation by a behavioral health specialist.


In order to prove causation, Plaintiff must establish a causal link between the harm complained of and the Defendants’ actions. See Keen v. Prisinzano (1972) 23 Cal.App.3d 275, 279; Frantz v. San Luis Medical Clinic (1978) 81 Cal.App.3d 34, 39. A plaintiff cannot recover where there is only a mere possibility a defendant’s alleged negligence caused the wrong. Morgenroth v. Pacific Medical Center (1976) 54 Cal.App.3d 521, 533. The mere possibility that the Defendants’ treatment was the cause of Plaintiffs injury is insufficient to establish a prima fascia case. There can be many possible causes, indeed, an infinite number of circumstances which can produce an injury or disease. A possible cause only becomes probable when, in the absence of other reasonable causal explanations, it becomes more likely than not that the injury was a result of its action. Bromme v. Pavitt (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 1487, 1498. (See Part 2 of 2.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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