(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this elder abuse/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
Civil Code §3294 is the statutory authority for a claim for punitive damages. This statute states:
(a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.
(b) An employer shall not be liable for damages pursuant to subdivision (a), 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 or 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.
Plaintiff alleges “Defendants” acted maliciously toward her with specific intent to cause injury, and as such, their conduct was despicable, and carried out with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights of plaintiff. She also alleges “Defendants” acted in a way which was fraudulent malicious and/or oppressive. It is unclear if plaintiff alleges the employees of defendants acted with malice, or if the corporate managing agents themselves did. (See Part 11 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.