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 birth injury 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, or Sutter.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
In Foy v. Green Blott (1983) 141 Cal.App.3d 1, a disabled and incompetent woman became pregnant and brought an action against her guardian and the physicians at the mental facility where she resided. The appellate court held in part that with respect to plaintiff’s cause of action alleging depravation of a normal parent-child relationship, plaintiff could not recover. Foy, Id. 141 Cal.App.3d at 7. As the court stated:
Losses of parental or filial consortium are not actionable. “[T]he inadequacy of monetary damages to make whole the loss suffered, considered in light of the social cost of paying such awards constitutes a strong reason for refusing to recognize the asserted claim ….” The distinction claimed by plaintiffs actually aggravates the problems of ascertaining damages as these actions would require comparison of plaintiffs’ impaired relationship with a hypothetical normal parent-child relationship rather than with any actual relationship existing before the tort. Foy, Id. 141 Cal.App.3d at 7. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Thus, the court in Foy following Turpin held that general damages could not be awarded for the creation of an impaired parent-child relationship in place of no relationship at all. Foy, Id. 141 Cal.App.3d at 7.
In Martinez v. County of Los Angeles (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 884, the plaintiffs brought a cause of action for negligence alleging that as a result of the negligent care and treatment of their minor child by defendant, the child suffered neurological damage during birth. Plaintiffs alleged they had been caused to suffer emotional distress for having to restructure their lives to care for the minor, there was an inability to conduct the normal routine activities of their lives, and emotional distress arising from their less than normal relationship with their injured child which affected their marital relationship.
The appellate court in Martinez held the plaintiffs were seeking what was essentially a loss of filial consortium. Id. Cal.App.3d at 886. (See Part 8 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.