The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position during the early stages of litigation. 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.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Further, plaintiff was given actual notice of the relationship between physicians and UMC in the Conditions of Services form. The physicians are independent contractors and not employees or agents of UMC. Moreover, plaintiffs signature appears on the Conditions of Services form. UMC cannot be liable for any physician negligence (i.e., diagnosis and treatment) alleged by plaintiffs.
Any assertion that UMC breached a duty in the diagnosis and treatment of the decedent’s condition is also a legal impossibility–diagnosis and treatment are the sine qua non of practicing medicine and only a licensed physician may perform such acts. UMC does not have a license to practice medicine, and it does not practice medicine. (Bus. & Prof. Code § 2052 [ Any person who practices or attempts to practice … any system or mode of treating the sick, or afflicted in the state… without having at the time of doing so, a valid, unrevoked, or unsuspended certificate… is guilty of a misdemeanor. )
The law further provides that corporations and other artificial legal entities shall have no professional rights, privileges or powers. (Bus. & Prof. Code §2400.) Thus, the corporate practice doctrine provides that a corporation may not engage in the practice of the profession of medicine. (Conrad v. Medical Bd. of California (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1038,1041.) UMC is an artificial legal entity, and it cannot be licensed to practice medicine. Therefore, UMC cannot be held liable to plaintiffs for an alleged breach of duty to diagnose and treat the patient. (See Part 3 of 4.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.