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.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury case and its proceedings.)
It is also 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, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS PROPER WHERE THERE IS NO TRIABLE ISSUE OF FACT
The law governing summary judgment is set out in California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c. This Court must determine whether plaintiffs have presented any facts which give rise to a triable issue. California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c provides in pertinent part:
(a) Any party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding.
(c) The motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
See also Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, 95 Cal.Rptr. 623. See also Hills v. Aronsohn (1984) 152 Cal.App.3d 753, 759, 199 Cal.Rptr. 816, 819.
It has been held that “[w]here the operative facts are undisputed, the question of the application of the statute of limitations is a matter of law, and summary judgment is proper where the facts show the action is time-barred as a matter of law.” Velasquez v. Truck Ins. Exchange, (1991) 1 Cal.App.4th 712, 717, 5 Cal.Rptr.2d 1. See also, Jolly v. Eli Lilly & Co., (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1103, 1112, 245 Cal.Rptr. 658, 751 P.2d 923.
In the case at bar, summary judgment is appropriate because the facts are undisputed that all causes of action alleged by Abbey Smith and Mark Smith, Jr., are barred by the statute of limitations. While Dr. Brown was not named as a DOE defendant until March 14, 2001, it is evident that plaintiffs were obviously aware of his existence and, therefore, cannot claim ignorance in this regard. First, the records specifically identify Dr. Brown as one of the treating obstetricians in this matter. Indeed, Dr. Brown is prominently noted throughout the medical records. Second, both Abbey Smith and Mark Smith, Sr., testified that they were aware that Dr. Brown was going to be involved in the delivery of their son, spoke extensively with Dr. Brown in this regard and, further, understood that Dr. Brown initially performed a vacuum assisted delivery and, thereafter, a Caesarean Section to deliver Mark Smith, Jr.
The undisputed facts, supported by competent medical testimony, demonstrate that there is no triable issue as to any material fact, and therefore defendant, Dr. Brown, is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. (See Part 5 of 7.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.