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, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.
(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.)
DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW AS PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIM HAS NO MERIT
Summary judgment is proper if there is no merit to plaintiffs cause of action. California Code of Civil Procedure §437c(a). A cause of action has no merit if one or more of the elements of the cause of action cannot be established. California Code of Civil Procedure §437c(o)(1). The essential elements to establish a claim of medical negligence are (1) a legal duty to use due care; (2) a breach of such legal duty; and (3) the breach as the proximate or legal cause of the resulting injury. 5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th Ed.), Torts § 732, p. 60. A defendant is held liable for a plaintiffs’ injuries only if plaintiff establishes the above three elements. Id. (emphasis added). For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Defendant is entitled to summary judgment if it can disprove at least one essential element of plaintiff’s claim for negligence, as provided by California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c(o)(2):
“A defendant or cross-defendant has met his burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if that party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to that cause of action.”
Once that defendant or cross-defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff or cross-complainant to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to that cause of action or a defense thereto. The plaintiff or cross-complainant may not rely upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material facts exists, but, instead, shall set forth the specific facts showing show that a triable issue of material facts exists as to that cause of action or a defense thereto. See also, Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Company (2001) 25 Cal. 4th 826, 845, 851. (See Part 6 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.