The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position during pre-trial litigation. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a medical malpractice case 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 personal injury case and its proceedings.)
As is evidenced by the attached declaration of Sandy Singer, UMH provided care and treatment to plaintiff Joan White, and plaintiff decedents (Owen and Tomas White), which met the standard of care. Ms. Singer has opined that the nurses the nurses properly observed and reported Ms. White’s condition and progress to her treating physician. The nurses appropriately monitored Ms.. White during her early labor, and followed the doctor’s orders regarding treatment. The nurses appropriately observed and reported on the condition and progress of the fetuses’s based on the fetal monitor. The nurses appropriately recorded their observations in Ms.. White’s chart and on the fetal monitoring strips.
The nurses followed the appropriate protocols for medication administration during early labor, as well as the protocols for early labor, and for the labor and delivery of extremely premature infants. In addition, Ms. Singer has opined that UMH did everything possible for the twins, but due to their extreme prematurity, nothing could be done to save their lives. Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot establish that UMH breached its duty of care, and UMH’s motion for summary judgment should be granted.
A PARTY SUBMITTING UNCONTRADICTED EXPERT EVIDENCE MUST PREVAIL
California courts have held that where a defendant’s expert testimony is uncontradicted, no triable issue of fact remains for the jury to consider, and the defendant must prevail as a matter of law. (Willard v. Hagemeister (1981) 121 Cal.App.3d 406.) The Willard opinion describes the preemptive weight of expert testimony in a malpractice action as follows:
… expert evidence in a malpractice suit is conclusive as to the proof of the prevailing standard of skill and learning in the locality and of the propriety of particular conduct by the practitioner in particular instances because such standard and skill is not of general knowledge and can only be supplied by expert testimony … (Willard, supra, 121 Cal.App.3d at 412.)
Unless plaintiff comes forward with competent expert testimony to dispute the opinions of Sandy Singer, RN, on the issue of the applicable standard of care and causation, defendant’s motion must be granted. (See Part 6 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.