Reckless Sacramento Physician Strikes Man With Car, Part 8 of 11

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this automobile accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Further, the case law cited by Dr. Lee does not support her argument that negligence or recklessness is insufficient to warrant punitive damages. Defendant’s citation, to Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co., (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 1269 actually supports Plaintiff’s claim. The Court in Tomaselli held that punitive damages are appropriate if the defendant’s acts are reprehensible, fraudulent or in blatant violation of law or policy. Id. at 1287.

In this case, Dr. Lee’s actions of driving while asleep, when she knew or should have known of the dangerous probability of causing a motor vehicle accident, Were reprehensible. She knew that she was fatigued. She was trained to avoid driving while fatigued. She likely dozed off while driving before falling asleep – yet she continued to drive the trip from Sacramento to El Dorado Hills. She also blatantly violated multiple motor vehicle safety codes and a regulation prohibiting the operation of a vehicle while the driver’s alertness is impaired by fatigue. See 13 C.C.R. 1214. Dr. Lee should not have operated the motor vehicle under the conditions, and her decision to do constitutes malice and oppression.

Since Plaintiff’s allegations are based on facts and not speculation, the present case is consistent with the decisions cited in Defendant’s moving papers, i.e., College Hospital, Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal.4th 704 [plaintiffs failed to plead facts regarding defendants’ intent to injure or facts of vile or despicable conduct]; Colonial Life &Acc. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1982) 31 Cal.3d 785, 792 [a defendant may be liable for punitive damages if it acts with a conscious disregard of the plaintiff’s fights]; Lackner v. North (2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 1188 [summary adjudication of plaintiff’s punitive damages claim was proper since plaintiff’s evidence failed to show defendant acted despicably].

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiff has alleged that Defendant knowingly and willfully decided to drive home after working excessive hours on the night of the incident, in spite of residency training that stated operating a vehicle under those conditions was likely to result in physical harm. Dr. Lee knew that driving home while fatigued and sleep-deprived could result in dangerous harm to others, but she still drove home in a fatigued and sleep-deprived condition and caused her vehicle to run over the Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s allegations are rooted in facts, not conjecture. (See Part 9 of 11.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Contact Information