(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
Plaintiffs’ Trial Brief on the Quality of Parents’ Care (Hanif)
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
This is a medical negligence action wherein the minor Plaintiff, DANIEL YAMAMOTO, a Roseville resident, suffered severe birth injuries. Each Defendant and their witnesses have no basis for making any reference to (1) the issue of the parents’ quality of care or (2) to a claim that the minor Plaintiff’s damages may be limited by the fact that the parents or relatives of the minor Plaintiff have in the past provided, and may in the future continue to provide, some attendant care for the minor Plaintiff.
1. The quality of the parents’ care is irrelevant. The defense has no admissible testimony that the quality of care given to the minor child has in any manner contributed to the brain damaged condition from which the child suffers. Such testimony is excludable as irrelevant (Evid. Code § 210) and unduly time consuming and prejudicial (Evid. Code § 352).
2. The cost of the minor’s care is not reduced because the parents may provide some care. Further, the defense cannot bring up the issue of the quality of the care given to the minor by the parents in order to reduce the damages. Where it is undisputed that the minor Plaintiff will require attendant care for the rest of his life, the jury’s function is to determine the reasonable level and cost of such care to be included as plaintiff’s damages. The jury function is not to determine who will provide the care (Hanifv. Housing Authority (1988) 200 Cal. App.3d 635, 644). Based upon this clear authority, Plaintiffs attach a proposed jury instruction regarding the holding in Hanif.
Allowing the defendants to suggest to the jury that the minor Plaintiff’s damages may be limited or discounted because of the attendant care that may be provided by the parents or relatives in the future is extremely prejudicial to the Plaintiffs’ case without any probative value, since such an implication, having the effect of limiting Plaintiffs’ damages, would reward a negligent defendant by allowing him to shift his liability to the family of the injured minor child. (See Part 2 of 3.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.