(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
THE MOVING PARTY HAS THE BURDEN OF PERSUASION
A party who seeks an court’s action in his or her favor bears the burden of persuasion thereon:
Evidence Code, § 500 states as follows: Except as otherwise provided by law, a party has the burden of proof as to each fact the existence or nonexistence of which is essential to the claim for relief or defense that he or she is asserting.
As our Supreme Court recently explained:
F]rom commencement to conclusion, the party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that there is no triable issue of material fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. That is because of the general principle that a party who seeks a court’s action in his favor bears the burden of persuasion thereon. “There is a triable issue of material fact if, and only if, the evidence would allow a reasonable trier of fact to find the underlying fact in favor of the party opposing the motion in accordance with the applicable standard of proof….” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.)
In effect, the defendants in this medical malpractice action as the moving parties for summary judgment bear the burden of persuasion that one or more elements of the cause of action in question “cannot be established,” or that “there is a complete defense” thereto. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p.850.) Consequently, the burden of persuasion does not shift. Rather, when the court rules, one party has met its burden of persuasion and the other has not.
Regarding the burden of proof, the Supreme Court addressed that issue as follows:
[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable issue of material fact; if he carries his burden of production, he causes a shift, and the opposing party is then subjected to a burden of production of his own to make a prima facie showing of the existence of a triable issue of material fact. A prima facie showing is one that is sufficient to support the position of the party in question.
[The way in which] the parties moving for, and opposing, summary judgment may each carry their burden of persuasion and/or production depends on which [party] would bear what burden of proof at trial. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at pp. 850-851.) (See Part 5 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.