Sacramento Doctor Falls Asleep While Driving, Strikes Pedestrian Causing Brain Injury, Part 5 of 9

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this traumatic brain injury case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

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


Motions to strike are not favored. Weil & Brown, Civil Procedure Before Trial, § 7:197. The policy of California law is to construe the pleadings liberally … with a view to substantial justice. C.C.P. § 452.

Plaintiff’s Complaint meets the notice pleading requirements under California law. What is important is that the complaint as a whole contain sufficient facts to apprise the defendant of the basis upon which the plaintiff is seeking relief. Perkins v. Superior Ct, (1981) 117 Cal.App.3d 1, 6. Specificity is not required in the Complaint because modern discovery procedures necessarily affect the amount of detail that should be required in a pleading. Ludgate Ins. Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 592, 608.

The Complaint adequately informs Dr. Brown of the damages sought and the legal bases for those damages. Since Plaintiff has met the notice pleading requirements, Dr. Brown’s motion to strike should fail on all accounts.


Dr. Brown erroneously argues that her negligent or reckless use of a vehicle is not sufficient to warrant punitive damages. This is not a case of mere negligence as Dr. Brown asserts. Plaintiff seeks punitive damages against Dr. Brown pursuant to Civil Code Section 3294, which states in pertinent part:

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

(a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.

(c) (1) Malice means conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.

(c) (2) Oppression means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights, (emphasis added.) 21

The California Supreme Court has determined there are circumstances under which punitive damages can be awarded in unintentional tort actions. Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 965, 1004. In particular, the Supreme Court has upheld punitive damages in cases of negligent driving. See Peterson v. Superior Ct. (1982) 31 Cal.3d 147; Taylor v. Superior Ct. (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 894. (See Part 6 of 9.)

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

Contact Information