It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this birth 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, or Sutter.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
This doctrine was again reviewed in the sentinel case of Haft v. Lone Palm Motel (1970) 3 Cal.3d 756, where defendants attempted to characterize imputing parental negligence as an intervening or superseding cause. In Haft, the negligent party attempted to argue that the alleged negligence of the father, Mr. Haft, in the death of his five-year-old son was a causation issue. They claimed that his failure to appropriately supervise was a intervening and superseding cause which broke the chain of proximate causation with respect to the deaths of father or son. (Haft v. Lone Palm Motel, supra, 3 Cal.3d 756, 769.) In response to same, the court stated as follows:
The fallacy of defendants’ contentions as to “superseding cause” is perhaps most clearly illuminated by its application to the cause of action relating to the death of five-year-old Mark. In that context the claim that defendants’ responsibility to Mark was cut off by Mr. Haft’s alleged negligence is in reality no more than an attempt to resurrect the doctrine of imputed contributory negligence between a minor and his parent, a theory which the California courts have long repudiated. (Crane v. Smith (1943) 23 Cal.2d 288, 295,144 P.2d 356; Zarzana v. Neve Drug Co. (1919) 180 Cal. 32, 34–37, 179 P. 203) [FN15] The imputed contributory negligence formula transferred the negligence of a parent (in not carefully supervising his child, for example (see Hartfield v. Roper (N.Y. 1838) 21 Wend. 615, 34 Am.Dec. 273)) to a plaintiff child so as to bar the child’s recovery against an admittedly negligent defendant; defendants seek to obtain a like dispensation through the jury’s application (in reality, misapplication) to the nebulous superseding cause doctrine. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
This argument has no more merit phrased in superseding cause terms than it had in the context of imputed contributory negligence. (See Adamson v. Traylor (1962) 60 Wash2d 332, 335–336, 373 P.2d 961,963; Rest.2d Torts, s 452(1), com.b.) (Haft v. Lone Palm Motel, supra, 3 Cal.3d 756, 770.)
This is the same argument that Dr. Black’s testimony suggests, by not returning to Dr. Hill or other physicians, Mrs Smith’s actions become a superceding cause and brake in the causation chain. This argument and this testimony have no merit in the context of this litigation. (See Part 5 of 6.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.