(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
It is also worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT LEGAL STANDARD
Summary judgment shall be granted if the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §437c; Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 573, 579. A Defendant is entitled to summary judgment if they show one or more elements of the Plaintiff’s case cannot be established or that they have a complete defense to the cause of action. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 437c(o)(2); Alszeh v. Home Box Office (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1456, 1460. Once the Defendant meet their initial burden, the Plaintiff must demonstrate, by submitting admissible evidence of specific facts that a triable issue of material fact exists. Id. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM FOR MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE LACKS MERIT
Elements Required for Actionable Negligence
In any medical malpractice action, the Plaintiff must establish: (1) the duty of the professional to use such skill, prudence and diligence as other members of his profession commonly possess and exercise; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual loss or damage resulting from the professional’s negligence. Elcome v. Chin (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 310, 317. The Defendant does not need to disprove every element of Plaintiff’s cause of action. Rather, the Defendant only need to present evidence that one or more of the elements of the cause of action for negligence cannot be established. Union Bank v. Los Angeles County Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 573, 583.
The burden then shifts to Plaintiff to present evidence of sufficient quality so as to raise a triable issue of material fact. If the Plaintiff fails to present sufficient evidence on any element addressed by the moving party, summary judgment must be granted in favor of Defendant. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 437c(p)(2).
The Standard of Care
The standard of care against which the acts of health care providers are to be measured is a matter within the knowledge of experts. Elcome v. Chin (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 310, 317; Jambazian v. Borden (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 836, 844. Unless the conduct required by the particular circumstances is within the common knowledge of the layman, the standard of care in a malpractice action can only be proved by an expert’s testimony. Id. If the common knowledge exception does not apply to a medical malpractice action, expert evidence is conclusive and cannot be disregarded. Id. (See Part 4 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.