Sacramento Veterinary Malpractice Suit Filed After Champion Horse Dies, Part 3 of 4

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

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

The fact that certain veterinarians may disagree as to the usage, preference, or desirability as to any particular method for conducting a prepurchase examination indicates the existence of a professional difference of opinion only. It does not establish a standard of care.

The relevant legal precedent on this issue was established the California Supreme Court in Meier v. Ross General Hospital, 69 Cal.2d 420 (1968). In an action against a psychiatrist in a hospital for the death of a mentally disturbed patient who jumped from a second story window, the court established that negligence could not be found merely because another treatment acceptable to, or even preferred by, other physicians could have avoided the death of the patient. The Meier case stands for the proposition that in determining whether a defendant breached a standard of care, the court may not engage in “but-for” reasoning. This basic rule was reaffirmed in Clemens v. Regents of the University of California, 8 Cal.App.3d 1, 13 (1970):

A difference of medical opinion concerning the desirability of one particular medical procedure over another does not … establish that the determination to use one of the procedures was negligent. (Meier v. Ross General Hospital, 69 Cal.2d 420).

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

This rule was formerly embodied in BAJI Instruction 6.03:

Where there is more than one recognized method of diagnosis or treatment, and no one of them is used exclusively and uniformly by all practitioners in good standing, a [veterinarian] is not negligent if, in exercising his best judgment, he selects one of the approved methods which later turns out to be a wrong selection, or one not favored by certain other practitioners.A more simplistic version of the rule is presented in CACI Instruction 506: (See Part 4 of 4.)

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

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