Articles Posted in California Supreme Court

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants, a hospital and doctors, alleging negligence. The hospital was owned by the County. The County filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that Plaintiff failed to comply with the Government Claims Act (Act) because her claim was never presented to or received by a statutorily designated recipient. Plaintiff responded by arguing that she had substantially complied with the Act by delivering a letter of intent to the risk management department of the hospital and that the letter was received by the County risk management department. The trial court granted the County's summary judgment motion, holding that the County made a sufficient showing of noncompliance. The court of appeal reversed, holding (1) a claim may substantially comply with the Act, notwithstanding failure to deliver it to one of the statutorily specified recipients, if it is given to a department whose functions include the management or defense of claims against the defendant entity, and (2) Plaintiff had "substantially complied" with the presentation requirements of the Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred by judicially expanding the statutory requirements; and (2) a claim must satisfy the express delivery provisions language of the statute. View "DiCampli-Mintz v. County of Santa Clara" on Justia Law

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Six days after his birth, Plaintiff suffered irreversible brain damage. Through his mother as guardian ad litem, Plaintiff sued his pediatrician and the hospital in which he was born. Before trial, Plaintiff and the pediatrician agreed to settlement of $1 million. At a jury trial, Plaintiff was awarded both economic and noneconomic damages. The jury found the pediatrician was fifty-five percent at fault and the hospital forty percent at fault. The court of appeal reversed the portion of the trial court's judgment awarding Plaintiff economic damages against the hospital after applying the common law "release rule," under which Plaintiff's settlement with the pediatrician also released the nonsettling hospital from liability for Plaintiff's economic damages. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the common law release rule is no longer to be followed in California; and (2) therefore, the defendant hospital remained jointly and severally liable for Plaintiff's economic damages. View "Leung v. Verdugo Hills Hosp." on Justia Law