Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse
As a result of the potential for enhanced remedies available in elder and dependent adult abuse cases, such as recovery of attorney fees and punitive damages, there has been gravitation of these causes of action into a large number of lawsuits, which formerly would have been deemed only professional/medical negligence based claims. Additionally, elder abuse cases may not be subject to limitations on general damages that the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act placed on medical malpractice cases. Consequently, some of the superior plaintiffs' trial attorneys who previously shied away from prosecuting medical malpractice claims due to economic recovery restrictions, have made elder and dependent adult abuse matters a key component of their practice. This, in turn, has dramatically increased litigation against hospitals, nursing, convalescent, and rehabilitation homes.
Fonda & Fraser, LLP has a strong and deep-rooted history in the defense of medical negligence cases. As such, we have a large client base of healthcare providers. Upon elder and dependent adult abuse becoming the "suit de jour" for the plaintiffs' bar, it was only natural for our clients to request our assistance in the defense of such actions. Fonda & Fraser's attorneys have been thoroughly involved in the investigation, evaluation and defense of elder and dependent adult abuse cases for the past 10+ years, providing a superior knowledge and understanding of:
1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, establishing the standard of care for nursing and assisted living facilities.
Elder Abuse and Dependent Welfare & Inst. Code § 15600 et. seq. (Adult Civil Protection Act).
What constitutes reckless neglect, malice, oppression and fraud in the commission of the abuse/neglect.
The legal gray areas of physical and financial abuse as well as claims of breach of contract and unfair business practices.
Statutory cause of action e.g., violation of patient rights or violation of health care regulations.
Intentional torts, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery, claims of negligence per se related to willful misconduct, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
Religious Organization protection against unsubstantiated punitive damage claims (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.14).
Establishment of clear and convincing proof to prevail on a claim for punitive/exemplary damages against a secular healthcare provider (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.13(a) & Civ Code § 3294).
Seeking awards for treble damages (Civ Code § 3345).
The Department of Public Health's practices related to surveying, statements of deficiency, complaint visits by DPH, facilities' plan of correction, and facility citations.
Evidentiary objections related to third-party privacy of patients and employees, to oppose plaintiffs seeking abuse complaints from other uninvolved patients as well as personnel files of the actual healthcare provider staff members.
In our quest to provide the best defense possible, Fonda & Fraser has been instrumental in the development of positive case law in favor of our clients. We likewise provide guidance and litigation services to two of the nation’s largest corporate nursing, convalescent, rehabilitation and Alzheimer homes, Sun Healthcare Group, Inc. and Sunrise Senior Living.