On 07/15/2016 CANDACE POLEE filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against JEHANGIR YEGANEH. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RANDOLPH A. ROGERS, BRIAN C. YEP, ASHFAQ G. CHOWDHURY, WENDY CHANG, STEPHEN T. MORGAN and STEPHEN MORGAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
RANDOLPH A. ROGERS
BRIAN C. YEP
ASHFAQ G. CHOWDHURY
STEPHEN T. MORGAN
MURPHY MONRELL D.
MURPHY GLEN A. JR.
MURPHY-BOOKING #K00452 GLEN A. JR.
MURPHY-CDCR #P24634 A-5-105 MONRELL D.
MURPHY-CDCR #P24634 MONRELL D.
OHN DR. TONY
CANTU DR. VIRGILIO
PALMDALE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
YEGANEH DR. JEHANGIR
SHANKAR DR. RAVI
LANCASTER HOSPITAL CORPORATION DBA PALMDALE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
KRISHNA DR. DODDANNA
MCMURRAY RANDY H.
MAYER PATRICK W. ESQ.
BUCHHOLZ SCOTT DARROW
SCHAEFFER JAMES CRAIG
12/11/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF PLAINTIFF, MONRELL MURPHY
12/11/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF SERVICE
9/18/2020: Notice of Rejection Of Electronic Filing
7/28/2020: Notice of Rejection - Pleadings
3/9/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF DARREN R. CRUZ IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 2
2/11/2020: Order - ORDER PROPOSED ORDER & JUDGMENT
12/17/2019: Notice of Rejection - Pleadings
9/3/2019: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF DEFENDANT RAVI SHANKAR M.D.
3/28/2017: OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
3/30/2017: DEFENDANT REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
4/27/2017: DECLARATION - OF JOY D. LLAGUNO
6/22/2017: LANCASTER HOSPITAL CORPORATION'S REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
8/9/2017: ANSWER TO THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
11/30/2017: DECLARATION - OF STEVEN D. KAVY, M.D. IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
1/11/2018: PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS AND EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT KRISHNA, M.D.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
1/16/2018: NOTICE OF DEPOSIT OF JURY FEES BY DEFENDANT JEHANGIR YEGANEH, M.D.
8/30/2018: Notice of Joinder -
9/6/2018: Notice of Joinder -
Hearing08/20/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department A15 at 42011 4th Street West, Lancaster, CA 93534; Jury TrialRead MoreRead Less
Hearing08/11/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department A15 at 42011 4th Street West, Lancaster, CA 93534; Final Status ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A15, Wendy Chang, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Continue Trial) - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([Notice of Rejection of Electronic Filing]); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Rejection of Electronic Filing; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketDeclaration (Corrected Declaration of Dr. Yeganeh); Filed by Dr. Jehangir Yeganeh (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDeclaration (of Shonti Conner Regarding Notice in Support of Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial); Filed by Dr. Jehangir Yeganeh (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDeclaration (of Jehangir Yeganeh, M.D. in Support of Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial); Filed by Dr. Jehangir Yeganeh (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketEx Parte Application (to Continue Trial); Filed by Dr. Jehangir Yeganeh (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketAMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT FIRSTRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE OF CASE ASSIGNMENTRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
DocketCIVIL CASE COVER SHEETRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons; Filed by Candace Polee (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketFIRST AMENDED GENERAL ORDER RE PI COURT PROCEDURESRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: MC026443 Hearing Date: October 29, 2019 Dept: A15
Polee v. Yeganeh
1. Tentative Ruling
Defendant Jehangir Yeganeh, M.D.’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as unopposed. Defendant Yaganeh to give notice.
The present case arises from alleged dependent adult abuse. Plaintiff Candice Polee (“Plaintiff”) alleges that her father Glen Murphy (the “Decedent”) was admitted to the Palmdale Regional Medical Center on April 12, 2015, for breathing problems. After being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, Decedent was treated and moved to the Progressive Care Unit where Plaintiff alleges Decedent failed to receive proper monitoring and treatment for a worsening condition and, as a result thereof, died on April 20, 2015.
The original complaint was filed on July 15, 2016, and was amended and refiled on July 21, 2016. The Complaint alleges causes of action for medical malpractice, dependent adult abuse, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and wrongful death. Defendant Lancaster Hospital Corporation (“LHC”) filed a demurrer and motion to strike portions of the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on November 04, 2016, which was sustained. Plaintiff thereafter filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) on January 30, 2017, and, following another demurrer and motion to strike that was heard on April 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) on April 28, 2017.
Following the filing of the TAC, LHC and Defendant Jehenger Yeganeh, M.D., (“Yeganeh”) filed demurrers and motions to strike seeking to dismiss the Second and Third Causes of action for Dependent Adult Abuse and Fraud without leave to amend. The Court sustained both demurrers and granted both motions to strike in their entirety on June 29, 2017. Following the ruling, Plaintiff filed her Fourth Amended Complaint (“4AC”) on October 02, 2018, alleging two causes of action against all defendants for (1) Medical Malpractice, and (2) Wrongful Death. LHC filed its answer to the 4AC on October 10, 2018, Defendants Doddanna Krishna, M.D. and Ravi S. Shankar, M.D. filed their Answer on October 19, 2018, and Yeganeh filed his answer on October 31, 2018.
On November 17, 2017, Yeganeh moved for summary judgment on the grounds that his care and treatment of the Decedent complied with the applicable standard of care. However, after hearing on February 13, 2018, the Court denied Yeganeh’s motion upon finding that there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Yeganeh provided an appropriate level of care to the Decedent, specifically as to what percentage of oxygen was appropriate under the circumstances and whether Yeganeh failed to provide appropriate care to the Decedent when he failed to maintain the oxygen intake to a mix of about 90-93% oxygen.
On June 27, 2019, the Court granted a motion to be relieved as counsel filed by Plaintiff’s attorney Randy H. McMurray.
On August 09, 2019, Yeganeh filed the instant motion for summary judgment. The motion has gone unopposed by Plaintiff, who should have filed an opposition at least 14 days preceding the hearing date pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (b)(2).
a. Standard for Summary Judgment
A party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (a).) To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the evidence submitted must show there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).) In other words, the opposing party cannot present contrary admissible evidence to raise a triable factual dispute.
“For purposes of motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication: (2) A defendant or cross-defendant has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action. Once the defendant or cross-defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff or cross-complainant to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto. The plaintiff or cross-complainant shall not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists but, instead, shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).)
When ruling on a summary judgment motion, the trial court must consider all inferences from the evidence, even those contradicted by the moving party’s evidence. The motion cannot succeed unless the evidence leaves no room for conflicting inferences as to material facts; the court has no power to weigh one inference against another or against other evidence. (Murillo v. Rite Stuff Food Inc. (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 833, 841.) In determining whether the facts give rise to a triable issue of material fact, “[a]ll doubts as to whether any material, triable, issues of fact exist are to be resolved in favor of the party opposing summary judgment…” (Gold v. Weissman (2004) 114 Cal.App.4th 1195, 1198-99.) “In other words, the facts alleged in the evidence of the party opposing summary judgment and the reasonable inferences there from must be accepted as true.” (Jackson v. County of Los Angeles (1997) 60 Cal.App.4th 171, 179.) If summary judgment is otherwise proper it “may not be denied on grounds of credibility,” except when a material fact is the witness's state of mind and “that fact is sought to be established solely by the [witness's] affirmation thereof.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (e).)
“Subdivision (f)(2) of section 437c provides that ‘a party may not move for summary judgment based on issues asserted in a prior motion for summary adjudication and denied by the court, unless that party establishes to the satisfaction of the court, newly discovered facts or circumstances or a change of law supporting the issues reasserted in the summary judgment motion.’” (Bagley v. TRW, Inc. (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 1092, 1096.) The separate statement of undisputed material facts to the new motion should include a material fact that was not included in the first one, or there should be new law which affects the ultimate decision in on the issues in the first motion. (Id. at p. 1097.) A second motion for summary judgment may also be considered where the operative motion addresses an issue not raised by the prior motion. (Nieto v. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Ins. Co. (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 60, 72-73.)
b. First Cause of Action (Medical Malpractice)
The elements of medical malpractice are: “(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.” (Simmons v. West Covina Medical Clinic (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 696, 701-02.)
“Both the standard of care and defendants' breach must normally be established by expert testimony in a medical malpractice case.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal. App. 4th 463, 467.) An expert declaration, if uncontradicted, is conclusive proof as to the prevailing standard of care and the propriety of the particular conduct of the health care provider. (Starr v. Mooslin (1971) 14 Cal. App. 3d 988, 999.)
Yeganeh’s first motion for summary judgment filed back in November 2017, which was denied, was based on the ground of standard of care. Yeganeh now moves for summary judgment on the issue of causation. The Court finds that Yeganeh’s instant motion for summary judgment is not barred by Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (f)(2), and may be considered on its merits.
In a medical malpractice action, a plaintiff must prove the defendant's negligence was a cause-in-fact of injury. (Bromme v. Pavitt (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 1487, 1502.) “The law is well settled that in a personal injury action causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability based [on] competent expert testimony. Mere possibility alone is insufficient to establish a prima facie case. That there is a distinction between a reasonable medical ‘probability’ and a medical ‘possibility’ needs little discussion. There can be many possible ‘causes,’ indeed, an infinite number of circumstances [that] can produce an injury or disease. A possible cause only becomes ‘probable’ when, in the absence of other reasonable causal explanations, it becomes more likely than not that the injury was a result of its action.” (Jones v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. (1985) 163 Cal.App.3d 396, 402–403.) Thus, proffering an expert opinion that there is some theoretical possibility the negligent act could have been a cause-in-fact of a particular injury is insufficient to establish causation. (Saelzler v. Advanced Group 400 (2001) 25 Cal.4th 763, 775–776.) “[W]hen the matter remains one of pure speculation or conjecture, or the probabilities are at best evenly balanced, it becomes the duty of the court to determine the issue in favor of the defendant as a matter of law.” (Leslie G. v. Perry & Associates (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 472, 485.)
Ultimately, where the party moving for summary judgment rests on expert opinion, the opposing party can only defeat the motion by presenting “conflicting expert evidence.” (Hanson v. Goode (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 601, 606-607.) However, the expert's opinion must rest on a sound evidentiary foundation. An expert's opinion regarding matters not in evidence has no probative value and will not support summary judgment. If the record lacks independent evidence of a patient's treatment history, the expert may not establish those facts simply by describing or relating the contents of medical records on which he or she relied to form an opinion. (Garibay v. Hemmat (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 735, 743.)
In support of his motion, Yeganeh submits the Declaration of his expert William Klein, M.D. (“Klein”), a duly licensed physician who has been practicing medicine in California since 1972 to present, and has been a clinical professor of medicine for the University of California, Irvine Medical Center from 1993 to present. (Declaration of Klein ¶ 1.) In formulating his opinion as to whether Yeganeh was a substantial factor in causing or contributing to the Decedent’s death, Klein reviewed the Decedent’s records from Palmdale Regional Medical Center. (Declaration of Klein ¶ 2.)
Klein opines that, based on his education, training, and experience as an internal medicine physician, it is his professional opinion that, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, no act or omission on the part of Yeganeh cause or contributed to the Decedent’s death, for when Decedent presented to Palmdale Regional Medical Center, he already suffered from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) and required supplemental tank oxygen, and the progress of his condition at the time of admission shows that it was unfortunately just a matter of time until he reached the point that no amount of medical treatment could prolong his life. (Declaration of Klein ¶ 17.) Klein goes on to state that in this specific instance, the Decedent’s development while hospitalized show that his COPD had reached the point where he required substantial respiratory support to breath sufficiently, and it was very difficult to successfully extubate him after a few days into his admission. (Declaration of Klein ¶ 18.) Even after extubation and with bilevel positive airway pressure machine support, it proved difficult to maintain appropriate oxygenation levels in the Decedent’s blood, and when Yeganeh was contacted shortly after midnight on April 20, 2015, it was clear from his condition that unless he was able to calm down and continue to receive treatment, he would not be able to recover. Even if he had been intubated immediately following the call to Yeganeh, it is more likely than not he would have never recovered and would have passed away shortly thereafter anyway. (Declaration of Klein ¶ 18.) Consequently, Klein concludes that, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, no act or omission on the part of Yeganeh caused or contributed to the Decedent’s death.
The Court is satisfied by Yeganeh’s submissions regarding the issue of causation—the expert testimony of Klein successfully establishes that, to a reasonable medical probability, Yeganeh was not the cause-in-fact of the Decedent’s death. The burden thus shifts to Plaintiff to provide expert testimony that shows a triable issue of material fact regarding causation, an essential element of her medical malpractice cause of action against Yeganeh.
Plaintiff has not filed an opposition, and has failed to submit any evidence or argument to oppose this motion. Accordignly, Yeganeh is entitled to judgment on the medical malpractice claim.
c. Second Cause of Action (Wrongful Death)
A cause of action for wrongful death is a statutory claim. (See Code Civ. Proc., §§ 377.60-377.62; See also Quiroz v. Seventh Ave. Center (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1256, 1263.) The elements of the cause of action for wrongful death are (1) the tort (negligence or other wrongful act), (2) the resulting death, and (3) the damages, consisting of the pecuniary loss suffered only by those persons who, because of their relation to the deceased, are presumed to be injured by his or her death, not by persons who are not in the chain of intestate succession. (See Quiroz, supra, 140 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1263-1264.)
As it is pled in the 4AC, the Second Cause of Action for Wrongful Death is based on negligence. “In any action for wrongful death resulting from negligence, the complaint must contain allegations as to all the elements of actionable negligence.” (Jacoves v. United Merck Corp. (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 88, 105)
Where Yeganeh has shown through proper expert evidence that no issue of material fact exists as to the element of causation regarding the underlying negligent tort, this cause of action for wrongful death also fails.
Yaganeh has demonstrated that he is entitled to judgment in his favor on the two causes of action stated against him in the Fourth Amended Complaint. Accordingly, Yeganeh’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
Yaganeh to give notice.
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