This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/19/2020 at 04:47:27 (UTC).

ALBERTA HENDERSON VS DIGNITY HEALTH ET AL

Case Summary

On 05/24/2017 ALBERTA HENDERSON filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against DIGNITY HEALTH. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ROBERT B. BROADBELT, DENNIS J. LANDIN, JOEL L. LOFTON, CHRISTOPHER K. LUI, DANIEL M. CROWLEY and SAMANTHA JESSNER. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2741

  • Filing Date:

    05/24/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT B. BROADBELT

DENNIS J. LANDIN

JOEL L. LOFTON

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

DANIEL M. CROWLEY

SAMANTHA JESSNER

 

Party Details

Defendants, Respondents and Not Classified By Court

DIGNITY HEALTH

DOES 1 TO 250

BAYHAN GREGORY F. C.R.N.A.

CALIFORNIA MEDICAL CENTER-LOS ANGELES

KRAM HARRY B. MD

DOSSEN-JONES JANIS WATCHEN

CHENG M.D. RODNEY

EMCARE INC. DOE 101

CHENG M.D. DOE 1 RODNEY

KRAM HARRY B. M.D.

CHENG RODNEY M.D.

Minors and Not Classified By Court

HENDERSON ALBERTA

CALIFORNIA MEDICAL CENTER-LOS ANGELES

HOUSTON KATHY

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES

Guardian Ad Litem and Not Classified By Court

HOUSTON KATHY

Other

JAMES E. ABBOTT (PRO HAC VICE)

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

LA FOLLETTE JOHNSON DE HAAS FESLER

REBACK MCANDREWS KJAR WARFORD &

LITCHFIELD CAVO LLP

CARROLL RICHARD D. ESQ.

REBACK MCANDREWS & BLESSEY LLP

SCHAFER TERRENCE J.

SCHAFER TERRENCE JOSEPH

DEHAAS LOUIS HENRY JR

REBACK ROBERT CARL

CARROLL RICHARD DOUGLAS ESQ.

LEIBL LOREN SIDNEY

Minor Attorney

FAGEL BRUCE G. ESQ.

Not Classified By Court Attorney

RICH JONATHAN

Other Attorneys

FAGEL BRUCE GARY ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON PETITION TO CONFIRM MINOR'S COMPROMISE WITH SPECIA...)

5/13/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON PETITION TO CONFIRM MINOR'S COMPROMISE WITH SPECIA...)

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF BRUCE G. FAGEL IN SUPPORT OF PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OE PENDING ACTION

4/17/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF BRUCE G. FAGEL IN SUPPORT OF PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OE PENDING ACTION

Judgment - [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT RE: DEFENDANT, JANIS WATCHEN DOSSEN-JONES, M.D.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

3/23/2020: Judgment - [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT RE: DEFENDANT, JANIS WATCHEN DOSSEN-JONES, M.D.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

2/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (PETITION TO CONFIRM MINOR'S COMPROMISE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST)

2/14/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (PETITION TO CONFIRM MINOR'S COMPROMISE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST)

Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

11/21/2019: Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF FILING ORIGINAL SIGNATURE TO PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OF PENDING ACTION

11/22/2019: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF FILING ORIGINAL SIGNATURE TO PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OF PENDING ACTION

Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEVIN BECKER

11/25/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEVIN BECKER

Order - ORDER [PROPOSED] RE: GOOD FAITH APPLICATION BROUGHT BY DEFENDANT GREGORY F. BAYHAN, CRNA

1/9/2020: Order - ORDER [PROPOSED] RE: GOOD FAITH APPLICATION BROUGHT BY DEFENDANT GREGORY F. BAYHAN, CRNA

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION BY DEFENDANT, EMCARE, INC., FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING HEARING DATE ON ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 30 DAYS BEFORE TRIAL OR CONTINUING THE TRIAL DATE

10/11/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION BY DEFENDANT, EMCARE, INC., FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING HEARING DATE ON ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 30 DAYS BEFORE TRIAL OR CONTINUING THE TRIAL DATE

Notice of Settlement

11/13/2019: Notice of Settlement

Notice of Ruling

4/8/2019: Notice of Ruling

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

2/7/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Answer

2/21/2019: Answer

Notice of Deposit - Jury

2/26/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -

6/21/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

7/10/2017: DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

DEFENDANT GREGORY F. BAYHAN, C.R.N.A.'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

7/26/2017: DEFENDANT GREGORY F. BAYHAN, C.R.N.A.'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

123 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/28/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 09/22/2020
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 09/03/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 08/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Bruce Gary Fagel, Esq. (Attorney)

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  • 07/27/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Status Conference (Re Commencement of Probate Action) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 07/17/2020
  • DocketNotice of Attachment; Filed by Alberta Henderson (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/09/2020
  • Docketat 3:41 PM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review

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  • 07/09/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Non-Appearance Case Review)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/09/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Non-Appearance Case Review) of 07/09/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/01/2020
  • DocketNotice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service; Filed by Harry B. Kram, M.D. (Defendant)

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202 More Docket Entries
  • 06/06/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/06/2017
  • DocketSummons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/02/2017
  • DocketOrd Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF NOTICE TO HEALTH SERVICES RE PENDING ACTION

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Alberta Henderson (Plaintiff); Kathy Houston (Non-Party)

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTE

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  • 05/24/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

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  • 05/24/2017
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 05/24/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: May 13, 2020    Dept: 1

Petitioner must submit a revised proposed order with the following revisions:
(1) Attach a copy of the trust and joinder agreement to the proposed order.
(2) Add in Attachment 12 to Order a numbered paragraph stating: "The Court orders that bond is required for all trustees pursuant to LA Superior Court Rule 4.116(a)(5) and California Rules of Court, Rule 7.903(c)(5)."   
(3) Amend paragraph 8 of Attachment 12 to Order to include the relevant court rules as follows: "ALBERTA HENDERSON'S subaccount with Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Master Trust, is to comply with Los Angeles Superior Court Rule 4.116 and 4.117 and California Rules of Court, Rule 7.903 and is subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Superior Court." (4) Complete paragraph 10 of Attachment 12 to Order to provide a filing deadline of July 13, 2020.(5) Amend and complete paragraph 13 of Attachment 12 to Order to schedule the status hearing on July 27, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. in Dept. 28 of the Spring Street Courthouse.      

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: April 24, 2020    Dept: 1

The court has read and reviewed the Petition to Approve Compromise with Pooled Trust. In addition, the Probate Department has reviewed the submission. Other than the issues discussed below, the petition and supporting documents appear to be in compliance with applicable laws and statutory requirements.

Pooled Trust:

Petnr proposes to deposit the net funds received into the Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust dated July 1, 2016. This is a pooled trust which requires a Joinder Agreement to set up a sub trust for Alberta.

Although the trust agreement on page 4, Section 2.01 states that: “Any special instructions for the benefit of the Beneficiary should be described in the Joinder Agreement’, there are no special instructions in the Joinder Agreement with regard to complying with the California Rules of Court or the Los Angeles Superior Court Rules regarding trusts funded by court order.

Because this is a master trust, the special instructions must be in the Joinder Agreement. Trusts created or funded by court order must:

(1) not contain a no-contest provision;

(2) prohibit modification or revocation without court approval;

(3) clearly identify the trustee and any other person(s) with authority to direct the trustee to make disbursements;

(4) prohibit investments by the trustee other than those permitted under Probate Code section 2574;

(5) require persons identified in subdivision (3) to post bond in the amount required under Probate Code section 2320 et seq.;

(6) require the trustee to file accounts and reports for court approval in the manner as frequency required by Probate Code sections 1060 et seq. and 2320 et seq.;

(7) require court approval of changes in trustees and a court order appointing any successor trustee; and (8) require that compensation of the trustee, the members of any advisory committee, and the attorney for the trustee be in reasonable amounts as fixed by court order. The trust may provide for periodic payments of compensation, subject to the requirements of Probate Code section 2643 and California Rules of Court, rule 7.755.

Trustee to be appointed:

The petitioner has named three different trustees in the documents that have been filed. As a result, it is not clear to the court who is to be appointed. On page 3 of the trust, the trustee is named as DENISE KLEIN. On page 3 of the ORDER at Paragraph 7c(2)(b) in small type WELLS FARGO BANK is named as Trustee and on Attachment 12 , which is the last page of the order Michelle Wolf is named as Trustee.

In addition, no information is provided as to who the trustee is and how much the trustee is to be paid. In other words, no resume has been provided as to the qualifications of the possible trustee. Further, the appointment of a trustee or successor trustee is subject to court order and the trust provides otherwise on page 3 of the trust.

Trustees fees to be approved by the Court: There is no statement about the court approving fees and no statement about how fees are to be determined.

Bond: If an individual is to be appointed, a bond would be required.

Joinder Agreement: The Joinder Agreement should be revised to include the rules set forth at the end of this memo.

The Order:

  1. The Order needs to be revised so that it includes the following:

(a) A complete copy of the trust and Joinder Agreement attached;

(b) Paragraph 9c on page 4 of the order needs to be revised to state: Attached hereto and made a part hereof is a copy of The Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust dated July 1, 2016 and a copy of the Joinder Agreement. Kathy Houston is authorized and directed to execute the Joinder Agreement, a copy of which is made part of this order.

(c) The order should include the following findings and orders:

  1. A determination that the person with a disability has a disability that substantially impairs the individual’s ability to provide for the individual’s own care or custody and constitutes a substantial handicap (Prob. Code 3604 (b)(1));
  2. A determination that the person with a disability is likely to have special needs that will not be met without the trust (Prob. Code 3604 (b)(2));
  3. A determination that money to be paid to the trust does not exceed the amount that appears reasonably necessary to meet the special needs of the person with a disability (Prob.Code 3604 (b)(3)
  4. Authorization for Kathy Houston, Guardian Ad Litem, to establish a First Party Special Needs Trust for Alberta Henderson with Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Services, Inc. and to complete and execute the joinder agreement that complies with the California Rules of Court and the Los Superior Court Rules so that Alberta Henderson may join the pooled trust ;
  5. Appointment of Michelle Wolf as trustee;
  6. An order requiring a Trustee’s Bond in the sum of $ 334,604.90;
  7. An order requiring that a that bond is required for all trustees pursuant to LA Superior Court Rule 4.116a (5) and California Rules of Court, Rule 7.903 c (5);
  8. An order that modification or revocation of the trust is prohibited without court approval (See LA Superior Court Rule 4.116a (2) and California Rules of Court, Rule 7.903 c (2));
  9. An order that Alberta Henderson’s subaccount with Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Services, Inc is subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Superior Court;
  10. An order that trustee’s fees and attorney’s fees are subject to prior court approval;
  11. An order that the Trustee is to open the trust file by _____________, 2020, for the Trust by filing with the Probate Department of the LA Superior Court a “Notice of Commencement of Proceedings for a Court Supervised Trust” (LASC Form PRO 044) in order to have a probate case number assigned to this trust pursuant to LASC Rule 4.115 (e );
  12. An order that the Trustee attach a certified copy of the settlement order establishing the trust and a copy of the trustees’ bond to the Notice of Commencement of Proceeding for a Court Supervised Trust (LASC Rule 4.115 (e);
  13. An order that the Trustee is to set a status hearing date in the trust file 14 months from the date of this order for Probate Court to check on the timely filing of the Trustees’ first account current;
  14. An order scheduling a status hearing on ________________, at_____ in Dept __ to determine whether the petitioner has filed proof in the civil case that the trust file has been opened in the Probate Department of the LA Superior Court;
  15. An order that the first account for the Trust to be filed in the trust file supervised by the Probate Department of the LA Superior Court within 12 months for the date of the order approving the establishment of the Trust.

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: February 18, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication

Having considered the moving and non-opposing papers, the Court rules as follows. opposing papers were filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson, by and through her guardian ad litem Kathy Houston, (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Dignity Health, California Medical Center-Los Angeles, Harry B. Kram, M.D., Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D., Gregory F. Bayhan, C.R.N.A. alleges medical malpractice for a deficient tracheostomy and an endotracheal intubation that occurred on March 1, 2017.

On February 7, 2019, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson filed amendments to her complaint renaming Doe 1 as Defendant Rodney Cheng, M.D. and Doe 101 as Defendant EMCARE, Inc.

On November 25, 2019, Defendant Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D. filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

On December 19, 2019, the Court dismissed Defendant EmCare, Inc. with prejudice.

Trial is set for May 8, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D. (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiff and in Defendant’s favor based on an expert’s opinion that Moving Defendant complied with her standard of care and did not cause Plaintiff’s harm.

LEGAL STANDARD

The purpose of a motion for summary judgment “is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.”  (Aguilar v. Atl. Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.)  “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)

“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.”  (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.)  A defendant moving for summary judgment “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 . . . cannot be established.”  (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(p)(2).)  “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.”  (Id.)  “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Med. Ctr. (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.”  (Avivi, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 467; see also Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)

DISCUSSION

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, 701-702 (citations omitted). “Both the standard of care and defendants’ breach must normally be established by expert testimony in a medical malpractice case.” (Avivi, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 467.)

Thus, in a medical malpractice case, “[w]hen a defendant moves for summary judgment and supports his motion with expert declarations that his conduct fell within the community standard of care, he is entitled to summary judgment unless the plaintiff comes forward with conflicting expert evidence.” (Munro v. Regents of University of California (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 977, 984-985 (citations omitted). 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.)

Moving Defendant submits the declaration of anesthesiologist Kevin P. Becker, M.D. in support of Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Dr. Becker provided his qualifications.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 2-3, Exh. A.)  Dr. Becker stated he reviewed Plaintiff’s documents from California Hospital Medical Center, the complaint, and the depositions from Moving Defendant, Harry Kram, M.D., Gregory F. Bayhan, CRNA, and Kathy Houston.  (Becker Decl., 4.)  Dr. Becker recited the relevant medical facts.  (Becker Decl., ¶¶ 5-18.) Dr. Becker found Moving Defendant’s treatment provided to Plaintiff was within the applicable standard of care.  (Becker Decl., 19.)  

Mr. Bayhan, CRNA, recognized Plaintiff’s ventilation was declining and either Mr. Bayhan or Dr. Kram properly called for help.  (Becker Decl., 20.)  Moving Defendant and another CRNA answered the call for help.  (Ibid.)  

Dr. Becker declared there are three ways that Plaintiff’s airway could have become obstructed during the tracheostomy procedure: (1) physiologic obstruction, (2) mechanical obstruction, or (3) a physical obstruction.  (Becker Decl., 21.)  A physiologic obstruction occurs when the small airways become constricted due to asthma or mucus.  (Ibid.)  A physical obstruction occurs when the breathing tube is blocked with gauze, plastic, or a similar material.  (Ibid.)  A mechanical obstruction occurs when the breathing tube gets clogged with bodily fluids.  (Ibid.Moving Defendant orchestrated the handling of Plaintiff’s declining ventilation.  (Ibid.CPR was not delayed, but rather started as soon as Moving Defendant recognized Plaintiff had no palpable pulse.  (Becker Decl., 22.)  The prompt administration of CPR was within the applicable standard of care.  (Ibid.)

The Court finds Dr. Becker’s declaration is sufficient.  Moving Defendant’s involvement in Plaintiff’s treatment was minimal.  Moving Defendant administered treatment to Plaintiff after being alerted to Plaintiff’s declining ventilation.  Dr. Becker’s declaration shows Moving Defendant acted within the standard of care when Moving Defendant managed the administration of CPR on Plaintiff.  The burden shifts to Plaintiff.  Plaintiff has submitted a notice of non-opposition to the motion.  As such, summary judgment is properly granted.

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: February 14, 2020    Dept: 28

Petition to Approve a Compromise for a Person with a Disability

Having considered the petitioning papers, the Court rules as follows.  No opposing papers were filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson, by and through her guardian ad litem Kathy Houston, filed a complaint against Defendants Dignity Health, California Medical Center-Los Angeles, Harry B. Kram, M.D., Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D., Gregory F. Bayhan, C.R.N.A. alleging medical malpractice for deficient tracheostomy and endotracheal intubation that occurred on March 1, 2017.

On February 7, 2019, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson filed amendments to her complaint renaming Doe 1 as Defendant Rodney Cheng, M.D. and Doe 101 as Defendant EMCARE, Inc.

On November 5, 2019, Petitioner Kathy Houston filed a petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Plaintiff Alberta Henderson.

On November 8, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on the petition to approve a compromise of pending action to December 18, 2019 for the Probate Department may review the proposed special needs trust.

On December 19, 2019, the Court dismissed Defendant EmCare, Inc. with prejudice.

On January 17, 2020, Petitioner Kathy Houston filed a notice of continuance of the petition to approve compromise of pending action for Plaintiff Alberta Henderson conveying the new hearing date to be February 14, 2020.

Trial is set for May 8, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Petitioner Kathy Houston (“Petitioner”) asks the Court to approve a petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Plaintiff Alberta Henderson (“Claimant”).

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 7.952(a), Petitioner and Claimant are required to attend the hearing on the petition.  However, the Court finds that Petitioner’s and Claimant’s attendance is not required due to Claimant’s age and the settlement amount.

DISCUSSION

The Court finds the hearing on the petition needs to be continued.  The Probate Department has been in contact with Petitioner’s counsel in asking for the documents relevant to consider the appropriateness of the requested special needs trust to be filed.  On February 5, 2020, Petitioner’s counsel filed supplemental documents.  

At first blush, the supplemental documents are insufficient for two reasons.  First, the document alleged to be the Pooled Master Trust Serving The Needs Of Persons With Disabilities In The Greater Los Angeles Area is not declared to be a true and correct copy under penalty of perjury.  Second, Petitioner’s counsel has not filed the documents joining the pooled trusts, which are necessary in determining whether the pooled trust is proper.

The Probate Department necessitates additional time to review the supplemental documents filed and further supplemental documents that must be filed in order to fix the above issues.

CONCLUSION

The petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Claimant filed on November 5, 2019 is CONTINUED to March 23, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 28 at Spring Street Courthouse located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Petitioner is ordered to file supplemental documents remedying the above stated issues by 5:00 p.m. on February 24, 2020.

Petitioner is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: January 21, 2020    Dept: 28

Petition to Approve a Compromise for a Person with a Disability

Having considered the petitioning papers, the Court rules as follows.  No opposing papers were filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson, by and through her guardian ad litem Kathy Houston, filed a complaint against Defendants Dignity Health, California Medical Center-Los Angeles, Harry B. Kram, M.D., Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D., Gregory F. Bayhan, C.R.N.A. alleging medical malpractice for deficient tracheostomy and endotracheal intubation that occurred on March 1, 2017.

On February 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed amendments to her complaint renaming Doe 1 as Defendant Rodney Cheng, M.D. and Doe 101 as Defendant EMCARE, Inc.

On May 5, 2019, Petitioner Kathy Houston filed a petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Plaintiff Alberta Henderson.

Trial is set for May 8, 2020.

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PARTY’S REQUEST

Petitioner Kathy Houston (“Petitioner”) asks the Court to approve a petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Plaintiff Alberta Henderson (“Claimant”).

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 7.952(a), Petitioner and Claimant are required to attend the hearing on the petition.  However, the Court finds that Petitioner’s and Claimant’s attendance is not required due to Claimant’s age and the settlement amount.

DISCUSSION

The Court finds the petition cannot be approved for ___ reasons.

First, the calculation in paragraph 11b cannot be reconciled with the gross settlement of $1,000,000.  More specifically, paragraph 11b shows Claimant is to receive a gross settlement of $500,000 from Defendant Dignity Health dba California Hospital Medical Center and $750,000 from Defendant Gregory F. Bayhan, C.R.N.A.  This provides for an unaccounted for $250,000.  Paragraph 11c suggests that this missing $250,000 is to be distributed to Claimant’s children.  However, the petition, as currently drafted, provides an ambiguity that can be clarified through filing an amended petition.

Second, the figures in paragraph 13a cannot be reconciled with the Medi-Cal lien that is supposed to be paid with Claimant’s gross settlement.  Paragraph 13a states Claimant has no medical expenses and none of the gross settlement is to be paid for outstanding medical expenses or out-of-pocket, co-payments, or deductible payments.  Yet, paragraph 13b(4) suggests otherwise.  Paragraph 13b(4) shows a maximum of $426,151.22 is to be paid to Medi-Cal.  As such, Claimant and the Court are left to guess as to whether a Medi-Cal bill is to be paid with Claimant’s gross settlement.

Third, it is unclear whether Medi-Cal has agreed to accept reimbursement at a lower amount for its lien rights.  Paragraph 13b(4)(c) is checked, indicating a settlement has been reached with Medi-Cal to satisfy its lien for a lower amount than originally charged.  However, Petitioner states the settlement amount is unknown.  Petitioner does not provide the demand letter offering to settle the Medi-Cal lien for a lower amount than originally charged.  Accordingly, the Court cannot ascertain what the Medi-Cal lien is.

Fourth, Petitioner has failed to lodge Attachments 12, 13b(4), and 19b(4).

CONCLUSION

The petition to approve a compromise of pending action for Claimant filed on May 5, 2019 is DENIED.

Petitioner is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC662741    Hearing Date: December 09, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to Compel Responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One)

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff Alberta Henderson, by and through her guardian ad litem Kathy Houston, (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Dignity Health, California Medical Center-Los Angeles, Harry B. Kram, M.D., Janis Watchen Dossen-Jones, M.D., Gregory F. Bayhan, C.R.N.A. alleging medical malpractice for deficient tracheostomy and endotracheal intubation that occurred on March 1, 2017.

On February 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed amendments to her complaint renaming Doe 1 as Defendant Rodney Cheng, M.D. and Doe 101 as Defendant EMCARE, Inc.

On November 4, 2019, Defendant EMCARE, Inc. filed a motion to compel Plaintiff’s responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One) pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.290.

Trial is set for April 10, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Defendant EMCARE, Inc. (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to order Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections to Special Interrogatories (Set One) within 10 days from this ruling based on Plaintiff’s failure to provide timely responses.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses and for a monetary sanction. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.290, subd. (b).) The statute contains no time limit for a motion to compel where no responses have been served. All that need be shown in the moving papers is that a set of interrogatories was properly served on the opposing party, that the time to respond has expired, and that no response of any kind has been served. (Leach v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902, 905-906.)

Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subd. (a), “[t]he court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. . . . If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery is a misuse of the discovery process.  (Code of Civ. Proc. § 2023.010.)

Sanctions are mandatory in connection with a motion to compel responses to interrogatories against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”  (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.290, subd. (c).)

DISCUSSION

On April 18, 2019, Moving Defendant served Special Interrogatories (Set One) on Plaintiff by U.S. mail.  (Wood Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. A.)  Moving Defendant granted two extensions for Plaintiff to provide the outstanding discovery response to Special Interrogatories (Set One), resulting in an ultimate deadline of October 29, 2019.  (Wood Decl., ¶5-6, Exh. B-C.) Defendant has not received Plaintiff’s outstanding responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One) as of the time Richard A. Wood signed his declaration on November 4, 2019. Wood Decl., ¶ 8-9.)

The Court finds Special Interrogatories (Set One) was properly served on Plaintiff and Plaintiff failed to serve timely responses.  As such, the motion is properly granted.  There is no evidence Plaintiff acted with a substantial justification.  However, Moving Defendant has not requested sanctions and, thus, Plaintiff has not received adequate notice of the possibility of an imposition of sanctions.  Thus, an imposition of sanctions would be unjust.

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Moving Defendant’s Special Interrogatories (Set One) within 20 days of this ruling.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.