On 06/04/2018 CHERYL STAFFORD filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against HERBERT HUDDLESTON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH, SHIRLEY K. WATKINS, HUEY P. COTTON, VIRGINIA KEENY and PAUL A. BACIGALUPO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Van Nuys Courthouse East
Los Angeles, California
STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH
SHIRLEY K. WATKINS
HUEY P. COTTON
PAUL A. BACIGALUPO
VALLEY HIP & KNEE INSTITUTE
DOES 1 TO 100
VALLEY HIP & KNEE INSTITUTE
VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL
KRUPKA KEITH M. ESQ.
KRUPKA KEITH MICHAEL ESQ.
BLOOMFIELD TODD JON
KRUPKA KEITH MICHAEL
LONGO DAN LEROY
TRAPP JANET E.
10/2/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY CROSS-DEFENDANTS, VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL AND KERBY PIERRE-LOUIS, PA
10/1/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF NON-OPPOSITION TO CROSS-DEFENDANT VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
7/10/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-MEDIATION STATUS CONFERENCE; TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)
6/30/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE (MSC))
3/13/2020: Motion for Summary Judgment
3/13/2020: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING RECORDS IN SUPPORT OF MSJ
11/26/2019: Case Management Statement
11/27/2019: Case Management Statement
11/12/2019: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
10/29/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 10/29/2019, A COPY OF THE COURT'S FSC AND TRIAL ORDER
10/18/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 8 BY DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D. TO PRECLUDE IMPROPER EXPERT TESTIMONY ON DIRECT EXAMINATION ABOUT LITERATURE AND T
10/18/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 5 BY DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D. TO LIMIT THE PARTIES' EXPERTS TO OPINIONS EXPRESSED AT DEPOSITION
10/18/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 2 BY DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D. TO PRECLUDE REFERENCE TO OTHER LAWSUITS
10/18/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1 BY DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D. TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF HIS FINANCIAL CONDITION OR PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
10/18/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 6 BY DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D. TO PRECLUDE THE PARTIES FROM EXAMINING EXPERTS AS TO THEIR PERSONAL PRACTICES
10/22/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO SEVER AND OPPO TO EX PARTE TO CONT TRIAL
9/9/2019: Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT
8/2/2018: DEFENDANT, HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D.'S REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL AND NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES
Hearing03/24/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Trial Setting ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 09:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 09:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 09:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication; Hearing on Motion...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketJudgment ([PROPOSED] JUDGMENT ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY CROSS-DEFENDANTS, VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL AND KERBY PIERRE-LOUIS, PA); Filed by Valley Presbyterian Hospital (Cross-Defendant); Kerby Pierre-Louis (Cross-Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (Notice of Non-Opposition to Cross-Defendant Kerby Pierre-Louis, PA's Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Herbert Huddleston (Cross-Complainant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (Notice of Death of Defendant Herbert D. Huddleston, M.D.); Filed by Herbert Huddleston (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (Notice of Non-Opposition to Cross-Defendant Valley Presbyterian Hospital's Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Herbert Huddleston (Cross-Complainant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketReceipt; Filed by Herbert Huddleston (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDEFENDANT, HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D.'S REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL AND NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEESRead MoreRead Less
DocketCIVIL DEPOSITRead MoreRead Less
DocketRequest; Filed by Defendant/RespondentRead MoreRead Less
DocketDEFENDANT, HERBERT D. HUDDLESTON, M.D.'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPTRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Cheryl Stafford (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Cheryl Stafford (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC708837 Hearing Date: October 15, 2020 Dept: W
CHERYL STAFFORD v. HERBERT HUDDLESTON, et al.
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Date of Hearing: October 15, 2020 Trial Date: None set
Department: W Case No.: BC708837
Moving Party: Cross-Defendants Valley Presbyterian Hospital and Kerby Pierre-Louis, PA
Responding Party: Cross-Complainant Herbert D. Huddleston, M.D.
This is a medical malpractice and fraud action. Plaintiff Cheryl Stafford (“Plaintiff”) alleges that, on June 7, 2017, Defendants Herbert Huddleston (“Dr. Huddleston”) and Valley Hip & Knee Institute negligently diagnosed, treated, and/or performed a right total hip replacement surgery on Plaintiff. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges Defendants encountered bleeding during the procedure and, in an effort to stop the bleeding, negligently began suturing the area such as to cause damage to the profunda femoris and superficial femoral artery and vein. As a result, Plaintiff suffered a large blood clot in her right leg and incomplete paralysis of the right leg. Plaintiff alleges Defendants omitted any reference to the bleeding during the procedure and that Defendants compressed and sutured Plaintiff’s superficial femoral artery and femoral vein and ligated and transected Plaintiff’s distal profunda artery while suturing the area.
On June 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants Huddleston and Valley Hip & Knee Institute for general negligence and fraud.
On July 3, 2019, Dr. Huddleston filed a cross-complaint against Cross-Defendants Kerby Pierre-Louis, PA (“P.A. Pierre-Louis”) and Valley Presbyterian Hospital (“VPH”) for (1) total indemnity, (2) partial indemnity, and (3) declaratory relief.
On March 13, 2020, Cross-Defendants P.A. Pierre-Louis and VPH (collectively “Cross-Defendants”) filed the instant motion for summary judgment. Cross-Complainant Dr. Huddleston filed notices of non-opposition on October 1, 2020.
Cross-Defendants Valley Presbyterian Hospital and Kerby Pierre-Louis, PA’s Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
The function of a motion for summary judgment or adjudication is to allow a determination as to whether an opposing party cannot show evidentiary support for a pleading or claim and to enable an order of summary dismissal without the need for trial. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) CCP Section 437c(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.)
As to each claim as framed by the complaint, the defendant moving for summary judgment must satisfy the initial burden of proof by presenting facts to negate an essential element, or to establish a defense. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(p)(2); Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1520.) Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)
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 that cause of action or a defense thereto. To establish a triable issue of material fact, the party opposing the motion must produce substantial responsive evidence. (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151, 166.)
Cross-Defendants P.A. Pierre-Louis and VPH move for summary judgment on grounds that the indemnity and declaratory relief causes of action asserted against them in the cross-complaint have no merit because P.A. Pierre-Louis did not breach the applicable standard of care or cause Plaintiff’s injuries.
“The right to indemnity flows from payment of a joint legal obligation on another’s behalf.” (Expressions at Rancho Niguel Association v. Ahmanson Developments, Inc. (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 1135, 1139.) “The elements of a cause of action for indemnity are (1) a showing of fault on the part of the indemnitor and (2) resulting damages to the indemnitee for which the indemnitor is contractually or equitably responsible.” (Id. (emphasis in original).)
CCP section 1060 provides that a person may bring an action for declaratory relief if he or she “desires a declaration of his or her rights or duties with respect to another, or in respect to, in, over or upon property . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1060.) To state a declaratory relief claim, the plaintiff must allege a proper subject of declaratory relief and an actual controversy involving justiciable questions relating to the party’s rights or obligations. (See Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 872, 909.)
Here, Cross-Complainant Dr. Huddleston’s indemnity and declaratory relief causes of action are premised on Cross-Defendants’ purported liability for Plaintiff’s injuries resulting from the hip replacement surgery. (Cross-Complaint, ¶¶ 7, 9, 11, 13-14.) Specifically, Cross-Complainant asserts P.A. Pierre-Louis is liable because he performed the surgical closure procedure Plaintiff has complained about and that VPH is vicariously liable for P.A. Pierre-Louis’ purported negligence. (Cross-Defendants’ Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts Nos. 5-6; Tanaka Decl. and Exhibits, ¶ 6, Ex. E, Dr. Huddleston’s Response to P.A. Pierre-Louis’ Special Interrogatory No. 1; id., ¶ 7, Ex. F, Dr. Huddleston’s Response to VPH’s Special Interrogatory No. 1.) The issue is thus whether Cross-Defendants were at fault for Plaintiff’s injuries arising from the surgery.
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 (citations omitted).) “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.)
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.)
Here, Cross-Defendants have submitted a declaration from Domenick J. Sisto, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. (Tanaka Decl. and Exhibits, ¶ 3, Ex. B, Sisto Decl., ¶ 2.) Dr. Sisto opines that, based on a review of Plaintiff’s medical records, the complaint, the cross-complaint, the depositions of Plaintiff and Cross-Complainant and P.A. Pierre-Louis’ declaration and on his education, training, and experience, P.A. Pierre-Louis complied with the applicable standard of care for a physician assistant during his involvement with the subject surgery. (Id., ¶¶ 4-5, 8, 13.) Dr. Sisto declares that for Plaintiff’s total right hip replacement surgery, Dr. Huddleston was the lead surgeon with assistance from P.A. Pierre-Louis. (Id., ¶ 6(C).) Dr. Sisto states that, according to Dr. Huddleston’s deposition, he stepped away from the Operating Room after closing the deep tissues and allowed the P.A. to handle the remaining steps for closure. (Id., ¶ 6(D).) Dr. Sisto provides that, after Plaintiff complained of ongoing loss of sensation to the right leg and foot, Plaintiff was taken to the O.R. and Dr. Burks performed a thrombectomy to repair a damaged right superior femoral artery and a venous thrombectomy of the right lower leg along with the right lower leg arteriogram, which revealed a suture looking like Zero-Prolene going right through and around the superior femoral artery and into the femoral vein and that the distal profunda femoris artery was completely ligated and transected. (Id., ¶ 6(E)-(I).) Dr. Sisto states that, according to P.A. Pierre-Louis’ custom and practice during the orthopedic surgeries where he assisted Dr. Huddleston, P.A. Pierre-Louis appropriately worked under direct supervision of Dr. Huddleston who handled the key intraoperative decisions and surgical manipulations, which, in the context of a total hip replacement, would include tying and ligating of major vessels as needed, implant selection and placement, and closing of deeper tissue layers near and around the surgical site at issue. (Id., ¶ 9.) Dr. Sisto declares P.A. Pierre-Louis’ duties and scope of practice during these surgeries were appropriately limited to providing assistance and support to the lead surgeon as needed, including generally keeping the surgical field open and visible for the lead surgeon to carry out various surgical manipulations. (Id., ¶ 10.) Dr. Sisto states that in P.A. Pierre-Louis’ role as the assistant, his handling of surgical manipulations was appropriately limited to final closures of the superficial tissue layer and the outer skin with sutures or staples. (Id., ¶ 11.) According to Dr. Sisto, there are no indications that P.A. Pierre-Louis deviated from his usual custom and practice in his role as the assistant surgeon or that he exceeded the usual limited extent of surgical manipulations of only handling closing of the superficial tissues and the outer skin. (Id., ¶ 12.) Dr. Sisto thus concludes that P.A. Pierre-Louis complied with the applicable standard of care for a physician assistant in his care and treatment rendered during Plaintiff’s hip replacement surgery. (Id., ¶ 13.)
Dr. Sisto further opines that, to a reasonable medical probability, the care and treatment rendered by P.A. Pierre-Louis did not cause or contribute to Plaintiff’s vascular injuries. (Id., ¶¶ 14, 17.) Dr. Sisto explains that the multiple right leg femoral arteries are all vessels located within the deeper tissues of the leg and situated underneath the muscle layer and that, anatomically, the superficial tissues are above the muscle layer with the skin just above the superficial layer. (Id., ¶ 15.) Dr. Sisto declares that the small-size, fine, curved CT1 or CT2 needles used by P.A. Pierre-Louis for suturing of superficial tissues do not have the needed size, strength, or length to penetrate and pass through a muscle layer, which would be necessary to even reach down with a needle to suture in the deeper areas where the three damaged femoral arteries were described as sutured through or ligated by suture ties. (Id., ¶ 16.)
The Court finds Cross-Defendants have met their burden of demonstrating that P.A. Pierre-Louis did not breach his duty of care or cause Plaintiff’s injuries. Given that P.A. Pierre-Louis did not breach his duty of care or cause Plaintiff’s injuries, Cross-Defendants have also met their burden of demonstrating VPH cannot be held vicariously liable for Plaintiff’s injuries. As Cross-Defendants are not at fault for Plaintiff’s injuries, Cross-Defendants cannot be held liable for the indemnity and declaratory relief claims asserted against them in the cross-complaint. The burden thus shifts to Cross-Complainant to show a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to Cross-Defendants’ liability. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(p)(2).)
Cross-Complainant has filed notices of non-opposition, indicating he is not opposing Cross-Defendants’ motion. Cross-Complainant has thus conceded no triable issues of material fact exist as to Cross-Defendants’ liability for Plaintiff’s injuries.
Accordingly, Cross-Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.
Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants Valley Presbyterian Hospital and Kerby Pierre-Louis, PA’s Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.