This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/28/2019 at 00:33:20 (UTC).

KEITH HANCOCK ET AL VS ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART M.D. ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/29/2018 a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice case was filed by KEITH HANCOCK against ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART M D in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****0299

  • Filing Date:

    03/29/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

HANCOCK KEITH

PHAM TIEN

Defendants and Respondents

MODI ANIL M.D.

MINEHART ISAAC MICHAEL M.D.

DOES 1 THROUGH 100 INCLUSIVE

ARCADIA SURGICAL CENTER LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

KATZ RICHARD M. ESQ.

KATZ RICHARD MARC

HANCOCK KEITH

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

ERICKSEN ARBUTHNOT

ARBUTHNOT ERICKSEN

WEND CHRISTOPHER P

WERRE GREGORY D

WERRE GREGORY D.

WEND CHRISTOPHER P.

 

Court Documents

Separate Statement

9/25/2019: Separate Statement

Motion for Summary Judgment

9/25/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING EXHIBITS VOLUME 2

9/25/2019: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING EXHIBITS VOLUME 2

Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING EXHIBITS VOLUME 1

9/25/2019: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING EXHIBITS VOLUME 1

Substitution of Attorney

8/1/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Substitution of Attorney

8/7/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

6/24/2019: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

6/24/2019: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Motion for Summary Judgment

5/22/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Proof of Service by Mail

5/22/2019: Proof of Service by Mail

Separate Statement

5/22/2019: Separate Statement

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL

4/17/2019: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL

Other - - Other - Demand that Defense of Statute of Limitations be Tried Separately

11/19/2018: Other - - Other - Demand that Defense of Statute of Limitations be Tried Separately

Demand for Jury Trial

11/19/2018: Demand for Jury Trial

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

11/19/2018: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

CIVIL DEPOSIT -

6/8/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT -

DEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

6/8/2018: DEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

ANSWER OF DEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART, TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

6/8/2018: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART, TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

34 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/29/2021
  • Hearing03/29/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal

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  • 03/16/2020
  • Hearing03/16/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 03/04/2020
  • Hearing03/04/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 01/13/2020
  • Hearing01/13/2020 at 13:30 PM in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 12/12/2019
  • Hearing12/12/2019 at 13:30 PM in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 11/26/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Defendant Anil Modi, M.D.'s Motion for Summary Judgment)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/25/2019
  • Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 10/25/2019
  • DocketNotice of Lodging (Motion for Summary Judgment Exhibits); Filed by Arcadia Surgical Center LLC (Defendant)

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  • 10/25/2019
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by Arcadia Surgical Center LLC (Defendant)

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44 More Docket Entries
  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketANSWER OF DEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART, TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT, ISAAC MICHAEL MINEHART'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 06/08/2018
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Keith Hancock (Plaintiff); Tien Pham (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Keith Hancock (Plaintiff); Tien Pham (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC700299    Hearing Date: January 13, 2020    Dept: 4A

Motion for Summary Judgment

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

BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2018, Plaintiffs Keith Hancock and Tien Pham (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D., Anil Modi, M.D., and Arcadia Surgical Medical Center, LLC (erroneously sued and served as Arcadia Surgical Center, LLC) The complaint alleges medical malpractice and loss of consortium for wrongful treatment performed on Plaintiff Hancock on April 25, 2017 and May 17, 2017.

On October 25, 2019, Defendant Arcadia Surgical Medical Center, LLC (erroneously sued and served as Arcadia Surgical Center, LLC) filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

Trial is set for March 16, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant Arcadia Surgical Medical Center, LLC (erroneously sued and served as Arcadia Surgical Center, LLC) (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiffs. Moving Defendant argues its expert’s declaration opining that Moving Defendant’s staff complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff Hancock and Moving Defendant’s staff did not cause Plaintiff Hancock’s injuries. Defendant also argues Plaintiff Pham’s loss of consortium cause of action fails because it is derived from Plaintiff Hancock’s medical malpractice cause of action.

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, subd. (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.” (Ibid.) “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 physical and rehabilitation physician Sten Erik Kramer, M.D. in support of Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Dr. Kramer provided his credentials.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 1, Exh. A.)  Dr. Kramer stated he reviewed Plaintiff’s complaint, Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D.’s September 10, 2019 declaration, and Plaintiff Hancock’s records from Dr. Minehart, Arcadis Surgical Medical Center, Fortanasee-Purino Neurology Center, Arcadia MRI & Imaging Center, and Methodist Hosptial.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 3.)  Dr. Kramer then listed Plaintiff Hancock’s relevant medical history. Kramer Decl., ¶¶ 3-16.) Dr. Kramer declared a variety of opinions explained in further detail below.

Dr. Minehart’s diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”) for Plaintiff Hancock complied with the standard of care.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 19.)  This is because Plaintiff Hancock displayed three classic signs of CRPS: (1) cold skin in the affected area that warmed up after sympathetic block, (2) a burning sensation, and (3) dysesthesia.  (Ibid.)

Dr. Minehart’s administering of the cervical epidural injection and thoracic sympathetic block was within the standard of care.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 20.)  This is because Dr. Minehart believed the two procedures would support each other and Plaintiff Hancock had a positive MRI.  (Ibid.Further, sympathetic blocks are used for diagnosing and treating CRPS.  (Kramer Decl., 21.)  A sympathetic block can be performed by a stellate ganglion block of a thoracic sympathetic block.  (Ibid.)  Both approaches are within the standard of care.  (Ibid.) The thoracic approach, which is what was taken here, involves a risk of pneumothorax due to the proximity of the lung.  (Ibid.) Pneumothorax occurs in the absence of negligence, as occurred here(Ibid.)

Dr. Minehart obtained Plaintiff Hancock’s informed consent.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 22.)  Dr. Minehart discussed the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure.  (Ibid.Dr. Minehart discussed the risk of pneumothorax and described it as “air in the lung. Ibid.)  Plaintiff Hancock agreed to proceed and signed a written consent form before the procedure was performed.  (Ibid.)

The standard of care requires a chest x-ray to be performed when there is a suspicion of pneumothorax.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 23.)  Moving Defendant met this standard of care because Plaintiff Kramer was sent to get a chest x-ray after a suspicion of pneumothorax arose.  (Ibid.)  The x-ray reveled a small left apical pneumothorax.  (Kramer Decl., 24.)  Plaintiff Hancock appeared for a follow-up chest x-ray the next day, which showed small to moderate left apical pneumothorax that mildly increased from the prior examination.  (Ibid.)  Plaintiff Hancock was referred to surgeon Dr. Papadopolous, which was within the standard of care(Ibid.Moving Defendant’s responsibility for further care and treatment of Plaintiff Hancock was terminated once Plaintiff Hancock was referred to Dr. Papadopolous.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 25.)

Dr. Kramer found Moving Defendant’s staff to have complied with the standard of care.  (Kramer Decl., 26.)  The equipment used during Dr. Minehart’s procedure was appropriate.  (Ibid.)  Dr. Minehart was appropriately advised as to the treatment Plaintiff Hancock needed to receive at Fortanasce-Purino Neurology Center, Arcadia MRI & Imaging Center, and Methodist Hospital.  (Ibid.)

Dr. Kramer also found that no act or omission of Moving Defendant’s caused an injury to Plaintiff Hancock.  (Kramer Decl., ¶ 27.)  This is because pneumothorax is a known complication of the procedure, which was explained to Plaintiff before the procedure.  (Ibid.)  Pneumothorax occurred in the absence of negligence, as it did here.  (Ibid.)

The Court finds Moving Defendant has submitted a sufficient expert declaration.  This declaration shows that Moving Defendant consistently complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff HancockAs such, Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing Plaintiff Hancock cannot prove the essential elements of a breach of a duty and causation for Plaintiff Hancock’s medical malpractice claim.  It also follows that Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing that Plaintiff Pham’s loss of consortium cause of action fails because it is derivative of the medical malpractice cause of action.  (See Montague v. AMN Healthcare, Inc. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1515, 1526.)

The burden shifts to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs have not opposed this motion or otherwise submitted a sufficiently contradictory expert declaration.  Summary judgment is therefore properly granted.

The motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC700299    Hearing Date: December 12, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion for Summary Judgment

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

BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2018, Plaintiffs Keith Hancock and Tien Pham (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D., Anil Modi, M.D., and Arcadia Surgical Center, LLC (“Defendants”) alleging medical malpractice and loss of consortium for wrongful treatment performed on April 25, 2017 and May 17, 2017.

On September 25, 2019, Defendant Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D. filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

Trial is set for March 16, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D. (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiffs based on Moving Defendants expert declaration opining that Moving Defendant complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff Hancock and Moving Defendant did not cause Plaintiff Hancock’s injuries.

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, subd. (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.” (Ibid.) “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 Becker, M.D. in support of Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Dr. Becker provided his credentials.  (Becker Decl., ¶¶ 1-2, Exh. A.)  Dr. Becker described his review of Plaintiff’s complaint, Moving Defendant’s declaration dated September 10, 2019, and Plaintiff Hancock’s records from Moving Defendant, Arcadia Surgical Medical Center, Vincent M. Fortanasce, M.D., Byron Sotomayor, M.D., and Methodist Hospital.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 3, pp. 13:21-14:8.)  Dr. Becker then listed relevant facts.  (Becker Decl., ¶¶ 4a-4k.)  Finally, Dr. Becker declared a variety of opinions explained in further detail below.

According to Dr. Becker, Moving Defendant’s diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”) for Plaintiff Hancock complied with the standard of care.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5b.)  This is because Plaintiff Hancock displayed three classic signs of CRPS: (1) cold skin in the affected area that warmed up after sympathetic block, (2) a burning sensation, and (3) dysesthesia.  (Ibid.)  Additionally, Plaintiff Hancock’s surgery in the relevant area could have also caused CRPS.  (Ibid.)

The decision to recommend a sympathetic block was within the standard of care.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5c.)  This is because the only way to help diagnosis CRPS is to perform a sympathetic block because there is no diagnostic test to confirm a diagnosis of CRPS.  (Ibid.)  The condition is likely CRPS if the block brings instant pain relief lasting for the duration of the block.  (Ibid.)

Dr. Becker opined that Moving Defendant obtained Plaintiff Hancock’s informed consent.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5d.)  Moving Defendant discussed the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure.  (Ibid.)  Moving Defendant explained what pneumothorax was in a way understandable to a law person and discussed the risk of pneumothorax with Plaintiff Hancock.  (Ibid.)  Moving Defendant explained the primary alternative was long-term narcotic use, which was not appropriate until the sympathetic block failed.  (Ibid.)  Plaintiff Hancock agreed to proceed, signed a written consent form that identified the procedures to be performed and the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the procedures to be performed.  (Ibid.)

In Dr. Becker’s opinion, pneumothorax is the most common complication that can occur with the performance of a thoracic sympathetic block and occurs in the absence of negligence.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5f.)  The pneumothorax that occurred here did not arise because of any negligence.  (Ibid.)  A sympathetic block can be performed by a stellate ganglion block of a thoracic sympathetic block.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5g.)  The decision to choose one of the two approaches is a preferential choice for the physician and both are within the standard of care.  (Ibid.)  The thoracic approach involves a risk of pneumothorax in 1% to 4% of the procedures because the needle passes mere millimeters from the lung.  (Ibid.)  The physician cannot see where the lung is during the procedure, leaving open the possibility of hitting the lung with the needle.  (Ibid.)

Dr. Becker also opined that the standard of care requires that the physician order a chest x-ray if there is a suspicion of pneumothorax after a thoracic sympathetic block is performed.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5h.)  It is reasonable and appropriate to wait and see if the pneumothorax will heal if it is small because it can re-absorb without intervention.  (Ibid.)  A follow-up chest x-ray must then be obtained to check on the status of the pneumothorax.  (Ibid.)  A chest tube should be placed and suction used if the pneumothorax gets bigger.  (Ibid.)

According to Dr. Becker, Moving Defendant’s post-procedure care of Plaintiff Hancock was compliant with the standard of care.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5i.)  Moving Defendant sent Plaintiff Hancock to get a chest x-ray, which showed a small left apical pneumothorax.  (Ibid.)  Plaintiff Hancock appeared for a follow-up chest x-ray the next day, which showed small to moderate left apical pneumothorax that had mildly increased from the prior examination.  (Ibid.)  Plaintiff Hancock was referred to surgeon Dr. Papadopolous.  These actions were within the standard of care.  (Ibid.)  Moving Defendant’s responsibility for further care of Plaintiff Hancock’s pneumothorax was terminated once Plaintiff Hancock was referred to Dr. Papadopolous.  (Becker Decl., ¶ 5j.)

The Court finds Moving Defendant has submitted a sufficient expert declaration.  This declaration shows that Moving Defendant consistently complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff HancockAs such, Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing that Plaintiff Hancock cannot prove the essential elements of a breach of a duty and causation for Plaintiff Hancock’s medical malpractice claim.  It also follows that Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing that Plaintiff Pham’s loss of consortium cause of action fails because it is derivative of the medical malpractice cause of action.  (See Montague v. AMN Healthcare, Inc. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1515, 1526.)

The burden shifts to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs have not opposed this motion or otherwise submitted an expert declaration sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact on the questions of professional negligence or causation.  Summary judgment is therefore properly granted.

The motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC700299    Hearing Date: November 26, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion for Summary Judgment

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

BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2018, Plaintiffs Keith Hancock and Tien Pham (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Isaac Michael Minehart, M.D., Anil Modi, M.D., and Arcadia Surgical Center, LLC (“Defendants”) alleging medical malpractice and loss of consortium for wrongful treatment performed on April 25, 2017 and May 17, 2017.

On May 22, 2019, Defendant Anil Modi, M.D. filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

On July 24, 2019, Defendant Anil Modi, M.D. continued his motion for summary judgment to November 26, 2019.

Trial is set for March 16, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant Anil Modi, M.D. (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiffs based on Moving Defendants expert declaration opining that Moving Defendant complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff Hancock.

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, subd. (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.” (Ibid.) “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 Laura G. Audell, M.D. in support of Moving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Dr. Audell provided her credentials.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 1, 3, pp. 1:28-2:17, 3:23-2:28, Exh. B.)  Dr. Audell stated she reviewed the declaration of Sidorela Deliu-Kerasiotis, Esq. and the medical records regarding Plaintiff Hancock from Arcadia Surgical Medical Center, which are attached as Exhibit A to Sidorela Deliu-Kerasiotis, Esq.’s declaration.  (Audell Decl., 2, p. 2:18-2:22.)  Dr. Audell then provided key facts and her opinions.

Dr. Audell states the following.  The May 17, 217 Operative Report shows Plaintiff Hancock presented to Arcadia Surgical and underwent a cervical epidural injection under fluoroscopy at C6-C7, cervical epidurogram to assess adequate flow of medication, left thoracic sympathetic block under fluoroscopy, and thoracic cervical vertebrogram to assess adequate flow of medication all of which was performed by I. Michael Minehart, M.D.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 4, p. 3:1-3:6.)  The procedures performed by Dr. Minehart started at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 10:55 a.m.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 6, p. 3:13-3:14.)  Moving Defendant did not participate in the procedures performed by Dr. Minehart.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 7, p. 3:15-3:16.)

Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) was provided by Moving Defendant according to the records.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 4, p. 3:6-3:7.)  The MAC started at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 11:00 a.m.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 6, p. 3:12-3:13.)  Moving Defendant properly administered intravenous anesthetic fluid and properly monitored Plaintiff Hancock’s vital signs during Dr. Minehart’s performance of procedures on Plaintiff Hancock.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 8, p. 3:17-3:19.)  Moving Defendant properly conducted a post-anesthesia evaluation of Plaintiff Hancock, who was awake at the time of the evaluation and had stable vital signs according to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit record.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 9, p. 3:120-3:23.)  The medical records show there were no apparent anesthesia complications, Plaintiff Hancock was stable, and the discharge criteria were met.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 9, p. 3:23-3:24.)  Moving Defendant did not have any further involvement with Plaintiff Hancock after the completion of the post-anesthesia evaluation.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 10, p. 3:25-3:27.)  Therefore, Moving Defendant complied with the standard of care for anesthesiologists in Southern California while treating Plaintiff Hancock.  (Audell Decl., ¶ 11, pp. 3:28-4:4.)

The Court finds Moving Defendant has submitted a sufficient expert declaration.  This declaration shows that Moving Defendant consistently complied with the applicable standard of care in treating Plaintiff HancockAs such, Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing Plaintiff Hancock cannot prove the essential element of a breach of a duty for Plaintiff Hancock’s medical malpractice claim.  It also follows that Moving Defendant has met his burden of showing that Plaintiff Pham’s loss of consortium cause of action fails because it is derivative of the medical malpractice cause of action.  (See Montague v. AMN Healthcare, Inc. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1515, 1526.)

The burden shifts to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs have not opposed this motion or otherwise submitted a sufficiently contradictory expert declaration.  Summary judgment is therefore properly granted.

The motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.