This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/20/2021 at 21:03:19 (UTC).

LORNA FERA, ET AL. VS COUNTRY VILLA CLAREMONT HEALTHCARE CENTER, ET AL, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 07/26/2019 LORNA FERA filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against COUNTRY VILLA CLAREMONT HEALTHCARE CENTER, . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are GLORIA WHITE-BROWN, THOMAS D. LONG and CHARLES C. LEE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******6530

  • Filing Date:

    07/26/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

GLORIA WHITE-BROWN

THOMAS D. LONG

CHARLES C. LEE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

FERA LORNA

CHRISTINA FERA-THOMAS AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO MARION DEGRYSE

FERA-THOMAS CHRISTINA

LORNA FERA SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST TO MARION DEGRYSE

Defendants

FERA CHRISTINA

COUNTRY VILLA CLAREMONT HEALTHCARE CENTER

COUNTRY VILLA SERVICE CORP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

GHECEA ANTHONY

Defendant Attorney

FISCHLER MARVIN

 

Court Documents

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

8/16/2021: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Case Management Statement

8/2/2021: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

8/2/2021: Case Management Statement

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER (PROPOSED) STIPULATION ORDER TO STRIKE PORTIOINS OF THE PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT AND FOR FILING OF ANSWER

8/2/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER (PROPOSED) STIPULATION ORDER TO STRIKE PORTIOINS OF THE PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT AND FOR FILING OF ANSWER

Answer

8/4/2021: Answer

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

8/5/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

3/23/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Amended Complaint

3/23/2020: Amended Complaint

Substitution of Attorney

3/24/2020: Substitution of Attorney

Proof of Personal Service

3/30/2020: Proof of Personal Service

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

11/13/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Notice of Rejection - Miscellaneous Judgments - NOTICE OF NON-ENTRY OF DEFAULT

12/2/2020: Notice of Rejection - Miscellaneous Judgments - NOTICE OF NON-ENTRY OF DEFAULT

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

12/3/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT / JUDGMENT DEFAULT REJECTED

12/11/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT / JUDGMENT DEFAULT REJECTED

Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

12/16/2020: Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

Statement of Damages (Personal Injury or Wrongful Death)

12/22/2020: Statement of Damages (Personal Injury or Wrongful Death)

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

12/22/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Case Management Statement

12/24/2020: Case Management Statement

36 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/15/2022
  • Hearing11/15/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department J at 400 Civic Center Plaza, Pomona, CA 91766; Jury Trial

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  • 11/07/2022
  • Hearing11/07/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department J at 400 Civic Center Plaza, Pomona, CA 91766; Final Status Conference

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  • 07/20/2022
  • Hearing07/20/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department J at 400 Civic Center Plaza, Pomona, CA 91766; Trial Readiness Conference

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/05/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department J, Gloria White-Brown, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 08/05/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/04/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center (Defendant)

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  • 08/02/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center (Defendant)

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  • 08/02/2021
  • DocketStipulation and Order ((Proposed) Stipulation Order to Strike Portioins of the Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint and for Filing of Answer); Filed by Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center (Defendant)

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  • 08/02/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Lorna Fera (Plaintiff)

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37 More Docket Entries
  • 03/24/2020
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Lorna Fera (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketAmended Complaint (1st); Filed by Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff); Christina Fera-Thomas (Plaintiff); Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Christina Fera-Thomas (Plaintiff); Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff); Lorna Fera (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/05/2019
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Lorna Fera Successor-in-interest to Marion Degryse (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STCV26530    Hearing Date: May 4, 2021    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

NOTICE: OK[1]

RE: Fera v. Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center, et al. (19STCV26530)

______________________________________________________________________________

 

1. Defendant Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP, dba Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center’s DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS’ FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Lorna Fera and Christina Fera-Thomas, individually and as successors-in-interest to Marion DeGryse

2. Defendant Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP, dba Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center’s MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE PLAINTIFFS’ [FIRST AMENDED] COMPLAINT

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Lorna Fera and Christina Fera-Thomas, individually and as successors-in-interest to Marion DeGryse

Tentative Ruling

1. Defendant Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP, dba Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center’s Demurrer to Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED. The court will hear from counsel for Plaintiff as to whether leave to amend is requested, and as to which cause(s) of action, and will require an offer of proof if so.

2. Defendant Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP, dba Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center’s Motion to Strike Portions of the Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint is DENIED as MOOT.

Background

Plaintiffs Lorna Fera and Christina Fera-Thomas, individually and as successors-in-interest to Marion DeGryse (“Plaintiffs”) allege as follows: Marion DeGryse (“DeGryse”) was a patient at a long-term health care facility from on or about October 2014 through on or about January 2019. DeGryse died on February 8, 2019 as a resulted of deficiencies in care.

On March 23, 2020, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), asserting causes of action against Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center (“Center”) and Does 1-50 for:

  1. Elder Abuse/Neglect

  2. Professional Negligence

  3. Wrongful Death

  4. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

  5. Violation of Patient’s Rights

On December 3, 2020, Plaintiffs filed an “Amendment to Complaint,” wherein Country Villa Service Corp. (“Service Corp.”) was named in lieu of Doe 1.

On December 22, 2020, Center’s default was entered.

On April 6, 2021, this case was transferred from Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court to this instant department.

A Status Conference is set for May 4, 2021.

1. Demurrer to FAC

Legal Standard

A demurrer may be made on the grounds that, inter alia, the pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action and/or is uncertain. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subds. (e) and (f).)

When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. In a demurrer proceeding, the defects must be apparent on the face of the pleading or via proper judicial notice. (Donabedian v. Mercury Ins. Co. (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 968, 994.) “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 430.30, 430.70.) At the pleading stage, a plaintiff need only allege ultimate facts sufficient to apprise the defendant of the factual basis for the claim against him. (Semole v. Sansoucie (1972) 28 Cal. App. 3d 714, 721.) A “demurrer does not, however, admit contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law alleged in the pleading, or the construction of instruments pleaded, or facts impossible in law.” (S. Shore Land Co. v. Petersen (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 725, 732.)

Discussion

Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Center, LP dba Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center (“Defendant”) demurs, per Code of Civil Procedure § 430.10, subdivisions (e) and (f), to the first, fourth and fifth causes of action in Plaintiff’s FAC, on the basis that they each fail to state facts sufficient to constitute causes of action and are uncertain.

Request for Judicial Notice

 

The court rules on Defendant’s Request for Judicial Notice (“RJN”) as follows: Granted as to No. 1 (i.e., complaint filed on or about July 26, 2019); Granted as to No. 2 (i.e., FAC filed on or about March 23, 2020); Granted as to No. 3 (i.e., Notice of Representation filed on or about December 30, 2020); Granted as to No. 4 (i.e., “Order Granting Defendant, Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP’s Request to Extend Time to File Responsive Pleading” filed February 26, 2021) and Denied as to No. 5 (i.e., “[t]hat a declaration pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.32, has not been filed by either Lorna Fera nor Christina Fera-Thomas”)[2].

Merits

 

First Cause of Action (i.e., Elder Abuse/Neglect)

The elements of a cause of action for elder abuse and neglect are determined by the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (“EADCPA”). (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15600; Intrieri v. Sup. Ct. (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 72, 82.) Because a cause of action for elder abuse is governed by a statute, the elements must be alleged with particularity. (Covenant Care, Inc. v. Superior Court (2004) 32 Cal.4th 771, 790.)

Under the Elder Abuse Act, “’abuse of an elder or a dependent adult’ means any of the following: (1) Physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering. (2) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. (3) Financial abuse . . .” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.07, subd. (a).)

“Neglect” “means either of the following: (1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise. (2) The negligent failure of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of self care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.57, subd. (a).) “Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter. (2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. . . (3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards. (4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration. (5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.57, subd. (b).)

A plaintiff must show defendant was guilty of “‘recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of [physical, neglectful, or financial elder abuse.]’” (Benun v. Superior Court (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 113, 119 [citation omitted].) Recklessness “refers to a subjective state of culpability grater than simple negligence, which has been described as a ‘deliberate disregard’ of the ‘high degree of probability’ that an injury will occur.” (Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23, 31.) Oppression, fraud and malice involve intentional or conscious wrongdoing of a despicable or injurious nature. (Id.)

The Act excludes liability for acts of professional negligence; it does not apply to simple or gross negligence by health care providers. (Id. at 32; Covenant Care, Inc., supra, 32 Cal.4th at 785.) Neglect under the Act “refers not to the substandard performance of medical services but, rather, to the failure of those responsible for attending to the basic needs and comforts of elderly or dependent adults, regardless of their professional standing, to carry out their custodial obligations. Thus, the statutory definition of ‘neglect’ speaks not of the undertaking of medical services, but of the failure to provide medical care.” (Sababin v. Superior Court (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 81, 89 [quotation marks and citation omitted].)

Accordingly, several factors must be present for conduct to constitute neglect within the meaning of the Elder Abuse Act and thus trigger the enhanced remedies available under the Act. The plaintiff must allege facts establishing that: (1) defendant had responsibility for meeting the basic needs of the elder or dependent adult, such as nutrition, hydration, hygiene or medical care; (2) defendant knew of conditions that made the elder or dependent adult unable to provide for his or her own basic needs; (3) defendant denied or withheld goods or services necessary to meet the elder or dependent adult’s basic needs, either with knowledge that injury was substantially certain to befall the elder or dependent adult (if the plaintiff alleges oppression, fraud or malice) or with conscious disregard of the high probability of such injury (if the plaintiff alleges recklessness); and (4) the neglect caused the elder or dependent adult to suffer physical harm, pain or mental suffering. (Carter v. Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley LLC (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 396, 406-407.)

Further, “[t]he standards set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3294 of the Civil Code regarding the imposition of punitive damages on an employer based upon the acts of an employee shall be satisfied before any damages or attorney’s fees permitted under this section may be imposed against an employer.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657, subd. (c).) “An employer shall not be liable for [punitive] damages. . . based upon acts of an employee of the employer, unless the employer had advance knowledge of the unfitness of the employee and employed him or her with a conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others or authorized or ratified the wrongful conduct for which the damages are awarded or was personally guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. With respect to a corporate employer, the advance knowledge and conscious disregard, authorization, ratification or act or oppression, fraud, or malice must be on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporation.” (Civ. Code, § 3294, subd. (b).)

Here, Plaintiffs have failed to plead specific facts supporting the contention that Defendant, or its staff, “abused or neglected” DeGryse and that such was done with oppression, fraud, or malice. Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendant owed a duty to DeGryse based upon various regulatory or statutory provisions and concludes that Defendant violated or failed to comply with those provisions without offering any facts in support thereof. (FAC, ¶ 9.) Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendant failed to properly staff the facility, failed to properly train, monitor or supervise the staff and made a decision “to minimize resident care costs so as to maximize compensation for management and shareholders,” without offering any factual support. (Id., ¶ 12.) Plaintiffs have also alleged in a conclusory manner that DeGryse suffered injury or harm purportedly as a result of result of Defendant’s improper acts or omissions, again without offering any factual support. (Id., ¶ 15.) Plaintiffs’ allegations regarding corporate responsibility are likewise fact barren.

Defendant’s demurrer to the first cause of action is sustained.

 

Fourth Cause of Action (i.e., Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)

“The law of negligent infliction of emotional distress in California is typically analyzed . . . by two ‘theories’ of recovery: the ‘bystander’ theory and the ‘direct victim’ theory. . . [T]he negligent causing of emotional distress is not an independent tort, but the tort of negligence. . . The traditional elements of duty, breach of duty, causation and damages apply.” (Burgess v. Superior Court (1992) 2 Cal.4th 1064, 1071-1072.)

“[T]o recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a bystander the plaintiff must plead and prove he or she (1) is closely related to the injury victim; (2) is present at the scene of the injury-producing event at the time it occurs and is then aware that it is causing injury to the victim; and (3) as a result suffers serious emotional distress—a reaction beyond that which would be anticipated in a disinterested witness and which is not an abnormal response to the circumstances.” (Ra v. Superior Court (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 142, 148 [quotations and citation omitted].)

Plaintiffs have failed to set forth any facts regarding the date or dates when Plaintiffs purportedly observed the allegedly negligent or careless acts by any member of Defendant’s staff. Plaintiffs have not provided a description or nature of the negligent or careless action that Plaintiffs observed, and have not pled how they were able to ascertain or determine that the act(s) of Defendant’s employees were negligent or improper.

Defendant’s demurrer to the fourth cause of action is sustained.

Fifth Cause of Action (i.e., Violation of Patient’s Rights)

Health & Safety Code § 1430, subdivision (b) allows a current or former resident or patient to sue the licensee of a facility that “violates any rights” set forth in the Patients Bill of Rights (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 22, § 72527.) Since a Health & Safety Code § 1430 cause of action is a statutory claim, it must be pled with particularity.

Plaintiffs’ allegations are conclusory and not factually supported.

Defendant’s demurrer to the fifth cause of action is sustained.

2. Motion to Strike Portions of FAC

Defendant’s motion to strike is denied as moot, based upon the ruling made on the demurrer and on the fact that Plaintiffs have now filed a Code of Civil Procedure § 377.32 declaration.


[1] The demurrer and motion to strike were filed (and served via email) on February 22, 2021 and originally set for hearing on April 6, 2021. Again, on April 6, 2021, this case was transferred from Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court to this instant department. On April 7, 2021, moving party filed (and served via email) a “Notice of Resetting Hearing on Demurrer and Motion to Strike,” advising therein that the hearing on the demurrer and motion to strike had been rescheduled to May 4, 2021.

[2] The court notes that on March 2, 2021 (i.e., subsequent to the filing of the demurrer and motion to strike), Plaintiffs filed a “Declaration Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 377.32.”)

Case Number: 19STCV26530    Hearing Date: April 6, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – CENTRAL DISTRICT

LORNA FERA, ET AL.,

COUNTRY VILLA CLAREMONT

HEALTHCARE CENTER, ET AL.,

Case No.:  19STCV26530

ORDER TRANSFERRING COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT

INITIAL NOTE: This is not a tentative ruling.  It is being posted with the tentative rulings to give Counsel notice not to appear.  This is a final order and the case is being transferred.

AFTER REVIEW OF THE COURT FILE, THE COURT MAKES THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court has determined that the above entitled action is complicated based upon the number of pretrial hearings and/or the complexity of the issues presented.

AT THE DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT 1:

This case is hereby transferred and reassigned to the following Independent Calendar Court in THE EAST DISTRICT, JUDGE GLORIA WHITE-BROWN presiding in DEPT. J of the POMONA COURTHOUSE, for all purposes except trial. Department 1 hereby delegates to the Independent Calendar Court the authority to assign the cause for trial to that Independent Calendar Court.  

Any pending motions or hearings, including trial and status conferences, will be reset, continued or vacated at the direction of the newly assigned Independent Calendar court.

UPON RECEIPT OF THIS NOTICE, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF SHALL GIVE NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES OF RECORD.

COUNSEL ARE TO NOTE THAT EVEN IF THE CASE SUMMARY STILLS SHOWS DEPARTMENT 31 WITH FUTURE HEARINGS, COUNSEL ARE TO CONSIDER THEM TO BE OFF CALENDAR UNTIL THE NEW COURT SAYS OTHERWISE.

DATED: April 6, 2021 ___________________________

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