This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/13/2020 at 10:22:13 (UTC).

ZHONGCHAO MA VS SHANG C WU MD ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/01/2018 ZHONGCHAO MA filed a Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice lawsuit against SHANG C WU MD. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are GEORGINA T. RIZK, KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE and MARK A. BORENSTEIN. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5239

  • Filing Date:

    03/01/2018

  • 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

GEORGINA T. RIZK

KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE

MARK A. BORENSTEIN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

MA ZHONGCHAO

Defendants and Respondents

SURGERY PARTNERS

WU SHANG C. M.D.

DOES 1 TO 100

NOVAMED SURGERY CENTER OF WHITTIER LLC

WHITTIER OUTPATIENT SURGERY CENTER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

GROSS KENNETH I. ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

LAW YUK KWONG ESQ.

HOFFMAN BRIAN LEE ESQ.

REILLY JOHN M C ESQ.

REILLY JOHN M. C. ESQ.

HOFFMAN BRIAN L. ESQ.

LAW YUK K. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

4/7/2020: Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT ON SPECIAL VERDICT

4/3/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT ON SPECIAL VERDICT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

3/10/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

3/12/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

3/4/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

Order - Dismissal

2/19/2020: Order - Dismissal

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MIL NO. 4 TO PRECLUDE REFERENCE TO CARDIAC CAUSATION

2/18/2020: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MIL NO. 4 TO PRECLUDE REFERENCE TO CARDIAC CAUSATION

Objection - OBJECTION SUPPLEMENTAL EVIDENTIARY OBJECTION AND REPLY

11/15/2019: Objection - OBJECTION SUPPLEMENTAL EVIDENTIARY OBJECTION AND REPLY

Declaration - DECLARATION SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF OLUWOLE FAJOLU, M.D. IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT

11/8/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF OLUWOLE FAJOLU, M.D. IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE [KRISTINE M. HICKS - CSR #13634]

10/25/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE [KRISTINE M. HICKS - CSR #13634]

Reply - REPLY REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

10/18/2019: Reply - REPLY REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF JONATHAN ELLIS, M.D.

5/10/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF JONATHAN ELLIS, M.D.

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF SHANG C. WU

5/10/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF SHANG C. WU

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -

6/18/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -

CIVIL DEPOSIT -

4/11/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT -

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -

3/29/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -

SUMMONS -

3/1/2018: SUMMONS -

Unknown

3/1/2018: Unknown

54 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/07/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Costs (Summary); Filed by Shang C. Wu, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 04/03/2020
  • DocketJudgment on Special Verdict; Filed by Shang C. Wu, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 04/03/2020
  • DocketNotice (of Entry of Judgment on Special Verdict); Filed by Shang C. Wu, M.D. (Defendant)

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  • 04/02/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 5; Non-Appearance Case Review (reEntry of Judgment)

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  • 03/12/2020
  • Docketat 09:14 AM in Department 5; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 03/12/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 5; Jury Trial - Held

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  • 03/12/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Nunc Pro Tunc Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2020
  • DocketJury Instructions; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2020
  • DocketSpecial Verdict; Filed by Clerk

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76 More Docket Entries
  • 04/11/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by NOVAMED SURGERY CENTER OF WHITTIER, LLC (Defendant); WHITTIER OUTPATIENT SURGERY CENTER (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/11/2018
  • DocketANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 04/11/2018
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by NOVAMED SURGERY CENTER OF WHITTIER, LLC (Defendant); WHITTIER OUTPATIENT SURGERY CENTER (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/02/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Zhongchao Ma (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/02/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/29/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Zhongchao Ma (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/01/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 03/01/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Relocation Rescheduling; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 03/01/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Zhongchao Ma (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC695239    Hearing Date: December 09, 2019    Dept: 2

Ma v. Wu, M.D. et al.

Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Shang C. Wu, M.D, filed on 5/10/19, is DENIED. Defendant has not established that he is entitled to judgment in his favor based on the material facts proffered. Cal Code Civil Procedure § 437c(p)(2). Dr. Wu’s objection to the Declaration of Oluwole Fajolu, M.D. is OVERRULED.

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in 2017 Defendant Wu performed a colonoscopy on Plaintiff. During the procedure his colon was perforated, which required emergency surgical intervention to repair and a lengthy hospitalization. Plaintiff further alleges that he subsequently developed supraventricular tachycardia. Plaintiff asserts a single cause of action for negligence, claiming that Defendant Wu’s treatment fell below the standard of care. Dr. Wu has moved for summary judgment, claiming that the undisputed evidence establishes his treatment complied with the applicable standard of care and that no negligent action or omission caused or contributed to Plaintiff’s injuries.

To make out a claim for medical negligence, a plaintiff must establish the following elements: “(1) the duty of the professional use such skill, prudence, and diligence as other members of his [or her] profession commonly possess and exercise; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the injury; and (4) resulting loss or damage.” Hanson v. Grode (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 601, 606–607.

The required standard of care owed by a medical professional is a matter peculiarly within the knowledge of experts and can only be proved by expert testimony. Hanson at 606–607. The element of causation must also be proven with expert testimony. Jones v. Ortho Pharm. Corp. (1985) 163 Cal. App. 3d 396, 402.

Here, Dr. Wu presents evidence sufficient to meet his initial burden as the moving party that he acted within the standard of care. Dr. Wu has presented expert opinion that Dr. Wu complied with the standard of care in performing the colonoscopy; in following up with him after the colonoscopy; in performing the second procedure; and in the follow-up care after the second procedure. Dr. Wu also presents expert opinion that the bowel perforation that occurred was a known complication from a colonoscopy and that its occurrence in this case was not the result of any negligence on the part of Dr. Wu. He further presented expert opinion that the atrial fibrillation was not caused by any negligence on Dr. Wu’s part.

The burden thus shifted to Plaintiff to present controverting evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact. In opposition, Plaintiff presented the declaration of Oluwole Fajolu, M.D., a board certified thoracic surgeon. Dr. Fajolu stated that he is familiar with the standard of care for physicians practicing internal medicine and gastroenterology in Southern California; that he has reviewed Plaintiff’s medical records; and that based on his review Dr. Wu’s care fell below the standard of care. Specifically, he opined that because of certain specified anatomical features of Plaintiff’s colon (of which Dr. Wu was aware), Dr. Wu should have exercised increased caution in performing the colonoscopy, and that the failure to exercise the appropriate level of care resulted in the perforation of the colon. Dr. Fajolu also opined the various aspects of the follow up care fell below the standard of care and resulted in further harm.

In reply, Dr. Wu objects to Dr. Fajolu’s declaration on the ground that there is no indication in his declaration that he practiced as a gastroenterologist or cardiologist. In light of that objection, the Court continued the hearing to provide Plaintiff with an opportunity to provide a supplemental declaration of Dr. Fajolu to provide further foundation for his qualifications to opine on the standard of care for colonoscopy. Plaintiff has provided the supplemental declaration, and Defendant has renewed his objection.

Defendant’s objections to Dr. Fajolu’s declaration are overruled. On a summary judgment motion, the trial court must “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment.” Lattimore v. Dickey (2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 959, 970. Courts have held that it is an abuse of discretion for a trial court to sustain objections to declarations by expert physicians offered in opposition to summary judgment motions on the ground that the expert practices in a different specialty than the defendant’s. See, e.g., Mann v. Cracchiolo (1985) 38 Cal. 3d 18, 38 (diplomate of surgery and neurosurgery is qualified to provide expert testimony as to whether a radiologist met the standard of care; citing and discussing numerous other pertinent cases); Lattimore v. Dickey (2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 959, 970 (physician board certified in family and emergency medicine is qualified to provide expert testimony as to whether gastroenterologist exercised due care in the performance of and follow-up care regarding an endoscopy procedure); Miller v. Silver (1986) 181 Cal. App. 3d 652, 661 (psychiatrist qualified to provide expert opinion regarding follow-up provided by plastic surgeon).

“Where a duly licensed and practicing physician has gained knowledge of the standard of care applicable to a specialty in which he is not directly engaged but for which he has an opinion based on education, experience, observation or association with that specialty, his opinion is competent.” Evans v. Ohanesian (1974) 39 Cal. App. 3d 121, 128. “[T]he question of the degree of his knowledge goes to the weight of his testimony rather than to its admissibility.” Brown v. Colm (1974) 11 Cal. 3d 639, 643.

The Court has reviewed the declaration of Dr. Fajolu, the supplemental declaration, and the objection thereto and concludes that the declarations provide a sufficient basis for the opinion for the purpose of opposing a summary judgment motion. Dr. Fajolu is a general surgeon and a board-certified thoracic surgeon certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He was previously certified by the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery. As part of his general training and practice, he has personally observed over 200 colonoscopy procedures, and has observed how other physicians perform colonoscopies on patients with tortuous colons similar to Plaintiffs. He currently observes colonoscopy procedures on a monthly basis. The extensive observation of colonoscopy procedures, along with his training and experience as a general surgeon, provide more than sufficient foundation to establish his qualifications to opine on the subjects in his declaration. Evans v. Ohanesian (1974) 39 Cal. App. 3d 121, 128 (where a physician has gained knowledge through education and observation regarding a specialty in which he or she does not practice, the physician’s opinion is competent). Dr. Wu’s arguments go to the strength, not the admissibility, of Dr. Fajolu’s opinions.

The Court concludes that Dr. Fajolu’s declaration is sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact that Dr. Wu’s treatment of Plaintiff fell below the standard of care and caused at least some of his alleged injuries. The Court need not reach the issue of whether Dr. Fajolu’s declaration is sufficient to raise a genuine issue of fact as to the cause of the heart issues, since Dr. Fajolu’s opinions regarding the GI issues are sufficient to preclude entry of summary judgment.

Defendant claims that the Court should disregard the declaration of Dr. Fajolu because Dr. Fajolu does not address the fact that a bowel perforation is a known risk of a colonoscopy. That argument does not provide a reason to disregard the declaration. The fact that a certain outcome is a known risk does not mean that a defendant cannot be held liable for negligence if the defendant’s negligence in a particular instance caused the known risk to occur. As previously noted, Dr. Fajolu’s declaration is sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Dr. Wu’s negligence was the cause of Defendant’s injuries.

Defendant finally argue that the Court should decline to consider the supplemental declaration of Dr. Fajolu because Plaintiff allegedly served the declaration after the deadline set by the Court. While the Court expects timely compliance with its orders, the court has the discretion to consider late papers. The Court does so here in light of the strong policy favoring disposition of cases on the merits and the fact that Defendant has not demonstrated any prejudice from the late receipt of the papers. Kapitanshki v. Vons (1983) 146 Cal. App. 3d 29, 32. Defendant has filed a supplemental evidentiary objection and reply which the Court has considered.

The Court notes that this ruling is without prejudice to a further challenge to Dr. Fajolu’s qualifications at the motion in limine stage, should further discovery provide additional evidence relevant to that issue.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: BC695239    Hearing Date: October 25, 2019    Dept: 2

Zhongchao Ma v. Shang C. Wu, M.D., et al.

Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Shang C. Wu, M.D, filed on 5/10/19, is DENIED. Defendant has not established that he is entitled to judgment in his favor based on the material facts proffered. Cal Code Civil Procedure § 437c(p)(2). Dr. Wu’s objection to the Declaration of Oluwole Fajolu, M.D. is OVERRULED.

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in 2017 Defendant Wu performed a colonoscopy on Plaintiff. During the procedure his colon was perforated, which required emergency surgical intervention to repair and a lengthy hospitalization. Plaintiff further alleges that he subsequently developed supraventricular tachycardia. Plaintiff asserts a single cause of action for negligence, claiming that Defendant Wu’s treatment fell below the standard of care. Dr. Wu has moved for summary judgment, claiming that the undisputed evidence establishes his treatment complied with the applicable standard of care and that no negligent action or omission caused or contributed to Plaintiff’s injuries.

To make out a claim for medical negligence, a plaintiff must establish the following elements: “(1) the duty of the professional use such skill, prudence, and diligence as other members of his [or her] profession commonly possess and exercise; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the injury; and (4) resulting loss or damage.” Hanson v. Grode (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 601, 606–607.

The required standard of care owed by a medical professional is a matter peculiarly within the knowledge of experts and can only be proved by expert testimony. Hanson at 606–607. The element of causation must also be proven with expert testimony. Jones v. Ortho Pharm. Corp. (1985) 163 Cal. App. 3d 396, 402.

Here, Dr. Wu presents evidence sufficient to meet his initial burden as the moving party that he acted within the standard of care. Dr. Wu has presented expert opinion that Dr. Wu complied with the standard of care in performing the colonoscopy; in following up with him after the colonoscopy; in performing the second procedure; and in the follow-up are after the second procedure. Dr. Wu also presents expert opinion that the bowel perforation that occurred was a known complication from a colonoscopy and that its occurrence in this case was not the result of any negligence on the part of Dr. Wu. He further presented expert opinion that the atrial fibrillation was not caused by any negligence on Dr. Wu’s part.

The burden thus shifted to Plaintiff to present controverting evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact. In opposition, Plaintiff presented the declaration of Oluwole Fajolu, M.D., a board certified surgeon and thoracic surgeon. Dr. Fajolu stated that he is familiar with the standard of care for physicians practicing internal medicine and gastroenterology in Southern California; that he has reviewed Plaintiff’s medical records; and that based on his review Dr. Wu’s care fell below the standard of care. Specifically, he opined that because of certain specified anatomical features of Plaintiff’s colon (of which Dr. Wu was aware), Dr. Wu should have exercised increased caution in performing the colonoscopy, and that the failure to exercise the appropriate level of care resulted in the perforation of the colon. Dr. Fajolu also opined the various aspects of the follow up care fell below the standard of care and resulted in further harm.

In reply, Dr. Wu objects to Dr. Fajolu’s declaration on the ground that there is no indication in his declaration that he practiced as a gastroenterologist or cardiologist. The objection is overruled. On a summary judgment motion, the trial court must “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment.” Lattimore v. Dickey (2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 959, 970. Courts have held that it is an abuse of discretion for a trial court to sustain objections to declarations by expert physicians offered in opposition to summary judgment motions on the ground that the expert practices in a different specialty than the defendant’s. See, e.g., Mann v. Cracchiolo (1985) 38 Cal. 3d 18, 38 (diplomate of surgery and neurosurgery is qualified to provide expert testimony as to whether a radiologist met the standard of care; citing and discussing numerous other pertinent cases); Lattimore v. Dickey (2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 959, 970 (physician board certified in family and emergency medicine is qualified to provide expert testimony as to whether gastroenterologist exercised due care in the performance of and follow-up care regarding an endoscopy procedure); Miller v. Silver (1986) 181 Cal. App. 3d 652, 661 (psychiatrist qualified to provide expert opinion regarding follow-up provided by plastic surgeon).

These cases stand for the proposition that “[w]here a duly licensed and practicing physician has gained knowledge of the standard of care applicable to a specialty in which he is not directly engaged but as to which he has an opinion based on education, experience, observation or association with that specialty, his opinion is competent.” Evans v. Ohanesian (1974) 39 Cal. App. 3d 121, 128. “[T]he question of the degree of his knowledge goes to the weight of his testimony rather than to its admissibility.” Brown v. Colm (1974) 11 Cal. 3d 639, 643; Mann v. Cracchiolo (1985) 38 Cal. 3d 18, 38; see also Lattimore v. Dickey (2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 959, 970.  Although Dr. Wu provided a brief in support of his objection, he does not address any of the leading cases addressing this point.

The Court has reviewed the declaration of Dr. Fajolu and the objection thereto and concludes that the declaration provides a sufficient basis for the opinion for the purpose of opposing a summary judgment motion.

Dr. Fajolu’s declaration is sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact that Dr. Wu’s treatment of Plaintiff fell below the standard of care and caused at least some of his alleged injuries. The Court need not reach the issue of whether Dr. Fajolu’s declaration is sufficient to raise a genuine issue of fact as to the cause of the heart issues, since Dr. Fajolu’s opinions regarding the GI issues are sufficient to preclude entry of summary judgment.

The Court notes that this ruling is without prejudice to a further challenge to Dr. Fajolu’s qualifications at the motion in limine stage, should further discovery provide additional evidence relevant to that issue.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.