The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
PAUL GREEN MAY NOT MAINTAIN A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR LOSS OF CONSORTIUM BASED ON ABBEY'S INJURIES
This motion does not challenge that determination, and there seems to be little question that Mr. Green would be permitted to maintain a cause of action for loss of consortium pertaining to his wife's physical injuries.
However, Mr. Green's loss of consortium claim reaches well beyond that, to claims for emotional distress suffered as a consequence of having to take care of Abbey. Ms. Green stated in her deposition that any negative impacts to the quality of her marriage are attributable entirely to Abbey 's problems as opposed her own physical injuries. Thus, it is undisputed that there are no recoverable loss of consortium damages based on Ms. Green physical injuries. This is, of course, consistent with common sense, and entirely what one would expect where the mother recovered completely within a few weeks and the child has severe and permanent injuries to her brain.
The issue before the court with respect to the fifth cause of action is whether Paul Green, under his claim for loss of consortium, is entitled to recover any damages other than those relating to his wife's physical injuries; and the answer is no. Clearly, Mr. Green has suffered profoundly as a result of his daughter's injuries, not only in the loss of Abbey 's love and affection, but also the impact of Abbey 's injuries on the quality of their marriage. However, this latter source of suffering is not compensable, because it does not flow directly from a compensable injury suffered by his wife, and the former is not compensable because in California there is no cause of action for loss of filial consortium.