Posted On: November 12, 2010

Sacramento Veteran With PTSD Subject To Medical Malpractice, Part 3 of 3

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 Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this and its proceedings.)

The consequences of this Line of Duty determination can be significant. If a soldier was not present for duty due to hospitalization for example, this time must be made up and directly affects the soldier's Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) date. Moreover, if there are any complications from an injury that was deemed not in the line of duty, the Veteran's Affairs may determine that the soldier is not eligible for VA benefits, disability benefits or medical treatment for the injury.

Here, the relevance of this investigation and determination of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hill's unusual demise by the military cannot be overstated, yet plaintiff seeks to exclude this evidence. Any evidence related to this determination is probative of the issues of consequence in this litigation. For more information you are welcome to contact , Moseley Collins.

Mr. Hill's death occurred while he was absent from the military, and under strange or doubtful circumstances. His LOD determination may have significant impact on benefits such as Survivor Benefit Plan, disability retirement and severance pay, etc. Plaintiff Stella Hill is the surviving spouse of the decedent and receives compensation from the military in the form of VA benefits, spousal retirement and family survivor benefits.

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Posted On: November 9, 2010

Wife Sues For Damages After Husband's Wrongful Death At Sacramento Hospital, Part 2 of 3

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this case and its proceedings.)

Argument

Preliminarily, plaintiffs characterization of the line of duty determination as being made where a soldier is possibly under the stress of a his/her time in combat in Plaintiff's Motion in Limine, p.l, is extremely limiting and somewhat biased. While many soldiers certainly do experience stress "related to their military service," it is not a given that they will also attempt to end their lives under non-combat situations such as those in this case. More importantly however, plaintiff glosses over the fact that the Line of Duty determination is in fact, an investigation. The past difficulties are relevant for the jury's consideration of whether plaintiffs economic damages claim have any merit, and to what degree. For more information you are welcome to contact , Moseley Collins.

As a pre-existing medical condition, the military failed to prevent the current hospitalization with significant therapy and medication prescriptions. This is probative of whether Mr. Hill could have been expected to return to military service at any point in the future, and whether the military could offer Mr. Hill the assistance he needed, among other things. Plaintiff cannot claim that Defendants should have inquired into this history to establish liability, while precluding defendants from utilizing the same information for purposes of causation and damages.

A Line of Duty (LOD) determination is an administrative tool for determining a member's duty status at the time an injury, illness, disability, or death is incurred. This investigation is generally conducted whenever a soldier acquires a disease, incurs a significant injury or is injured under unusual circumstances.

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Posted On: November 7, 2010

Deceased Veteran's Family Seeks Relief After Medical Negligence, Part 1 of 3

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 Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this and its proceedings.)

OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 4 REGARDING LINE OF DUTY REFERENCES

Introduction

Plaintiff seeks to exclude at trial all reference to a Line of Duty Determination as well as any documentation pertaining to a Line of Duty Report. Plaintiff claims that any reference to this term would constitute a "trial within a trial" as to the stresses of combat and whether their residual effects existed in Sacramento. (Plaintiffs Motion in Limine No. 4)

It is anticipated that Plaintiff will put on evidence regarding Mr. Hill's military service to this county in an effort to evoke sympathy and compassion from the jury. It is also anticipated that Plaintiff will attempt to portray the decedent as a hero who "fell in the line of duty." The fact that a Line of Duty Investigation regarding the circumstances of Mr. Hill's death was initiated and conducted by the military is, by itself, quite salient and should properly be allowed as admissible evidence. For more information you are welcome to contact , Moseley Collins.

To the extent the line of Duty Report spells out collateral source benefits admissible under Civil Code Section 333.1, Defendants incorporate by reference all arguments contained in their Oppositions to Plaintiff's Motions in Limine 2 and 21.

Facts

David Hill had served in the U.S. military armed services (Army) from 1989 to 1991 and again from 1999 through 2008.

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Posted On: November 4, 2010

Wife Of Sacramento Veteran Seeks Damages After Husband's Wrongful Death, Part 5 of 5

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 Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)

Evidence of Retirement and Survivor Payments and Benefits Based on Mr. Hill's Military Service Are Admissible As Collateral Sources

Issues pertaining to the amount of damages sought in this case, particularly in reference to claims made based on Mr. Hill's projected income must be examined at the time of trial and cannot justifiably be excluded from evidence. For example, serious questions exist as to whether Mr. Hill, even if he otherwise was able to resolve his suicidal tendencies including two § 5150 holds within close proximity to each other, a while driving a military vehicle and a drug overdose, would have allowed him to remain in the military so as to reach full retirement. Had Mr. Hill reached his full 20 years of military service, he would have been entitled to a pension at 50% of his base pay at retirement. For more information you are welcome to contact , Moseley Collins.

Assuming plaintiffs seeks to present evidence regarding the viability of a full military career to 20 years, defendants are entitled to an offset for whatever equivalent payments Mrs. Hill is receiving in lieu of that pension which would otherwise have not been obtained had he not died. See, e.g. Rotolo v. Superior Court (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 242. Rotolo dealt with a functionally identical situation as here, of a plaintiff claiming both lost wages (albeit due to a disabling injury, not a death) and lost standard retirement/pension payments benefits of about $875,000. However, the evidence showed that, due to his disability, he was entitled to receive replacement disability retirement payments of a nearly equivalent amount in lieu of his normal retirement, He otherwise would not have received such sums had he not become disabled and retired for this reason.

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Posted On: November 2, 2010

Veteran With PTSD Suffers Wrongful Death In Sacramento Hospital, Part 4 of 5

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 cases present such issues to the court.

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 Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)

Plaintiff's Wrongful Death Action Is Subject to Civil Code § 3333.1

Plaintiff Stella Hill's wrongful death claim against defendant is thus, subject to collateral source rule articulated in Civil Code § 3333.1, allowing introduction of evidence of any amount payment as a benefit to the plaintiff. For more information you are welcome to contact , Moseley Collins.

In Yates v. Pollock (1987) 194 Cal. App. 3d 195, a wrongful death action by the heirs of the decedent, the court upheld the applicability of Civil Code § 3333.1 and reiterated that that wrongful death claims are for injuries suffered by the heirs of medical malpractice victims. Id at 199. (See also, Krouse v. Graham (1977) 19 Cal.3d 59, 68.) In reaching a determination that the legislative intent of the statutory provisions placing a $250,000 cap on awards for noneconomic damages in all medical malpractice litigation, whether recovery is sought by patients who have themselves suffered personal injuries or by the survivors of such victims who initiate suits for wrongful death, the Yates Court relied on and pointed out the plain, unambiguous language in Civil Code § 3333.2 which states in pertinent part:

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