CACI No. 3107. Physical Abuse - Enhanced Remedies Sought (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 15657)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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3107.Physical Abuse - Enhanced Remedies Sought (Welf. & Inst.
Code, § 15657)
[Name of plaintiff] also seeks to recover [attorney fees and costs/ [and]
damages for [name of decedent]’s pain and suffering]. To recover these
remedies, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the requirements for the
physical abuse by clear and convincing evidence, and must also prove by
clear and convincing evidence that [[name of individual defendant]/[name
of employer defendant]’s employee] acted with [recklessness/oppression/
fraud/ [or] malice] in physically abusing [name of plaintiff].
[If [name of plaintiff] proves the above, I will decide the amount of
attorney fees and costs.]
New September 2003; Revised June 2005, October 2008
Directions for Use
Give this instruction along with CACI No. 3106, Physical Abuse - Essential Factual
Elements, if the plaintiff seeks the enhanced remedies of attorney fees and costs and
damages for the decedent’s predeath pain and suffering. (See Welf. & Inst. Code,
§ 15657.)
If the individual responsible for the physical abuse is a defendant in the case, use
“[name of individual defendant].” If only the individual’s employer is a defendant,
use “[name of employer defendant]’s employee.”
If the plaintiff is seeking enhanced remedies against the individual’s employer, also
give CACI No. 3102A, Employer Liability for Enhanced Remedies - Both Individual
and Employer Defendants, or CACI No. 3102B, Employer Liability for Enhanced
Remedies - Employer Defendant Only.
The instructions in this series are not intended to cover every circumstance in which
a plaintiff may bring a cause of action under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult
Civil Protection Act.
Sources and Authority
Enhanced Remedies for Physical Abuse. Welfare and Institutions Code section
“In order to obtain the remedies available in section 15657, a plaintiff must
demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that defendant is guilty of
something more than negligence; he or she must show reckless, oppressive,
fraudulent, or malicious conduct. The latter three categories involve ‘intentional,’
‘willful,’ or ‘conscious’ wrongdoing of a ‘despicable’ or ‘injurious’ nature. [¶]
‘Recklessness’ refers to a subjective state of culpability greater than simple
negligence, which has been described as a ‘deliberate disregard’ of the ‘high
degree of probability’ that an injury will occur. Recklessness, unlike negligence,
involves more than ‘inadvertence, incompetence, unskillfulness, or a failure to
take precautions’ but rather rises to the level of a ‘conscious choice of a course
of action . . . with knowledge of the serious danger to others involved in it.’
(Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23, 31-32 [82 Cal.Rptr.2d 610, 971 P.2d
986], internal citations omitted.)
“As amended in 1991, the Elder Abuse Act was designed to protect elderly and
dependent persons from abuse, neglect, or abandonment. In addition to adopting
measures designed to encourage reporting of abuse and neglect, the Act
authorizes the court to award attorney fees to the prevailing plaintiffs and allows
survivors to recover pain and suffering damages in cases of intentional and
reckless abuse where the elder has died.” (Mack v. Soung (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th
966, 971-972 [95 Cal.Rptr.2d 830], disapproved on other grounds in Winn v.
Pioneer Medical Group, Inc. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 148, 164 [202 Cal.Rptr.3d 447,
370 P.3d 1011], internal citations omitted.)
“The effect of the 1991 amendment to the elder abuse law was to . . . permit a
decedent’s personal representative or successor to recover pain and suffering
damages when plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence recklessness,
oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of elder abuse. Even then, those
damages would be subject to the $250,000 cap placed by Civil Code section
3333.2, subdivision (b) for noneconomic damages against a health care provider.
In this limited circumstance, the decedent’s right to pain and suffering damages
would not die with him or her; the damages would be recoverable by a
survivor.” (ARA Living Centers - Pacific, Inc. v. Superior Court (1993) 18
Cal.App.4th 1556, 1563 [23 Cal.Rptr.2d 224].)
“The Elder Abuse Act provides enhanced remedies for victims. A prevailing
plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney fees. A deceased victim’s successor is
entitled to an award of some noneconomic damages. There is no basis for
interpreting the Elder Abuse Act as restricting an award of damages for those
fortunate enough to have survived the abuse.” (Samantha B. v. Aurora Vista Del
Mar, LLC (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 85, 104 [292 Cal.Rptr.3d 324], internal
citations omitted.)
“[I]f the neglect is ‘reckless[],’ or done with ‘oppression, fraud or malice,’ then
the action falls within the scope of section 15657 and as such cannot be
considered simply ‘based on . . . professional negligence’ within the meaning of
section 15657.2. The use of such language in section 15657, and the explicit
exclusion of ‘professional negligence’ in section 15657.2, make clear the Elder
Abuse Act’s goal was to provide heightened remedies for, as stated in the
legislative history, ‘acts of egregious abuse’ against elder and dependent adults,
while allowing acts of negligence in the rendition of medical services to elder
and dependent adults to be governed by laws specifically applicable to such
negligence. That only these egregious acts were intended to be sanctioned under
section 15657 is further underscored by the fact that the statute requires liability
to be proved by a heightened ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard.”
(Delaney, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 35, internal citation omitted.)
‘Liability’ under section 15657 includes as an element ‘causation,’ which, as all
elements of liability, must be proved by clear and convincing evidence for
purposes of an award of attorney fees.” (Perlin v. Fountain View Management,
Inc. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 657, 664 [77 Cal.Rptr.3d 743].)
“We reject plaintiffs’ argument that a violation of the Act does not constitute an
independent cause of action. Accordingly, plaintiffs’ failure to obtain a verdict
establishing causation - one element of liability - by clear and convincing
evidence, precludes an award of attorney fees.” (Perlin, supra, 163 Cal.App.4th
at p. 666.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1865-1871
Balisok, Civil Litigation Series: Elder Abuse Litigation, §§ 9:1, 9:9, 9:28 (The
Rutter Group)
California Elder Law Litigation (Cont.Ed.Bar 2003) § 2.72
1 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 5, Abuse of Minors and Elderly,
§§ 5.35, 5.37 (Matthew Bender)
3108. Reserved for Future Use

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