Elder Abuse: Avila v. Southern California Specialty Care* (California Supreme Court, S248114)
CMA, along with other amici, filed letters in support of a petition to review and depublication of the Court of Appeal decision related to the application of an arbitration agreement to plaintiff’s claims. In this case, plaintiff sued the defendant hospital for negligence, elder abuse, and wrongful death following the death of his 87 year old father. Plaintiff had executed a Voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement on behalf of his father that subjected to arbitration any dispute as to medical malpractice or any legal claim or civil action arising out the hospitalization.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim was not subject to arbitration and further refused to enforce the arbitration agreement as to the remaining claims based in negligence and elder abuse due to the risk of inconsistent judgments.
CMA’s letters urged the court to depublish the Court of Appeal’s decision or in the alternative grant the hospital’s petition for review to secure uniformity of decision as it pertains to the proper analysis of claims brought under the Elder Abuse Act in the context of care to circumvent the protections afforded to health care providers under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). The letter brief argues that claims arising in the context of providing medical care are professional negligence claims governed by MICRA and not neglect under the Elder Abuse Act. The letter brief further states that the Court of Appeal opinion frustrates the public policy favoring arbitration of professional negligence cases and review is necessary to ensure the continued viability of MICRA’s arbitration provision.