The California Court of Appeals, continuing a trend, strictly applied the rules of evidence to find an expert’s declaration deficient for opposing defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
Fernandez v. Alexander, 2DCA/81, California Courts of Appeal No. B283949
The California Court of Appeals, in a decision published on Monday, strictly applied the rules of evidence to find an expert’s declaration deficient for opposing defendants’ motion for summary judgment. In opposing the defendant doctor’s MSJ in a medical malpractice case, plaintiff’s expert submitted a declaration from her doctor reading that the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care in failing to obtain an informed consent and in other aspects of treatment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant because it found that plaintiff’s expert did not explain any basis for, or state any facts or reasons to support, his opinion that defendant’s conduct caused plaintiff’s injury.
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s granting the MSJ, holding that “the plaintiff must offer an expert opinion that contains a reasoned explanation illuminating why the facts have convinced the expert, and therefore should convince the jury, that it is more probable than not the negligent act was a cause-in-fact of the plaintiffs injury ” Here, none of the expert’s statements regarding causation explained how defendant’s allegedly negligent conduct caused the claimed injuries.