Leong v. Woods, 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 230 (California Unpublished Opinions 2006)

Defendant doctor was in charge of resident’s care at nursing home. Resident’s nutritional status was compromised, dropping approximately 30 pounds and pressure ulcers progressed from Stage II to Stage IV; when resident was taken to the hospital shortly before death, she was malnourished. Doctor filed an expert affidavit stating that he met the standard of care and then filed a motion for summary. Plaintiff responded with an affidavit prepared by Locatell. Defendant’s motion was granted and Plaintiff’s appealed. Locatell’s affidavit was unclear on causation and the court stated “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 [breach] was a cause-in-fact of the plaintiff’s injury.” Still, there was sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of fact, in part because Defendant admitted he was responsible for the plan of care, that adequate nutrition is critical to wound healing, and the evidence was replete concerning inadequate nutrition. The court also found evidence of the doctor’s callous disregard due to his failure to follow up on the resident’s care despite indications that she was suffering from malnutrition. The summary judgment was reversed.

This case provides excellent insight concerning how to structure an affidavit in response to a motion for summary judgment.

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