Sep 09, 2011 Healthcare Law
GMSR successfully upholds summary judgment in favor of its client in a medical malpractice action

Shugart v. The Regents of the University of California (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 499 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight) [published]. Plaintiff was treated for urinary incontinence and related conditions, first by a Bakersfield physician and, when that treatment proved unsuccessful, by physicians at UCLA Medical Center. Unsatisfied with the outcome of her treatments, plaintiff and her husband sued both the Bakersfield physician and GMSR’s client, The Regents of the University of California, for medical malpractice. Both defendants obtained summary judgment.

Although the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in favor of the other physician, who was represented by other counsel, it affirmed the judgment in favor of The Regents. The appellate court held there was no disputed issue of material fact that would justify a trial as to the alleged liability of the UCLA physician named in plaintiffs’ complaint. As GMSR had argued, the pleadings define the scope of the issues on a summary judgment motion, and plaintiffs’ opposition to The Regents’ summary judgment motion pinpointed the conduct of a physician other than the physician charged in their complaint as the alleged wrongdoer at UCLA Medical Center. And, even as to the uncharged UCLA physician, the appellate court agreed that plaintiffs’ evidence was too conclusory and insubstantial to create a triable issue of fact as to the alleged malpractice.