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Your Trusted Advocate, Always Strategic
Raising the Bar of Excellence
“The facts of a case are like a puzzle and the truth is self-evident”
Cecille L. Hester, Lead Trial Counsel
Lesvia M. Alvarado, Co-chair Trial Counsel
10-27-17 Defense Verdict For Hospital Client
Elder Abuse / Medical Negligence Case
Involving Pressure Ulcers / Injury
Unanimous Defense Verdict After
1-Hour Jury Deliberation
September 2019: In a recent case handled by Lesvia M. Alvarado, Esq., Hester Law Group, APC obtained judgment on behalf of a Los Angeles hospital. In the case, plaintiff alleged to have suffered permanent brain damage as a result of substandard care by several healthcare providers and the nurses at the hospital. Pursuant to the plaintiff’s allegations, plaintiff’s permanent brain injury was caused by a delay in treatment and transfer when he presented to the emergency department at the hospital represented by Hester Law Group, APC. Plaintiff also alleged that the hospital was understaffed and unable to find a transfer location for the plaintiff in a timely manner. Ms. Alvarado moved for Summary Judgment on behalf of the hospital with the support of two well-qualified experts. Despite the motion being opposed with a well-qualified expert on the plaintiff’s side, the Court found that the detailed declaration of the hospital’s expert remained un-rebutted and therefore no triable issues of fact existed upon which a jury could find against the hospital. Pursuant to California law, the hospital may obtain prevailing party costs, including experts’ fees.
In June 2019, the Plaintiff suffered a number of complications after giving birth to her son. She filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court against the various entities and doctors responsible for her treatment, alleging they negligently caused her injuries. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment in compliance with the applicable statutory requirements. Rather than comply with the statutory requirements for opposing the motions, the Plaintiff raised several procedural objections. The trial court overruled the objections and granted summary judgment to all defendants. Plaintiff's attempt to challenge the motions on procedural grounds rather than on the merits was not adequate to defeat summary judgment.
Following the granting of the motions, defendants submitted proposed Judgments to which plaintiff objected. After entry of those Judgments, plaintiff filed a Motion for New Trial. The Court denied plaintiff's Motion for New Trial and the Plaintiff filed an appeal.
The Respondents' Appellate Brief, prepared by Barbara M. Reardon, Esq. of the Hester Law Group, APC, succinctly refuted each of plaintiff's arguments. A few days before the argument, the Court sent out its tentative ruling which adopted the arguments made by defendants.
After discovery, defendants filed separate Motions for Summary Judgment establishing that each defendant met the standard of care applicable to it and that no act or omission on the part of either defendant caused or contributed to any injury to plaintiff.
After respondents were given an opportunity to argue, the Court took the matter under submission. The Court ruling, about a month later, was consistent with its tentative ruling, affirming the Superior Court's judgment. Defendants were awarded their costs. (An interesting side note: shortly after the oral argument in this matter, counsel for plaintiff was suspended from practice.)
In February 2019, Barbara M. Reardon, Esq. of the Hester Law Group, APC, successfully defended an acute care facility in Glendale California by demurring to a Complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court for elder abuse, wrongful death, emotional distress and fraud.
The Court sustained the Demurrer on all grounds without leave to amend. Judgment of dismissal was entered and the plaintiffs filed an appeal.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that plaintiffs' claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. Often, plaintiffs' subsequent amended pleadings are held to "relate back" to the original Complaint if the claims are based on the same set of facts, and seek recovery for the same injury based on the same instrumentality. However, in this case, the original Complaint alleged only claims personal to decedent's family members whereas the First Amended Complaint alleged only the decedent's claim for elder abuse. It was not timely filed.
In a twist, the plaintiffs attempted to state a claim for financial elder abuse in the Third Amended Complaint. (That claim has a four-year statute of limitations.) The Court of Appeal rejected plaintiffs' effort, holding that the plaintiffs' allegations of financial elder abuse "cannot reasonably be construed as stating a claim for the wrongful appropriation of real or personal property within the meaning of the Act." At best, they are additional allegations relating to the care and treatment provided decedent. They are therefore part of the claim for physical abuse and neglect.
… to present at the “Increasing Our Odds For Success” Pre-Conference Workshop:
Examining Nursing Malpractice: Focus on Wound Care. | South Lake Tahoe, NV | March 22, 2018.
Co-presenters: Sandra Higelin and Jill Davidson.
Cecille L. Hester will be co-presenting with Sandra Higelin at The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) on Friday November 11, 2016 Session 9. The presentation will cover Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse in Healthcare Institutions and Mandated Reporting Law. For detailed information click here.
Their win is featured in ALM Media‘s VerdictSearch (verdictsearch.com) & Jury Verdict Alert (juryverdictalert.com):
Defense: Pressure sores due to unavoidable medical conditions
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA
On March 18, 2016, plaintiff Gevorg Haroutunyan, 81, a retiree, was placed on BiPAP therapy at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, in Los Angeles, after there was no response to progressive respiratory therapy and oxygenation methods were unsuccessful. Haroutunyan was previously admitted to the emergency department at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for a humeral fracture to the right arm on March 15, 2016, which was one day before his 81st birthday. The fracture occurred at home, where… (Click here to see full verdict)
Cecille L. Hester has been invited to speak at the SCAHRM 35th Annual Educational Conference at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa on Thursday, May 7th, 2015. She'll be speaking at the 11:10 a.m. session entitled “From Bedside Caregiver to Criminal Defendant ‐ What You Need to Know About Mandated Abuse Reporting.” Co‐presenting with Cecille are Mary De Los Reyes and Gary Lincenberg.
Published 10-08-14 by DRI
Cecille L. Hester and Brian L. Hoffman
DRI members Cecille L. Hester of Fonda, Hester & Associates, LLP in Los Angeles, California, and Brian L. Hoffman of Wood Smith Henning & Berman in Los Angeles, California, obtained a defense verdict in an elder abuse and wrongful death suit against health care providers that arose out of the medical care and treatment of a patient. The plaintiff, the patient’s daughter, additionally claimed denial of access to her mother beginning in May 2008 up to and including the time of her mother’s death in February 2009.
The elder abuse claim had been removed from the case by defendants' demurrer and summary judgment prior to the trial. Several defendants' motions for summary judgment were granted. The trial proceeded on the issues of wrongful death for medical negligence as to defendant, Kelly Yepremian, M.D., who was represented by Mr. Hoffman, and as to intentional infliction of emotional distress as to defendants, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, which was represented by Ms. Hester.
The decedent had executed an advance healthcare directive which gave specific instructions regarding her end of life care. The plaintiff was not the surrogate decision‐maker appointed by her mother and did not agree with her mother's end of life healthcare decisions. She claimed that she was not allowed to visit her mother in the hospital and that certain nursing staff and others had threatened her with arrest if she set foot on the hospital premises. The defendants contended that the plaintiff came to the hospital on three separate occasions and was allowed to visit her mother but became verbally abusive to staff and was disruptive of the unit. Defense noted that the plaintiff and her husband were escorted from the hospital premises one evening as a result of a disturbance they had created in one of the medical units. There was a long-standing history of disputes between the plaintiff and her sisters regarding the mother's care, and the mother left a large estate in trust which was the focus of plaintiff's efforts to recover damages. As to the wrongful death claim against Dr. Yepremian, the plaintiff contended that her mother's medical care was below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in the demise of plaintiff's mother.
The jury returned a defense verdict for Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and Kelly Yepremian, M.D.
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Hester Law Group, APC is seeking an Associate Attorney candidate with 2 to 3 years of experience in medical malpractice defense. Additional experience in the defense of elder neglect/abuse claims against health care providers in health care regulatory law, and/or general liability defense are a plus.
The ideal candidate will have the ability to work up a case, including any necessary pleading challenges, discovery up to trial, and assist the trial attorney with trial. Experience should include case evaluation to determine best case strategy while maintaining minimal client cost.
We encourage our attorneys to work independently while providing support and direction in Team strategy meetings.
Hester Law Group, APC offers competitive salaries based upon experience in addition to a full benefits package.
If you are interested in a career at Hester Law Group, APC, please upload one single PDF or Word document containing your Resume and Cover Letter and submit the form below:(All fields are required)
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Hester Law Group, APC.
700 North Brand Blvd., Suite 590
Glendale CA 91203