A recent California Court of Appeals decision illustrates the importance of not threatening to sue someone, especially in writing, unless you understand the potentially far-reaching consequences of your actions.
In a decision filed just last week, the plaintiff gave birth via Cesarean section at the defendant hospital in October 2013. On the day after the procedure, the plaintiff fell while walking along a hospital hallway, resulting in a fractured right shoulder.
In February 2014, the plaintiff sent a detailed letter to the defendant, describing her injury and allegedly outlining the basis for her “medical negligence” claim. The plaintiff apparently additionally requested damages in the amount of $240,000 and purportedly stated that she would “move to the court” if she did not receive a check within 20 days. The defendant subsequently denied the plaintiff’s claim after its insurer reviewed the plaintiff’s records. In October 2014, the plaintiff’s retained counsel sent a letter to the defendants, stating they were providing notice pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 364. The formal lawsuit followed in January 2015.