Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court

954 P.2d 511 (1998)

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Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court

California Supreme Court
954 P.2d 511 (1998)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Kristopher Bowyer (plaintiff) was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Cedars-Sinai) (defendant). Bowyer suffered oxygen deprivation at birth. Bowyer’s guardian ad litem brought a medical-malpractice action against Cedars-Sinai on Bowyer’s behalf. During discovery, Bowyer’s attorney requested Bowyer’s hospital records. Cedars-Sinai was unable to locate records of the monitoring of Bowyer’s heartbeat during labor. Bowyer’s attorney added a cause of action for intentional spoliation of evidence and a punitive-damages claim. The court struck the punitive-damages claim but granted Bowyer leave to file a third amended complaint seeking punitive damages. The court of appeal denied Cedars-Sinai’s petition for a writ of mandate. The supreme court granted review to decide whether the court should recognize a tort remedy for the intentional destruction or suppression of evidence by a party to the underlying litigation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennard, J.)

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