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Pagarigan v. Aetna U.S. Healthcare of California, Inc.

California Court of Appeal
2005 WL 2742807


Aetna U.S. Healthcare of California, Inc. (defendant) owned a health maintenance organization (“HMO”). Aetna’s HMO contracted with a management services company, Greater Valley Management Services Organization, which contracted with Greater Valley Medical Group and Greater Valley Physicians Association, which contracted with Magnolia Gardens nursing home and Dr. Buttleman to provide health care services to members of Aetna’s HMO (Aetna). Johnnie Pagarigan (plaintiff) was an elderly Medicare beneficiary and a member of Aetna’s HMO when she suffered a debilitating stroke and was assigned to Magnolia Gardens. Dr. Buttleman was responsible for Pagarigan’s care while at Magnolia Gardens and failed to timely treat an infection, a pressure sore, and several other serious medical conditions. Pagarigan was also malnourished and dehydrated. Buttleman eventually sent Pagarigan to an acute care hospital for treatment, but there was nothing the hospital could do and she died shortly thereafter. Pagarigan’s children brought suit on her behalf against Aetna’s HMO and the parent corporation. The trial court ruled that Aetna did not owe Pagarigan any duty of care and dismissed the Pagarigans’ suit. They appealed the court’s decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wiley, J.)

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