Phillips v. Desert Hospital District
California Supreme Court
49 Cal. 3d 699, 263 Cal. Rptr. 119, 780 P.2d 349 (1989)
Paula E. Phillips (plaintiff) was admitted to Desert Hospital (hospital) (defendant), a public hospital, on September 11, 1983, for surgery that Phillips and her husband (plaintiff) alleged was medically unnecessary and negligently performed and caused them both to suffer damages. On April 6, 1984, the Phillipses’ attorney mailed the hospital a letter notifying the hospital of the Phillipses’ intention to sue the hospital within 90 days. That letter was sent to constitute a 364 notice, which is required pre-suit in medical-malpractice cases against healthcare providers. The Phillipses’ attorney, however, was unaware that the hospital was a public entity that instead required specific claim-presentation requirements under the state Tort Claims Act (act). When no response to the letter was received, the Phillipses filed a medical-malpractice action against the hospital and Paula’s treating physician. The hospital demurred on grounds that the complaint failed to state a cause of action because it failed to allege compliance with the act’s claim-presentation requirements. The trial court granted the demurrer and dismissed the case. The Phillipses appealed. The court of appeal affirmed. The Phillipses appealed and argued that their 364 notice was a defective claim under the act’s claim-presentation requirements that triggered a provision requiring the hospital to comply with the act’s notice and defense-waiver provisions to give the Phillipses notice of their claim’s insufficiency or waive any defenses thereto.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kaufman, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 705,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 705,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,300 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.