Plank v. Mount
California Court of Appeal
2012 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 6774 (2012)
Tanya Mount (defendant) and her son, Joaquin Renteria, lived with and cared for Tanya’s father, George Mount. George had strong views about refusing end-of-life treatments and being able to stay in his own home. For instance, George refused efforts to even diagnose possible prostate cancer because he did not want treatment even if he had cancer. Ramona Plank (plaintiff) was also George’s daughter. Ramona’s son, Alexander Plank, was close to George and visited him several times per month. However, Tanya discouraged Ramona from visiting George. The last time Ramona visited George, she claimed that Tanya had yelled at George to clean up dog feces that Ramona found in the house. Approximately two months before George’s death, George could still walk and feed himself. However, George’s health declined to the point that his doctor said that George could die at any time. After hearing this, George declined any further medical treatment. A month later, George became bedridden but was still lucid. Two weeks before George died, during one of Alexander’s visits with George, George complained about pain and having trouble breathing and sleeping. Alexander brushed accumulated skin flakes out of George’s bed and thought that George’s room smelled stale. After that, Tanya obstructed Alexander’s efforts to visit. The last week of George’s life, George stopped being able to feed himself, and Tanya fed him soup and a nutritional-supplement drink. A home nurse visited George and noted that he (1) was dehydrated and malnourished, (2) had bed sores starting, and (3) had not received any hospice care to ease his pain and suffering. The nurse arranged for hospice care to start the next day. However, George died that night. An autopsy revealed that George had died of undiagnosed lung cancer. Ramona filed a complaint for elder abuse against Tanya and Renteria, alleging that they had neglected George by allowing him to become dehydrated and malnourished and by failing to get him hospice care to help him avoid some of his pain and suffering. The trial court heard evidence and dismissed the complaint. Ramona appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ramirez, J.)
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