February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015 - California’s Court of Appeal has recently delivered a first-impression decision on the conditions under which a patient’s own negligence can be asserted as a defense against medical malpractice allegations. This decision, Harb v. City of Bakersfield, 2015 WL 302291 (Cal.App. 5th Dist. 2015), relied on Professor Alex Stein’s article, Toward a Theory of Medical Malpractice, 97 Iowa Law Review 1201 (2012). The court used Stein’s “timeline approach” to separate the patient’s pre-treatment negligence, upon which negligent physicians cannot rely, from self-injurious behaviors that occur during and after treatment and that can properly mitigate—and in extreme cases, even eliminate—the legal consequences of malpractice.