It's 2017. You want to hire a California law firm to protect a dependent adult from financial abuse. You want to prevent further harm and you are choosing to bring a wrongdoer to account. It is not only the dependent adult's safety that is in jeopardy, but also that of his family - even the community's safety is at risk. Conduct rewarded is conduct repeated. Our community's most vulnerable members deserve protection. If we fail them, then we can expect wrongdoing to be repeated.
Lawsuits against dependent adult financial abusers may be tried to juries. Each case has its own evidence. Generic financial abuse jury instructions may be modified to meet facts specific to each case. That said, the generic jury instructions give a window into what needs to be proved.
The jury is instructed as to the essential factual elements of a financial abuse case. These are laid out in California Civil Jury Instructions 3100.
This instruction provides:
3100. Financial Abuse - Essential Factual Elements (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 15610.30)
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] violated the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act by taking financial advantage of [him/her/[name of decedent]]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following are more likely to be true than not true:
1. That [name of defendant] [insert one of the following:]
[[took/hid/appropriated/retained] [name of plaintiff/ decedent]'s property;]
[[assisted in [taking/hiding/appropriating/retaining] [name of plaintiff/decedent]'s property;]
2. That [name of plaintiff/decedent] was [65 years of age or older/a dependent adult] at the time of the conduct;
3. That [name of defendant] [[took/hid/appropriated/retained]/ assisted in [taking/hiding/appropriating/retaining]] the property [for a wrongful use/[or] with the intent to defraud];
4. That [name of plaintiff/decedent] was harmed; and
5. That [name of defendant]'s conduct was a substantial factor in causing [name of plaintiff]'s harm.
[One way [name of plaintiff] can prove that [name of defendant] [[took/hid/appropriated/retained]/assisted in [taking/hiding/ appropriating/retaining]] the property for a wrongful use is by proving both of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff/decedent] had the right to have the property [transferred/made readily available] to [him/her/ [[his/her] [conservator/trustee/representative/attorney-in-fact]]; and
2. That [name of defendant] knew or should have known that [name of plaintiff/decedent] had this right.
[Name of defendant] should have known that [name of plaintiff/ decedent] had this right if, on the basis of information received by [[name of defendant]/[name of defendant]'s authorized third arty], it would have been obvious to a reasonable person that [name of plaintiff/decedent] had the right to have the property [transferred/made readily available] to [him/her/[[his/her] [conservator/trustee/representative/attorney-in-fact]].
California's financial abuse jury instructions reflect the sections of the Welfare and Institutions Code that define the abuse of a dependent adult, broadly identifies actions which constitute financial abuse and provide for remedies for the abuse. [See W & I Sections 15610.07, 15610.30, 15657.5 and 15610.23.]
Here's the deal - very few prospective clients are going to go read California jury instructions on elder financial abuse. I suppose no more so than I'm going to read a textbook on dental procedures before my next visit to the dentist. The bottom line is that we expect professionals to either have knowledge or the ability to gain knowledge on the issue that we need resolved.
If you have issues related to the financial abuse of dependent adults and want to speak with lawyers who have knowledge and experience, call us at Hackard Law: (916) 313-3030. We protect clients throughout the state of California, from Sacramento and the Bay Area to Los Angeles and San Diego. We'll be happy to speak with you.