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Elder Abuse Laws And Codes

Elder Law and Statute of Limitations

Here at Evans Law Firm, we understand how important and sometimes confusing the law can be, especially when it comes to elder abuse. It is our belief that educating individuals on the law is more than half the battle. For that reason, we have compiled a list of some important information to know if you are pursuing or attempting to pursue an elder abuse case of any kind.

Welfare & Institutions Code: Civil Elder Abuse

 

§ 15600.

(a) The Legislature recognizes that elders and dependent adults may be subjected to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that this state has a responsibility to protect these persons.
(b) The Legislature further recognizes that a significant number of these persons are elderly. The Legislature desires to direct special attention to the needs and problems of elderly persons, recognizing that these persons constitute a significant and identifiable segment of the population and that they are more subject to risks of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
(c) The Legislature further recognizes that a significant number of these persons have developmental disabilities and that mental and verbal limitations often leave them vulnerable to abuse and incapable of asking for help and protection.
(d) The Legislature recognizes that most elders and dependent adults who are at the greatest risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their families or caretakers suffer physical impairments and other poor health that place them in a dependent and vulnerable position.
(e) The Legislature further recognizes that factors which contribute to abuse, neglect, or abandonment of elders and dependent adults are economic instability of the family, resentment of caretaker responsibilities, stress on the caretaker, and abuse by the caretaker of drugs or alcohol.
(f) The Legislature declares that this state shall foster and promote community services for the economic, social, and personal well-being of its citizens in order to protect those persons described in this section.
(g) The Legislature further declares that uniform state guidelines, which specify when county adult protective service agencies are to investigate allegations of abuse of elders and dependent adults and the appropriate role of local law enforcement is necessary in order to ensure that a minimum level of protection is provided to elders and dependent adults in each county.
(h) The Legislature further finds and declares that infirm elderly persons and dependent adults are a disadvantaged class, that cases of abuse of these persons are seldom prosecuted as criminal matters, and few civil cases are brought in connection with this abuse due to problems of proof, court delays, and the lack of incentives to prosecute these suits.
(i) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to provide that adult protective services agencies, local long-term care ombudsman programs, and local law enforcement agencies shall receive referrals or complaints from public or private agencies, from any mandated reporter submitting reports pursuant to Section 15630, or from any other source having reasonable cause to know that the welfare of an elder or dependent adult is endangered, and shall take any actions considered necessary to protect the elder or dependent adult and correct the situation and ensure the individual’s safety.
(j) It is the further intent of the Legislature in adding Article 8.5 (commencing with Section 15657) to this chapter to enable interested persons to engage attorneys to take up the cause of abused elderly persons and dependent adults.

§ 15601.

The purposes of this act are to:
(a) Encourage health care providers, social service workers, and community members in general to report suspected cases of abuse of elders and dependent adults.
(b) Collect information on the numbers of abuse victims, circumstances surrounding the act of abuse, and other data which will aid the state in establishing adequate services to aid all victims of abuse in a timely, compassionate manner.
(c) Provide for protection under the law for all those persons who report suspected cases of abuse, provided that the report is not made with malicious intent.

§ 15610.

The definitions contained in this article shall govern the construction of this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.05.

“Abandonment” means the desertion or willful forsaking of an elder or a dependent adult by anyone having care or custody of that person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care and custody.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.06.

“Abduction” means the removal from this state and the restraint from returning to this state, or the restraint from returning to this state, of any elder or dependent adult who does not have the capacity to consent to the removal from this state and the restraint from returning to this state, or the restraint from returning to this state, as well as the removal from this state or the restraint from returning to this state, of any conservatee without the consent of the conservator or the court.
Added Stats 1997 ch 663 §2 (SB 628).

§ 15610.07.

“Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means either of the following:
(a) Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.
(b) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).
Amended Stats 1997 ch 663 §3 (SB 628).
Amended Stats 1998 ch 946 §2 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.1.

Added Stats 1987 ch 637 §2. Repealed Stats 1994 ch 594 §4. See W & I C §15610.15[Deering’s].

§ 15610.10.

“Adult protective services” means those preventive and remedial activities performed on behalf of elders and dependent adults who are unable to protect their own interests, harmed or threatened with harm, caused physical or mental injury due to the action or inaction of another person or their own action as a result of ignorance, illiteracy, incompetence, mental limitation, substance abuse, or poor health, lacking in adequate food, shelter, or clothing, exploited of their income and resources, or deprived of entitlement due them.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).
Amended Stats 1998 ch 946 §3 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.13.

“Adult protective services agency” means a county welfare department, except persons who do not work directly with elders or dependent adults as part of their official duties, including members of support staff and maintenance staff.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.15.

“Bureau” means the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud within the office of the Attorney General.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.17.

“Care custodian” means an administrator or an employee of any of the following public or private facilities or agencies, or persons providing care or services for elders or dependent adults, including members of the support staff and maintenance staff:
(a) Twenty-four-hour health facilities, as defined in Sections 1250[Deering’s], 1250.2[Deering’s], and 1250.3[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
(b) Clinics.
(c) Home health agencies.
(d) Agencies providing publicly funded in-home supportive services, nutrition services, or other home and community-based support services.
(e) Adult day health care centers and adult day care.
(f) Secondary schools that serve 18- to 22-year-old dependent adults and postsecondary educational institutions that serve dependent adults or elders.
(g) Independent living centers.
(h) Camps.
(i) Alzheimer’s Disease day care resource centers.
(j) Community care facilities, as defined in Section 1502[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code, and residential care facilities for the elderly, as defined in Section 1569.2[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
(k) Respite care facilities.
(l) Foster homes.
(m) Vocational rehabilitation facilities and work activity centers.
(n) Designated area agencies on aging.
(o) Regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities.
(p) State Department of Social Services and State Department of Health Services licensing divisions.
(q) County welfare departments.
(r) Offices of patients’ rights advocates and clients’ rights advocates, including attorneys.
(s) The office of the long-term care ombudsman.
(t) Offices of public conservators, public guardians, and court investigators.
(u) Any protection or advocacy agency or entity that is designated by the Governor to fulfill the requirements and assurances of the following:
(1) The federal Developmental Disability Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, as amended, contained in Chapter 75 (commencing with Section 6000) of Title 42 of the United States Code, for protection and advocacy of the rights of persons with developmental disabilities.
(2) The Protection and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, as amended, contained in Chapter 114 (commencing with Section 10801) of Title 42 of the United States Code, for the protection and advocacy of the rights of persons with mental illnesses.
(v) Any other protective, public,sectarian, mental health, or private assistance or advocacy agency or person providing health services or social services to elders or dependent adults.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).
Amended Stats 1998 ch 946 §4 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.20.

“Clients’ rights advocate” means the individual or individuals assigned by a regional center or state hospital developmental center to be responsible for clients’ rights assurance for persons with developmental disabilities.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.23.

(a) “Dependent adult” means any person residing in this state, between the ages of 18 and 64 years, who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.
(b) “Dependent adult” includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250[Deering’s], 1250.2[Deering’s], and 1250.3[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.25.

“Developmentally disabled person” means a person with a developmental disability specified by or as described in subdivision (a) of Section 4512.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.27.

“Elder” means any person residing in this state, 65 years of age or older.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.30.

(a) “Financial abuse” means a situation in which one or both of the following apply:
(1) A person, including, but not limited to, one who has the care or custody of, or who stands in a position of trust to, an elder or a dependent adult, takes, secretes, or appropriates their money or property, to any wrongful use, or with the intent to defraud.
(2) A situation in which all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(A) An elder (who would be a dependent adult if he or she were between the ages of 18 and 64) or dependent adult or his or her representative requests that a third party transfer to the elder or dependent adult or to his or her representative, or to a court appointed receiver, property that meets all of the following criteria:
(i) The third party holds or has control of the property.
(ii) The property belongs to, or is held in express trust, constructive trust or resulting trust for, the elder or dependent adult.
(iii) The ownership or control of the property was acquired in whole or in part by the third party or someone acting in concert with the third party from the elder or dependent adult at a time when the elder or dependent adult was a dependent adult or was a person who would have been a dependent adult if he or she had then been between the ages of 18 and 64.
(B) Despite the request for the transfer of property, the third party without good cause either continues to hold the property or fails to take reasonable steps to make the property readily available to the elder or dependent adult, to his or her representative or to a court appointed receiver.
(C) The third party committed acts described in this paragraph in bad faith. A third party shall be deemed to have acted in bad faith if the third party either knew or should have known that the elder or dependent adult had the right to have the property transferred or made readily available. For purposes of this subdivision, a third party should have known of this right if, on the basis of the information received by the elder or dependent adult, or the elder or dependent adult’s representative, it is obvious to a reasonable person that the elder or dependent adult had this right.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the term “third party” means a person who holds or has control of property that belongs to or is held in express trust, constructive trust or resulting trust for an elder or dependent adult.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the term “representative” means an elder or dependent adult’s conservator of the estate, or attorney-in-fact acting within the authority of the power of attorney.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681). Amended Stats 1997 ch 724 §37 (AB 1172); Stats 1998 ch 946 §5 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.35.

“Goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering” include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(a) The provision of medical care for physical and mental health needs.
(b) Assistance in personal hygiene.
(c) Adequate clothing.
(d) Adequately heated and ventilated shelter.
(e) Protection from health and safety hazards.
(f) Protection from malnutrition, under those circumstances where the results include, but are not limited to, malnutrition and deprivation of necessities or physical punishment.
(g) Transportation and assistance necessary to secure any of the needs set forth in subdivisions (a) to (f), inclusive.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.37.

“Health practitioner” means a physician and surgeon, psychiatrist, psychologist, dentist, resident, intern, podiatrist, chiropractor, licensed nurse, dental hygienist, licensed clinical social worker, or intern, marriage, family, and child counselor, or any other person who is currently licensed under Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code, any emergency medical technician I or II, paramedic, a person certified pursuant to Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, a psychological assistant registered pursuant to Section 2913[Deering’s] of the Business and Professions Code, a marriage, family, and child counselor trainee, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 4980.03[Deering’s] of the Business and Professions Code, or an unlicensed marriage, family, and child counselor intern registered under Section 4980.44[Deering’s] of the Business and Professions Code, state or county public health or social service employee who treats an elder or a dependent adult for any condition, a coroner, or a religious practitioner who diagnoses, examines or treats elders or dependent adults.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.40.

“Investigation” means that activity undertaken to determine the validity of a report of elder or dependent adult abuse.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.43.

(a) “Isolation” means any of the following:
(1) Acts intentionally committed for the purpose of preventing, and that do serve to prevent, an elder or dependent adult from receiving his or her mail or telephone calls.
(2) Telling a caller or prospective visitor that an elder or dependent adult is not present, or does not wish to talk with the caller, or does not wish to meet with the visitor where the statement is false, is contrary to the express wishes of the elder or the dependent adult, whether he or she is competent or not, and is made for the purpose of preventing the elder or dependent adult from having contact with family, friends, or concerned persons.
(3) False imprisonment, as defined in Section 236[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(4) Physical restraint of an elder or dependent adult, for the purpose of preventing the elder or dependent adult from meeting with visitors.
(b) The acts set forth in subdivision (a) shall be subject to a rebuttable presumption that they do not constitute isolation if they are performed pursuant to the instructions of a physician and surgeon licensed to practice medicine in the state, who is caring for the elder or dependent adult at the time the instructions are given, and who gives the instructions as part of his or her medical care.
(c) The acts set forth in subdivision (a) shall not constitute isolation if they are performed in response to a reasonably perceived threat of danger to property or physical safety.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.45.

“Local law enforcement agency” means a city police or county sheriff’s department, or a county probation department, except persons who do not work directly with elders or dependent adults as part of their official duties, including members of support staff and maintenance staff.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.47.

“Long-term care facility” means any of the following:
(a) Any long-term health care facility, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1418[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
(b) Any community care facility, as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1502[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code, whether licensed or unlicensed.
(c) Any swing bed in an acute care facility, or any extended care facility.
(d) Any adult day health care facility as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1570.7[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
(e) Any residential care facility for the elderly as defined in Section 1569.2[Deering’s] of the Health and Safety Code.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.50.

“Long-term care ombudsman” means the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, local ombudsman coordinators, and other persons currently certified as ombudsmen by the Department of Aging as described in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 9700) of Division 8.5.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.53.

“Mental suffering” means fear, agitation, confusion, severe depression, or other forms of serious emotional distress that is brought about by threats, harassment, or other forms of intimidating behavior.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.55.

(a) “Multidisciplinary personnel team” means any team of two or more persons who are trained in the prevention, identification, and treatment of abuse of elderly or dependent persons and who are qualified to provide a broad range of services related to abuse of elderly or dependent persons, as defined in Section 15753.5.
(b) A multidisciplinary personnel team may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Psychiatrists, psychologists, or other trained counseling personnel.
(2) Police officers or other law enforcement agents.
(3) Medical personnel with sufficient training to provide health services.
(4) Social workers with experience or training in prevention of abuse of elderly or dependent persons.
(5) Public guardians.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).
Amended Stats 1998 ch 946 §6 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.57.

(a) “Neglect” means either of the following:
(1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.
(2) The negligent failure of the person themselves to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.
(b) Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.
(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.
(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
(4) Failure to prevent malnutritionor dehydration .
(5) Failure of a person to provide the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for themselves due to ignorance, illiteracy, incompetence, mental limitation, substance abuse, or poor health.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).
Amended Stats 1998 ch 946 §7 (SB 2199).

§ 15610.60.

“Patients’ rights advocate” means a person who has no direct or indirect clinical or administrative responsibility for the patient, and who is responsible for ensuring that laws, regulations, and policies on the rights of the patient are observed.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681).

§ 15610.63.

“Physical abuse” means any of the following:
(a) Assault, as defined in Section 240[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(b) Battery, as defined in Section 242[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(c) Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, as defined in Section 245[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(d) Unreasonable physical constraint, or prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water.
(e) Sexual assault, that means any of the following:
(1) Sexual battery, as defined in Section 243.4[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(2) Rape, as defined in Section 261[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(3) Rape in concert, as described in Section 264.1[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(4) Spousal rape, as defined in Section 262[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(5) Incest, as defined in Section 285[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(6) Sodomy, as defined in Section 286[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(7) Oral copulation, as defined in Section 288a[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(8) Penetration of a genital or anal opening by a foreign object, as defined in Section 289[Deering’s] of the Penal Code.
(f) Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication under any of the following conditions:
(1) For punishment.
(2) For a period beyond that for which the medication was ordered pursuant to the instructions of a physician and surgeon licensed in the State of California, who is providing medical care to the elder or dependent adult at the time the instructions are given.
(3) For any purpose not authorized by the physician and surgeon.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §3 (SB 1681). Amended Stats 1996 ch 1075 §22 (SB 1444).

§ 15610.65.

“Reasonable suspicion” means an objectively reasonable suspicion that a person would entertain, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate upon his or her training and experience, to suspect abuse.

§ 15630.

(a) Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter.
(b) (1) Any mandated reporter, who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects abuse shall report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone immediately or as soon aspractically possible, and by written report sent within two working days, as follows:
(A) If the abuse has occurred in a long-term care facility, except a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report shall be made to the local ombudsman or the local law enforcement agency. Except in an emergency, the local ombudsman and the local law enforcement agency shall report any case of known or suspected abuse to the State Department of Health Services and any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud, as soon as is practical.
(B) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report shall be made to designated investigators of the State Department of Mental Health or the State Department of Developmental Services or to the local law enforcement agency. Except in an emergency, the local law enforcement agency shall report any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud, as soon as is practical.
(C) If the abuse has occurred any place other than one described in subparagraph (A), the report shall be made to the adult protective services agency or the local law enforcement agency.
(2) (A) A mandated reporter shall not be required to report, as a suspected incident of abuse, as defined in Section 15610.07, an incident where all of the following conditions exist:
(i) The mandated reporter has been told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect.
(ii) The mandated reporter is not aware of any independent evidence that corroborates the statement that the abuse has occurred.
(iii) The elder or dependent adult has been diagnosed with a mental illness, defect, dementia, or incapacity, or is the subject of a court-ordered conservatorship because of a mental illness, defect, dementia, or incapacity.
(iv) The mandated reporter reasonably believes that the abuse did not occur.
(B) This paragraph shall not be construed to impose upon mandated reporters a duty to investigate a known or suspected incident of abuse and shall not be construed to lessen or restrict any existing duty of mandated reporters.
(3) (A) In a long-term care facility, a mandated reporter shall not be required to report as a suspected incident of abuse, as defined in Section 15610.07, an incident where all of the following conditions exist:
(i) The mandated reporter is aware that there is a proper plan of care.
(ii) The mandated reporter is aware that the plan of care was properly provided or executed.
(iii) A physical, mental, or medical injury occurred as a result of care provided pursuant to clause (i) or (ii).
(iv) The mandated reporter reasonably believes that the injury was not the result of abuse.
(B) This paragraph shall not be construed to require a mandated reporter to seek, nor to preclude a mandated reporter from seeking, information regarding a known or suspected incident of abuse prior to reporting. This paragraph shall apply only to those categories of mandated reporters that the State Department of Health Services determines, upon approval by the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and the state long-term care ombudsman, have access to plans of care and have the training and experience necessary to determine whether the conditions specified in this section have been met.
(c) (1) Any mandated reporter who has knowledge of, or reasonably suspects that, types of elder or dependent adult abuse for which reports are not mandated have been inflicted upon an elder or dependent adult or that his or her emotional well-being is endangered in any other way, may report the known or suspected instance of abuse.
(2) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a long-term care facility other than a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report may be made to the long-term care ombudsman program. Except in an emergency, the local ombudsman shall report any case of known or suspected abuse to the State Department of Health Services and any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud, as soon as is practical.
(3) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report may be made to the designated investigator of the State Department of Mental Health or the State Department of Developmental Services, or to a local law enforcement agency or to the local ombudsman. Except in an emergency, the local ombudsman and the local law enforcement agency shall report any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud, as soon as is practical.
(4) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurredin a place other than a place described in paragraph (2) or (3) , the report may be made to the county adult protective services agency.
(5) If the conduct involves criminal activity not covered in subdivision (b), it may be immediately reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
(d) When two or more mandated reporters are present and jointly have knowledge or reasonably suspect that types of abuse of an elder or a dependent adult for which a report is or is not mandated have occurred, and when there is agreement among them, the telephone report may be made by a member of the team selected by mutual agreement, and a single report may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make the report.
(e) A telephone report of a known or suspected instance of elder or dependent adult abuse shall include the name of the person making the report, the name and age of the elder or dependent adult, the present location of the elder or dependent adult, the names and addresses of family members or any other person responsible for the elder or dependent adult’s care, if known, the nature and extent of the elder or dependent adult’s condition, the date of the incident, and any other information, including information that led that person to suspect elder or dependent adult abuse, requested by the agency receiving the report.
(f) The reporting duties under this section are individual, and no supervisor or administrator shall impede or inhibit the reporting duties, and no person making the report shall be subject to any sanction for making the report. However, internal procedures to facilitate reporting, ensure confidentiality, and apprise supervisors and administrators of reports may be established, provided they are not inconsistent with this chapter.
(g) (1) Whenever this section requires a county adult protective services agency to report to a law enforcement agency, the law enforcement agency shall, immediately upon request, provide a copy of its investigative report concerning the reported matter to that county adult protective services agency.
(2) Whenever this section requires a law enforcement agency to report to a county adult protective services agency, the county adult protective services agency shall, immediately upon request, provide a copy of its investigative report concerning the reported matter to that law enforcement agency.
(3) The requirement to disclose investigative reports pursuant to this subdivision shall not include the disclosure of social services records or case files that are confidential, nor shall this subdivision be construed to allow disclosure of any reports or records if the disclosure would be prohibited by any other provision of state or federal law.
(h) Failure to report physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder or dependent adult, in violation of this section, is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more that six months in the county jail or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.Any mandated reporter who willfully fails to report physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder or dependent adult, in violation of this section, where that abuse results in death or great bodily injury, is punishable by not more than one year in a county jail or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §7 (SB 1681). Amended Stats 1995 ch 813 §1 (AB 1836); Stats 1998 ch 946 §8 (SB 2199), ch 980 §1 (AB 1780).

§ 15631.

(a) Any person who is not a mandated reporter under Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse may report that abuse to a long-term care ombudsman program or local law enforcement agency when the abuse is alleged to have occurred in a long-term care facility.
(b) Any person who is not a mandated reporter under Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse in any place other than a long-term care facility may report the abuse to the county adult protective services agency or local law enforcement agency.
Added Stats 1994 ch 594 §9 (SB 1681).

§ 15632.

(a) In any court proceeding or administrative hearing, neither the physician-patient privilege nor the psychotherapist-patient privilege applies to the specific information reported pursuant to this chapter.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring an attorney to violate his or her oath and duties pursuant to Section 6067 or subdivision (e) of Section 6068[Deering’s] of the Business and Professions Code, and Article 3[Deering’s] (commencing with Section 950) of Chapter 4[Deering’s] of Division 8 of the Evidence Code.

§ 15656.

(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering upon him or her, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
(b) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on him or her, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any caretaker of an elder or a dependent adult who violates any provision of law prescribing theft or embezzlement, with respect to the property of that elder or dependent adult, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding four hundred dollars ($400), and by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that imprisonment and fine, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400).
(d) As used in this section, “caretaker” means any person who has the care, custody, or control of or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.
(e) Conduct covered in subdivision (b) of Section 15610.57 shall not be subject to this section.

§ 15657.

Where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for physical abuse as defined in Section 15610.63, neglect as defined in Section 15610.57, or fiduciary abuse as defined in Section 15610.30, and that the defendant has been guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of this abuse, in addition to all other remedies otherwise provided by law:
(a) The court shall award to the plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The term “costs” includes, but is not limited to, reasonable fees for the services of a conservator, if any, devoted to the litigation of a claim brought under this article.
(b) The limitations imposed by Section 337.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the damages recoverable shall not apply. However, the damages recovered shall not exceed the damages permitted to be recovered pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3333.2[Deering’s] of the Civil Code.
(c) The standards set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3294[Deering’s] of the Civil Code regarding the imposition of punitive damages on an employer based upon the acts of an employee shall be satisfied before any damages or attorney’s fees permitted under this section may be imposed against an employer.
(d)

§ 15657.05.

Where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that an individual is liable for abduction, as defined in Section 15610.06, in addition to all other remedies otherwise provided by law:
(a) (1) The court shall award to the plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The term “costs” shall include, but is not limited to, costs of representing the abductee and his or her family in this state and any other state in any action related to the abduction and returning of the abductee to this state, as well as travel expenses for returning the abductee to this state and reasonable fees for the services of a conservator, if any, devoted to the litigation of a claim brought under this article.
(2) The award of attorney’s fees shall be governed by the principles set forth in Section 15657.1.
(b) The limitations imposed by Section 377.34[Deering’s] of the Code of Civil Procedure on the damages recoverable shall not apply. However, the damages recovered shall not exceed the damages permitted to be recovered pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3333.2[Deering’s] of the Civil Code.
(c) The standards set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3294[Deering’s] of the Civil Code regarding the imposition of punitive damages on an employer based upon the acts of an employee shall be satisfied before any damages or attorney’s fees permitted under this section may be imposed against an employer.
Added Stats 1997 ch 663 §4 (SB 628).

§ 15657.1.

The award of attorney’s fees pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 15657 shall be based on all factors relevant to the value of the services rendered, including, but not limited to, the factors set forth in Rule 4-200 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, and all of the following:
(a) The value of the abuse-related litigation in terms of the quality of life of the elder or dependent adult, and the results obtained.
(b) Whether the defendant took reasonable and timely steps to determine the likelihood and extent of liability.
(c) The reasonableness and timeliness of any written offer in compromise made by a party to the action
Added Stats 1991 ch 774 §3 (SB 679).
Amended Stats 1994 ch 594 §23.5 (SB 1681).

§ 15657.2.

Notwithstanding this article, any cause of action for injury or damage against a health care provider, as defined in Section 340.5[Deering’s] of the Code of Civil Procedure, based on the health care provider’s alleged professional negligence, shall be governed by those laws which specifically apply to those professional negligence causes of action.

§ 15657.3.

(a) The department of the superior court having jurisdiction over probate conservatorships shall also have concurrent jurisdiction over civil actions and proceedings involving a claim for relief arising out of the abduction, as defined in Section 15610.06, or the abuse of an elderly or dependent adult, if a conservator has been appointed for plaintiff prior to the initiation of the action for abuse.
(b) The department of the superior court having jurisdiction over probate conservatorships shall not grant relief under this article if the court determines that the matter should be determined in a civil action, but shall instead transfer the matter to the general civil calendar of the superior court. The court need not abate any proceeding for relief pursuant to this article if the court determines that the civil action was filed for the purpose of delay.
(c) The death of the elder or dependent adult does not cause the court to lose jurisdiction of any claim for relief for abuse of an elder or dependent adult.
(d) Upon petition, after the death of the elder or dependent adult, the right to maintain an action shall be transferred to the personal representative of the decedent, or if none, to the person or persons entitled to succeed to the decedent’s estate.

Statute of Limitations for Civil Elder Abuse Cases

• Four (4) years for: Financial elder abuse, according to Welfare and Institutions Code 15657.7.

Criminal: California Penal Code, Section 368

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that crimes against elders and dependent adults are deserving of special consideration and protection, not unlike the special protections provided for minor children, because elders and dependent adults may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent, and therefore less able to protect themselves, to understand or report criminal conduct, or to testify in court proceedings on their own behalf.
(b)
(1) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
(2) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the victim suffers great bodily injury, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 12022.7, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
(A) Three years if the victim is under 70 years of age.
(B) Five years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
(3) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the defendant proximately causes the death of the victim, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
(A) Five years if the victim is under 70 years of age.
(B) Seven years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
(c) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(d) Any person who is not a caretaker who violates any provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement, with respect to the property of an elder or dependent adult, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is an elder or dependent adult, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding four hundred dollars ($400); and by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400).
(e) Any caretaker of an elder or a dependent adult who violates any provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement, with respect to the property of that elder or dependent adult, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding four hundred dollars ($400), and by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400).
(f) Any person who commits the false imprisonment of an elder or dependent adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
(g) As used in this section, “elder” means any person who is 65 years of age or older.
(h) As used in this section, “dependent adult” means any person who is between the ages of 18 and 64, who has physical or mental limitations which restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age. “Dependent adult” includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250, 1250.2, and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety Code.
(i) As used in this section, “caretaker” means any person who has the care, custody, or control of, or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.
(j) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 187 or 12022.7 or any other provision of law. However, a person shall not receive an additional term of imprisonment under both paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense, nor shall a person receive an additional term of imprisonment under both Section 12022.7 and paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense.

 

Statute of Limitations for Criminal Elder Abuse Cases

• Two (2) years for: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. This is according to California Civil Procedure (CCP) 335.1.

This, unfortunately, by no means encompasses everything one needs to know. However, this serves as a healthy start. If you have any questions about elder abuse or are requiring some assistance navigating your way in your case, Evans Law Firm, Inc. is a resource to help you. You can reach us at 415-441-8669 or via email at info@evanslaw.com.

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