Important Elder Protections Under The Law
Provisional Remedies To Protect Seniors
Attorneys’ Fees Awards
Financial elder abuse is a crime and grounds for a civil lawsuit for damages under California law. See Cal. Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse) and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse for civil liability). The California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (“Elder Abuse Act”), Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15600 et seq., also provides important preliminary relief as a case commences, and enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees awards at the back end of a case. Provisions of the California Probate Code also provide for enhanced damages and awards of attorneys’ fees and costs. See, e.g., Probate Code Sections 859 and 4231.5, discussed below. Whenever a senior is victimized by financial elder abuse, some or all of these remedies are available. Evans Law Firm. Inc. can represent victims and their families, and pursues all available remedies against all persons responsible for financial elder abuse of a senior. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Francisco or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Important Remedies And Relief
First: A plaintiff is authorized to seek the provisional remedies of attachments and protective orders pursuant to the Elder Abuse Act. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.01 (writ of attachment), 15657.03 (protective orders). If real property is involved, plaintiff can record a lis pendens (notice of pending action) on the property. C.C.P. § 405.20 et seq. Remedies under the Elder Abuse Act are cumulative, so a plaintiff may seek, among other things, preliminary and permanent injunctive and declaratory relief and the remedy of constructive trust. Plaintiffs should be aware, however, that they may be liable for attorneys’ fees and costs if any of these preliminary steps were improperly taken or not justified.
Second: Wrongful taking of an elder’s property or misuse of an elder’s Power of Attorney means the offender must restore twice the value of the property taken to the senior. Probate Code §§ 859 (taking an elder’s individual or trust property) and 4231.5(c)(wrongful use of a Power of Attorney to take an elder principal’s property).
Third: The Elder Abuse Act contains a unilateral attorney’s fee and costs provision in financial elder abuse cases. If an abused elder shows financial abuse by a preponderance of the evidence, an award of attorneys’ fees and costs is mandatory. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5. Any person who misuses a senior’s Power of Attorney is also liable for attorneys’ fees and costs. Probate Code § 4231.5(c).
Statute of Limitations
If you suspect any form of financial elder abuse, act as soon as you discover it as the statute of limitations will begin to run. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.7 provides that an action for damages for financial elder abuse must be commenced within four years after “the plaintiff discovers or, through exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered, the facts constituting financial elder abuse.” But the California statute of limitations for negligence is only two years, so act quickly whenever you discover any problems. C.C.P. § 335.1.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible.