A man contracted with a home care agency to provide care for his wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. The wife injured the caregiver, and the caregiver brought an action against the husband and wife for negligence and premise liability. The trial court granted summary judgment to the husband and wife, and the appellate court affirmed, stating: “The primary assumption of risk doctrine is a defense as to [the husband], as well as to [the wife].” (Gregory v. Cott (Cal. App. Second Dist., Div. 5; January 28, 2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 41, [152 Cal.Rptr.3d 304].)
Recent Ruling On The Same Case By The California Supreme Court:
Agreeing the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk applies, the California Supreme Court stated: “The question in this case is whether patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are liable for injuries they inflict on health care workers hired to care for them at home. Because agitation and physical aggression are common late-stage symptoms of the disease, injuries to caregivers are not unusual. California and other jurisdictions have established the rule that Alzheimer’s patients are not liable for injuries to caregivers in institutional settings. We conclude that the same rule applies to in-home caregivers who, like their institutional counterparts, are employed specifically to assist these disabled persons. It is a settled principle that those hired to manage a hazardous condition may not sue their clients for injuries caused by the very risks they were retained to confront. This conclusion is consistent with the strong public policy against confining the disabled in institutions. If liability were imposed for caregiver injuries in private homes, but not in hospitals or nursing homes, the incentive for families to institutionalize Alzheimer’s sufferers would increase. Our holding does not preclude liability in situations where caregivers are not warned of a known risk, where defendants otherwise increase the level of risk beyond that inherent in providing care, or where the cause of injury is unrelated to the symptoms of the disease.” (Gregory v. Cott (Cal. Sup. Ct.; August 4, 2014) 59 Cal.4th 996, [331 P.3d 179, 176 Cal.Rptr.3d 1].)
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