Nancy M. Battel has vast experience in the field of Elder Law. For all our clients, we seek equity and justice. For those victims of domestic physical, mental, and financial abuse, we work out resolutions. Our cases include deliberate or negligent elder abuse.We have represented clients in cases of fraud and deceit, constructive trusts, negligence, conspiracy to commit elder abuse, breach of contract, fraudulent accounting, and conversion. We have sought temporary restraining orders and permanent injunctions. We have the experience to help you with your problem.Some Facts about Elder Abuse
California’s overarching statute is the California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15670 (a)-(d), known as the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACP), which declares it the state’s responsibility to protect the elderly and disabled because they are a disadvantaged class.Adding strength to enforcement of the EADACP, Cal. Welf. & Ins. Code § 15610.30 (b)(1) imposes a system of mandated reporters who must report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone immediately. In Santa Clara County, the number is 1-800-414-2002.Since predators assume they can keep whatever property they take from an elder, California enacted a statute that forms a resulting trust when “(o)ne who wrongfully detains a thing (is) an involuntary trustee thereof, for the benefit of the owner.”Similarly, a constructive trust, rather than ownership, results when the elder’s property is appropriated wrongfully. Cal. Civ. Code § 2224 requires the wrongful taker of an elder’s property to give it back; it still belongs to the elder.Undue influence, in relation to § 2224, is explicitly defined in Cal. Civ. Code § 1575 as “use by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another, or who holds a real or apparent authority over him, of such confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage over him . . .taking an unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind; or . . .taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress.”Another law, designed to be a significant deterrent to predators hoping to gain the elder’s estate, is Cal. Probate Code § 259. It effectively cuts off the elder abuser from inheriting by considering him or her to have predeceased the elder.One recent law is of great interest to attorneys. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657 encourages lawyers to take cases of elder abuse, because it provides costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the successful plaintiff.Cal. Welf. & Ins. Code § 15657(b) offers further incentives to lawyers, because it guarantees that survivors or the estate of the elder who passes away can recover damages for pain and suffering with the words, “The limitations imposed by section 337.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the damages recoverable shall not apply.” Even if an elderly client should die before the trial is over, the case continues and recovery can be significant.Further, punitive damages are recoverable under Cal. Civ. Code § 3294.