Week of April 13, 2009

"As a result of these weighings, modern law, if not replete with examples of 'wrongs' for which there is no remedy, at least offers numerous examples. Thus, although a spouse may sue for loss of consortium deriving from the injury to his or her spouse, an unmarried cohabitant may not. (Cf. Rodriguez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp. (1974) 12 Cal.3d 382, 404-405; Elden v. Sheldon, supra, 46 Cal.3d at pp. 277-279.) Although it is easily forseeable that a child may suffer grievous harm when a parent is personally badly injured - similar to a spouse's loss of consortium - no recovery is allowed to a child for damages based on the immediate injury to a parent. (Borere v. American Airlines, Inc. (1977) 19 Cal.3d 441, 444; Zwicker v. Altamont Emergency Room Physicians Medical Group (2002) 98 Cal.App. 4th 26, 32.) And, while that same child may recover for personal distress if he or she witnesses the injury to the parent, a sibling who is not present at the moment of injury cannot. (See Dillon, supra, 68 Cal.2d 728, and subsequent cases.

Justice Betty Ann Richli

The Mega Life and Health Insurance Company v. Superior Court of Riverside County (E045969, April 14, 2009)
p. 6