Tort Claims Act

Notice of claim sent to department of defendant-entity, charged with managing entity’s claims, substantially complies with Government Claims Act requirements. Hope DiCampli-Mintz v. County of Santa Clara, (No. H034160 California Courts of
Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, Division Three, May 26, 2011).

Plaintiff brought an action alleging she suffered injuries as a result of negligent medical treatment by two physicians working for the County of Santa Clara at a district hospital.  The County moved for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiff’s delivery of notice of claim to the Risk Management Department at the hospital did not comply with requirements of Government Code Section 915 and associated statutes.  The trial court granted the motion.

The appeals court reversed, joining the courts of several other states in holding that delivery
of a pre-suit government claim to a department of the target entity charged with defending or managing claims against that entity may constitute substantial compliance with the claims requirement, so long as the purposes of the act are satisfied and no prejudice is suffered by the defendant.  In reaching this conclusion, the appeals court declined to follow recent authority effectively repudiating the long standing doctrine of substantial compliance as applied in this context.


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