The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Loss of Consortium

1 Elements and Case Citations

A loss of consortium claim at common law has four elements:

  1. a valid and lawful marriage between the plaintiff and the person injured at the time of the injury;
  2. a tortious injury to the plaintiff's spouse;
  3. loss of consortium suffered by the plaintiff; and
  4. the loss was proximately caused by the defendant’s  act.’”

LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court, 55 Cal. 4th 275, 284-85 (2012).

A “spouse’s claim for loss of consortium is unquestionably derivative of, and dependent on, employee's industrial injuries. . . . [it] ‘is, by its nature, dependent on the existence of a cause of action for tortious injury to a spouse’” Id. at 284-85.

CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

Supreme Court of California:  LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court, 55 Cal. 4th 275, 284-85 (2012).

California 1st Distirct: Hahn v. Mirda, 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 746 n.2 (2007).

California 2d Distirct: Vanhooser v. Superior Court, 206 Cal. App. 4th 921, 927 (2012).

California 3d District: Zwicker v. Altamont Emergency Room Physicians Medical Group, 98 Cal. App. 4th 26, 30-32 (2002).

California 4th District: None.

California 5th District: None.

California 6th District: None.

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: General Motors Corp. v. Doupnik, 1 F.3d 862, 865 n.3 (9th Cir. 1993).

Central District: Malone v. Marriott Int'l, Inc., No. EDCV 09-01980 VAP(DTBx), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116666, at *16-17 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 29, 2010).

Eastern District: Middlekauff v. KCRA-TV, No. CIV S-12-105 KJM DAD, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74815, at *10-11 (E.D. Cal. May 30, 2012); Graveline v. Select Comfort Retail Corp., 871 F. Supp. 2d 1033, 1039[MMD1] (E.D. Cal. 2012).

Northern District: Lambert v. City of Santa Rosa, No. C 05-02931 CW, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30858, at *24 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2005).

Southern District: None.

2 Defenses to Claim for Loss of Consortium

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses.  See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations:  Same as spouse’s underlying claim, i.e. dependent on whether it was a negligent, intentional or strict liability tort.

(3) “Without injury to the spouse, the plaintiff has no loss of consortium claim. Thus, a cause of action is not complete in the sense it is not actionable, without spousal injury.” Vanhooser v. Superior Court, 206 Cal. App. 4th 921, 927 (2012).  However, “‘[l]oss of consortium is not a derivative cause of action. While the cause of action is triggered by the spouse's injury, “a loss of consortium claim is separate and distinct.”’”  Leonard v. John Crane, Inc., 206 Cal. App. 4th 1274, 1279 (2012).

(4) The California Supreme Court adopted the doctrine of loss of consortium as it is currently articulated in Rodriguez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 12 Cal. 3d 382, 408 (1974).

(5) “‘California courts have held workers’ compensation proceedings to be the exclusive remedy for certain third party claims deemed collateral to or derivative of the employee’s injury.”  LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court, 55 Cal. 4th 275, 284 (2012).

(6) “While joinder of a loss of consortium claim with the injured spouse's personal injury claim is encouraged, it is not mandatory and a loss of consortium claim may be maintained independently.”  Leonard v. John Crane, Inc., 206 Cal. App. 4th 1274 1279-80 (2012).

(7) “[A]lthough a spouse may sue for loss of consortium deriving from the injury to his or her spouse, an unmarried cohabitant may not.”  The MEGA Life & Health Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, 172 Cal. App. 4th 1522, 1527 (2009).  Similarly, “[a]lthough it is easily foreseeable 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.”  Id.

(8) “[A] wife’s claim for lack of consortium was subject to reduction for her husband’s comparative fault” as a result of the enactment of Prop. 51.  Craddock v. Kmart Corp., 89 Cal. App. 4th 1300, 1310 (2001).