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Your support letter can be uploaded using the Position Letter Portal at https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/. You will have to create an account if you do not already have one. 

[DATE]

Dr. Jasmeet Bains, Chair
Assembly Committee on Aging & Long-Term Care
1020 N Street, Rm. 153
Sacramento, California 95814

sent via CA Legislature Position Letter Portal

RE: AB 2800 (Kalra) – Support

Dear Chairperson Bains:

On behalf of [your organization], I/we write in support of AB 2800, which changes the evidentiary standard of proof for elder and dependent adult physical abuse and neglect civil cases from the clear and convincing standard to the more common preponderance of the evidence standard.  The bill also expands the definition of abuse and neglect to better protect older adults and adults with disabilities living in long term care facilities.

The higher burden of proof for physical elder abuse claim under California’s elder abuse law – the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) – leaves seniors with the very difficult task of proving by “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant committed abuse or neglect and that the defendant has been guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice.  By contrast, most other tort actions (including financial elder abuse), need only be proven by a “preponderance” of the evidence.

In court, nursing facilities typically hold all the cards.  To prove elder abuse or neglect in a civil lawsuit, victims or their families must meet the very high “clear and convincing” evidence standard   Victims commonly have disabilities that affect their ability to testify.  Often, the only witnesses are facility staff who are afraid to risk their jobs by crossing their colleagues or their bosses.  In addition, facility defendants control the written records and those records are often incomplete or misleading, sometimes intentionally so.

Handicapped by a burden of proof that makes it impossible for them to hold abusive facilities accountable, re-victimizing older adults and adults with disabilities and leaving countless others at risk in their care.  California must correct this injustice and impose the same standard of proof on physical elder abuse cases as most other civil tort actions. 

If a victim is able to prove by a preponderance of evidence that someone has injured them and committed recklessness, fraud, malice, or oppression while doing so, that someone should be liable for elder abuse or neglect.  AB 2800 (Kalra) ensures that they can be.

[Optional: a few sentences about why your organization supports AB 2800.]

Please vote yes on AB 2800.

Sincerely,

[Your name / organization contact information]

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