My loved one is the victim of financial elder abuse.
Senior citizens are often vulnerable to financial exploitation on varying levels. They can be victimized by strangers, family, fiduciaries, caregivers, friends or neighbors. The California Legislature enacted the Elder Abuse Act “to protect elders by providing enhanced remedies which encourage private, civil enforcement of laws against elder abuse and neglect.”
Unlike in a normal fraud case, the financial elder abuse victim need not show actual or reasonable reliance to his or her detriment. Financial elder abuse is a form of fraud where no actual or reasonable reliance must be shown — and in some instances, no intent to defraud need be shown either.
Additionally, financial abuse provides many remedies including attorneys’ fees and costs, in addition to compensatory damages, pain and suffering, and all remedies provided by law. Welf. & Inst.C. § 15657.5 provides that upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence “that a defendant is liable for financial abuse” under Welf. & Inst.C. § 15610.30, “in addition to (compensatory damages) all other remedies otherwise provided by law,” the court shall award attorney fees and costs, including the cost of the services of a conservator devoted to the litigation of a claim for financial abuse. [Wood v. Jamison, 167 Cal. App. 4th 156, 164-165, 83 Cal. Rptr. 3d 877, 884-885 (2d Dist. 2008)] Attorney fees are unilateral to the plaintiff only. [Bell v. Mason, 194 Cal. App. 4th 1102, 125 Cal. Rptr. 3d 229 (2d Dist. 2011), as modified, (May 5, 20110.]
Because a victim can be awarded attorneys’ fees, this statute provides a powerful tool to protect one’s rights. Moreover, if the conduct proven is with malice, oppression, or fraud, punitive damages can be awarded under Civ.C. §3294(b).
If you would like to learn more about financial elder abuse in California, please contact experienced attorneys at Webb Law Group.