Do I have a case against the hospital or nurse

My labor was induced on 1-26-16 while in labor as well as recovery from giving birth I discovered my nurse had been stealing my pain
pills replacing them with target brand Tylenol from her purse. I had an extremely difficult labor delivery was left in excruciating
pain everytime she was on shift. I have anxiety depression when I think of the day that was supposed to be one of the happiest days
of my life, the birth of my daughter. I did turn her in but I would like to know if I can sue her or the hospital. I don’t want anyone else
going through what I did

Asked on March 10, 2016 under Malpractice Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't sue the hospital: what the nurse did was criminal, and employers almost never held liable for the criminal actions of their employees, since criminal acts are almost always, by definition, outside or beyond the scope of employment. (Employers do not employ people to commit crimes; it's not part of their job description.) Employers are note liable for acts outside their employees' jobs.
In theory you could sue the nurse, but to recover for emotional damage or harm, you general have to prove that she intended to cause emotional harm or otherwise acted with intent beyond that of "merely" stealing pills--this can  be very difficult to show, and the odds of you winning are low. Plus even if you won, if she doesn't have the income or assets to pay a judgment, you'd get nothing.

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