Pipitone v. WilliamsAnnotate this Case
Jesse's father, Crow, a retired physician, was aware that Jesse had a history of fights and arrests, including brandishing a gun on the highway. Crow first met Ryann after she married Jesse and saw her fewer than 10 times. Once, Crow went to their house and found the couple intoxicated. Ryann was in pain and stated that her foot had been run over by a stranger. Crow’s wife arranged for Ryann to see Dr. Williams. Ryann’s injuries were consistent with her explanation. Ryann did not mention abuse. Ryann’s mother, Pipitone, later learned that Jesse had run over Ryann’s foot. Jesse, with help from Crow, paid Ryann $5,000. Ryann signed an agreement, stating that the incident was an accident; Pipitone signed as a witness. Pipitone eventually reported the abuse to the police. Ryann’s sister also reported. Ryann was not cooperative. Ryann admitted that Jesse had deliberately run her over, that she felt threatened, and that he had “guns and a lot of illegal things.” Six months after their marriage Jesse murdered Ryann, and with assistance, dismembered and dumped her body into the San Francisco Bay. Jesse committed suicide in jail. Pipitone brought a wrongful death action against Doctors Crow and Williams for failure to report suspected abuse under Penal Code 11160. The trial court granted the defendants summary judgment, on grounds of duty and causation. The court of appeal affirmed.