Contracts I, Pages 171–174 (ed. 1)

Nursing Care Services, Inc. v. Dobos

District Court of Appeal of Florida, 1980

Facts:

Defendant was admitted to Boca Raton Community Hospital with an abdominal aneurysm. Her doctor ordered around-the-clock nursing care, contracting such from the plaintiff. Defendant two weeks of care in the hospital, forty-eight hours of post-release care, and two weeks of at-home care. Defendant or her daughter authorized that period of care, which cost $3,723.90.

Procedural History:

The trial judge granted the plaintiff $248.00, the cost of the post-release care, but denied the liability for the other periods of care, saying that defendant did not know she would be responsible for those.

Issue:

Is medical care implicitly agreed to be paid for?

Defendant's Argument:

Defendant never signed a written contract nor orally agreed to be liable for the nursing services.

Rules:

  • Quasi contracts are obligations imposed by law on ground of justice and equity. Their purpose is to prevent unjust enrichment. Unlike express contracts or contracts implied in fact, quasi contracts do not rest upon the assent of the contracting parties.

  • The "officious intermeddler doctrine" holds that where a person performs labor for another without the latter's request or implied consent, however beneficial such labor may be, he cannot recover therefor. An exception is that of emergency aid, where the service is needed to prevent the others' bodily harm.

Reasoning:

Defendant's care in the hospital was essential and must be compensated. It is presumed that accepted services will be paid for.

Holding:

Yes, accepting medical care implies one will pay for it. Remanded with instructions to enter an amended final judgment for the plaintiff of $3,723.90 plus interest and court costs.

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