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Situations in Childs v. Weis and Hiser v. Randolph are strikingly similar; Why were they were...

Question:

Situations in Childs v. Weis and Hiser v. Randolph are strikingly similar; Why were they were decided differently?


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Childs v. Weis, 440 S. W.2d 404 (Tex. Civ. App., 1969), Mr.

Childs brought suit on his own behalf and on behalf of his wife against Dr. Weis for personal injuries to Mrs. Childs and for the death of their minor child. Counsel for Dr. Weis filed a motion for summary judgment in favor of his client.

A summary judgment is available when there is no dispute as to the material facts of a lawsuit. The rationale behind summary judgment is that, if there is no dispute as to the material facts, there is no need for a full trial to determine the facts; the law, which the trial court judge applies, must then determine whether or not the moving party is, or is not, entitled to win the case according o applicable law. The party moving for summary judgment must show (1) that there is no dispute as to the material facts and (2) that under the undisputed facts the law requires that the party moving for summary judgment win the case. The trial judge granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed to the Texas Court of Civil Appeals. The issue before the appellate court was: did the law applicable to the undisputed material facts justify the trial court judges’ granting of the motion? (Please note that now, because of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act [1985], which we take up later on in this course, this case might not not be decided in the same way.

I say “might not” because this statute allows suits in federal trial courts against hospitals, not physicians, for denial of emergency treatment. This case was brought against an on – call doctor, not against the hospital at which Mrs. Childs appeared. Today it might well be brought against the hospital in a federal court, and it would definitely not be decided in the same way.)

In Hiser v. Randolph, 126 Ariz.

App. 608, 617 P.2d 774 (1980), the facts are strikingly similar to those in Childs v. Weis. As in Childs, counsel for the defendant physician moved for, and obtained, summary judgment for his client in the trial court. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals of Arizona, an intermediate appellate court.

There the result was strikingly different from the result in the Childs case. (Today, in a federal court suit like the Hiser case against the hospital (not a party in the Hiser case) under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act would be decided for plaintiff, but on different grounds.

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