12 Cal.2d 140, 16017, Butterworth v. Boyd

Docket Nº16017
Citation12 Cal.2d 140, 82 P.2d 434
Party NameButterworth v. Boyd
Attorney[7] Cushing & Cushing and Ben C. Duniway for Petitioners. [8] William P. O'Brien, as Amicus Curiae, on Behalf of Petitioners. [9] John J. O'Toole, City Attorney, Thomas P. Slevin, Deputy City Attorney, and Frank L. Fenton for Respondents. [10] Joseph McInerney, Vladimir Vucinich, Charles H. Brenn...
Case DateSeptember 02, 1938
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)

Page 140

12 Cal.2d 140

82 P.2d 434

CHARLES T. BUTTERWORTH et al., Petitioners,


HAROLD J. BOYD, as Controller, etc., et al., Respondents.

S. F. No. 16017.

Supreme Court of California

September 2, 1938

In Bank.

Page 141

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 142


[82 P.2d 435] Cushing &amp Cushing and Ben C. Duniway for Petitioners. William P. O'Brien, as Amicus Curiae, on Behalf of Petitioners. John J. O'Toole, City Attorney, Thomas P. Slevin, Deputy City Attorney, and Frank L. Fenton for Respondents. Joseph McInerney, Vladimir Vucinich, Charles H. Brennan, O'Brien, Dibert &amp Acton, Lillian M. Wollitz, U.S. Webb, Attorney-General, and Lionel Browne and Neil Cunningham, Deputies Attorney-General, as Amici Curiae, on Behalf of Respondents


[82 P.2d 436] THE COURT.

This is a petition for a writ of mandate to compel respondents, the controller and treasurer of the city and county of San Francisco, to make available to petitioners certain funds deducted from the compensation of employees and teachers in San Francisco under the Health Service System established by charter amendment in 1937.

Page 143

The proposal to establish a system of health service for city employees, upon payment of small, fixed monthly sums, was first submitted to a referendum vote of such employees, who declared themselves in favor of it by a vote of 7,428 to 939. Thereafter the charter amendment was submitted to the electorate by the board of supervisors, and upon approval by a vote of the people, became effective by concurrent resolution of the legislature on April 14, 1937. (Stats. 1937, p. 2781.)

The amendment adds section 172.1 to the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco. Its chief provisions are as follows:

1. A "health service system" for municipal employees is established, to be administered by a "Health Service Board". The board consists of nine members, elected by members of the system for three-year terms at elections supervised by the registrar of voters. Each board member gives a $10,000 bond, the premium being paid from funds of the system. (Subds. 1, 2.)

2. The "members of the system" are (1) all employees of the city and county who are members of the retirement system, and (2) all teachers and employees of the board of education who are members of the retirement system. Exemptions, however, are permitted as follows: (1) "Any employee who adheres to the faith or teachings of any recognized religious sect, denomination or organization and, in accordance with its creed, tenets or principles, depends for healing upon prayer in the practice of religion shall be exempted from the system upon filing annually with the Health Service Board an affidavit stating such adherence and dependence and disclaiming any benefits under the system." (2) The board "shall have the power to exempt" any person whose annual compensation exceeds $4,500, and (3) any person "who has otherwise provided for adequate medical care". For the purposes of the first election, all employees eligible for membership are deemed members. (Subds. 1, 2.)

3. The board has power, by a two-thirds vote of its members, "to adopt a plan or plans for rendering medical care to the members of the system, or for the indemnification of the costs of said care, or for obtaining and carrying insurance against such costs". The board is further empowered to

Page 144

put the said plans into effect and administer them; to make rules and regulations for transaction of its business, granting of exemptions, and admission to the system of members; and to appoint and fix the compensation of a secretary and other employees, to hold office at the pleasure of the board. (Subd. 3.)

4. The board has power "to make provision for the participation in the benefits of the system by the dependents of members, retired municipal employees and temporary municipal employees, provided that such participation shall be without cost to the city and county". (Subd. 3.)

5. The board "shall determine and certify to the controller" the monthly sum to be paid by members of the system into its fund, and the controller "shall deduct said sums from the compensation of the members" aud deposit them with the treasurer of the city and county to the credit and for the use of the system. "Such deductions shall not be deemed to be a reduction of compensation under any provision of this charter." The board has control over the administration and investment of the funds, provided that all investments "shall be of the character legal for insurance companies in California". Disbursements may be made only upon audit by the controller, who exercises the same accounting and auditing powers as the charter gives him over other municipal boards, officers and commissioners. (Subd. 4.)

6. "Members of the system shall have and possess no claim or recourse against any of the funds of the municipality by virtue of the adoption or operation of any plan for rendering medical care, indemnifying costs of said care or carrying insurance against such costs, but the claim and recourse of any such member shall be limited solely to the funds of the system. All expenses of the system shall be borne exclusively by the funds of the system and the city and county shall not appropriate or contribute funds in any manner for the purposes of the system hereby established and provided." (Subd. 6.)

[82 P.2d 437] 7. "The term 'medical care' shall include the services of physicians, surgeons, nurses, persons licensed to treat human diseases without the use of drugs, hospitalization, medicines and appliances and dental, optical and other medical treatments and services." All such services "shall be

Page 145

performed in accordance with the provisions as to professional conduct" prescribed by the state law. Members are not entitled to medical care in the municipal health and hospital facilities, except ordinary emergency service. (Subd. 5.)

8. No member is required to accept the services or medical supplies of any practitioner or hospital selected by the board, but "subject to the rules and regulations of the board", any member may "select of his own choice" any duly licensed physician, etc., and the board "shall make provision for the exercise of such choice, and is hereby expressly prohibited from entering into any exclusive contract for the rendering of such services". The only restrictions on the power of choice are (1) it is "subject to the rules and regulations of the board"; (2) the doctor or hospital chosen must render the services "pursuant to said rules and regulations"; and (3) the services or supplies must be furnished "at uniform rates of compensation to be fixed by the board". Such rates, and any contract respecting the rendering of such services, is subject to review by, and requires the approval of the retirement board of the city and county.

Pursuant to the powers conferred by the charter amendment, an election was held on May 8, 1937, at which the petitioners were chosen as the members of the Health Service Board. They commenced performance of their duties, and after some nine months of study and consultation with professional advisers, adopted "Plan No. 1" for the rendition of medical services, and rules and regulations to carry it into effect.

Following the adoption of the plan, the board determined upon the sum of $2.50 as the monthly deduction from compensation of members of the system, payable commencing March 15, 1938. This was certified to respondent controller, who made the deductions, but refused to make the funds available to petitioners until the legality of the charter provision was determined. Respondent treasurer likewise refused to make disbursements of funds for the same reasons. Accordingly petitioners sought relief in this court, and an alternative writ of mandate issued. Respondents filed a demurrer to the petition, and the matter is presented solely on questions of law. Counsel for respondents and various amici curiae make a number of contentions of unconstitutionality

Page 146

and alleged conflict with state law, and also attack the project as arbitrary and special legislation. It is a familiar observation that the courts are not concerned with the policy of duly enacted laws, but only with their validity; and in our opinion the present legislation violates no constitutional guaranties. But it may be pointed out, in this connection, that the overwhelming vote of city employees in favor of the measure was matched by the reception of the plan by the members of the medical profession. Over a thousand physicians, a majority of the licensed practitioners in the city, and nearly all of the city's hospitals, agreed to furnish services under the plan. And petitioners' brief states that among those who have joined the staffs are the president of the State Board of Health, the president of the California State Medical Association and past presidents of that association, the president of the San Francisco County Medical Society and several past presidents of that society, the president of the American College of Physicians, and leading members of the staffs of the medical schools of the University of California and Stanford University.

The first question is whether the city may by its charter provide for a regulation of this character. The answer to the question depends on whether the establishment of the health service system is a "municipal affair".

Under the provisions of article XI, section 8, of the California Constitution, a city or city and county having a freeholders' charter adopted pursuant to said section has the power of "municipal home rule". The section provides: "It shall be competent in any charter framed under the authority of this section to provide that the municipality governed thereunder may make and enforce all laws and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to the restrictions and...

To continue reading

Request your trial
105 practice notes
  • 108 Cal.App.3d 577, Civ. 57153, Pines v. City of Santa Monica
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • July 25, 1980
    ...municipal affairs, prevail over state statutes operating [166 Cal.Rptr. 653] in the same general area. 6 (See Butterworth v. Boyd (1938) 12 Cal.2d 140, 146-147, 82 P.2d 434.) This is the plain meaning of the home rule supremacy provisions of the California Constitution which we have just me......
  • 150 Cal.App.3d 28, Civ. 28012, Candid Enterprises, Inc. v. Grossmont Union High School Dist.
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 1983
    ...each controverted case. The comprehensive nature of the power is, however, conceded in all the decisions....' (Butterworth v. Boyd (1938) 12 Cal.2d 140, 147 Page 434 ...; see also City of Pasadena v. Charleville (1932) 215 Cal. 384, 392 Page 745 ....) Further, the 'constitutional concept of......
  • 165 Cal.App.3d 722, 31076, Hinchliffe v. City of San Diego
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • February 25, 1985
    ...is not held by contract, but by statute. (Miller v. State of California, 18 Cal.3d 808, 813-814, 135 Cal.Rptr. 386; Butterworth v. Boyd, 12 Cal.2d 140, 150; Humbert v. Castro Valley County, 214 Cal.App.2d 1, 13, 29 Cal.Rptr. 158; Risley v. Bd. of Civil Service Commrs., 60 Cal.App.2d 32, 37-......
  • 20 Cal.App.4th 1317, C012772, Tirapelle v. Davis
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • December 8, 1993
    ...levels Page 1333 of compensation and salaries may be modified or reduced by the proper statutory authority. (Butterworth v. Boyd (1938) 12 Cal.2d 140, 150 [82 P.2d 434, 126 A.L.R. 838]; Gilmore v. Personnel Board (1958) 161 Cal.App.2d 439, 449 [326 P.2d 874].) It is also well recognized &qu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
102 cases
  • 12 N.W.2d 644 (Neb. 1944), 31606, Lickert v. City of Omaha
    • United States
    • Nebraska Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • January 7, 1944
    ...Kan. 754, 129 P.2d 265; Sweesy v. Los Angeles County Peace Officers' Retirement Board, 17 Cal.2d 356, 110 P.2d 37; Butterworth v. Boyd, 12 Cal.2d 140, 82 P.2d 434, 126 A.L.R. 838; Friel v. McAdoo, 101 A.D. 155, 91 N.Y.S. 454; City of Birmingham v. Penuel, 242 Ala. 167, 5 So.2d 723; State v.......
  • 332 P.2d 913 (Mont. 1958), 9731, State ex rel. City of Livingston v. State Water Conservation Bd.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 23, 1958
    ...of Miller, 5 Cal.2d 588, 55 P.2d 491; Balthasar v. Pacific Electric R. Co., 187 Cal. 302, 202 P. 37, 19 A.L.R. 452; Butterworth v. Boyd, 12 Cal.2d 140, 82 P.2d 434, 126 A.L.R. 838; Attorney General v. City of Woburn, 322 Mass. 634, 79 N.E.2d 187; 82 C.J.S. Statutes Sec. 317, pp. 554, 555, 5......
  • 63 N.W.2d 638 (Mich. 1954), 47, Michigan Hospital Service v. Sharpe
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 5, 1954
    ...laws.' Citing therein California Physicians' Service v. Garrison, 28 Cal.2d 790, 172 P.2d 4, 167 A.L.R. 306; Butterworth v. Boyd, 12 Cal.2d 140, 82 P.2d 434, 126 A.L.R. 838; and State ex rel. Fishback v. Universal Service Agency, 87 Wash. 413, 151 P. 768. See, also, annotations and authorit......
  • 225 Cal.App.3d 1047, E006933, Summers v. City of Cathedral City
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 29, 1990
    ...(Kemmerer v. County of Fresno, supra, 200 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1432-1433, 246 Cal.Rptr. 609); charter city (Butterworth v. Boyd (1938) 12 Cal.2d 140, 150); or special district (Humbert v. Castro Valley County Fire Protection District (1963) 214 Cal.App.2d 1, 13, 29 Cal.Rptr. 158). It applies a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT