Beaumont v. Morgan, No. 7516

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtALDRICH, , COFFIN, Circuit , and FORD
PartiesSusan BEAUMONT, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Alexander C. MORGAN, Defendant, Appellee. Susan BEAUMONT, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Christian W. AUSSENHEIMER et al., Defendants, Appellees.
Decision Date08 June 1970
Docket NumberNo. 7516,7517.

427 F.2d 667 (1970)

Susan BEAUMONT, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
Alexander C. MORGAN, Defendant, Appellee.

Susan BEAUMONT, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
Christian W. AUSSENHEIMER et al., Defendants, Appellees.

Nos. 7516, 7517.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

June 8, 1970.


427 F.2d 668

Daniel Klubock, with whom Daniel F. Featherstone, Jr., Boston, Mass., was on brief, for appellant.

Lionel H. Perlo, and Donald J. Wood, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom Daniel A. Lynch, Robert H. Quinn, Atty. Gen., and Ficksman & Conley, Boston, Mass., were on briefs, for appellee.

Before ALDRICH, Chief Judge, COFFIN, Circuit Judge, and FORD, District Judge.

COFFIN, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Susan Beaumont brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking recovery for loss of liberty against six doctors, all of whom played a role in her two-week confinement in a Massachusetts mental hospital. The jury exonerated defendant Morgan, the doctor who had originally recommended hospitalization, but returned verdicts against

427 F.2d 669
the five doctors who had dealt with plaintiff while confined. The district court, however, set these five verdicts aside and entered judgments, notwithstanding the verdicts, for defendants. This appeal followed

Testimony at trial indicated that plaintiff, a 46-year-old unmarried woman, entered a Cambridge tavern on July 3, 1967, drank three Manhattans, then fainted on the sidewalk outside. Plaintiff claimed to have no memory of the ensuing events until she woke up strapped to an examining table at Cambridge City Hospital. Policemen summoned to her aid, however, testified that she was abusive, struck them repeatedly with her purse and cane, and threatened suicide. The policemen reported this behavior to the interne on duty at City Hospital, defendant Morgan. On the basis of their reports, his own observations of plaintiff's violent behavior, and plaintiff's renewed threats of self-destruction, Morgan concluded that plaintiff suffered from "acute psychosis with alcoholism" and needed further observation. After confirming his diagnosis with a senior doctor, Morgan executed a request for plaintiff's temporary admission to Westborough State Hospital under Mass. Gen.Laws c. 123 § 79, a provision authorizing emergency hospitalization for ten days.

On her arrival at Westborough State, plaintiff was examined by defendant Grimberg, who observed that she was under the influence of alcohol and very belligerent, and tentatively concluded that "her psychosis is probably due to excess alcohol in a paranoid personality". No doctor examined plaintiff on the following day, July 4, but on July 5 plaintiff was examined by defendant Segal, a staff psychiatrist, and by a meeting of the staff chaired by the hospital's director of psychiatry, defendant Simon. The consensus was that plaintiff suffered from "pathological intoxication in a sociopathic personality", and that circumstances warranted a "significant period of observation" beyond the ten days confinement authorized by § 79.

Further confinement required a certificate of mental illness and a court order pursuant to Mass.Gen.Laws c. 123 § 77. Accordingly, on the following day, July 6, the hospital summoned defendants Paine and Aussenheimer who examined plaintiff and certified to the Westborough District Court that continued confinement was necessary for plaintiff's treatment. The local court, without holding a hearing, issued an order authorizing plaintiff's commitment for forty days' observation. On July 14, defendant Simon noted that plaintiff was ready for discharge. Plaintiff was discharged after staff review of her case on July 19.

The court below, viewing this evidence most favorably to the plaintiff, concluded that defendants had erred in their diagnosis of mental derangement, but had acted in good faith and in conformity with statutory procedures. Were § 1983 actions to succeed under such circumstances, the court reasoned, the federal courts would be inundated with challenges to state confinements, both psychiatric and penal. The court added that, even if a § 1983 claim existed, some of the defendants would escape liability because they did not cause plaintiff's confinement, while others would enjoy absolute immunity as witnesses in a judicial proceeding.

Attacking these rulings and the jury verdict for defendant Morgan, plaintiff raises no fewer than fifteen separate questions. We find it necessary to answer three: whether the court erred in ruling that defendant Morgan was qualified under Mass.Gen.Laws c. 123 § 79 to request temporary care in a state institution; whether defendants properly preserved their rights to request judgments notwithstanding the verdict under Rule 50, Fed.R.Civ.P.; and whether the evidence, viewed most favorably to plaintiff, was sufficient to support the jury verdicts.

We begin with plaintiff's attack on defendant Morgan's authority to request temporary care. Section 79 requires that the physician who makes the request

427 F.2d 670
be a graduate of a legally chartered medical school and be registered in accordance with Mass.Gen.Laws c. 112. Defendant had registered in accordance with chapter 112, but only under c. 112 § 9, which grants a limited authority to practice within a specific hospital, rather than under the general registration provision, c. 112 § 2, which permits practice anywhere in the Commonwealth. Plaintiff maintains that § 79's reference to chapter 112 means c. 112 § 2 but not c. 112 § 9

Plaintiff's interpretation ignores the plain language of the statute. Had the legislature meant to permit only physicians qualified under § 2 to request care, it could undoubtedly have said so rather than leaving this significant limitation to judicial inference. Moreover, plaintiff's interpretation would render superfluous § 79's requirement that the requesting physician be a medical school graduate; all physicians registered under § 2 must be graduates, but a limited registration under § 9 may be obtained after only three and a half years of medical school study. Defendant Morgan,...

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21 practice notes
  • Wells Real Estate, Inc. v. Greater Lowell Bd. of Realtors, No. 87-1238
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • February 1, 1988
    ...a motion need not be repeated at the close of all evidence if such a repetition is clearly superfluous or futile. See Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667 (1st Cir.1970); Bayamon Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d 968 (1st Cir.1969). However, such a case will be unusual, existing only when th......
  • Smith v. University of North Carolina, Nos. 79-1221
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • September 30, 1980
    ...Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d at 971-72, and (d) where the additional evidence was brief and inconsequential, Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 670 (1st Cir. 1970), are not applicable here. See 5A Moore's Federal Practice P 50.08 at 50-88 to -91 III. Were the District Court's Finding......
  • Della Grotta v. State of R.I., No. 85-1214
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • January 17, 1986
    ...exception adopted by this court in Bayamon Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d 968, 971-72 (1st Cir.1969). See also Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 669 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 882, 91 S.Ct. 120, 27 L.Ed.2d 121 (1970). In Bayamon, defendants moved for a directed verdict at the ......
  • Miller v. Rowan Companies, Inc., No. 86-3129
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • May 1, 1987
    ...104 S.Ct. 1284, 79 L.Ed.2d 687 (1984); Quinn v. Southwest Wood Products, Inc., 597 F.2d 1018, 1025 (5th Cir.1979); Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 670 (1st Cir.), cert. denied sub. nom. Beaumont v. Aussenheimer, 400 U.S. 882, 91 S.Ct. 120, 27 L.Ed.2d 121 (1970); Bonner v. Coughlin, 657 F.......
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21 cases
  • Wells Real Estate, Inc. v. Greater Lowell Bd. of Realtors, No. 87-1238
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • February 1, 1988
    ...a motion need not be repeated at the close of all evidence if such a repetition is clearly superfluous or futile. See Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667 (1st Cir.1970); Bayamon Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d 968 (1st Cir.1969). However, such a case will be unusual, existing only when th......
  • Smith v. University of North Carolina, Nos. 79-1221
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • September 30, 1980
    ...Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d at 971-72, and (d) where the additional evidence was brief and inconsequential, Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 670 (1st Cir. 1970), are not applicable here. See 5A Moore's Federal Practice P 50.08 at 50-88 to -91 III. Were the District Court's Finding......
  • Della Grotta v. State of R.I., No. 85-1214
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • January 17, 1986
    ...exception adopted by this court in Bayamon Thom McAn, Inc. v. Miranda, 409 F.2d 968, 971-72 (1st Cir.1969). See also Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 669 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 882, 91 S.Ct. 120, 27 L.Ed.2d 121 (1970). In Bayamon, defendants moved for a directed verdict at the ......
  • Miller v. Rowan Companies, Inc., No. 86-3129
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • May 1, 1987
    ...104 S.Ct. 1284, 79 L.Ed.2d 687 (1984); Quinn v. Southwest Wood Products, Inc., 597 F.2d 1018, 1025 (5th Cir.1979); Beaumont v. Morgan, 427 F.2d 667, 670 (1st Cir.), cert. denied sub. nom. Beaumont v. Aussenheimer, 400 U.S. 882, 91 S.Ct. 120, 27 L.Ed.2d 121 (1970); Bonner v. Coughlin, 657 F.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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