Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtDOOLING; NOURSE, P. J., and GOODELL
Citation104 Cal.App.2d 336,231 P.2d 513
PartiesLATHAM v. SANTA CLARA COUNTY HOSPITAL et al. Civ. 14747.
Decision Date21 May 1951

Page 513

231 P.2d 513
104 Cal.App.2d 336
LATHAM

v.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HOSPITAL et al.
Civ. 14747.
District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2, California.
May 21, 1951.
Rehearing Denied June 20, 1951.
Hearing Denied July 19, 1951.

Page 514

[104 Cal.App.2d 337] Emmett R. Burns, Edward A. Friend, San Francisco, for appellant.

Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, San Francisco, Howard W. Campen, County Counsel of Santa Clara County, San Jose, for respondents.

DOOLING, Justice.

This appeal presents a question in the field of governmental liability for tort. That the law on the general subject, both by legislative and judicial action, is being extended in favor of such liability needs no elaboration. See the excellent discussion of the subject in People v. Superior Court, 29 Cal.2d 754, 756-762, 178 P.2d 1. The tendency both by legislation and judicial decision has been to enlarge the field of governmental liability. Nevertheless in this case we feel constrained both by the precedent of earlier decisions in the particular area of governmental activity involved and by reason of the legislative action in enacting section 203.5, Welfare and Institutions Code, in 1947, Stats. 1947, p. 2974, to hold once again that there can be no liability imposed upon a county or its board of supervisors for negligent injury incurred by any patient in a county hospital.

The earliest decision on the subject in this state is Sherbourne v. Yuba County, 21 Cal. 113. This was followed, in point of time by Davie v. Board of Regents, etc., 66 Cal.App. 693, 227 P. 243. The Sherbourne case held that in caring for an indigent in a county hospital the county was performing a governmental function and could not be held liable for tortious injury to the patient. The Davie case applied the same rule to the University of California in a case in which a student was tortiously injured while a patient in the university infirmary.

Next in point of time comes Goodall v. Brite, 11 Cal.App.2d 540, 54 P.2d 510. Not a tort case, this was a taxpayer's action to enjoin the county board of supervisors from admitting certain classes of patients to the county hospital. In that case the court held that the county hospital might legally only receive patients who by reason of inability to pay the rates charged at private hospitals in the vicinity might be deprived of hospitalization if they were not treated in the county hospital. The court expressly reserved the question of the right to receive patients into a county hospital without regard [104 Cal.App.2d 338] to ability to pay where there were no other

Page 515

hospital facilities 'within a reasonable distance'. 11 Cal.App.2d at page 543, 54 P.2d at page 512.

In Calkins v. Newton, 36 Cal.App.2d 262, 97 P.2d 523, a tort case, the complaint expressly alleged that there were no other hospital facilities in the county, that plaintiff had entered the county...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 practice notes
  • Hubbard v. Boelt
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 19, 1980
    ...to attempt to overrule decisions of a higher court. (People v. McGuire, 45 Cal. 56, 57-58; Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 340, 231 P.2d 513 . . .; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Larkin, 62 Cal.App.2d 891, 894, 145 P.2d 633. . . .)" (Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Co......
  • Muskopf v. Corning Hospital Dist.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 27, 1961
    ...S. F. (1951), 106 Cal.App.2d 232, 244-245, 234 P.2d 995, 236 P.2d 141 (hearing denied); Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital (1951), 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 337(1), 231 P.2d 513 (hearing 2 The scope of this pronouncement is defined by the further statement (p. 94) that 'Nor does our decision h......
  • Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 22, 1962
    ...to attempt to overrule decisions of a higher court. (People v. McGuire, 45 Cal. 56, 57-58; Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 340, 231 P.2d 513; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Larkin, 62 Cal.App.2d 891, 894, 145 P.2d [57 Cal.2d 456] This rule requiring a court exercising inf......
  • Lee v. Dunklee, No. 6357
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • June 25, 1958
    ...The trend of recent judicial decisions is to restrict the doctrine of governmental immunity. Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 231 P.2d 513; People v. Superior Court, 29 Cal.2d 754, 178 P.2d 1, 40 A.L.R.2d 919; Barker v. City of Santa Fe, 47 N.M. 85, 136 P.2d 480. W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Hubbard v. Boelt
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 19, 1980
    ...to attempt to overrule decisions of a higher court. (People v. McGuire, 45 Cal. 56, 57-58; Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 340, 231 P.2d 513 . . .; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Larkin, 62 Cal.App.2d 891, 894, 145 P.2d 633. . . .)" (Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Co......
  • Muskopf v. Corning Hospital Dist.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 27, 1961
    ...S. F. (1951), 106 Cal.App.2d 232, 244-245, 234 P.2d 995, 236 P.2d 141 (hearing denied); Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital (1951), 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 337(1), 231 P.2d 513 (hearing 2 The scope of this pronouncement is defined by the further statement (p. 94) that 'Nor does our decision h......
  • Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 22, 1962
    ...to attempt to overrule decisions of a higher court. (People v. McGuire, 45 Cal. 56, 57-58; Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 340, 231 P.2d 513; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Larkin, 62 Cal.App.2d 891, 894, 145 P.2d [57 Cal.2d 456] This rule requiring a court exercising inf......
  • Lee v. Dunklee, No. 6357
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • June 25, 1958
    ...The trend of recent judicial decisions is to restrict the doctrine of governmental immunity. Latham v. Santa Clara County Hospital, 104 Cal.App.2d 336, 231 P.2d 513; People v. Superior Court, 29 Cal.2d 754, 178 P.2d 1, 40 A.L.R.2d 919; Barker v. City of Santa Fe, 47 N.M. 85, 136 P.2d 480. W......
  • 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