Maricopa County v. Superior Court In and For Maricopa County

Decision Date30 June 1972
Docket NumberNo. 10750,10750
Citation498 P.2d 461,108 Ariz. 373
PartiesMARICOPA COUNTY et al., Petitioners, v. SUPERIOR COURT of the State of Arizona, IN AND FOR the COUNTY OF MARICOPA, et al., Respondents.
CourtArizona Supreme Court

Moise Berger, Maricopa County Atty. by William Carter, Deputy County Atty., Phoenix, for petitioners.

Lewis & Roca by Walter Cheifetz, Phoenix, for respondents.

HOLOHAN, Justice:

Petitioner, the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, filed this petition for special action to seek a review of the order and judgment of the Superior Court compelling the Petitioner to accept the Respondent Evaro as a patient at the Maricopa County General Hospital. The Respondent Superior Court ruled that the residency requirement in A.R.S. § 11--297 was unconstitutional, and that all persons in the county who were indigent would be entitled to medical care at the county hospital irrespective of the length of residence within the county. Because of the importance of the issues involved and the need for a prompt resolution of the problem, the Petition was accepted for determination by this Court.

The parties have stipulated the essential facts. They have agreed that the Respondent Evaro was an indigent person who required continued medical care for the preservation of his health and well being, but his medical condition did not constitute an emergency case needing immediate hospital or medical care. The Respondent Evaro had not been a resident of Maricopa County for 12 months preceding the requirement for medical care or at the time of the filing of the action in the Superior Court. He was treated at Memorial Hospital, and the hospital joined with Evaro in the action in the Superior Court to compel the Board of Supervisors to accept the Respondent as a patient at the County General Hospital, and to pay the Respondent Memorial Hospital the sum of $1,202.60 for hospital care furnished Evaro up to the time of the filing in the Superior Court.

Substantially, the same facts as here presented were submitted to the Superior Court, and that court ruled in favor of the position of the Respondents holding that the residency requirement found in A.R.S. § 11--297 was unconstitutional and void and, therefore, the Petitioners were ordered to accept Evaro as a patient at the County General Hospital where his medical care was to be provided, and judgment was given against the Board of Supervisors and in favor of Memorial Hospital.

The sole question presented in this cause is whether the residency requirement of the Statute violates the Federal Constitution.

A.R.S. § 11--297 provides:

'A. Except in emergency cases when immediate hospitalization or medical care is necessary for the preservation of life or limb no person shall be provided hospitalization, medical care or outpatient relief * * * without first filing * * * a statement * * * that he is an indigent * * * and that he has been a resident of the county for the preceding twelve months.'

The principal case relied upon by Respondents is that of Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S.Ct. 1322, 22 L.Ed.2d 600 (1969). The Supreme Court of the United States declared a one year residency requirement of a state for eligibility for welfare to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court held that such a residency requirement constituted an 'invidious' classification which interfered with a fundamental right, the right to travel, and, in the absence of a compelling and substantial state interest, such residency requirement cannot stand.

While the Shapiro case dealt with eligibility for welfare funds which were described as necessary to life and well being, various federal courts have extended the ruling to apply to a host of situations. This has largely resulted because of the limitation placed by the Court on the Shapiro holding. See Footnote 21 on page 638 of 394 U.S., on page 1333 of 89 S.Ct. It would seem that the matter is left for a case by case determination. A decision by the California Court of Appeals sustaining that state's residency requirement for tuition free education, Kirk v. Board of Regents, 273 Cal.App.2d 430, 78 Cal.Rptr. 260 (1969), was left standing when the U.S. Supreme Court, without opinion, dismissed the appeal, 396 U.S. 554, 90 S.Ct. 754, 24 L.Ed.2d 747 (1970). A similar decision by a three-judge panel upholding the Minnesota residency requirement was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court without opinion. Starns v. Malkerson, 326 F.Supp. 234 (D.Minn., 1970), aff'd 401 U.S. 985, 91 S.Ct. 1231, 28 L.Ed.2d 527 (1971). Following these authorities and others, we recently sustained the residency requirement of this state classifying students at the State Universities, and approved as constitutional the requirement that students with less than the required residency pay a greater tuition than the resident students. Arizona Board of Regents v. Harper, 108 Ariz. 223, 495 P.2d 453 (1972).

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court in Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274 (1972), struck down the Tennessee one year residency for eligibility to vote as not furthering any compelling state interest and as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court found that the residence requirement in voting deprived citizens of two fundamental rights, the right to vote and the right to travel. In Dunn, as in Shapiro, the Court concludes that any classification which serves to penalize the exercise of a fundamental right, unless shown to be necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest, is unconstitutional.

Following the Shapiro decision, the precise issue presented in this cause was decided by the Arizona Court of Appeals in Board of Supervisors v. Robinson, 10 Ariz.App. 238, 457 P.2d 951 (1969), vacated by us as moot, 105 Ariz. 280, 463 P.2d 536 (1970), and in a three-judge federal case Valenciano v. Bateman, 323 F.Supp. 600 (D.Ariz., 1971). In each instance the court held the classification was unconstitutional.

The county residency requirement for non-emergency medical treatment does not discriminate in favor of residents of Arizona versus recent arrivals. The requirement applies to all citizens within the state including long term residents of one county who move to another county. Thus, the classification does not single out non-residents nor attempt to penalize interstate travel. The requirement is uniformly applied. The district court in Valenciano was not impressed with this position, and their position was that there was no distinction between interstate and intrastate travel.

Whether the...

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  • Memorial Hospital v. Maricopa County 8212 847
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 26, 1974
    ...its asserted objectives, has chosen means that do not unnecessarily impinge on constitutionally protected interests. Pp. 262—269. 108 Ariz. 373, 498 P.2d 461, reversed and Mary M. Schroeder, Washington, D.C., for appellants. William J. Carter, III, Phoenix, Ariz., for appellees. Mr. Justice......

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