Martin v. Department of Social Sec.

Decision Date29 January 1942
Docket Number28541.
Citation121 P.2d 394,12 Wn.2d 329
PartiesMARTIN v. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Proceeding by Jack Martin for review of an order of the Department of Social Security of the State of Washington, denying his request as recipient of an old age assistance grant for authorization for treatment by a licensed sanipractor. From a judgment, reversing the order of the Department of Social Security, the Department appeals.

Judgment affirmed.

STEINERT MILLARD, and SIMPSON, JJ., dissenting in part.

Appeal from Superior Court, Thurston County; D. F Wright, Judge.

Smith Troy, Phil H. Gallagher, R. C. Finley, and Pat Guimont, all of Olympia, for appellant.

Laube &amp Laughlin and Patrick A. Geraghty, all of Seattle, Amici Curiae for the Department.

Ralph L. J. Armstrong, of Olympia, for respondent.

MAIN Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the superior court reversing an order of the state department of social security.

July 9, 1941, one Jack Martin, who was then a recipient of an old age assistance grant, requested authorization from the administrator of the Thurston County Welfare Department for treatment by one George Zeren, a licensed sanipractor. This application was denied, and Martin appealed to the department of social security. That department likewise denied the request, from which Martin appealed to the superior court. The trial in that court resulted in findings of fact and conclusions which sustained the application. From the judgment reversing the order of the department of social security, that department appealed.

Sanipractic is a method of drugless healing, and one who practices that particular method of healing is restricted to what he is permitted to do under the certificate or license which has been issued to him. Laws of 1919, chapter 36, p. 64, Rem.Rev.Stat. §§ 10112 to 10125; State v. Lydon, 170 Wash. 354, 16 P.2d 848.

Section 15 of Initiative Measure No. 141, chapter 1, Laws of 1941, which is the senior citizens grants act, is as follows: ' Additional Care. In addition to Senior Citizen Grants, the department [Social Security] shall provide for those eligible medical, dental, surgical, optical, hospital and nursing care by a doctor of recipient's own choosing; * * *.'

The question here for decision is the meaning to be given to the word 'doctor,' as used in that section of the statute. The department contends that, by the use of that term, it was the intention to only allow the recipient to have such treatment as could be administered by a regularly licensed medical practitioner. On the other hand, Martin contends that it was the intention to give the recipient the right to choose anyone authorized to give treatment, such as drugless healing, within the scope of the license which had been issued to such practitioner.

If the contention of the department should be sustained, then the words in the statute, 'hospital and nursing care,' would have no meaning. This is made obvious by assuming that the act had used only those words, and that it had read as follows: 'Additional Care: In addition to Senior Citizen Grants, the department shall provide for those eligible * * * hospital and nursing care by a doctor of recipient's own choosing. * * *'

A statute should not be given an interpretation which would make it an absurdity when it is susceptible of a reasonable interpretation which would carry out the manifest intent of the legislature.

In State v. Asotin County, 79 Wash. 634, 140 P. 914, 917, it was said:

'* * * An act of the Legislature should not be given an interpretation which would make it an absurdity when it is susceptible of a reasonable interpretation which could carry out the manifest intent of the Legislature. In Endlich, Interpretation of Statutes, § 264, it is said: 'The presumption against absurdity in the provision of a legislative enactment is probably a more powerful guide to its
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20 cases
  • Group Health Co-op. of Puget Sound v. King County Medical Soc.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 15 Noviembre 1951
    ...if possible, be so construed that no clause, sentence or word shall be superfluous, void, or insignificant. Martin v. Department of Social Security, 12 Wash.2d 329, 121 P.2d 394; Groves v. Meyers, 35 Wash.2d 403, 213 P.2d The term 'product' is often used to denote tangible articles perceiva......
  • City of Kent v. Beigh
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 11 Octubre 2001
    ...if it can be prevented, no clause, sentence, or word shall be superfluous, void, or insignificant.'" (quoting Martin v. Dep't of Soc. Sec., 12 Wash.2d 329, 332, 121 P.2d 394 (1942))). Moreover the rule enunciated in Beigh that blood tests may be administered only under RCW 46.20.308(3) is i......
  • Kelso v. City of Tacoma, 36625
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 5 Marzo 1964
    ...of a reasonable interpretation, it is our duty to carry out the manifest intent of the legislature. Martin v. Department of Social Sec., 12 Wash.2d 329, 121 P.2d 394 (1942); State v. Asotin County, 79 Wash. 634, 140 P. 914 (1914). If there is any room for doubt as to what was intended by th......
  • State v. Pannell, 85437–8.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 1 Diciembre 2011
    ...Grp. Health Coop. of Puget Sound v. King County Med. Soc'y, 39 Wash.2d 586, 637, 237 P.2d 737 (1951) (citing Martin v. Dep't of Soc. Sec., 12 Wash.2d 329, 121 P.2d 394 (1942)). ¶ 14 The Court of Appeals has reached the same conclusion in two substantially similar cases, Miller, 159 Wash.App......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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