Nursing Care Services, Inc. v. Dobos

Decision Date27 February 1980
Docket NumberNo. 78-1345,78-1345
Citation380 So.2d 516
PartiesNURSING CARE SERVICES, INC., Appellant, v. Mary DOBOS, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Robert C. Furr, Boca Raton, for appellant.

Leo J. Fox, Boca Raton, for appellee.

HURLEY, Judge.

Plaintiff, Nursing Care Services, Inc., appeals from that part of a final judgment which disallowed compensation for certain nursing care services. Our review of the record reveals substantial uncontradicted testimony supporting plaintiff's theory of recovery and thus we remand for entry of an amended final judgment.

Mary Dobos, the defendant, was admitted to Boca Raton Community Hospital with an abdominal aneurysm. Her condition was sufficiently serious to cause her doctor to order around-the-clock nursing care. The hospital implemented this order by calling upon the plaintiff which provides individualized nursing services.

Mrs. Dobos received nursing care which in retrospect can be divided into three periods: (1) two weeks of in-hospital care; (2) forty-eight hour post-release care; and (3) two weeks of at-home care. The second period of care (the forty-eight hour post-release care) was removed as an issue at trial when Mrs. Dobos conceded that she or her daughter authorized that period of care. The total bill for all three periods came to $3,723.90; neither the reasonableness of the fee, the competency of the nurses, nor the necessity for the services was contested at trial.

The gist of the defense was that Mrs. Dobos never signed a written contract nor orally agreed to be liable for the nursing services. Testifying about the in-hospital care, she said, "Dr. Rosen did all the work. I don't know what he done (sic), and he says, I needed a nurse." It is undisputed that Mrs. Dobos was mentally alert during her at-home recuperation period. Asked if she ever tried to fire the nurses or dispense with their care, she replied, "I didn't. I didn't know who I thought maybe if they insist, the doctors insist so much, I thought the Medicare would take care of it, or whatever. I don't know."

After a non-jury trial, the court granted judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $248.00, the cost of the forty-eight hour post-release care. It declined to allow compensation for the first and third periods of care, saying,

". . . (T)here certainly was a service rendered, but based on the total surrounding circumstances, I don't think there is sufficient communications and dealings with Mrs. Dobos to make sure that she knew that she would be responsible for those services rendered. . . ."

We concur in the trial court's determination that the plaintiff failed to prove an express contract or a contract implied in fact. It is our view, however, that the uncontradicted testimony provided by plaintiff and defendant alike, clearly established a contract implied in law which entitles the plaintiff to recover.

Contracts implied in law, or as they are more commonly called "quasi contracts", are obligations imposed by law on grounds of justice and equity. Their purpose is to prevent unjust enrichment. Unlike express contracts or contracts implied in fact, quasi contracts do not rest upon the assent of the contracting parties. See generally, 28 Fla.Jur., Restitution and Implied Contracts.

One of the most common areas in which recovery on a contract implied in law is allowed is that of work performed or services rendered. The rationale is that the defendant would be unjustly enriched at the expense of the plaintiff if she were allowed to escape payment for services rendered or work performed. There is, however, an important limitation. Ordinarily liability is imposed to pay for services rendered by another only when the person for whose benefit they were rendered requested the services or knowingly and voluntarily accepted their benefits. Yeats v. Moody, 128 Fla. 658, 175 So. 719 (1937); Strano v. Carr & Carr, Inc., 97 Fla. 150, 119 So. 864 (1929); Taylor v. Thompson, 359 So.2d 14 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978); and Tobin & Tobin Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Zeskind, 315 So.2d 518 (Fla. 3d DCA 1975).

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4 cases
  • Bailey v. Rocky Mountain Holdings, LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • May 8, 2018
    ...right to collect that fee. Yeats v. Moody , 128 Fla. 658, 175 So. 719, 720 (1937) ; see also Nursing Care Servs., Inc. v. Dobos , 380 So.2d 516, 517–18 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1980) (holding that a contract is implied when a person supplies emergency aid to prevent serious bodily harm or pain)......
  • Credit Bureau Enterprises, Inc. v. Pelo
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • March 22, 2000
    ...on Contracts § 2.20, at 173 (2d ed.1998), or for which one did not request or knowingly accept. See Nursing Care Servs. v. Dobos, 380 So.2d 516, 518 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1980) (referring to rule as the "officious intermeddler In certain circumstances, however, restitution for services performed......
  • Biggerstaff v. Vanderburgh Humane Soc., Inc.
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • September 15, 1983
    ...v. Miles, (1980) 47 Md.App. 131, 422 A.2d 28; Greenspan v. Slate, (1953) 12 N.J. 426, 97 A.2d 390; Nursing Care Services, Inc. v. Dobos, (1980) Fla.Dist.Ct.App., 380 So.2d 516; Tipper v . Great Lakes Chemical Co., (1973) Fla., 281 So.2d 10. When the dogs were taken into custody, they were f......
  • Beeler v. Beeler, 77-2724
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 1980

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