Monday, November 11, 2013

Hurley v. Eddingfield case brief

Hurley v. Eddingfield case brief summary
59 N.E. 1058 (Ind. 1901)

The Montgomery Circuit Court (Indiana) entered judgment for defendant physician, in an action against the physician commenced by plaintiff, administrator of the deceased, seeking damages for the physician's allegedly wrongfully causing the death of the deceased. The administrator appealed.


  • The physician had been the decedent's family physician. 
  • When the decedent became dangerously ill, he sent for the physician. 
  • The decedent's messenger informed the physician of decedent's violent sickness, tendered him fees for his services, and stated to him that no other physician was procurable in time and that the decedent relied on him for attention. 
  • Without any reason the physician refused to render aid to the decedent. 
  • The decedent died. 
  • The wrongful act alleged against the physician was his refusal to enter into a contract of employment with the decedent. 
  • The trial court sustained the physician's demurrer to the complaint.

The court affirmed. The court found that the act regulating the practice of medicine was a preventive, not a compulsive, measure. Thus, the physician, in obtaining the state's license to practice medicine, was not required to practice at all or on other terms than he might choose to accept.


The court affirmed the trial court's judgment. The court found that the physician was not required to have entered into a contract of employment with the decedent.

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