Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Shaheen v. Knight case brief

Shaheen v. Knight case brief summary
11 Pa. D. & C.2d 41 (1957)

Plaintiff patient filed an action in assumpsit to recover damages against defendant physician based upon a theory of breach of contract.

The patient claimed that he contracted with the physician to perform a sterilization operation because the patient, who had four children, desired to comfortably support his family. Following the operation, the patient's wife gave birth to a fifth child as a result of continued marital relations, and filed an action against the physician alleging that a breach of contract had occurred and that the physician should have been liable for the additional expenses of supporting, educating, and maintaining the child until maturity. The physician filed preliminary objections to the complaint, including that an alleged contract to sterilize a man whose wife may have had a child without any hazard to her own life was void as against public policy, and that there was no "warranty of cure" by a physician in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The court held that although there was no "warranty of cure," the parties were at liberty to contract for a particular result; however, the court refused to allow damages in the matter because it considered it unjust for the physician to have to pay for the "fun, joy, and affection" which the patient was to experience in rearing his child.

The court dismissed the patient's action in assumpsit to recover damages against the physician.

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