Thursday, May 23, 2013

Zinermon v. Burch case brief

Zinermon v. Burch case brief
494 U.S. 113, 110 S. Ct. 975, 108 L. Ed. 2d 100 (1990)

A patient brought suit against the petitioners, physicians, hospital administrators, staff members, and others, for an alleged violation of his due process rights.
-The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and remanded the case.
-The physicians and others appealed.

-The physicians and other defendants argued that the patient's complaint failed to state a claim under § 1983 because it alleged only a random, unauthorized violation of the Florida statutes governing admission of mental patients.
-The patient alleged that petitioners deprived him of his liberty, without due process of law, by admitting him to the hospital as a "voluntary" mental patient when he was incompetent to give informed consent to his admission.
-The Court affirmed the judgment reversing dismissal. 

-In doing so, the Court resolved a conflict in the courts of appeals over the proper scope of the Parratt v. Taylor rule.

The Court held that the Parratt rule did not control the case because there was no necessity for quick action by the physicians and others, nor was providing pre-deprivation process impractical.

The case required a general Mathews doctrine analysis because it was not a special case, like Parratt, where post-deprivation tort remedies provided all the process due when they were all the state could have been expected to provide.
-Thus, the patient did state a claim under § 1983, and the judgment was affirmed and remanded.

CONCLUSION: The judgment reversing the dismissal of the patient's complaint was affirmed and remanded for a decision on the merits.

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