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McIntyre v. Ramirez

Supreme Court of Texas

February 5, 2003, Argued ; June 26, 2003, Delivered

NO. 01-1203

Opinion

 [*742]  In this medical malpractice action arising from the emergency delivery of an infant, defendant Dr. Douglas McIntyre moved for summary judgment raising the Good Samaritan statute as an affirmative defense. ] The Good Samaritan statute provides an affirmative defense against ordinary negligence for persons who administer emergency care, under specified circumstances. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 74.001. However, the statute does not protect from liability persons whose services were provided "for or in expectation of remuneration." Id. § 74.001(b)(1). The trial court granted the doctor's motion for summary judgment, but a divided court of appeals reversed, holding that the doctor failed to prove conclusively that he was entitled to protection from liability under the Good Samaritan statute. Specifically, the court of appeals held that the doctor failed to prove that he was not legally entitled [**2]  to receive payment for the emergency services he rendered. 59 S.W.3d 821, 827.

This case presents a question of statutory construction: what must a person prove to establish that he or she did not act "for or in expectation of remuneration" within the meaning of this exception to immunity from liability in the Good Samaritan statute? TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 74.001(b)(1). On this issue of first impression, we hold that the statute requires a person to prove that he or she would not ordinarily receive or ordinarily be entitled to receive payment under the circumstances in which the emergency care was provided. Because the summary  [*743]  judgment evidence conclusively established that Dr. McIntyre satisfied these statutory requirements, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

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109 S.W.3d 741 *; 2003 Tex. LEXIS 89 **; 46 Tex. Sup. J. 854

DOUGLAS K. MCINTYRE, M.D., PETITIONER v. DEBRA MARIE RAMIREZ AND VICTOR BOCANEGRA, BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT FRIENDS OF COLBY ALAN RAMIREZ, A MINOR, RESPONDENTS

Subsequent History: On remand at, Appeal dismissed by Ramirez v. McIntyre, 2003 Tex. App. LEXIS 7516 (Tex. App. Austin, Aug. 29, 2003)

Prior History: ON PETITION FOR REVIEW FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD DISTRICT OF TEXAS.

Ramirez v. McIntyre, 59 S.W.3d 821, 2001 Tex. App. LEXIS 7138 (Tex. App. Austin, 2001)

Disposition: Court of Appeals reversed; remanded.

CORE TERMS

remuneration, emergency, administers, emergency care, court of appeals, circumstances, baby, entitled to receive, summary judgment, emergency room, patient, scene, legislative history, responded, delivery, shoulder, statutory construction, affirmative defense, labor and delivery, trial court, good faith, personnel, modifier, exempt, verb

Healthcare Law, Good Samaritan Laws, Torts, Malpractice & Professional Liability, Healthcare Providers, Healthcare Litigation, Actions Against Healthcare Workers, General Overview, Standards of Care, Reasonable Care, Reasonable Person, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Waiver & Preservation of Defenses, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Criminal Law & Procedure, Acts & Mental States, Mens Rea, Knowledge, Affirmative Defenses, Summary Judgment, Abuse of Discretion, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, Supporting Materials, Affidavits, Motions for Summary Judgment, Opposing Materials