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Schmidt v. Prince George's Hosp.

Court of Appeals of Maryland

November 15, 2001, Filed

No. 119, September Term, 2000

Opinion

 [**1113]   [*537]  On 1 May 2000, judgment was entered by the District Court of Maryland, sitting in St. Mary's County, in favor of Prince George's Hospital (Respondent) in a suit brought by it against Michelle M. Schmidt (Petitioner) to recover $ 1756.24 for medical services provided by it to her in 1997 when she was 16 years of age. Petitioner was an adult when the suit was filed in 1999. Petitioner appealed to the Circuit Court for St. Mary's County. She contended that she could not have been sued while a minor, as there was, in her view, no Maryland statute or common law holding that a minor child is liable for medical necessaries, and therefore she could not be sued as an adult for the medical services rendered when she was a minor.  [*538]  Respondent countered that a minor may be held liable for necessary emergency medical treatment under the doctrine of necessaries and that such liability was not extinguished merely upon reaching adulthood. On 6 November 2000, the Circuit Court entered a judgment [***2]  in the appeal 1 in favor of Respondent in the amount of $ 1756.24, plus interest and costs. Respondent recovered the amount of the judgment from Petitioner through wage attachments.

We granted Petitioner's writ of certiorari on 9 January 2001. 2

The questions presented in the successful petition, modified only stylistically, are:

1. Whether, under Maryland law, a minor under a legal disability is personally liable for medical necessaries rendered upon her person; and therefore, suable [***3]  as an adult under an implied contractual promise to pay the medical provider?

2. May a 16 year old make a binding promise to pay at age 18?

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366 Md. 535 *; 784 A.2d 1112 **; 2001 Md. LEXIS 867 ***

MICHELLE M. SCHMIDT v. PRINCE GEORGE'S HOSPITAL

Subsequent History:  [***1]  As Corrected December 5, 2001.

Prior History: Certiorari to the Circuit Court for St. Mary's County. Case #C00-505. John Hanson Briscoe, JUDGE.

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

unwilling, unwillingness, disability, tortfeasor, infant, daughter's, dictum, adult, abandoned, obiter, attaining, coverage, voidable, unfair

Business & Corporate Compliance, Contract Formation, Capacity of Parties, Minors, Contracts Law, General Overview, Family Law, Parental Duties & Rights, Emancipation of Minors, Family Relationships & Torts, Duties, Support of Children, Torts, Compensatory Damages, Types of Losses, Medical Expenses, Perfections & Priorities, Liens, Hospital Liens, Healthcare Law, Insurance Coverage, Health Insurance, Patient Obligations, Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Medical Necessity, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Common Law, State & Territorial Governments, Legislatures, Judicial Precedent, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Defenses, Specific Immunities, Parent-Child Immunity