City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital - Oral Argument - February 28, 1983

City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital

Media for City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 27, 1983 in City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 28, 1983 in City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital

Warren E. Burger:

We will arguments next in the City of Revere against Massachusetts General Hospital.

Mr. Zaleznik, I think you can proceed whenever you are ready.

Ira H. Zaleznik:

Thank you, Your Honor.

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

The issue before this Court is whether a municipality is obligated by the Constitution to reimburse a hospital for the cost of medical treatment rendered to a person suspected of a crime.

Let me briefly summarize the facts.

On September 20th, 1978, the Revere police were called to respond to a reported burglary at a dwelling house in Revere, Massachusetts.

The police arrived at the scene, observed an individual leaving the home with a suitcase and a pillow-case, and this individual was later identified as one Patrick Kivlin.

As a result, the police sought to detain him, and Mr. Kivlin attempted to flee.

After repeated warnings and a warning shot, Mr. Kivlin was shot by a police officer for the City of Revere.

Warren E. Burger:

That is when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts said he was under arrest, since that bullet hit him.

Ira H. Zaleznik:

Yes, Your Honor, except that the Revere police secured an arrest warrant from the Chelsea District Court, the local court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Warren E. Burger:

Later on.

Ira H. Zaleznik:

Later on, after... while Mr. Kivlin was still in the hospital.

Warren E. Burger:

When they picked him up off the street to take him to the hospital, was he arrested then?

Ira H. Zaleznik:

We would submit that he was not, other than in the practical sense that he was incapacitated and could not move away on his own.

But we would not contend that there is any meaning to custody at that stage.

As a practical matter, the suspect was in need of emergency medical attention, and the police officers for the City of Revere did the appropriate thing, they called an ambulance, the ambulance arrived and took Mr. Kivlin to the emergency ward at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Does the record show why they took him to MGH rather than Boston City?

Ira H. Zaleznik:

It does not, Your Honor, except that geographically Massachusetts General Hospital is closer.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Much?

Not very much.

Ira H. Zaleznik:

It depends upon the time of day, but I believe that as a matter of course--

Harry A. Blackmun:

Does the time of day make the distance--

Ira H. Zaleznik:

--In terms of traffic conditions at the scene, Your Honor.

Harry A. Blackmun:

--But at least Boston City was a municipal hospital.

MGH, theoretically, is a private one.

Ira H. Zaleznik:

Yes, that is correct, Your Honor.

Harry A. Blackmun:

What was the reason for taking him to MGH, other than closeness in terms of traffic?

Ira H. Zaleznik:

I would think no other, Your Honor.