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Bartron v. Codington County

South Dakota Supreme Court
2 N.W.2d 337 (1942)


Facts

Bartron Clinic (Bartron) (plaintiff) was a corporation owned entirely by the employees who worked at Bartron’s hospital and medical clinic. The corporation was formed to allow the employees to share in the profits from their work. Bartron owned all the equipment and supplied the medicine, but appropriately licensed medical professionals provided all the actual medical services. Bartron entered into two contracts with Codington County (Codington) (defendant) to provide medical services and medicine for Codington’s indigent citizens. Five years later, Bartron billed Codington approximately $3600 for medicine Bartron had given to indigent citizens under one of the contracts. When Codington did not pay the bill, Bartron sued. The lower court found that all Bartron’s contractual services had been provided by licensed professionals and that the corporation had not interfered with or attempted to interfere with how the professionals had practiced medicine. However, the lower court also found that it was against public policy and unlawful for a corporation to provide medical services. Because the contract between Bartron and Codington was a contract for a corporation to provide medical services to the county, the contract was against public policy and had no effect. The lower court ruled that Codington was not required to pay the $3600 bill. Bartron appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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