From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
United States Supreme Court
497 U.S. 261 (1990)
Nancy Cruzan (plaintiff) was involved in a serious automobile accident. Paramedics found Cruzan without respiratory or cardiac functions, but revived her at the scene. After emerging from a three-week coma, Cruzan remained in a persistent vegetative state in which she exhibited no cognitive function, but retained motor reflexes. To assist her, surgeons implanted a gastrostomy feeding and hydration tube into Cruzan. The State of Missouri (defendant) bore the cost of her medical care. When it became clear that Cruzan had no chance of recovering, Cruzan’s parents (plaintiff) requested the nutrition and hydration tube be removed, which would cause her death. The hospital refused to do so without a court order. The trial court granted Cruzan’s parents petition to remove the tube. The court concluded that Cruzan had a fundamental right to refuse life-prolonging treatment and that she had expressed to a friend that she would not want to continue her life “unless she could live at least halfway normally.” The Missouri Supreme Court reversed and held that the evidence of Cruzan’s desire not to continue life-prolonging treatment was not clear and convincing and thus Cruzan’s parents lacked the authority to effectuate the court order. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)
Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)
Concurrence (Scalia, J.)
Dissent (Brennan, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 241,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.