Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Hicks v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
368 F.2d 626 (4th Cir. 1966)


Carol Greitens was killed due to a misdiagnosis by a doctor at a federal hospital. Hicks (plaintiff), the administrator of Greitens’s estate, brought suit against the United States government (government) (defendant), alleging that the doctor’s misdiagnosis was the result of negligence, rather than just an error of judgment. The doctor’s diagnosis was that Greitens had gastroenteritis, although she actually had an intestinal obstruction, which is, and was, lethal. The symptoms for both are very similar, but the doctor gave his diagnosis without asking certain questions or performing certain examinations on Greitens that are customary when checking for an intestinal obstruction. At trial, the government’s expert witness made a conclusory statement that the doctor had exercised the required standard of care, but in the witness’s testimony, he effectively admitted that the doctor did not actually exercise such care. Hicks’s expert witnesses all testified explicitly that the doctor did not exercise the appropriate standard of care. However, the district court ruled that the doctor’s misdiagnosis was merely an error of judgment, and not negligence. The court therefore dismissed the case. Hicks appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Sobeloff, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. 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.

  2. 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 222,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 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.