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Findlay v. Board of Sup'rs of County of Mohave

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 23, 1951

FINDLAY et al.

Judgment reversed with instructions to enter judgment reinstituting desist order.

Charles P. Elmer, of Kingman, Favour & Quail, of Prescott, for appellants. T. J. Byrne, of Prescott, of Counsel.

Carl D. Hammond, of Kingman, Morgan & Locklear, of Phoenix, for appellees.

Stanford, Justice. Udall, C. J., and La Prade, J., concur. Phelps and De Concini, Justices (specially concurring).


Stanford, Justice.

Page 528

[72 Ariz. 60] This is an appeal from an order of the superior court quashing a writ of certiorari and dissolving the stay that had theretofore been ordered at the time the writ was issued. There was also made an order dismissing the petition upon which the writ had been granted.

The appellants (petitioners below) are four of the five practicing physicians in Mohave County. Located at Kingman, the county seat, is a county hospital known as the Mohave General Hospital, authorized, [72 Ariz. 61] directed and maintained under the provisions of Chapter 17, Arts. III and IV, A.C.A.1939, relating to the powers of the board of supervisors in maintaining favorable health conditions. Incidentally, this was the only hospital in the county and widely used by the residents of the north westerly corner of the state. As a county hospital, it was completely under the control of the board of supervisors of Mohave County, who had provided a general manager therefor. On February 19, 1949, the respondent members of the board of supervisors passed a certain resolution or rule pertaining to the use of the facilities of the hospital by any doctor. This resolution, known as Resolution 111, is as follows: "Resolved, That if any doctor using Mohave General Hospital facilities is requested by another doctor, using such facilities, to assist him professionally and that doctor refuses or fails to give such assistance, then such doctor shall not be allowed to use said hospital facilities thereafter, except only for his patients in the hospital at that time."

On February 26, 1949, petitioner Barnes was notified by respondent Coppa, manager of the hospital, that he would no longer be allowed the use of the hospital, with the exception of the patients which he was then treating in the hospital. He was later notified that authority for this action had been obtained from the respondent board and was the result of an alleged violation of Resolution 111, supra.

In August of 1949, the three remaining petitioners received similar notifications and were also prohibited from further use of the hospital facilities. No charges were preferred and no hearing was given petitioners prior to the notifications. A statement was added at the bottom of each notice that petitioners could request a hearing if they so desired.

On August 31, 1949, petitioners filed their petition for writ of certiorari in the superior court of Mohave County, the Honorable J. W. Faulkner presiding. It was thereupon ordered that the writ issue and the respondents were commanded to certify and return the complete transcript of the record and proceedings held regarding the above-mentioned notifications which petitioners had received. All proceedings, subsequent to the issue of the writ were heard and determined by the Honorable H. L. Russell.

There was also incorporated in the writ a stay requiring the parties in the meantime to desist from further proceedings in the matter to be reviewed. The purpose of the writ was to secure a review of the actions of the board of supervisors. The petition for the writ alleged: (1) that the board had exceeded its jurisdiction in finding the respondents guilty of violating the resolution without notice and without trial; (2) that the board had exceeded its jurisdiction in denying the use of the hospital facilities to respondents; and (3) that the board had exceeded its jurisdiction in the [72 Ariz. 62] adoption of the resolution for the reason that the resolution was unconstitutional and void in that it was unjust, unreasonable and exceeded the discretionary powers of the board.

After the writ was issued, respondents filed their motion to quash, which was thereupon denied by the court. They then filed their response to the petition which contained a partial record of the proceedings before the board and also denied certain material contained in the petition for certiorari, further alleging that petitioners had requested no hearing after the notification of violation of Resolution 111 and termination

Page 529

of their use of hospital facilities. For further response, respondents also set out details concerning the alleged violation which were not contained in the record of proceedings of the board. In this regard, we note particularly that the only matter contained in the certified record, pertaining to the alleged violations, is a copy of the minutes of the said board, which states merely that Resolution 111 had been violated, no particulars being set forth. It is stated in the return that there was no transcript made of such proceedings.

The court, after taking the matter under advisement, issued its order dismissing the petition for writ of certiorari, quashing the writ theretofore issued and granting respondents their costs, which order was supported by the court's written findings of fact ...

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