CITY OF REVERE V. MASS. GEN. HOSP., 463 U. S. 239 (1983)

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U.S. Supreme Court

City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239 (1983)

City of Revere v. Massachusetts General Hospital

No. 82-63

Argued February 28, 1983

Decided June 27, 1983

463 U.S. 239


A police officer of petitioner city wounded a suspect who was attempting to flee from the scene of a breaking and entering. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that petitioner is liable for the medical services rendered by respondent hospital to the wounded person.


1. This Court does not lack jurisdiction to review the Massachusetts court's opinion on the asserted ground that the decision rested on an adequate and independent state ground. The Massachusetts court's opinion premised petitioner's liability squarely on the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. P. 463 U. S. 242.

2. Respondent has standing in the Art. III sense to raise its constitutional claim in this Court. Moreover, invoking prudential limitations on respondent's assertion of the rights of a third party (the wounded person) would serve no functional purpose. Cf. Craig v. Boren, 429 U. S. 190. Pp. 463 U. S. 242-243.

3. The relevant constitutional provision is not the Eighth Amendment but is, instead, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the Eighth Amendment's proscription of cruel and unusual punishments is violated by deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners, Eighth Amendment scrutiny is appropriate only after the State has secured a formal adjudication of guilt. Ingrahm v. Wright, 430 U. S. 651. Here, there had been no formal adjudication of guilt against the wounded person at the time he required medical care. Pp. 463 U. S. 243-244.

4. The Due Process Clause requires the responsible governmental entity to provide medical care to persons who have been injured while being apprehended by the police. However, as long as the governmental entity ensures that the medical care needed is in fact provided, the Constitution does not dictate how the cost of that care should be allocated as between the entity and the provider of the care. That is a matter of state law. Here, petitioner fulfilled its constitutional obligation by seeing that the wounded person received the needed medical treatment; how petitioner obtained such treatment is not a federal constitutional question. Pp. 463 U. S. 244-246.

385 Mass. 772, 434 N.E.2d 185, reversed.

Page 463 U. S. 240

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, MARSHALL, POWELL, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined, and in Parts I, II, III-A, and IV of which WHITE and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which WHITE, J., joined, post, p. 463 U. S. 246. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 463 U. S. 246.

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