Contracts are a critical part of the modern legal environment, as they guarantee that certain actors will engage in cooperation and remain satisfied with their results. In such a way, they can be determined as agreements between two or more parties that create a certain type of obligations enforceable by law and which should be observed (Blum, 2017). Regarding the diversity of business relations that can be demitted today, there are various types of contracts that can be used depending on the situation. For instance, both written and verbal agreements should be considered as real and valid which means that their main points should be observed and realized. Otherwise, there is a set of regulations and penalties that should be used to ensure that the terms of the agreement are followed by all parties.
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In such a way, the core element of any contract is the agreement between parties to provide a particular value that will be appreciated and used in the future. This sort of deal regulates the further relations between partners. However, in some cases, there can be violations of the main points that will result in misunderstandings and future problems. For instance, the Thomas v. Archer case revolves around a similar problem.
To start its analysis, one should summarize it to understand the main facts. Rachel Thomas had pregnancy-related complications and addressed Dr. Sarah Archer who decided to transfer the patient to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle (“Thomas v. Archer,” 2016). It was critical for Mrs. Thomas to talk to the representative of her insurance company to ensure that all financial issues are aligned and receive prior authorization (“Thomas v. Archer,” 2016).
Thus, Dr. Archer insisted on her contacting with the insurers to avoid additional worries for the pregnant client. Unfortunately, she did not do it, and the patient had to pay for about $80,000 for all care provided to her. That is why, Mrs. Thomas sues Dr. Archer alleging the breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Fiduciary duty can be determined as an obligation of one party to act in ways that respect the interests of another party that is mentioned by the deal (Blum, 2017). The given element becomes critical for the preservation of contracts and their contribution to the generation of income or other benefits. As for oral agreements, the given phenomenon also remains topical for them as there are similar legal mechanisms that create the legal framework for the cooperation of partners. If an actor ignores its obligations, a breach of fiduciary duty occurs, and it can become a reason for the initiation of a case to attain observation of the main conditions of a particular agreement.
As for the discussed case Thomas v. Archer, a breach of fiduciary duty can be observed. The specialist promised that she would personally contact an insurance agent and solve all financial problems or issues that might emerge because of the patient’s replacement to another medical unit. Additionally, physicians and other medical workers can be considered fiduciaries as patients traditionally show a high level of trust to them and agree with the majority of their suggestions hoping for the best possible outcomes and preservation of the high quality of their lives (Blum, 2017).
In such a way, disregarding her promise to assist the patient in solving this problem, Dr. Archer violated the terms of their verbal agreement and created the basis for the emergence of precedent presupposing extra spending for the patient’s family.
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Promise and Enforceable Contract
The legal definition of promise describes it as a written or oral declaration to do something that will constitute a high value to another individual or a party (Blum, 2017). This voluntary act creates a special kind of agreement meaning that a promisor is obliged to do something. At the same time, an individual to whom this declaration is made can expect or enforce results because of the legal character of this act (Pozgar, 2018).
The modern legislation considers promising a basis for the verbal contract as one of the parties accepts the obligation to perform a particular activity or provide a certain value. At the same time, this declaration can be considered insignificant, or illusory when the promisor does not state that he/she will definitely perform a particular, which means that there are no reasons for the appearance of verbal agreement or contract.
As for the case, Dr. Archer outlined the scope of the planned actions when making a declaration. She promised to call or contact in some other ways with insurance agents and discuss possible financial aspects of the client’s transfer. In such a way, it can be considered a basis for verbal agreement or contract between Mrs. Thomas and Dr. Archer as the promisee had the right to expect that all problems associated with her insurance would be solved by Dr. Archer who had to discuss it with the company.
Regarding the character of the discussed case, the problem of promissory estoppel can be considered applicable to it. It can be determined as one of the core principles stating that any promise should be enforceable by law regardless of the fact whether it was made with formal consideration or not (Blum, 2017). If a promisor declares the intention to do something or provide some object, a promisee can expect for the absence of any problems related to this agreement. The creation and utilization of this idea are supposed to prevent a promisor from ignoring his/her declaration or insisting that it cannot be considered a ground for the legal contract.
Speaking about the problematic situation described in the case, the promise made by the doctor should be enforced through the promissory estoppel as it is one of the central tools to provide an injured party with an opportunity to recover and compensate losses associated with nonobservance of the provided declaration (Pozgar, 2018). As far as Mrs. Thompson really relied and reasonably relied on this very promise, she has the right to sue the specialist and expect for the compensation. Health workers are traditionally trusted by patients as they are considered reliable and responsible for their recovery. That is why Mrs. Thompson believed her doctor and thought that it would be the best possible way to achieve positive results and continue treatment.
From the administrative perspective, the doctor failed to perform her core duties and obligations before the patient as her central responsibility were to provide the best possible care to Mrs. Thompson, including the necessity to solve existing problems with insurance as she promised to do it. For this reason, this failure might also presuppose some administrative measures to punish the worker for poor performance and ensure that no similar cases will emerge in the future.
Blum, B. (2017). Examples & explanations for contracts (7th ed.). New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer.
Pozgar, G. (2018). Legal aspects of health care administration. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Thomas v. Archer. (2016). Web.