Thomas v

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Thomas v. Archer Opinion Analysis NameInstitutionInstructorCourseDate Thomas v. Archer Opinion AnalysisThis case was filed in December 2016 by Steven and Rachel Thomas who are a couple against Sarah Archer who is a physician at a healthcare facility for failing to obtain insurer’s preauthorization for medivac (Court Listener, 2019). The physician failed to contact the insurer until later where the insurer declined to cover the service. This led to the couple personally bearing the cost for services provided. The couple argues that the physician breached her fiduciary duty by failing to honor her promise of contacting the insurer as this promise created a contract between the two parties (Court Listener, 2019). This promise should be enforced through the doctrine of promissory estoppel. However, the court ruled in favor of the physician and the hospital which led to the couple appealing the case. Did Dr. Archer Breach Her Fiduciary Duty to the Thomases?The main issue surrounding this case is whether there was a contract in place between the physician and the couple. This is because a contract is a legally binding agreement which means that any party not undertaking its responsibilities is liable to prosecution (Pozgar & Santucci, 2018). Contracts may be established in various forms which include written agreements or verbal agreements. Based on this scenario, the physician had made an agreement with the couple to obtain preauthorization from the insurer (Pozgar & Santucci, 2018). This led to the couple to rely on this promise which was not fulfilled. Dr. Archer breached her fiduciary duty to the couple by not honoring the contract between her and the couple. A fiduciary duty occurs when one party has an obligation of acting on the best interest of the other party (Pozgar & Santucci, 2018). Dr. Archer did not honor her fiduciary duty to the couple leading to the couple suffering negative impacts by bearing the costs incurred during the medivac. A verbal contract is a legal contract that is enforceable by law even though it may not be written on paper (Pozgar & Santucci, 2018). The first element to validate a contract is that both parties must agree to carry out different responsibilities. The physician extended the promise to contact the insurer. The other party which is the couple agreed and expected the physician to perform her roles effectively (Goodwin, 2016). If the physician had played her roles, no one would suffer negative effects, as is the case. Since both parties are of sound mind and no one is a minor, this validates the contract, as both are able to make decisions that they are able to honor (Gan, 2015). Since this contract is a simple contract, there was no need to write the duties of either party or other complex information related to this contract. With the couple suing the physician and the hospital based on promissory estoppel, this validates the contract as this gives the party a provision to recover on a promise made in an informal way (Gan, 2015).Did the Promise Create an Enforceable Contract?For a contract to be enforceable, both parties should have agreed to perform different obligations. A failure of this may lead to negative effects, as it is the case in this scenario. If the physician had not agreed to contact the insurer, this contract would not be enforceable since she would have no obligation to the couple (Goodwin, 2016). However, she agreed to perform this role leading to the couple to make decisions based on this agreement. The couple would also have sought other means to contact the insurer. This promise made an enforceable contract as the physician accepted the offer from the couple by accepting to contact the insured to approve the medivac (Goodwin, 2016).She further promised that if the insurer would not honor the request, the hospital would bear the costs of the medivac. The hospital would benefit from this decision in terms of monetary value where the insurer would pay for services accessed by the couple (Goodwin, 2016). The couple relied on the promise and proceeded to sign an acknowledge of financial responsibility. One of the reasons that the insurer denied paying for medivac was the failure to request preauthorization within 72 hours of beginning the treatment (Goodwin, 2016). Should the Promise Be Enforced Through the Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel?Promissory estoppel is a legal principle that allows a promise either made in a formal or an informal way to be enforced by law. If any party makes a promise to another party leading to the party to rely on that promise in achieving certain objectives, this promise may be enforced by law if the promisor does not honor his/her promise (Gan, 2013). Promissory estoppel is aimed at preventing the promisor from arguing that the promise is not legally binding. This has been integrated into the United States’ laws. This promise should be enforced through the doctrine of promissory estoppel since the promisee suffered a financial loss due to their reliance on the promise made by the physician (Gan, 2013). Promissory estoppel can apply in an oral promise where one party promises another party to carry out specific obligation. Since the physician and the couple had agreed to fulfill certain obligations, this led to a contract between the two parties (Gan, 2013). By the physician not honoring her promise, the couple had to bear all the costs incurred during the medivac. If the physician had considered the element of promissory estoppel, she would have honored the agreement to avoid the negative consequences associated with not honoring this contract (Gan, 2013). This principle allows the promise to be enforced as the parties had entered into a contract through their agreement. What Others Issues From an Administrative or Legal Perspective Be Considered HereOther issues that can be considered from an administrative or legal perspective include whether the promisor clearly understood the promise made and the consequences of not honoring the promise to the promisee as well as the promisor (Hammaker, Knadig, & Tomlinson, 2017). The reliance of the promisee on the promisor should also be reasonable. The promise made by the promisor should be something that can be effectively achieved by the promisor (Hammaker, Knadig, & Tomlinson, 2017). Another issue that can be considered is the type of relationship that existed at the time of the contract. Basing on this scenario, the couple had a patient physician relationship where the physician is expected to act in the best interest of the patient (Hammaker, Knadig, & Tomlinson, 2017). In this case, the promisor neglected to act in a timely manner that led to the couple to suffer negative effects associated with her decision. The third issue to be considered include detriment which involves the negative effects associated with the couple relying on the promise made by the physician (Sweeney, LeMahieu, & Fryer, 2017). The physician’s promise was also encouraged by promising that if the insurer does not authorize the payment, the hospital would cater for any costs incurred which was also not honored. In this case, enforcing the promise will be the most effective way to avoid injustice to the victim who has suffered financial loss due to the physician’s act of not honoring her promise (Sweeney, LeMahieu, & Fryer, 2017). ReferencesCourt Listener. (2019). Thomas v. Archer, 7136 S-15372 (Alaska 2016). Alaska Supreme Court. Retrieved from, O. (2013). Promissory Estoppel: A Call for a More Inclusive Contract Law. Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 16(1), 47–103.Gan, O. (2015). The Justice Element of Promissory Estoppel. St. John’s Law Review, 89(1), 55–100.Goodwin, B. (2016). How to avoid malpractice suits related to APPs. Urology Times, 44(6), 40.Hammaker, D. K., Knadig, T. M., & Tomlinson, S. J. (2017). Health care ethics and the law. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.Pozgar, G. D., & Santucci, N. M. (2018). Legal aspects of health care administration. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.Sweeney, C. F., LeMahieu, A., & Fryer, G. E. (2017). Nurse Practitioner Malpractice Data: Informing Nursing Education. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(4), 271-275.