This piece examines and dissects two Illinois Supreme Court cases which utilized apparent authority to hold hospitals and HMOs vicariously liable for non-agent or non-servant agent physician negligence. The author argues that the supreme court's effort to ground these decisions in classical agency law is misplaced. The article provides a general overview of the concept of respondeat superior and apparent authority, as well as a brief introduction to the structure of hospitals and HMOs. The author asserts that apparent authority should not be applied in the healthcare setting. Specific problems are roadblocks in the path of the Illinois Supreme Court's reasoning -- particularly: the patient justifiable reliance; Illinois Civil Pattern Jury Instructions which require proof of patient reliance upon "apparent principal"; and, apparent authority in the context of off-premises health care. The author concludes that classic agency principles have been contorted to effect policy decisions that require hospitals and HMOs to vicariously answer for medical negligence.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Ginsberg, Marc D.
"Apparent Authority and Healthcare in Illinois,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 22:
3, Article 1.
Marc D. Ginsberg, Apparent Authority and Healthcare in Illinois, 22 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 475 (2002).