Summary of Cirafici v. Goffen
App Ct of Illinois 1980
Facts: A patient PL (Cirfici) was examined by her dentist (DF Goffen) about troublesome dentures she was wearing. After an examination the dentist told her he could fit her with implants and she would be able to eat “Corn on the cob. The implants as installed were always lose, painful, and prevented her from eating solid food.
Issue: Whether a specialized or specific offer by a doctor made to a patient constitutes a valid contract?
Procedure: The district court dismissed citing a failure to prove separate consideration for the promise. That order is reversed and remanded.
Rule: Contracts to effect a special or specific result or to cure a patient, are recognized only when they reveal express undertakings.
Ct. Rationale: A contract entered into between a physician and a patient does not follow ordinary rules dealing with mercantile contracts. Absent crisis, a sense of immediacy, emergency, or compulsion both parties were in a position to give sufficient deliberation to the bargain. The promise was made at the time during the formation of the contract and goes beyond mere therapeutic reassurances. The statements made to PL were express promises to effect a specific result.
PL A: The doctor’s statement was an express good faith offer for specific services involving medical care for a price.
Def A: The doctor’s statement was an expression of opinion, prediction, or optimistic prognostication of probable results.