Chambers v. Moses H. Cone Memorial HospitalAnnotate this Case
In this class action, the Supreme Court recognized a narrow exception to the doctrine of mootness when a named plaintiff's individual claim becomes moot before the plaintiff has had a fair opportunity to pursue class certification and has otherwise acted without undue delay regarding class certification.
The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital Operating Corporation sued Christopher Chambers and his wife seeking collection of $14,358 plus interest allegedly owed for emergency room services. At the same time, Chambers filed a class action complaint against Moses Cone seeking a declaratory judgment that the contract he signed as an uninsured patient needing emergency medical treatment entitled Moses Cone to recover no more than the reasonable value of the services it provided. Prior to certification of the class in Chambers's declaratory judgment action, Moses Cone dismissed its claims against Chambers and his wife and ceased all other attempts to collect the debt. At issue on appeal was whether the class action was moot. The Supreme Court held that, under these circumstances, the named plaintiff's claim relates back to the filing of the complaint for mootness purposes, and even though his individual claim may have been satisfied, the named plaintiff retains the legal capacity to pursue class certification and class-wide relief.