The California Department of Mental Hygiene brought suit under section 6650 of the state's Welfare and Institutions Code, a provision commonly known as a relative support statute, against the administratrix to recover 7,500 dollars from the intestate's estate. This amount represented the cost of food, housing, and treatment received by intestate's mother in a state mental hospital during the four years she had been confined there following a civil sanity hearing. Plaintiff was granted judgment on the pleadings. On appeal to the California Supreme Court, held, reversed. Since mental hospitals serve a proper public function, it is a denial of equal protection of the law within the meaning of the fourteenth amendment to burden arbitrarily one class of society, e.g., an incompetent's children, with a patient's expenses. Department of Mental Hygiene v. Kirchner, 60 Cal. 2d 716, 388 P.2d 720, cert. granted, 85 Sup. Ct. 39 (1964).
Michigan Law Review,
Legislation Requiring Child To Support Mother in State Asylum Is a Denial of Equal Protection-Department of Mental Hygiene v. Kirchner,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol63/iss3/10