Posts Tagged ‘wrongful birth and wrongful life’

February 9 roundup

Multi-billion dollar (and down) extortion edition:

  • Merrill Lynch and CSFB appeal extortionate Enron class-action certification. [Point of Law; AEI (Feb. 9); WLF brief]
  • More on the extortionate and lawless $500 billion Wal-Mart class certification. [Point of Law]
  • Mississippi Supreme Court rejects extortionate medical monitoring class actions. [Behrens @ WLF]
  • Lawyer Daniel Hynes tries to extort $2000 from New Hampshire bar holding Ladies’ Night. [Foster’s Daily Democrat (h/t B.C.)]
  • Colorado Civil Justice League stops legislative attempt at giveaway to local trial lawyers. [Point of Law]
  • Wisconsin court: family can be sued for babysitter’s car accident when returning home from dropping off child. [AP/Insurance Journal]
  • Fox seeks to dismiss Borat suit on anti-SLAPP grounds. [Hollywood Reporter Esq. via WSJ Law Blog]

  • Passaic County jury: $28M for “wrongful birth.” []
  • Former AG (and Dem) Griffin Bell: “Judicial Leadership Emerging In Asbestos And Silica Mass Torts” [WLF]
  • Utah legislature considering med-mal reform for ERs. “Neurosurgeons in this town have to pay over $90,000 a year just for the privilege of getting out of bed on a Friday night to drain the blood from the brain of a victim of a drunk driver crash. And they say, I’m not gonna do it. Because the patients are sicker. The procedures are sometimes more invasive and more risky with more complications. Why take that risk if they don’t have to?” [KCPW via Kevin MD; Provo Herald]

  • A little-read blog promoting a soon-to-be-pulped fictional account of tort reform is really begging for a link from us, what with three out of the last five posts making amateurish (and often false) personal attacks on this site’s authors or soliciting others to also fling poo. No dice.

Best of 2006: November

Best of 2006: May

Wrongful birth reaches Germany

“A court ruling which ordered a gynecologist to pay child support for up to 18 years as compensation for botching a contraceptive implant was condemned by the German media as scandalous on Wednesday. The Karlsruhe-based federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the doctor must pay his former patient, now a mother of a three-year-old boy, 600 euros ($769) a month because she became pregnant after he implanted her with a contraceptive device.” (“Doctor ordered to pay for unwanted baby”, Reuters, Nov. 15; “GYN’s “Human” Error Will Now Be Getting Child Support”, Deutsche Welle, Nov. 15). Similar: Apr. 9 (Scotland), May 9 and Jun. 8, 2000, etc.

Australia: High court tosses “wrongful life” claims

Updating our May 1, 2005 item: by a 6-1 majority, Australia’s High Court has rejected claims on behalf of two disabled persons whose lawyers argued that they deserved compensation from their mothers’ doctors for allegedly failing to provide information that would have led the mothers to terminate their pregnancies (Peter Gregory, “‘Wrongful life’ claims thrown out”, Melbourne Age, May 9).

$14 million for wrongful birth

A New Brunswick jury awarded $14 million to the Sharad family against their obstetrician, who failed to test for a rare genetic blood disorder, thalassemia major (Cooley’s anemia), that their son was born with. Newspaper coverage mentions neither the doctor’s defense nor even the words “wrongful birth.” $8 million of the award is for emotional distress, meaning the family will be millionaires even after attorneys’ fees and medical expenses. (Sue Epstein, “Couple gets millions for son’s blood disorder”, Star-Ledger, May 23). More on wrongful birth suits: Apr. 9, etc.

“Wrongful birth” roundup

Stacy Dow, of Perth, Scotland, is suing a hospital over the birth of her healthy daughter Jayde. Dow had been given an abortion at her request but unbeknownst to both her and the doctors she had been pregnant with twins, one of whom remained unharmed after the procedure. Dow told a court she suffered physical pain, distress and anxiety from the resulting pregnancy and Caesarean delivery; she also wants money for the cost of raising the girl to adulthood. (Sarah Womack, “Mother sues for birth of ‘aborted’ twin”, Telegraph, Mar. 21)(via KevinMD). The New York Times Magazine caused a stir last month with an article about a family that sued doctors over failure to recommend amniocentesis whose results would have led them to decide to abort their handicapped child (Elizabeth Weil, “A Wrongful Birth?”, Mar. 12). Ann Althouse notes an AP story reporting that there are waiting lists of parents interested in adopting Down’s Syndrome children (Mar. 10). And in the Dec. 2004 Journal of Legal Education, Gonzaga lawprof David K. DeWolf relates an extraordinary story about what happened one year when he assigned his students the wrongful-birth/wrongful-life case of Harbeson v. Parke-Davis, decided by the Washington Supreme Court in 1983 (via Childs). More on wrongful-birth suits: Mar. 4, etc.

Ohio high court OKs wrongful-birth cases

By a 4-3 margin, the Ohio Supreme Court has approved (PDF) a “wrongful birth” suit against doctors by parents who say they would have aborted their child had they not been given inaccurate genetic counseling. The court did reject the views of Justices Paul Pfeifer and Alice Resnick (as well as that of a lower court judge) who thought the damages payable should include the cost of raising the child through adulthood, plus pain and suffering. (Andrew Welsh-Huggins, “Supreme Court allows lawsuits over missed genetic disorders”, AP/Akron Beacon Journal, Mar. 3). However, some Ohio legislators are proposing to enact a law precluding wrongful-birth lawsuits; a bill to that effect passed the state senate this past week, but has not yet been considered by the house (Jim Provence, “Bill would protect doctors from ‘wrongful birth’ suits”, Toledo Blade, Mar. 1). More on wrongful-birth suits: Sept. 16, 2004 and links from there; May 1 (Australia) and Jun. 14, 2005. More: WizBang takes an extremely dim view of the parents in the case (Mar. 3).

Proximate cause, void in N.J.?

David Bernstein and commenters (Jun. 10) discuss a 1999 case (Canesi v. Wilson) in which the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a woman could sue over the “wrongful birth” of a baby with birth defects because the doctor didn’t warn her that a drug he prescribed during the pregnancy was suspected of causing such defects, even though she was unable to offer any expert testimony indicating that the drug had actually caused the defects (and scientific evidence was accumulating that it had not in fact done so).

Oz: “Wrongful life case headed to High Court”

“A disabled woman who unsuccessfully sued her mother’s doctor for wrongful life has won the right to take her case to the High Court.” Alexia Harriton, 24, born with multiple handicaps, says a doctor was negligent for not diagnosing her mother’s rubella infection during pregnancy; had the infection been diagnosed, mom would have had an abortion. (AAP/, Apr. 29). More on wrongful life/wrongful birth cases: Sept. 16, 2004 and links from there. Update May 27, 2006: court rules against wrongful life concept.