Posts tagged as:

wrongful birth and wrongful life

His parents say they would have aborted little Oliver Wuth, now 5, had they been given proper genetic counseling. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]


Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on May 15, 2013

  • Hit by stray bullet, wakes from anesthesia fighting, hospital told to pay $17 million [Georgia; Insurance Journal]
  • Study: physician’s previous paid claims history has no impact on odds of catastrophic med-mal payout [Bixenstine et al, JHQ via PoL] Overall, med-mal payouts have fallen steadily in past decade; $3.6 billion figure last year follows strongly regionalized pattern with top per capita figures all in Northeast [Diederich analysis of annual payouts via TortsProf] Florida law now requires that testifying medical witness be in same specialty as defendant [Business Week]
  • In lawsuits alleging “wrongful birth,” what’s the measure of damages? [Gerard Magliocca, Concurring Opinions]
  • ObamaCare exchanges in D.C., California and Connecticut declare smoking “pre-existing condition,” say insurers can’t base higher rates on it [Kevin Williamson, NR]
  • “The Crime of Whitening Teeth with Over-the-Counter Products” [Caleb Brown, Bluegrass Institute]
  • How not to die: Jonathan Rauch on end-of-life overtreatment [The Atlantic]
  • “I’m going to start a rumor that Sudafed is an abortifacient. Then the feds will finally have to allow reasonable access to it.” [me on Twitter]

October 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 27, 2011


They say they’d have aborted their disabled son if they’d known. [Palm Beach Post]


February 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 8, 2010

  • Cleverer approach NFL might have taken in “Who Dat” affair [Schwimmer, HuffPo, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Justice Anthony Kennedy: influence of unionized prison guards in passing California’s three-strikes law “sick” [LA Times]
  • Federal prosecutors going after poster designer Shepard Fairey for untruth in civil lawsuit? How strange is that? [Kennerly]
  • Plaintiff in complaint against Mark Steyn before Canadian rights tribunal boasted of having “increase[d] the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material” [NRO "Corner"; earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • Federal jury rejects wrongful birth suit against Elkton, Maryland obstetrician [Miller, more on wrongful birth]
  • Forced-reincarnation suit against Oprah Winfrey dismissed, George W. and Laura Bush off hook too [WV Record]
  • “How to Report the News”: funny plug-and-use TV reporting template [YouTube/Charlie Brooker, Newswipe, UK]
  • “Virginia Legislators Kill Bills to Mandate Child Support for Adult College Students” [Hans Bader/CEI "Open Market", earlier here and here]

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May 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 7, 2009


Sues over having twins

by Walter Olson on October 14, 2007

An Australian woman asked that her in vitro fertilization (IVF) result in a single baby but two embryos were mistakenly implanted. Now she wants $A400,000 for the cost of raising the child to adulthood. (“Mother sues doctor over twin birth”, ABC (Australian) News, Sept. 18)(via KevinMD). The local branch of the Australian Medical Association says the law should be changed to prevent damage claims over the birth of unimpaired babies: “We’re very concerned [at] the concept that a healthy life is wrongful.” (“Doctors should not be liable for mistake births: AMA”, Sept. 22). More on wrongful birth lawsuits here.


July 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 27, 2007

  • Grand jury declines to indict Dr. Anna Pou in Katrina hospital deaths, despite heavy breathing from Louisiana AG Charles Foti and TV’s Nancy Grace [Times-Picayune, more; 2005 CNN transcript; Health Care Blog, GruntDoc,]

  • Protection from lawsuits for “John Doe” security informants is back in anti-terror legislation moving through Congress, despite back-door effort to eliminate it earlier [Fox News, Malkin; earlier] Addendum: but it’s in altered, much-weakened form, says commenter Bob Smith;

  • U.K.: Top law firm Freshfields earns millions advising clients on employment compliance, yet “omitted to check that changes to its own pension scheme were legal” [Times Online]

  • Thinking of doing some guestblogging, for us or another site? Some good advice here [Darren Rowse via Kevin O'Keefe]

  • Even Conrad Black can have trouble affording lawyers, at least with feds freezing his accounts [PoL on Steyn]

  • Shouldn’t have let us become parents again: Florida jury awards $21 million in “wrongful birth” case [Fox News]

  • Possibility of gigantic reparations claims adds intensity to big lobbying fight in Washington over whether Turkey’s slaughter of Armenians in 1915 amounted to genocide [Crowley, New Republic]

  • Updating colorful coverage case (Jun. 22, 2005): dentist wins $750K verdict on insurer’s duty to defend him for taking gag photos of sedated employee with boar tusks in mouth [Seattle Times, more; dissent in PDF; Althouse]

  • Giuliani might use federalism to defuse culture wars [Brownstein, L.A. Times; disclaimer]

  • Virginia’s enactment of harsh traffic fines (Jul. 6) follows tryouts of the idea in Michigan and New Jersey, where effects included rise in unlicensed driving [Washington Post]


We’ve covered a number of cases over the years in which parents sue physicians and others over the “wrongful birth” of perfectly healthy children, demanding, as part of the claimed damages, the cost of raising the youngsters to adulthood: May 9, 2000 (Phoenix), Jun. 8, 2000 (Revere, Mass., outside Boston), Apr. 9, 2006 (Scotland), and Nov. 1, 2006 (Germany). Many such cases arise from failed sterilizations or other efforts at birth control, but a new suit by Jennifer Raper of Boston against Planned Parenthood and two doctors claims that an abortion went awry. “The [Massachusetts] high court ruled in 1990 that parents can sue physicians for child-rearing expenses, but limited those claims to cases in which children require extraordinary expenses because of medical problems, medical malpractice lawyer Andrew C. Meyer Jr. said. Raper’s suit has no mentions of medical problems involving her now 2-year-old daughter.” (“Boston woman sues for child-rearing costs after failed abortion”, AP/Boston Globe, Mar. 7; Jonathan Saltzman, “Suit seeks compensation for botched abortion”, Boston Globe, Mar. 7). More: “One day Jennifer Raper’s daughter will punch her mother’s name into Google and discover that she was the result of ‘a failed abortion.'” (Taranto)


February 9 roundup

by Ted Frank on February 9, 2007

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.

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Best of 2006: November

by Ted Frank on January 3, 2007

Best of 2006: May

by Ted Frank on December 29, 2006

Class actions galore:

That’s not to say that there weren’t other types of lawsuits:

“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.


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).

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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.


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.

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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).

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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).