Ohio Law

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Supreme Court of Ohio Releases "Wrongful Birth" Decision

Opinion can be found here.

Here is the syllabus:

SYLLABUS OF THE COURT
Parents of an unhealthy child born following negligent genetic counseling
or a negligent failure to diagnose a fetal defect or disease may bring a
medical malpractice action for those costs arising from the pregnancy
and birth of the child.

...and here is the conclusion and judgment:

IV. Conclusion
{¶ 31} For the foregoing reasons, we hold that parents of an unhealthy
child born following negligent genetic counseling or negligent failure to
diagnose a fetal defect or disease may bring a medical malpractice action
for those costs arising from the pregnancy and birth of the child. As the
Schirmers have voluntarily dismissed the claim for such damages, they
cannot recover for those injuries. The trial court properly dismissed the
Schirmers’ claims for consequential economic and noneconomic damages.

V. Judgment
{¶ 32} Accordingly, our judgment is as follows:
{¶ 33} 1. Parents of an unhealthy child born following negligent
genetic counseling or a negligent failure to diagnose a fetal defect or
disease may bring a medical malpractice action for those costs arising
from the pregnancy and birth of the child. As the Schirmers have
voluntarily dismissed the claim for such damages, they cannot recover
for those injuries.
{¶ 34} 2. That part of the judgment of the court of appeals holding
that the consequential, economic costs of raising the Schirmers' disabled
child over and above ordinary child-rearing expenses may be recoverable
is reversed.
{¶ 35} 3. That part of the judgment of the court of appeals holding
that the Schirmers may not recover noneconomic damages is affirmed.
{¶ 36} 4. That part of the judgment of the court of appeals remanding
the cause for further proceedings is reversed, and the judgment of the
trial court dismissing the cause is reinstated.

Justice O'Connor wrote the opinion, and here's how the rest of court decided:

MOYER, C.J., concurs in the syllabus and in all parts of the judgment.
RESNICK and PFEIFER, JJ., concur in the syllabus and part one of the
judgment and the portion of the opinion relating thereto, and dissent as
to parts two, three, and four of the judgment.
LUNDBERG STRATTON, O'DONNELL and LANZINGER, JJ., concur
in parts two, three, and four of the judgment, but for reasons different
from those stated in the opinion, and dissent in all other respects.

Later

NOTE: here is the appellate court case from which the appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio was made.

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