Couple files “Wrongful Life” lawsuit

A Long Beach, California couple is suing Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for wrongful life and wrongful birth claiming their negligence denied them the option of having an abortion.

Javier Sanchez and Samantha Hernandez told her OB/GYN that they wanted tests for genetic disorders because they said she and Sanchez could not afford to raise a child with congenital conditions. The tests were performed, but the doctor failed to disclose to the couple the test was positive for cystic fibrosis. Hernandez specifically requested cystic fibrosis carrier screening in writing.

They had a son born in September 2014 with cystic fibrosis.

Named in the suit are the Memorial Health Services, Dr. James P. Cardin Jr. and Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories.  The damages as of now are unspecified. The couple claims they will incur significant medical expenses for Justin’s lifelong care.

The lawsuit says the OB/GYN

… obtained a blood specimen from Hernandez… but failed to obtain the screening results from the laboratory and/or failed to advise Samantha and Javier of the results of the screening, which would have revealed she was a carrier of the genetic mutation which causes CF [cystic fibrosis] and would have prompted CF testing of the fetus.

Wrongful life claims are controversial but rare. Twenty-five states currently allow them.

The now defunct website quoted Massachusetts attorney Susan L. Crockin who specializes in reproductive genetics.

These claims allow parents of a child born with disabilities to argue that they lost their right to terminate the pregnancy after a doctor failed to detect and inform them of genetic anomalies. States that prohibit such actions still may allow plaintiffs to sue for medical negligence, or begin recognizing wrongful birth claims, Crockin said. As genetic testing proliferates, “state-by-state interpretation is going to be up for scrutiny.

One of the first major legal tests was a 2006 case in which a child in Maryland was born with a genetic anomaly, but the fetal test was interpreted in North Carolina. The Maryland Court of Appeals allowed the parents to sue under Maryland’s wrongful birth law, even though North Carolina law did not recognize the claim.

California has accepted wrongful life claims since 1980. In 1982 the California Court of Appeals made it official in a case,  Turpin v. Sortini. The court wrote that

… under California common law tort principles, an afflicted child could maintain such an action and could ‘recover damages for the pain and suffering to be endured during the limited lifespan available to such a child and any special pecuniary loss resulting from the impaired condition,’ including the costs of medical care to the extent such costs were not recovered by the child’s parents.

Read More

Would-be client steals L.I. lawyer’s frog

A would-be client has been charged with petit larceny after stealing a Long Island lawyer’s beloved pet office frog. Fernado Castro admitted to snatching the frog and a secretary for another law firm has lawyered up for her role in the theft.

The Daily News quotes Garden City attorney, Thomas Liotti as saying,“Our entire office was devastated by the news…It was an inexplicable act of cruelty.”

The frog, named Owen, was given to Liotti by a client 20 years ago and was an albino tree frog worth $900. Castro was quoted in the criminal complaint saying, “I thought he (Liotti) left for the day. I saw a fish bowl with a frog in it. I took the fish bowl with the frog and left the office with it…” 

According to detectives, Castro was upset that his lawyer in an unrelated case was taking too long and sought out Liotti for advice. When Liotti was late for their appointment, Castro saw the frog in a fish bowl and picked it up and walked off with it. He then went to his other lawyer’s office and gave the frog it to the receptionist as a gift for his lawyer.

I spoke with Tammy the secretary. I informed her that I wanted to make a payment. I also told her I had a gift for Mr. Brewington. I showed her the frog and suggested the frog could replace the fish Mr. Brewington had lost due to it dying,” Castro allegedly told the cops.

Tammy the secretary then took the fog and released in a nearby creek, which could have dire consequences for the frog.

Liotti said, I do not really blame Brewington’s office. They too felt bad about it, but I think they should have waited and taken more steps to find out who the owner is.”

Castro copped to what he did and apologized. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail.

Read More

Bronx widow leaves $300K to her cats

In her will, Bronx widow Ellen Frey-Wouters left $300,000 to Troy and Tiger, her two cats. Her will instructed the money be used to make sure they would “never be caged” and always be lovingly cared for.

The New York Post quotes Dahlia Grizzleto, a former health aide Frey-Wouters and now caretaker of the cats as saying, “He deserves it… He’s a wonderful cat.”

Frey-Wouters, who died in 2015 was born in the Netherlands and worked for the United Nations. Her husband, a Brooklyn College professor, passed away in 1989, and the couple’s only child died in infancy.

Troy lives with Rita Pohila, another one of Frey-Wouters’ former home health aides. Pohila, declined to discuss Troy with The Post — invoking the shy feline’s “privacy” rights. Tiger made out like a bandit.He was a former alley cat who i snow living large in Ocala, Florida,  dining on filet- ­mignon-flavored Fancy Feast and bedding down in a plush faux-fur bed with silk lining.

Frey-Wouters attorney, Irwin Fingerit was surprised the the bequest

“I said I didn’t think, you know, $300,000 was necessary, and I pointed out the case of the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, who left $65,000 to a dog and became sort of a laughingstock,’’ Fingerit said during a 2016 hearing about the gift. (Helmsley actually left $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble.)

“But no, no, [Frey-Wouters] insisted,” Fingerit said. “She wanted to make sure they were taken care of.”

When the cats die, the balance of their trust fund will go to Frey-Wouters’ only living family member, a sister in the Netherlands.

Read More

When “last wills” are last laughs

Sometimes you just don’t know who a person really is until after the die. Here are some odd codicils to wills.

Attorney T.M. Zink ,an Iowa lawyer who died in 1930, left his daughter only five dollars and his wife got zilch. He stipulated that the rest of his $100,000 estate be put in a trust for 75 years and  then used to create the Zink Womanless Library. Yup, it is exactly what it sounds like. The library was to have nothing created by women.

  • “No woman shall at any time, under any pretense or for any purpose, be allowed inside the library, or upon the premises or have any say about anything concerned therewith, nor appoint any person or persons to perform any act connected therewith.”
  • “No book, work of art, chart, magazine, picture, unless some production by a man, shall be allowed inside or outside the building, or upon the premises, and this shall include all decorations for inside and outside the building.”
  • “There shall be over each entrance to the premises and building a sign in these words: ‘No Woman Admitted.’”
  • “It is my intention to forever exclude all women from the premises and having anything to say or do with the trust estate and library. …”

 My intense hatred of women is not of recent origin or development nor based upon any personal differences I ever had with them but is the result of my experiences with women, observations of them, and study of all literatures and philosophical works within my limited knowledge relating thereto.

The library would have no feminine decorations, no books or magazine articles by female authors, and was required to have “No Women Admitted” carved into the stone over the entrance.

Other weirdness:

Pringles founder, Fred Baur, stated in his will that he wanted to be cremated and buried inside a Pringles can. His children honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave.

NYC hotel owner, Leona Helmsley, known as the “Queen of Mean” left $12 million to her Maltese dog, and her family with next to nothing. Her heirs disputed the will and a court ruled the should get nly $ 2 million.

German Poet Heinrich Heine left his entire fortune to his wife, but with a catch. In order to inherit, she had to remarry “because then there will be at least one man to regret my death.”

Janis Joplin updated her will just two days before her death. She set aside $2,500 to pay for a posthumous all-night party for 200 guests at her favorite pub in San Anselmo, California, “so my friends can get blasted after I’m gone.”

Read More

Legal briefs? Delaware man sues surgical center after waking up in women’s underwear

On October 10th, 2012, 32-year old Gary Walls went to the Delaware Surgical Center to get a colonoscopy. He claims in a lawsuit that after he woke up from anesthesia, he found he was wearing pink woman’s underwear.

“When the plaintiff recovered from the effects of the anesthesia administered by defendants, he awoke to realize that while he was unconscious pink women’s underwear had been placed on his body… When the plaintiff initially presented for his colonoscopy he had not been wearing pink women’s underwear and at no time did the plaintiff voluntarily, knowingly or intentionally place the pink women’s underwear upon himself.”

Walls is seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The News Journal writes that the suit offers no other details and does not offer any possible explanations why someone at the surgical center would put pink underwear on Walls beyond a general intent to embarrass or harass him.

A local Dover attorney, Benjamin A. Schwartz who is not involved with the case was quoted by the Journal and who blogged about the case thought although it was an odd lawsuit, he said Wall’s lawyer was a credible one so the case should be taken seriously. But, he had some critcism

“The question I have is how (as a defendant) do you let this become a lawsuit?” said Schwartz. He noted that the suit was filed on Oct. 10, just before the two-year statute of limitations ran out so one could assume the plaintiff approached the defendants about resolving the matter before a suit was filed.

“How do you not settle this case and let it get out in the community?” Schwartz asked. “This is the type of thing that, if it is true, you want to settle it and get a confidentiality agreement.”

We agree.

Read More