Friday, April 10, 2009

Illinois Appellate Court expands liability in wrongful birth case

Addressing what appears to be an issue of first impression in ''wrongful birth'' lawsuits (a claim by parents that they would not have had a child but for the negligence of doctors handling genetic or prenatal testing), the 1st District Illinois Appellate Court held yesterday that the parents of a severely disabled child can recover damages for his care after he reaches the age of majority. The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized actions for wrongful birth previously, but has limited recovery to the extraordinary costs of caring for the child during his childhood. In this new decision, a unanimous appeals court held the parents can recover for those damages past the age of majority, saying such damages ''rightfully compensate the parents for the costs they will incur for caring for their disabled child.'' The court stressed in its 18-page ruling that it was not deciding whether the defendants in this particular case are liable, but merely whether certain damages are available. The case is called Amy Clark and Jeff Clark, etc. v. Children's Memorial Hospital, et al., and is available here.

UPDATE  May 6, 2011: The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court.  Go here for more on the story.

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