Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NY: Child can sue for injuries sustained in womb

A 7-year-old Brooklyn girl can sue the city for injuries she received when she was still curled up in her mother's womb, an appeals panel has ruled in an unprecedented decision.
Sarah Elizabeth Leighton was only a 14-week-old fetus when a toilet at a Brooklyn public school collapsed, injuring her schoolteacher mom.

The fall in January 1999 ruptured Esther Portalatin-Leighton's placenta, and Sarah was born prematurely, less than four months later, the family contends.

The Leightons sued the city on behalf of their daughter and are seeking more than $1 million in damages, said the family's lawyer Steven Ferber.

"We're thrilled," Ferber said.

Sarah's learning disabilities and asthmatic symptoms are the direct result of her early birth, which was caused by the ruptured placenta, her parents argue.

City lawyers tried to get the case dismissed before trial by arguing that the child had to have been able to survive outside the womb at the time the injuries occurred in order for her to recover damages.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Solomon agreed in a decision issued in September 2005.

Last week, the panel reversed Solomon, saying that as long as the injuries occurred after conception and the child was born alive, she could make a claim.


More on this from the Family Research Council.

I would dispute the FRC's contention though that this is a case of an unborn plaintiff. The plaintiff is a seven-year-old girl. But it'd be interesting if an eight-month-old or ninth-old fetus could sue for injuries sustained at an earlier time. That would make for an interesting court case. Mind you, the ruling would probably come after the unborn child was born. I don't know if I'd want to be the mom in that case-- all that legal stuff going on WHILE I'm preparing for birth. It wouldn't be an easy thing.

I'm having a very busy day today. I really want to back to "serious" blogging (as opposed to just posting links to news articles.

Visit Opinions Canada
a political blogs aggregator