Mobile judge rules in announcing a wrongful death claim

Mobile judge rules in announcing a wrongful death claim ...

A judge found that a mobile hospital and a fertility clinic cannot be sued for wrongful death.

Jill Parrish Phillips, a member of the Mobile County Circuit Court, has agreed with the defendants The Mobile Infirmary and the Center for Reproductive Medicine.

"It is clear to this court, based on Alabama's statutes and case law, that a strong belief in the sanctity of life has not hindered the Alabama Supreme Court from recognizing and upholding our legislature's clear pattern of using the term "in utero" [emphasis original] when it comes to defining the unborn or minor child, even in a wrongful death case," Phillips wrote Tuesday.

"Even considering this court's role in Alabama's constitutional structure, and giving appropriate deference to the powers separation within the same, this court is not permitted to reject such explicit, consistent and repeated expressions of legislative intent."

Three couples are suing the hospital and fertility clinic, according to Scott Aysenne and his wife, Felicia Burdic-Aysenne.

The couple claims that the Mobile Infirmary "assisted one of its patients to leave and/or elope from his or her room in the Infirmary's hospital area and access the cryogenic storage area."

According to the lawsuit, the patient removed embryos from the freezer, and "it's believed that the cryopreservation's subzero temperatures burned the eloping patient's hands, causing him or her to drop the cryopreserved embryonic humans on the floor, where they began to slowly died."

All embryos were dead when hospital employees noticed the incident, according to reports.

Phillips dismissed the Aysennes' claims of negligent/wantonness, claiming that the couple could not recover compensatory damages under the claim.

"It is well-established in this state that the only damages a civil jury may asses for the "unacceptable" life are punitive damages," she said.

"The plaintiffs' claim that this court can and should, if they proceed under the Wrongful Death Act, side-step these well-established principles and allow an alternative tort claim for compensatory damages for the "value" of a cyropreserved/in vitro embryo has no legal precedent in this state."

The Aysennes still have a breach of contract claim against the fertility clinic.

Phillips stayed the trial until the appeals of her judgment were dismissed.

While the judge said she expects the case to be brought to the Alabama Supreme Court, an appeal has not yet been filed.

You may also like: