Discontinuance of All Claims in Albany County
On May 22, 2015, the eve of jury selection, Peter DeNoto and his team obtained a discontinuance of all claims for “wrongful birth” against a prominent and well-respected nurse midwife that practices and teaches midwifery at a renowned institutional medical center.
In this Albany County case, the parents claimed that had they known that their child-to-be would be born with genetic defects, they would have terminated the pregnancy within the first twenty-four weeks of conception as permitted by New York law. They initiated the action against the nurse midwife, as well as her collaborating obstetricians, because they allegedly failed to order follow-up testing that would have revealed that the fetus had a neurological defect, and the parents alleged that had they known of the neurological defect, they would have terminated the pregnancy. Testing was ultimately performed that revealed a potential anomaly, but by that time, the pregnancy could not be legally terminated. The child was born with Joubert’s Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that has and will require extensive care.
This case went up to the New York Court of Appeals following a dismissal at the trial court level because the parents had not and would not have incurred “extraordinary expenses” raising the disabled child to the age of twenty-one. We argued that pursuant to government programs, all of those costs were covered and would be covered. The Court of Appeals ultimately sent the case back for trial because there was a question of fact as to whether the “government programs” only covered minimal treatment and the defendants, including our client, could be responsible for additional treatment not covered by the programs.
The collaborating obstetricians settled, and plaintiffs continued the case against the nurse midwife. When it was clear that the nurse midwife intended to try the case to verdict, plaintiffs abandoned all claims against her.