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Berman v. Allan
New Jersey Supreme Court
404 A.2d 8 (1979)
Paul and Shirley Berman (plaintiffs) were expecting a child. The Bermans sought medical care from Dr. Ronald Allan and Dr. Michael Attardi (the doctors) (defendants). The doctors failed to inform Shirley during her pregnancy about amniocentesis, a medical procedure that can detect chromosomal defects in the fetus. Shirley gave birth to Sharon, who was born with Down syndrome, a chromosomal genetic defect. The Bermans brought suit against the doctors, alleging that the doctors’ failure to inform them of the medical procedure was negligent. Without knowledge of the fetus’s genetic defect, the Bermans were prevented from exercising their right to terminate the pregnancy in an informed manner. They brought forth a wrongful-birth claim in their own right and a wrongful-life claim on Sharon’s behalf. Regarding the wrongful-birth claim, the parents requested damages to cover the costs of raising Sharon, and compensation for the emotional anguish suffered because of Sharon’s condition. The trial court found the parents did not state an actionable claim for relief and granted the doctors’ motion for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pashman, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Handler, J.)
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