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Johnson v. Calvert

Supreme Court of California
851 P.2d 776 (1993)


Facts

The Calverts (defendants) were unable to have a child. Johnson (plaintiff), having heard of the Calverts’ situation, offered to serve as a surrogate. The parties entered into a contract and Johsnon was implanted with an embryo created from the Calverts. Under the contract, the child was to be considered the Calverts’ child, and Johnson would relinquish all parental rights. The Calverts agreed to pay Johnson $10,000 in installments and to purchase a life insurance policy on Johnson. Over time, the parties had some disagreements. Before the child’s birth, Johnson demanded the balance of her payment or she would refuse to relinquish the child. The parties filed suit to determine the parentage of the child. When the child was born, the parties agreed that it would stay with the Calverts temporarily and that Johnson would have visitation rights. The parties stipulated at trial that the Calverts were the genetic parents. The trial court ruled that the Calverts were the genetic parents, that Johnson had no parental rights, and that the contract was legal and enforceable and terminated Johnson’s visitation rights. Johnson appealed to the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit. The appeals court affirmed. The Supreme Court of California granted review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Panelli, J.)

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Concurrence (Arabian, J.)

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Dissent (Kennard, J.)

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