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Morrissey v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
871 F.3d 1260 (2017)


Facts

Joseph Morrissey (plaintiff) was a homosexual male in a committed, long-term relationship with his partner. Morrissey and his partner wished to have a child via in vitro fertilization (IVF). In 2011, Morrissey paid almost $57,000 in expenses related to IVF. Morrissey spent approximately $1,500 of that money on expenses related to his own body, including sperm collection. He spent the remaining $55,000 on expenses related to the egg donor and the gestational surrogate for the child. On his 2011 income tax return, Morrissey deducted $36,538 in medical expenses based on section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code, which allowed deductions for expenses for medical care of the taxpayer. Under the code, these expenses included those “for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (defendant) disallowed Morrissey’s deduction. Morrissey appealed the decision to federal court, arguing that because he and his partner could not reproduce together, the IVF expenses affected his reproductive function. The lower court ruled in favor of the IRS. Morrissey appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Newsom, J.)

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