Smith v. Cote
New Hampshire Supreme Court
513 A.2d 341 (1986)
Linda Smith (plaintiff) was pregnant and sought medical treatment from Dr. Cote (defendant). Smith was suffering from nausea, abdominal pain, and a late menstrual period. Four months later, Dr. Cote concluded that Smith had been exposed to rubella. Smith subsequently gave birth to her daughter, Heather (plaintiff), who suffered from congenital heart defects, cataracts, retardation, and hearing impairment due to her exposure to rubella. Smith filed a negligence suit against Cote and other physicians for failure to timely diagnose and treat the rubella and failure to advise her of the potential defects to Heather thus depriving Smith the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision as to whether to give birth. In addition to her negligence claim, Smith sued for emotional distress for the extraordinary maternal care and costs that must be provided to Heather because of her disabilities. Heather joined the action seeking damages for “wrongful life.” The superior court certified four questions to the Supreme Court for review: (1) whether New Hampshire recognized a cause of action for wrongful birth, (2) if such an action was recognized, did New Hampshire law allow recovery for emotional distress, extraordinary maternal child care, and other special expenses, (3) whether New Hampshire law recognized a cause of action for wrongful life by the minor child suffering from the birth defects and (4) if yes, what general and specific damages may the child recover?
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Batchelder, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 705,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 705,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,400 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.