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Viccaro v. Milunsky

Massachusetts Supreme Court
551 N.E.2d 8 (1990)


Facts

Amy Viccaro (plaintiff) had several family members who suffered from ectodermal dysplasia, a genetic disorder. Ectodermal dysplasia causes severe disfiguration and pain. Prior to marrying, Amy and Thomas Viccaro (plaintiff) consulted with Aubrey Milunsky (defendant), a genetic counselor, to determine whether Amy had or was a carrier for ectodermal dysplasia. Milunsky counseled Amy that she did not have ectodermal dysplasia and could not give it to her children. Amy and Thomas married. The Viccaros’ first child was a healthy girl. The Viccaros’ second child, Adam (plaintiff), was born with ectodermal dysplasia. Adam will require medical care his entire life and will suffer pain and emotional distress. Thomas and Amy have suffered and will continue to suffer emotional distress and pain because of Adam’s disease. The Viccaros sued Milunsky for the negligent infliction of emotional distress. The district court certified several questions to the supreme court, including whether a child born with a genetic defect and his parents may recover against a physician whose negligent counseling led the parents to conceive the child. The supreme court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

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