August 31, 2007
Punitives For Wrong -- And Unwashed -- Sperm
A North Carolina InjuryBoard blog has more. The basic facts:
The plaintiff was inseminated with two-day-old unwashed sperm from an unknown donor. A nurse practitioner used an unlabeled syringe from the clinic's incubator without checking her logbook or verifying the donor and used it for the insemination. This unidentified sperm was used instead of a prepared specimen from the sperm bank.
This injection triggered a severe allergic reaction in the plaintiff and caused her emotion distress over the possible exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the story, the plaintiff terminated the pregnancy and decided to adopt.
Liability was found via summary judgment, so the jury considered only damages, awarding $85,000 in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitives. That amount exceeds the state statutory cap of $250,000, and so the award has been reduced accordingly, per the story.
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