Thursday, June 18, 2015
ABIGAIL GINSBERG, ET AL. VS. QUEST DIAGNOSTICS, INC., ET AL. A-1387-14T3
ABIGAIL GINSBERG, ET AL. VS. QUEST DIAGNOSTICS, INC., ET AL.
Plaintiffs, residents of New Jersey who previously lived in New York, have asserted claims of wrongful birth, wrongful life, medical malpractice and negligence in connection with their now-deceased daughter's birth in 2008 in New York and her subsequent diagnosis of Tay-Sachs disease, a genetically-inherited and fatal condition. Plaintiffs claim defendants each erred in the health care, genetic testing services, or genetic counseling provided before the couple conceived their daughter upon a mistaken belief that the father was not a Tay-Sachs carrier. The trial court ruled that New Jersey law, which differs from New York law in several material respects, applies to all of the parties and claims in this case.
As a matter of first impression, the panel held that a court may adopt a defendant-by-defendant approach to choice of law in a tort case such as this one involving conduct and parties that straddle multiple states.
Applying principles of the Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws (1971), the panel reversed the trial court in part. The panel held that New York law applies to the claims against the defendant laboratory and third-party defendant New York hospital that tested the father's blood sample in New York, but New Jersey law applies to the claims against the New Jersey health care defendants who provided the couple with services in New Jersey.