In a decision published in June 2020, a California appeals court has ruled that in cases involving a loss of stored gametic material, such as cryogenically preserved sperm or eggs, plaintiffs may not seek damages based on their lost ability to conceive if the plaintiff had no legal right to use the materials for procreation. This decision serves to reinforce the important principle in California law that egg and sperm donors cannot be made parents posthumously without their consent. The matter was handled by firm principal and partner, Patrick Stockalper. Mr. Stockalper was the designated trial counsel for the client and also was involved in the preparation of the appellate papers and arguing before the court of appeal.
The decision also affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of all claims brought by the plaintiff against our client, a human tissue storage facility, who faced the possibility of a multi-million dollar loss had the case gone to trial. The plaintiff brought suit against our client after she discovered that her late husband’s sperm, which she had stored at the subject facility could not be located. As she intended to use the material to conceive children with her husband ten years after his death, her suit sought substantial damages, commensurate with a loss of the ability to have children.