Clark v. Children’s Mem’l Hosp.
The plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful-birth and negligent infliction of emotional distress, based on medical-provider defendants' failure to inform them that their older child had a genetic mutation. They claim that they would not have conceived a second child if they had been given correct information. The trial court held that damages available in a wrongful-birth action do not include the extraordinary costs of caring for a disabled child after he reaches the age of majority. The appellate court held that plaintiff parents in a wrongful-birth case may recover damages for the cost of caring for their dependent,disabled, adult child and that the plaintiffs had adequately pleaded a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Illinois Supreme Court remanded, noting a question of fact concerning when the limitations period began to run. The court affirmed the holding that the plaintiffs have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress; the "zone of danger" test does not apply when damages for emotional distress are an element of another tort. The court reversed and reinstated the judgment that plaintiffs may not recover damages for the postmajority expenses of caring for their son; damages incurred after the age of majority are incurred by the child, who suffered no legal harm.