Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Werling v. Sandy case brief

Werling v. Sandy case brief summary
476 N.E.2d 1053 (1985)

Appellant administratrix sought review of a judgment from the Court of Appeals for Allen County (Ohio) upholding an order granting of dismissal of appellant's wrongful death claim against appellees, a hospital and physicians.

Appellant administratrix was in a hospital's care when a fetal monitor indicated the fetus's heart had stopped functioning; there was a delay in the response by a physician and the fetus was stillborn. Appellant filed a wrongful death action against appellees, a hospital and physicians, alleging negligence.

The lower appellate court affirmed the trial court's order of dismissal.


  • On appeal, the court reversed and remanded the decision of the lower appellate court. 
  • The court held that under Ohio Rev. Code § 2125.01 a viable fetus which was negligently injured en ventre sa mere, and subsequently stillborn, might be the basis for a wrongful death action. 
  • The clear purpose of the wrongful death statute was to provide a remedy whenever there would have been an action in damages had death not ensued. 
  • The provision was remedial in nature and was designed to alleviate the inequity perceived in the common law.

The court reversed and remanded the judgment of the lower appellate court on the grounds that the claim for wrongful death of a viable fetus was consistent with the purposes of the statute and was therefore actionable.

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