As reported by Law360 (subscription), U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the Northern District has ruled that claims against Pacific Fertility Clinic’s parent company, Prelude Fertility Inc., over eggs and embryos destroyed after a cryogenic tank failure cannot be resolved in arbitration. Those claims will instead get a full hearing in an open and public court of law.
The lawsuit against Pacific Fertility Company and its parent alleges that in 2018 the clinics negligently allowed a cryogenic egg and embryo preservation tank to fail, leading to the loss of thousands of stored eggs and embryos after ruinous temperature escalations went completely unnoticed.
Judge Corley observed that “Plaintiffs’ claims against Prelude are not based on their contracts with Pacific Fertility, but rather, arise from Prelude’s role as the owner and operator of the facility where the cryopreservation of their eggs and embryos occurred. Plaintiffs’ claims do not arise from Prelude’s handling of their embryos and eggs under the contract, but rather from Prelude’s duty — independent of any contractual obligation — to exercise reasonable care in the handling of the eggs and embryos stored in their facility.”
Lieff Cabraser’s attorney team on the Pacific Fertility Clinic egg and embryo destruction case includes founding partner Elizabeth J. Cabraser along with Lexi J. Hazam, Tiseme Zegeye, and Sarah R. London.