$44.11 Million Jury Verdict Reduced in Case of Gestational Carrier Who Caused Death of Infant

Andrew and Marni Hotchkiss, a couple in their 30s, were struggling with infertility. They consulted an obstetrician and infertility physician, Dr. Siu Ng-Wagner. The couple and the doctor agreed to use a gestational carrier. As the Hotchkiss family selected potential surrogates online, the couple sent these candidates to Dr. Ng-Wagner for medical screening. Dr. Ng-Wagner subsequently interviewed Christina Jensen and told the Hotchkiss family that everything was “all clear.”

Jensen delivered the Hotchkiss’s baby at 25 weeks gestation after developing pre-eclampsia during the pregnancy. The newborn child developed sepsis and died just 3 weeks after birth.
The Hotchkisses filed a lawsuit against Dr. Ng-Wagner and her medical practice claiming that she chose not to review Jensen’s medical records before recommending her as a suitable surrogate.

This would have revealed Jensen’s history of pre-eclampsia in her pregnancy the year before the Hotchkiss’s baby’s birth. The plaintiffs also argued that Dr. Ng-Wagner had a duty to inform the Hotchkisses that she had not reviewed Jensen’s records before clearing her to be named a surrogate.

After hearing the evidence, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the Hotchkiss family and against Dr. Ng-Wagner and her practice in the amount of $44.11 million, which was reduced to $887,500 under the Maryland state damages cap for damages. Post-trial motions, including one for a new trial, were denied by the trial judge. The defendants have appealed.

The attorneys representing the Hotchkiss family were Michael Feldman and Sidney Schupak.

At trial, the Hotchkiss family engaged experts in neonatology and reproductive endocrinology. The defendant Dr. Ng-Wagner hired experts in reproductive endocrinology and obstetrics.
Hotchkiss v. Ng-Wagner, No. 398456 V (Md. Cir. Ct. Montgomery County, April 13, 2016).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling Illinois medical negligence cases, birth injury cases, wrongful death cases and birth trauma cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Park Forest, Forest Park, Park Ridge, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Chicago (South Loop, Wrigleyville, Chinatown, Greek Town, Lawndale, Englewood, Austin, Garfield Park), Wilmette and Lockport, Ill.

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