David J. LITOWITZ V.Becky M. LITOWITZ No. 70413-9. June 13, 2002 ...

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David J. LITOWITZ V.Becky M. LITOWITZ No. 70413-9. June 13, 2002 Supreme Court of Washington by Mind Map: David J. LITOWITZ V.Becky M. LITOWITZ                      No. 70413-9. June 13, 2002             Supreme Court of Washington

1. FACTS

1.1. PARTIES

1.1.1. Petitioner- Becky Litowitz,

1.1.2. Respondent- David Litowitz

1.2. What Happened-

1.2.1. OnFebruary 27th, 1982 Petitioner Becky Litowitz and David Litowitz were married.

1.2.1.1. Respondent Adopted Petitioners two children from previous marriage

1.2.1.2. Prior to their marriage they had a son Jacob who was born on July 15th 1980.

1.2.1.2.1. After this Becky Got a total hysterectomy which leaves her unable to have any more children of her own.

1.2.1.3. They decide to have a second child through IVF and sought the services of " Center for Surrogate Parenting, Loma Linda University Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group," in Loma Linda, California.

1.2.1.3.1. Five embryos were created using donor eggs and David's Sperms.

1.2.1.4. The couple separate before birth of their 4th child M. in 1997

1.2.1.4.1. Mr. Litowitz had residential custody of M

1.3. Procedural history

1.3.1. Trial Court December 1998-

1.3.1.1. During the divorce proceedings Mr Litowitz requests that the 2 remaining pre-embryos be put up for adoption. But, Ms Becky asks that the pre embryos should be implanted into a surrogate and then be brought to term.

1.3.1.2. Trial court rewarded the pre embryos to Mr. Litowitz based on "Best interest of the Child"

1.3.1.2.1. The Judge Waldo Stone expressed concerns that if embryos were broth to term , the resulting child would be at a risk of being brought up by a single parent or face the hardships faced by a child of divorced parents.

1.3.1.2.2. Ms. Litowitz Appealed to the court of Appeals stating that her rights were equal to that of Mr Litowitz even if she is not the natural mother.

1.3.2. Court of Appeals

1.3.2.1. Court appoints Mr. Downing as the custodian of the pre embryos.

1.3.2.2. The court of appeals concluded that according to the contract

1.3.3. In May 2011 respondent David Litowitz filed a motion to produce more evidence .

1.3.3.1. He suggested that he had evidence that Becky abused drugs and had attempted to hire a third party to murder him. He also suggested that Becky was unsuitable to be a parent.

2. ISSUE

2.1. Is the court of Appeals correct when it affirmed a Superior court award the two remaining pre embryos to David Litowitz

2.2. Should the motion by Mr Litowitz to submit additional evidence be granted?

2.3. Should the pre-embryos be awarded to David or Becky for decision making.

3. RULE OF LAW

3.1. Contract Law

3.1.1. The contract law was applied to the case to see if the conditions of the contracts were followed throughout the process of surrogacy, cryopreservation and also disposition of the pre embryos. The court applied the contractual rights of each individual to the facts presented during the proceedings.

3.2. Best interest of the child

3.2.1. The court of appeals thought that it was better for child to stay with both parents rather than be raised by single mother. Also the fact that was considered was whether each of the individual was suitable for keeping custody of the children.

3.3. Constitutional rights

3.3.1. Does constitution grant rights to custody and companionship of the child?

4. ANALYSIS

4.1. Becky claims that she had equal rights to the two remaining embryos and the court of Appeals denied her this right

4.1.1. The egg donor contract gave Becky and David equal rights inspite of not being the natural mother.

4.2. David Argues that the egg donor contract does not give Becky right to dispose the pre embryos. He says that there was no agreed plan for disposing the pre embryos in the contract. Moreover there was no directive for disposition in case of a divorce.

4.2.1. The cryopreservation contract stated that if the couple was unable to decide how to dispose the embryos they must petition to the Court.

4.2.2. Cryopreservation contract is not enforceable so the court must decide on how the preembryos be disposed.

4.3. Becky claimed that court of Appeals had terminated the rights of the egg donor as they allowed David to donate the pre-embryos to other couples for adoption.

4.3.1. The courts concluded that the eggs were transformed into pre embryos so the eggs no longer exist.

4.3.1.1. The court declined the possibility to discuss the rights of the egg donor.

4.3.2. Becky also argued that the pre-embryos are children and should be considered in that light.

4.3.2.1. Court didn't want to define the pre embryos as child and concluded that it was not relevant to this case at this point.

4.4. David filed a motion to submit extra evidence

4.4.1. Court did not find sufficient grounds to grant this motion, thus denying the request.

5. CONCLUSION

5.1. The Supreme court reversed the decisions of the Appeals courts and aTrials court.Courts based this decision on the contractual rights of both the parties under the contract they had with Loma Linda for cryopreservation.The cryopreservation agreement allowed Loma Linda clinic to thaw the pre- embryos and allow them to expire after 5 years.

5.1.1. Five years had already been passed so the Clinic could allow the pre embryos to expire. The remaining pre- embryos should be thawed out without letting them undergo further development.

5.1.2. US Supreme court denied Becky's petition to hear her case in February of 2003

6. INFLUENCE

6.1. The case showed the nature of complexities that could arise in Assisted reproductive techniques. These complexities will evolve with the techniques and become more complex.

6.1.1. Healthcare professionals need to be abreast with procedures regarding consent and handling of eggs, sperms and pre embryos.

6.1.2. Same complexities could arise when we consider other tissues like stem cells, where the technology is evolving and there is no clear laws regulating the procedures or ownerships of these cells.

6.2. Set a new standard for courts to make decision in cases of assisted reproductive techniques.

6.3. The case showed the binding nature of contracts and agreements when dealing with assisted reproductive methods.

6.3.1. It also introduced the development stages of an embryo and how an egg donor had no rights towards the embryos even though her ova was used to create the pre embryos.

6.3.2. Consent must be taken at time of all initial donations and appropriate contracts must be signed.

6.4. This case also brought the forefront the value of being the procreator vs just an intended parent.

6.4.1. Becky was just an intended parent vs David was the natural father of the pre embryos.

7. IMPACT

7.1. In the Matter of the MARRIAGE OF Laura Lee DAHL, Petitioner–Respondent, and Darrell Lee ANGLE, Respondent–Appellant. Court of Appeals of Oregon.

7.1.1. During marriage dissolution case the circuit court entered dissolution judgement ordering destruction of six frozen embryos that were formed using husband's sperm and wife's ova.

7.1.1.1. Litowitz v. litowitz was citied as to enforce contractual laws rather than favoring one partner over the other.

7.2. Randy M. ROMAN, Appellant, v. Augusta N. ROMAN, Appellee. No. 01–04–00541–CV. Feb. 9, 2006.

7.2.1. Husband filed for divorced husband and wife reached final agreement on how to divide marital property except for three frozen embryos.

7.2.1.1. Litowitz v. litowitz was citied as to enforce contractual laws rather than favoring one partner over the other.