'IVF' triggers issues regarding state's jurisdiction.CASE ON POINT: Coggeshall v. Reproductive Endocrine Assoc. of Charlotte, (12/27/2007) So.2d -SC
ISSUE: As more couples resort to In Vitro Fertilization in vitro fertilization (vē`trō, vĭ`trō), technique for conception of a human embryo outside the mother's body. Several ova, or eggs, are removed from the mother's body and placed in special laboratory culture dishes (Petri dishes); (IVF IVF in vitro fertilization.
in vitro fertilization
IVF 1 In vitro fertilization, see there 2. Intravascular fluid ), more and more cases will arise concerning whether the parents were notified of the possibility of certain conditions, which might influence their decisions as to whether to proceed with IVF. Further, because in many cases, out-of-state providers work closely with prospective parents' in-state physicians, questions will arise as to whether local courts will have jurisdiction over out of state providers. These were but two of the issues with which the courts were confronted in this South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. case.
CASE FACTS: In November of 2000, Chandler and Susan Coggesball, residents of South Carolina, consulted with Dr. Jack Crain Jack Crain (1920 – 1994) was a country-born sportsman from Nocona, Texas, USA, who achieved the top ranks of college football notoriety in 1939. He was best known as a college football All Southwest Conference player (1939, 1940),and a twice selected All-American from the , of Reproductive Endocrine Associates of Charlotte (REACH), a fertility clinic Fertility clinics are staffed medical clinics that assist couples, and sometimes individuals, who want to become parents but for medical reasons have been unable to achieve this goal via the natural course. located in North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. . In preparation for the IVF, Dr. Crain referred Susan to Dr. Edward Moore in Columbia, South Carolina Columbia is the state capital and largest city of South Carolina. As of 2006, estimates for the population of the city proper is 122,819. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a small portion of the city extends into Lexington County. for pre-implantation testing and monitoring. The Coggeshalls subsequently signed a contract with REACH for IVF services. After embryo implantation, Susan became pregnant. At 14 weeks gestation, amniocentesis amniocentesis (ăm'nēō'sĕntē`sĭs), diagnostic procedure in which a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus is removed from the uterus by means of a fine needle inserted through the abdomen of the pregnant woman (see revealed a chromosomal abnormality identified as Down Syndrome Down syndrome, congenital disorder characterized by mild to severe mental retardation, slow physical development, and characteristic physical features. Down syndrome affects about 1 in every 730 live births and occurs in all populations equally. . In a subsequent telephone conversation, Dr. Crain advised the Coggeshalls to have pre-implantation genetic testing Genetic Testing Definition
A genetic test examines the genetic information contained inside a person's cells, called DNA, to determine if that person has or will develop a certain disease or could pass a disease to his or her offspring. if they wanted to use IVF in the future. This was the first time the Coggeshalls were made aware that such testing was available. The Coggeshalls' child was born with Down Syndrome. The Coggeshalls brought suit against REACH, Dr. Cairn and others, all of whom were located in North Carolina. In lieu of answering the Coggeshalls' complaint, the defendants each moved that the case be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over them by the courts of South Carolina because each was a resident or entity based in North Carolina, and had not practiced or performed any service in South Carolina. Accordingly, the Circuit Court of South Carolina granted the defendants' motions to dismiss the Coggeshalls' complaint against them on the grounds that the South Carolina courts had no jurisdiction over any of the defendants, nor any basis for invoking jurisdiction over any of the defendants, all of whom were located in North Carolina and had not done, or attempted to do, business in South Carolina so as to allow the courts of South Carolina to invoke jurisdiction against the defendants. The Coggeshalls appealed the judgment of the South Carolina court.
COURT'S OPINION: The Supreme Court of South Carolina affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court that the South Carolina Courts had no basis for invoking personal jurisdiction over the defendants who were located in North Carolina.
LEGAL COMMENTARY: Personal jurisdiction is exercised as "general jurisdiction" or "specific jurisdiction." General jurisdiction is the state's right to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant even though the underlying suit does not arise out or, or relate to, the defendant's contacts with the forum state. Specific jurisdiction is the state's right to exercise personal jurisdiction because the cause of action arises specifically from a defendant's contacts with the forum state. At the pretrial pre·tri·al
A proceeding held before an official trial, especially to clarify points of law and facts.
1. Of or relating to a pretrial.
2. stage, the burden of proving personal jurisdiction over a nonresident is met by a prima facie [Latin, On the first appearance.] A fact presumed to be true unless it is disproved.
In common parlance the term prima facie is used to describe the apparent nature of something upon initial observation. showing of the jurisdiction. When a motion to dismiss attacks the allegations of the complaint on the issue of jurisdiction, the court is not confined to the allegations of the complaint, but may resort to affidavits or other evidence to determine jurisdiction. A trial court will be affirmed unless unsupported by the evidence or influenced by an error of law. There is no universal formula for determining what constitutes "doing business" to subject a foreign entity to personal jurisdiction. The question must be resolved on the facts of each case. In this case. REACH and Dr. Crain did not have any contacts with South Carolina that were substantial, continuous, and systematic to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction. Medical care is of such a personal nature, jurisdiction over an out-of-state physician is generally not exercised, absent other circumstances indicating a purposeful availment of the forum state's market. Although REACH had served a good number of South Carolina patients, REACH did not target its advertising to South Carolina residents, nor did it systematically search out patients in South Carolina. A concurring opinion was filed in which the concurring judge observed that whether a court could exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant involved two steps. The concurring judge concluded that the first step was that the court could exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident via the "long arm statute." The second step was that the exercise of jurisdiction via the "long arm statute" had to comport See COM port. with due process. That was not the case here!
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