NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans couple is suing a fertility clinic after their embryos were allegedly mislabeled and lost.
Erika and Jude Olinger filed suit against the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, the embryologist Vincent Williams, Nebular Scientific LLC and certain underwriter’s at Lloyd’s London in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on July 9.
The plaintiffs claim that they completed two in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles on different dates in 2006 because they were unable to conceive a child. Both IVF cycles were unsuccessful, allegedly causing the couple’s physicians to express puzzlement that Erika could did not achieve pregnancy, as the quality of her embryos was high. The couple assert they had their remaining embryos cryopreserved in November 2006 and the embryos have remained in the care of the clinic since that time.
Jude claims he contacted a doctor on Aug. 4, 2008 at Ochsner seeking information about future implantation of the couple’s cryopreserved embryos. Clishman allegedly notified Jude that the embryos had been mislabeled by an employee at Oschner such that they were now indistinguishable from the embryos of other patients.
Upon information and belief, Ochsner first became aware of its labeling problems in December 2007, and yet it was not until the Aug. 4, 2008 phone conversation that the plaintiffs were informed of the issue. The clinic allegedly insisted that the couple’s remaining human embryos could not be released without genetic testing and the Olingers claim their embryology records and medical chart are replete with documentation errors.
Ochsner is accused of negligent hire and supervision of Williams, who is accused of negligent conduct. Nebular Scientific is also thought to be vicariously liable for Williams’ conduct. The plaintiffs' assert their claims are timely, as the instant case arises out of a proposed class action lawsuit.
An unspecified amount of damages is sought for severe and painful personal injuries, including the inability to indentify or implant the plaintiff’s embryos, keen mental anguish, humiliation, emotional distress and medical expenses.
Erika and Jude Olinger are represented by Ravi Sangisetty of New Orleans-based Sangisetty & Samuels LLC.
The case has been assigned to Division N Judge Ethel S. Julien.
Case no. 2013-6405.