Cesnik v. Edgewood Baptist Church
88 F. 3d 902 (11th Cir. 1996)
The plaintiffs in this case had adopted two children through an adoption agency operated by the church. The agency allegedly assured the Cesniks that both babies were entirely healthy. Both children were ultimately diagnosed with a variety of serious medical problems, including fetal alcohol syndrome. The parents sued the agency to recover the additional expenses that would be involved in caring for the children's medical problems.
The court concluded that on the facts of the case the adoptive parents could sue the agency on several different theories: breach of contract, wire or mail fraud, and conspiracy.
The agency argued that the parents could not sue for those expenses. It contended that, once the parents discovered the children were not healthy, they should have simply returned the children to the agency (like returning a defective purchase). The court rejected that argument. (88 F. 3d at 909).
The parents in this case were receiving adoption assistance subsidies from the state of Georgia because of the medical problems of the children. (88 F. 3d at 904 and n. 5).