Ferenc v. World Child, Inc.
977 F. Supp. 56 (D.D.C. 1997)
The plaintiffs in this case had adopted a three year old Russian child, who later had a number of serious medical problems, including apparent FAS/FAE. They sued the adoption agency which had assisted the adoption and allegedly had failed to obtain or provide to the parents information about those problems.
(1) The parents alleged that the agency was guilt of intentional fraud. The court concluded that there was no evidence that the agency had withheld any adverse medical information from the parents.
(2) The parents asserted that the agency was guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court concluded there was no evidence that the agency intended to harm the parents, and that the agency's actions were not "extreme or outrageous."
(3) The parents asserted that the agency was guilty of "negligent misrepresentation", because it assertedly failed to make a reasonable effort to investigate the child's medical conditions. The court concluded that there was at least in most states "a common law duty imposed upon adoption agencies to investigate the background of prospective adoptees with reasonable care and to fully inform their client adoptive parents of the results." (977 F. Supp. at 60). In this case, however, the contract between the parents and the agency contained language in which the parents had waived any right to sue over such undiscovered medical problems.