Court Cases by PennsylvaniaJ.A. v. St. Joseph's Children's & Maternity Hospital
52 Pa. D. & C. 4th 142
This case began as a wrongful adoption action by the parents of J.A., Jr.. The child was adopted in 1981-82. Extensive discovery took place over a period of several years.
Finally, in 2000 an amended complaint was filed, seeking to add J.A., Jr. himself as a plaintiff. He alleged that "the defendant's intentional misrepresentation concerning his medical history caused him to be placed with a couple who neither desired nor were capable of caring for a child with special needs resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome." 52 Pa. D. & C. 4th at 145.
The court held that an adopted child could bring such a lawsuit under Pennsylvania law.
The court also held that the limitations period did not begin to run until J.A., Jr. was actually diagnosed with FAS. 52 Pa. D. & C. 4th at 148. Pennsylvania, like at least most other states, has a statute which suspends the statute of limitations until a potential plaintiff is 18. Thus the limitations period in this case did not begin to run until November 1999, when J.A., Jr. turned 18.
This case is particularly significant because, although the parents of adopted children with FAS often face statute of limitations problems, the children themselves might not.