In a decision handed down Wednesday by a federal court jury, a Florida woman who accused a Vermont doctor of impregnating her with his sperm instead of a donor’s was compensated $5.25 million, reports the Associated Press.
In a civil lawsuit against Dr. John Coates III, who allegedly used his genetic material to impregnate her without her permission, Cheryl Rousseau was given compensatory damages of $250,000 and punitive damages of $5 million.
The couple desired a child, but Peter Rousseau had a permanent vasectomy. A medical student who resembled him and “met specific characteristics” requested by Cheryl Rousseau, the complaint stated.
In October 2018, the kid, now an adult, discovered Coates was her biological father through DNA testing, the lawsuit said. The complaint claims Coates denied paternity.
Celeste Laramie, their attorney, said on Wednesday that the jury’s decision was justified.
“The jury through its punitive damages verdict sent a message to any physicians who might think about lying to their patients or using their own semen to inseminate their patients,” she said. “Such behavior will have serious consequences.”
Coates, who initially disputed paternity, is now the subject of a similar ongoing lawsuit filed by a Colorado woman who claims he fraudulently inseminated her instead of using an approved donor.
The allegation is made by Shirley Brown of Boulder Colorado, who claims that Coates said her donor was also a medical student before her 1978 procedure. Brown, like Cheryl Rousseau, only found out about the alleged deception when her daughter submitted to a DNA test.
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