(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – A Florida woman whose doctor used his sperm to impregnate her has been awarded $5.25 million.
A jury in a Vermont federal court returned the verdict last Wednesday, a day after beginning deliberations, awarding Cheryl Rousseau $250,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages from Dr John Coates of Vermont, who had used his own sperm during an artificial insemination procedure in 1977.
Coates’ attorney did not say if they planned to appeal the verdict.
“We were surprised and disappointed with the verdict,” Defense attorney Peter Joslin said in an email.
Last month, the Vermont Medical Practice Board permanently revoked Coates’ medical license. Coates, who practiced obstetrics and gynaecology in the central Vermont area in the 1970s, is now retired.
Coates is also facing a second, similar lawsuit filed last year that remains pending in U.S. District Court in Vermont.
The original complaint says Coates agreed to inseminate Cheryl Rousseau with donor material from an unnamed medical student, who resembled Rousseau’s husband and had characteristics that she required.
Rousseau had wanted a child with her husband but he had a vasectomy that could not be reversed, according to the complaint.
Coates performed the artificial insemination but inserted his own genetic material, the lawsuit said.
The Rousseau lawsuit said they discovered what had happened when their now-grown daughter sought information about her biological father through DNA testing. The daughter determined Coates was her father, according to the lawsuit.