California jury awards $15 million to five who lost eggs, embryos at clinic

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A California jury just awarded nearly $15 million to five people who lost eggs and embryos when a cryogenic storage tank malfunctioned at a fertility clinic in the state.

The federal jury awarded the payout — which includes $14 million in damages for pain and suffering — Thursday in a case against Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, which destroyed about 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos in 2018.

The cash will go to three women who lost eggs in the mishap and a couple who lost an embryo.

The case was only the first against Chart Industries Inc., the company that made the tank. Hundreds of other people have sued it over the California snafu and a similar one that occurred the same day in Ohio, where more than 4,000 eggs and embryos were lost.

One of the women who lost eggs in the California storage-tank failure and was part of the litigated case described her anguish at trial.

“It’s really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else’s family being built and knowing inside you’ll never get that,” Chloe Poynton, 39, testified.

A lawyer for the company tried to blame the clinic for the failure — but that argument was rejected by jurors, who found that the firm had failed to recall a faulty part before the debacle.

-With AP

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