Choosing Where to Sue in Maryland and baltimore personal injury cases

Maryland Rule 2-327(c) provides that upon the request of one of the parties to a suit, the court may transfer a case to another circuit court if it determines that the transfer would result in a venue that was more convenient for the parties and witnesses and serves the interests of justice. In Odenton Dev. Co. v. Lamy, 320 Md. 33, 40 (1990), the Court of Appeals adopted a balancing test to determine whether transfer to a more convenient venue was warranted. Court's must balance the convenience of the witnesses and factors such as court congestion, local interest in the matter and jury duty. The plaintiff gets to choose where to file suit whenever more than one court is appropriate to bring the action. Cobrand v. Adventist Healthcare, 149 Md. App. 431, 439 (2003). However, less deference is accorded a plaintiff’s choice of forum when she is not a resident of that jurisdiction. Stidham, 161 Md. App. at 569. The party seeking transfer has the burden of presenting evidence that weighs strongly in its favor. 2. Analysis If the rules and the law can be distilled to factors for claimants to consider, they would include the following.
  1. Where did the accident occur?
  2. Where does plaintiff reside?
  3. Where does the Defendant reside?
  4. If it is a business, where is the businesses principal office and/or does the defendant do business in the preferred jurisdiction?
  5. Where are the potential witnesses?
  6. Where did you receive medical treatment?
  7. Local interest - does the issue deal with an issue that is of particular importance to one jurisdiction over another?
In the case of Thompson v. State Farm, the accident that led to the claim occurred in Anne Arundel County. Ms. Thompson, the claimant,  and the defendant also resided there. In addition,  State Farm did business in Anne Arundel Count and  the treating physicians, who would be expected to be called as witnesses, also were located in there. She filed the case in Baltimore City alleging that it was the proper jurisdiction because the bad faith claim had been denied by the Maryland Insurance Administration located in the city. As a Maryland personal injury lawyer, I know that Baltimore City is by far the most plaintiff friendly jurisdiction in the state and therefore a much better venue to bring a bad faith claim against an insurance company compared to Anne Arundel county. Therefore, I understand the reason Thompson sought to bring suit in the city. But once the court analyzed the factors above, it simply determined that Ann Arundel county had more connections with the accident that led the claim and therefore had more interest in resolving the issue than Baltimore city. This is the same inquiry plaintiffs have to go through each time they file suit. More often than not the choice of where to file is not as complicated but if it is an issue in a significant or catastrophic case you need the assistance of knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyer.

Wrongful Birth versus Wrongful Life in Maryland

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer - Child Care Expenses Awarded for Healthy But Unplanned Baby After Tubal Ligation

As a Maryland personal injury lawyer, I have had conversations with parents who thought they were done having children until they were surprised with news from their doctors that they they were expecting. The mothers had undergone a procedure to tie their tubes a couple of years ago and never expected to be pregnant. Now, a couple of years older than when they would like to be having children they wondered if they had any recourse against the doctors and hospitals that carried out the procedures.

In Maryland, parents can recover damages for the birth of an unexpected but otherwise healthy baby. The parents are entitled to receive money for the cost of raising the child. These expenses are a direct and foreseeable result of the the doctor's negligence in the failed tubal ligation.  This is known as wrongful life. Wrongful birth, on the other hand, refers to cases where the child suffers from an illness which if it had been disclosed and/or discovered would have impacted the parents decision to carry the baby to term. The Court of appeals reached that decision over three decades ago after the parents of an unplanned baby sued their doctors for the expenses of raising their child.   The court rejected the doctors argument that  no claim for child care damages can ever arise in when the unplanned child is born normal and healthy.  It also rejected potential defenses such as a parent could opt for abortion or adoption to mitigate the damages which if the court had accepted would have been a barbaric requirement placed parents in our state.

This type of case is often associated or discussed along with cases commonly referred to as wrongful birth. Wrongful birth refers to a situation where parents of a child born with birth defects claim that but for the negligent actions of their doctors they would have had the opportunity to  terminate the pregnancy.  Maryland's leading case on wrongful birth is attached below. The case is attached below.

299 Md. 257
473 A.2d 429
Thomas W. JONES v. Juanita MALINOWSKI et vir.

 No. 29 Sept. Term 1983. Court of Appeals of Maryland. April 6, 1984.

        [473 A.2d 430]

Page 259

Patricia M. Flannery and John F. King, Baltimore (Angus R. Everton and Anderson, Coe & King, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellant.

        Gary I. Strausberg, Baltimore (M. Melinda Thompson and Melnicove, Kaufman, Weiner & Smouse, P.A., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellees.


        MURPHY, Chief Judge.

        We granted certiorari to consider a single issue of first impression in this State raised in the joint petition of the parties, namely: "Where a negligently performed sterilization resulted in the birth of a healthy child, did the trial court err in its charge that the jury could award damages for the expenses of raising the unplanned child during minority reduced by the value of the benefits conferred upon the parents by having the child?" 1

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        The record discloses that Leon and Juanita Malinowski were married in 1971 and had three children, born in 1973, 1975 and 1978. Mrs. Malinowski's first pregnancy resulted in a breech birth; the second child was born with a brain disease and the third child nearly died at birth and suffers from heart disease. The Malinowskis are of limited financial means. He is employed as a drafting technician. Mrs. Malinowski, prior to the birth of her first child, was employed as a cryptology assistant by the federal government. She worked only sporadically after the birth of her first child, but planned to work full time after her third child reached school age. Her potential earnings would have increased the Malinowskis' annual income by approximately sixty percent.

        After the birth of their third child, the Malinowskis decided not to have any more children. Economic factors motivated their decision; they determined that they could not afford to support another child. In addition, Mrs.Malinowski wished to avoid the possible recurrence of her prior traumatic experiences with pregnancy and child birth. Consequently, she sought to be sterilized by Dr. Thomas W. Jones. The Malinowskis advised Dr. Jones of their reasons for wanting to prevent future pregnancies.

        On June 2, 1978, Dr. Jones performed a sterilization operation upon Mrs. Malinowski, who was then twenty-five years old. The operation, known medically as a bipolar tubal laparoscopy, consisted of blocking both Fallopian tubes by cauterization. Dr. Jones misidentified the left tube and cauterized the wrong structure, leaving the left tube intact. As a result, the sterilization operation proved ineffective. Subsequently, Mrs. Malinowski again became pregnant and on August 16, 1979, gave birth to the couple's fourth child, Juanita. The child was born normal, is healthy and is loved by her parents. Juanita's birth, however, placed a greater financial burden on the Malinowskis in the rearing of another child, i.e., added expenses associated with the costs of

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housing, food, transportation, clothing, medical care and education.

        [473 A.2d 431] The Malinowskis sued Dr. Jones in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County in tort for negligent sterilization. At the trial, Dr. Thomas Espenshade, an economist demographer appearing on behalf of the Malinowskis, testified that based on Mr. Malinowski's earning history, the family's standard of living, and other factors, it would cost the couple an estimated $53,702 in 1981 dollars to raise Juanita from birth to majority. The witness estimated that it would cost $85,053 to rear Juanita if Mrs. Malinowski were employed.

        In instructing the jury on damages, the court (Sfekas, J.) said that "persons have the right to limit the size of their family for whatever reason, be it for health or socio-economic reasons, and limiting the size of the family may be done by various means which include sterilization." The court charged the jury that it could consider, as an element of damages for negligent sterilization, "the costs of raising the unplanned child from birth to the age of majority, which is eighteen." 2 It also instructed the jury to consider in mitigation of damages "the value conferred upon [the Malinowskis] in having a healthy child, such as the child's aid, comfort and society during the parents' life expectancy." The jury was further instructed that in computing damages, if any, it was not to consider that the Malinowskis "might have aborted the child or placed the child out for adoption [since] ... as a matter of personal conscience and choice parents may wish to keep an unplanned child."

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        After finding that Dr. Jones was negligent, the jury awarded $70,000 in damages to the Malinowskis. It cannot be ascertained from the jury's general lump sum damage award whether it included any money for rearing costs, or, if it did, the extent to which, if any, it took into account the benefits conferred upon the Malinowskis by having a healthy and normal child.


        Before us Dr. Jones argues that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that it could consider rearing costs as an element of damages. He contends that the creation of a healthy normal child does not constitute a legally cognizable injury giving rise to damages for child rearing costs under the law of Maryland. This is so, Dr. Jones maintains, because the benefits of having a normal child outweigh the costs of rearing the child to majority, both as a matter of law and of the public policy of the State, as expressed in the Wrongful Death Act, Maryland Code (1980 Repl.Vol.), § 3-901--904 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. This statute, according to Dr. Jones, is premised on the notion that the deprivation of life due to another's negligence is a compensable wrong; that in light of this established policy, the creation of life cannot constitute a compensable wrong; and that, consequently, the Wrongful Death Act precludes the recognition of child rearing costs as damages, absent a legislative act authorizing their recovery. Dr. Jones further argues that rearing costs are too speculative and unascertainable in any event to constitute the basis of an award for damages. He claims that the overwhelming majority of courts which have considered whether rearing costs are recoverable in a negligent sterilization case support his position. He urges that damages must be limited to the costs of the second sterilization procedure, which Mrs. Malinowski subsequently underwent, together with pain and suffering associated with that operation.

[473 A.2d 432]

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        That there is a cause of action in tort based upon traditional medical malpractice principles for negligence in the performance of a sterilization procedure is well accepted. See Annot., Tort Liability For Wrongfully Causing One To Be Born, 83 A.L.R.3d 15 (1978). Maryland law is in accord. See Sard v. Hardy, 281 Md. 432379 A.2d 1014 (1977). The cases are divided, however, as to whether the cause of action encompasses damages for the costs of rearing the unplanned but healthy child to majority. Most jurisdictions deny recovery for these costs. See Boone v. Mullendore, 416 So.2d 718 (Ala.1982)Wilbur v. Kerr, 275 Ark. 239628 S.W.2d 568 (1982)Coleman v. Garrison, 327 A.2d 757 (Del.Super.Ct.1974), aff'd 349 A.2d 8 (Del. 1975); Fassoulas v. Ramey, --- So.2d ---- (Fla.), decided February 18, 1984; Public Health Trust v. Brown, 388 So.2d 1084 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1980)Cockrum v. Baumgartner, 95 Ill.2d 19369 Ill.Dec. 168447 N.E.2d 385, cert. denied, --- U.S. ---, 104 S.Ct. 14978 L.Ed.2d 139 (1983)Schork v. Huber, 648 S.W.2d 861 (Ky.1983)Kingsbury v. Smith, 122 N.H. 237442 A.2d 1003 (1982)P. v. Portadin, 179 N.J.Super. 465432 A.2d 556 (1981)Sala v. Tomlinson, 73 A.D.2d 724422 N.Y.S.2d 506 (1979)Sorkin v. Lee, 78 A.D.2d 180434 N.Y.S.2d 300 (1980)Mason v. Western Pennsylvania Hospital, 499 Pa. 484453 A.2d 974 (1982)Hickman v. Myers, 632 S.W.2d 869 (Tex.App.1982)Terrell v. Garcia, 496 S.W.2d 124 (Tex.Civ.App.1973)Beardsley v. Wierdsma, 650 P.2d 288 (Wyo.1982)McNeal v. United States, 689 F.2d 1200 (4th Cir. 1982) (dicta applying Virginia law); White v. United States, 510 F.Supp. 146 (D.Kan.1981) (applying Georgia law).

        These cases, recognizing the paramount importance of the family to society, and the need to develop and preserve the family relationship, conclude in one form or another that public policy considerations dictate that the birth of a healthy child is always a benefit to the parents which, as a matter of law, outweighs concomitant financial child rearing burdens imposed upon the parents by the unplanned child's birth. This view was recently expressed by the Supreme

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Court of Illinois in Cockrum v. Baumgartner, 95 Ill.2d 19369 Ill.Dec. 168447 N.E.2d 385 (1983). In declining to apply the traditional tort concept that a tortfeasor is liable for all costs resulting from the tortious misconduct, the court there observed, as to rearing costs in negligent sterilization cases, that "[r]easonableness is an indispensable quality in the administration of justice." 69 Ill.Dec. at 173, 447 N.E.2d at 390. It said that to consider the birth of a healthy child as an injury to the parents "offends fundamental values attached to human life." Id. at 171, 447 N.E.2d at 388. It adopted the view that a parent cannot be said to have been damaged by the birth and rearing of a normal, healthy child. It subscribed to the position articulated by the Supreme Court of Wyoming in Beardsley v. Wierdsma, supra, 650 P.2d at 293, that "[t]he bond of affection between child and parent, the pride in a child's achievement, and the comfort, counsel and society of a child are incalculable benefits, which should not be measured by some misplaced attempt to put a specific dollar value on a child's life." The Illinois court concluded:

"In a proper hierarchy of values the benefit of life should not be outweighed by the expense of supporting it. Respect for life and the rights proceeding from it are at the heart of our legal system and, broader still, our civilization." 69 Ill.Dec. at 172, 447 N.E.2d at 389.

        Other courts which deny recovery for child rearing costs in negligent sterilization cases have declined to require the negligent physician to pay such costs, concluding that to do so would impose an unreasonable burden upon the physician, as it would permit the parents to enjoy all the benefits of parenthood while shifting the entire financial burden to the tortfeasor--a burden out of proportion to the physician's culpability. See, e.g., Public Health Trust v. Brown; Kingsbury v. Smith; Beardsley v. Wierdsma; White v. United States, all supra. See also Berman v. Allan, 80 N.J. 421404 A.2d [473 A.2d 433] 8 (1979). Some courts, in denying recovery for rearing costs, have expressed concern over psychological harm done to the child upon learning that her existence was unwanted

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and that her parents sued to have the physician provide for her support. E.g., Boone v. Mullendore and Wilbur v. Kerr, both supra. Still other courts have held that child rearing costs in negligent sterilization cases are too speculative and contingent to constitute the basis of an award for damages. E.g., Coleman v. Garrison; Schork v. Huber; Sorkin v. Lee; Terrell v. Garcia, all supra.

        A substantial minority of jurisdictions have permitted parents to recover damages for rearing costs in negligent sterilization cases, offset, however, by the benefits the parents derive from the parent-child relationship. SeeUniversity of Ariz. v. Superior Court, 136 Ariz. 579667 P.2d 1294 (1983)Custodio v. Bauer, 251 Cal.App.2d 30359 Cal.Rptr. 463 (1967)Stills v. Gratton, 55 Cal.App.3d 698127 Cal.Rptr. 652 (1976)Ochs v. Borrelli, 187 Conn. 253445 A.2d 883 (1982)Troppi v. Scarf, 31 Mich.App. 240187 N.W.2d 511 (1971)Sherlock v. Stillwater Clinic, 260 N.W.2d 169 (Minn.1977)Rivera v. State, 94 Misc.2d 157404 N.Y.S.2d 950 (Ct.Cl.1978)Bowman v. Davis, 48 Ohio St.2d 41356 N.E.2d 496 (1976)Hartke v. McKelway, 707 F.2d 1544 (D.C.Cir.1983), cert. den., --- U.S. ---, 104 S.Ct. 42578 L.Ed.2d 360 (applying District of Columbia law). See also Robak v. United States, 658 F.2d 471 (7th Cir.1981) (applying Alabama law) but see Boone v. Mullendore, 416 So.2d 718 (Ala.1982), reaching the opposite result. See also Annot., Medical Malpractice, and Measure And Element of Damages, In Connection With Sterilization Or Birth Control Procedures, 27 A.L.R.3d 906 (1969).

        These cases have considered but rejected the various reasons given by those courts which deny recovery of child rearing costs. 3 University of Ariz. v. Superior Court, supra,

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is the most recent case enunciating the minority view. There, the Arizona Supreme Court, applying fundamental tort and damage principles, concluded that the parents of a healthy but unplanned child sustained some damage from the unwanted procreation resulting from the negligence of the operating physician. The court recognized that in some cases the benefits which the parents will receive from having a normal child will outweigh any loss which the parents might incur in rearing and educating the child. But, the court said, "we think it unrealistic that [that] is true in all cases ... [because there are] many situations in which for either financial or emotional reasons, or both, the parents are simply unable to handle another child and where it would be obvious that from either an economic or emotional perspective--or both--substantial damage has occurred." 667 P.2d at 1298. The court said that while it shared the belief that in many cases the intangible and invaluable benefits of parenthood will outweigh the mere monetary burdens imposed upon the parents, it could not decide cases based on that sentiment alone; rather, it said that the court was not at liberty "to impose our views of morality by deciding cases on the basis of personal emotion and sentiment." Id. The court's function, it said, was "to leave the emotion and sentiment to others and attempt to examine the problem with logic and by application of the relevant principles of law." Id. at 1299. In so doing, the court stated that "in most cases the family can and will adjust to the birth of the child, even though they had not desired to have it, [but] ... there are cases where the birth of an unplanned child can cause serious emotional or economic problems to the parents." Id. In rejecting the majority rule that rearing costs can never [473 A.2d 434] be a compensable element of damage in a negligent sterilization case, the Arizona court determined that the cost of rearing the child is a foreseeable consequence of the physician's negligence and a compensable element of the damages formulation. It held that the preferable rule was to permit the trier of fact "to consider both pecuniary and non-pecuniary elements of damage

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which pertain to the rearing and education of the child ... [offset by] the pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits which the parents will receive from the parental relationship with the child." Id. The court said:

"A jury verdict based on knowledge of all relevant circumstances is a better reflection of whether real damage exists in each case than can be obtained from use of any abstract, iron-clad rule which some courts would adopt and apply regardless of the circumstances of the particular case."

        In determining the extent of injury suffered by the parents as a result of the negligent sterilization, the court said that the reason given by the parents for seeking the procedure was the most relevant consideration for ascertaining whether they were actually damaged by the subsequent birth, i.e., was the sterilization sought for economic, genetic or therapeutic reasons. Where, for example, the parents sought sterilization to avoid giving birth to a genetically defective child, and a normal child was born, the court indicated that the jury could determine that the birth was a blessing resulting in no economic injury to the parents. Finally, the court said that its decision was based on uniform rules of damage applicable to all tort cases, viz, that a wrongdoer is accountable for all damages which may have been caused by the tortious misconduct and all costs which the victim may sustain as a result of the tort.

        The Supreme Court of Connecticut, expressing similar views in Ochs v. Borrelli, 187 Conn. 253445 A.2d 883 (1982), observed that while "raising a child from birth to maturity is a costly enterprise, and hence injurious, ... it is an experience that abundantly recompenses most parents with intangible rewards." 445 A.2d at 885. Nevertheless, the court said it did not affront public policy to recognize these costs and there is "no inconsistency in our view that parental pleasure softens but does not eradicate economic reality." Id. at 885-86. The court thus rejected the public policy argument that the birth of a normal child is always a blessing to its parents which, as a matter of law, totally

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offsets the added economic burden. It applied the "benefits rule," requiring that the costs of raising the unplanned child be offset by the benefits conferred upon the parents by having and rearing the child to majority. Hartke v. McKelway, 707 F.2d 1544 (D.C.Cir.1983), concluded that the minority view represents "the course of greater justice." Id. at 1552. It advanced the view that "when a couple has chosen not to have children, or not to have any more children, the suggestion arises that for them, at least, the birth of a child would not be a net benefit ... [a] choice ... the courts are required to respect ...." Id.

        The cases on both sides of the issue have been analyzed in depth by commentators in a number of scholarly law review articles and notes. See, e.g., Comment, Recovery Of Childrearing Expenses in Wrongful Birth Cases: A Motivational Analysis, 32 Emory L.J. 1167 (1983); Comment, Judicial Limitations on Damages Recoverable for the Wrongful Birth of a Healthy Infant, 68 Va.L.Rev. 1311 (1982); Note, Wrongful Birth: A Child Of Tort Comes Of Age, 50 U.Cin.L.Rev. 65 (1981); Comment, Wrongful Birth Damages: Mandate And Mishandling By Judicial Fiat, 13 Val.U.L.Rev. 127 (1978); Kashi, The Case Of The Unwanted Blessing: Wrongful Life, 31 U.Miami L.Rev. 1409 (1977); Comment, Wrongful Conception: Who Pays for Bringing Up Baby?, 47 Fordham L.Rev. 418 (1978); Comment, Liability for Failure of Birth Control Methods, 76 Colum.L.Rev. 1187 (1976); Note, Wrongful Birth in the Abortion Context, 53 Den.L.J. 501 (1976); Note, Recovery of Child Support For "Wrongful Birth," 47 Tul.L.Rev. 225 (1972); Comment, Pregnancy[473 A.2d 435] After Sterilization: Causes of Action For Parent And Child, 12 J.Fam.L. 635 (1973). See also 3 M. Minzer et al., Damages in Tort Actions, § 18.10-.23 (Wrongful Birth) (1982).


        In a tort action for negligence in Maryland the plaintiff may recover "not only for the consequences which have actually and naturally resulted from the tort, but also for those which may certainly or reasonably and probably result

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therefrom as proximate consequences, but not for consequences which are speculative or conjectural." Adams v. Benson, 208 Md. 261, 270, 117 A.2d 881 (1955); Mt. Royal Cab Co. v. Dolan, 166 Md. 581171 A. 854 (1934). Otherwise stated, it is the general rule of damages, applicable in tort actions in Maryland, that a plaintiff may recover only those damages that are affirmatively proved with reasonable certainty to have resulted as the natural, proximate and direct effect of the tortious misconduct. Empire Realty Co. v. Fleisher, 269 Md. 278305 A.2d 144 (1973)McAlister v. Carl, 233 Md. 446197 A.2d 140 (1964)Plank v. Summers, 205 Md. 598109 A.2d 914 (1954). Our cases and the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 918 (1979) recognize the doctrine of "avoidable consequences" in tort actions--the duty to minimize damages--denying recovery of any damages that could have been avoided by reasonable conduct on the part of the plaintiff. Rogers v. Frush, 257 Md. 233262 A.2d 549 (1970)Hendler Creamery Co. v. Miller, 153 Md. 264138 A. 1 (1927)Groh v. South, 119 Md. 29786 A. 1036 (1913). The "benefits rule" of the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 920, applied by most jurisdictions which permit recovery of child rearing costs in negligent sterilization cases, has also been recognized in a civil action for damages in Maryland. See Levi v. Schwartz, 201 Md. 575, 585, 95 A.2d 322 (1953), where the Court observed "that, as a general rule, where the defendant's tortious action has caused damage to the plaintiff's property, but in so doing has also conferred a special benefit upon the property, the value of the benefit may be considered in mitigation of damages, where that is equitable."

        These fundamental principles are manifestly applicable to a medical malpractice action in Maryland involving, as here, a suit by parents for money damages from a physician for the negligent performance of a sterilization operation. We reject the proposition that as a matter of law and public policy no legally cognizable claim for child rearing damages can ever arise in such cases where the unplanned child is born normal and healthy. To adopt such a policy and rule of

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law would be to subject a physician to liability for the direct, foreseeable and natural consequences of all negligently performed operations except those involving sterilization--a result, we think, completely at odds with reason. That the public policy of Maryland may foster the development and preservation of the family relationship does not, in our view, compel the adoption of a per se rule denying recovery by parents of child rearing costs from the physician whose negligence has caused their expenditure. In other words, it is not to disparage the value of human life and the societal need for harmonious family units to protect the parents' choice not to have children by recognizing child rearing costs as a compensable element of damages in negligent sterilization cases. We, therefore, decline to follow the majority rule of those jurisdictions which have held that in all cases, without regard to the circumstances, the benefits to the parents from the birth of a healthy child always outweigh child rearing costs and thus result in no injury or damage to the parents. Instead, we align ourselves with those jurisdictions which permit the trier of fact to consider awarding damages to parents for child rearing costs to the age of the child's majority, offset by the benefits derived by the parents from the child's aid, society and comfort.

        As the commentators point out, the injury to the parents of a normal child does not reside in the product of the negligent [473 A.2d 436] act, i.e., the child itself; damages are not sought on the child's behalf in such cases. Nor do the claimed damages have any relation to the child's value or worth vis-a-vis the expenditures necessary to raise her. The parents seek damages, not because they do not love and want to keep the unplanned child, but because the direct, foreseeable and natural consequences of the physician's negligence has forced upon them burdens which they sought and had a right to avoid by submitting to sterilization. In this regard, the assessment of damages associated with the healthy child's birth, if any, should focus upon the specific interests of the parents that were actually impaired by the physician's negligence, i.e., was the sterilization sought for

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reasons that were (a) genetic--to prevent the birth of a defective child, or (b) therapeutic--to prevent harm to the mother's health or (c) economic--to avoid the additional expense of raising a child. See, e.g., Hartke v. McKelway, supra, 707 F.2d at 1553-54; University of Ariz. v. Superior Court, supra, 667 P.2d at 1300-01; Comment, 32 Emory L.J., supra, at 1189-97.


        The public policy which underlies Maryland's Wrongful Death Act does not, as Dr. Jones suggests, preclude recognition of child rearing costs as a compensable element of damages in this case. That statute created a cause of action where none formerly existed for damages suffered by a decedent's next of kin. While the act did not expressly limit recovery to pecuniary losses, our cases declined to recognize solatium damages until, by ch. 352 of the Acts of 1969, a new cause of action was created to permit recovery of such damages in cases involving death of a spouse or a minor child. See Morrell v. Williams, 279 Md. 497366 A.2d 1040 (1976)Wittel v. Baker, 10 Md.App. 531272 A.2d 57 (1970). It is upon this premise that Dr. Jones advances the notion that specific statutory authority is an essential prerequisite to recovery of damages in any case which seeks "to place a dollar value on a person's life." Damages such as child rearing costs, offset by the benefits flowing from the parent-child relationship are, according to Dr. Jones, simply too unquantifiable to be recoverable, at least in the absence of legislation. In a similar vein, Dr. Jones invites attention to Rhone v. Fisher, 224 Md. 223167 A.2d 773 (1961), where we concluded in a negligence action that no recovery was permissible, as a separate element of damages, for the shortening of one's life expectancy. He also points to McAlister v. Carl, 233 Md. 446197 A.2d 140 (1964), where in a similar action we declined to permit a plaintiff to recover damages based upon her having to give up an intended occupation.

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        The child rearing costs here in issue are neither too unquantifiable nor too speculative to deny their recovery under settled rules applied by the cases. The computation of such costs requires a routine calculation of reasonably foreseeable expenses that will be incurred by the parents to maintain, support and educate the child to majority age. Such calculations are based on well-recognized economic factors regularly made by actuaries for estate planners and insurance companies; indeed, the expenses associated with raising a child are well appreciated by the average citizen through firsthand experience. See Sherlock v. Stillwater Clinic, supra; Troppi v. Scarf, supra; Rivera v. State, supra. The economist demographer's testimony in this case as to the costs of raising Juanita was based on standard economic projections; his calculations took into consideration the employment and earning capacity of the Malinowskis, the expenditures to be made, inflation, the consumer price index and other relevant economic criteria.

        The primary area of complexity with respect to the damage calculations in this case focuses upon the offsetting benefits rule which requires the jury to mitigate economic damages by weighing them against the worth of the child's companionship, comfort and aid to the parents. The jury must assess these benefits in light of the circumstances of the particular case under[473 A.2d 437] consideration, taking into account, among other things, family size and income, age of the parents and other relevant factors in determining the extent to which the birth of the child represents a benefit to the parents. Troppi, supra, 187 N.W.2d at 519. Similar computations are required to be made in wrongful death cases under § 3-904(d) of the Courts Article, i.e., the jury is required to assess damages, inter alia, for "loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education where applicable." That these items of damage were not originally recoverable in wrongful death actions, but were only made so by statute, does not mean that similar items, calculated as offsetting benefits in determining

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the ultimate award of consequential damages, are not, absent a statute, appropriately measurable and recoverable in a common law malpractice action based on negligence. To so hold is not to depart from the principles of Rhone v. Fisher and McAlister v. Carl, both supra; those cases are plainly distinguishable from that now before us. And, as earlier observed, no public policy considerations inherent in the Wrongful Death Act, or in any other statute or constitutional provision, compel us to adopt a rule immunizing physicians from consequential child rearing damages associated with the negligent performance of a sterilization operation. 4 Manifestly, family planning is not against the public policy of Maryland. Indeed, as stated in Troppi v. Scarf, supra, 187 N.W.2d at 516, tens of millions of couples use contraceptives daily to avoid pregnancy and these people "express the sense of the community." 5

        In the final analysis, therefore, we share the view so well expressed in University of Ariz. v. Superior Court, supra, 667 P.2d at 1301:

"By allowing the jury to consider the future costs, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary, of rearing and educating the child, we permit it to consider all the elements of damage on which the parents may present evidence. By permitting

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the jury to consider the reason for the procedure and to assess and offset the pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits which will inure to the parents by reason of their relationship to the child, we allow the jury to discount those damages, thus reducing speculation and permitting the verdict to be based upon the facts as they actually exist in each of the unforeseeable variety of situations which may come before the court. We think this by far the better rule. The blindfold on the figure of justice is a shield from partiality, not from reality."


        In finding no error in the jury instructions, we are not unmindful of Dr. Jones' contention that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that, in calculating damages, it was not to consider that Mrs. Malinowski refused to submit to an abortion or that the Malinowskis declined to place Juanita for adoption. He suggests that under the doctrine of avoidable consequences[473 A.2d 438] such a course of action to mitigate damages was required.

        Most courts which have considered the question have determined, as a matter of law, that neither course of action would be reasonable and consequently is not required. See University of Ariz. v. Superior Court, supra; Sherlock v. Stillwater Clinic, supra; Troppi v. Scarf, supra; Rivera v. State, supra; M. Minzer, et al., supra, § 18.10 and cases there cited. See also Schork v. Huber, supra, 648 S.W.2d at 866 (Leibson, J., dissenting): "The best interest of the child, and the natural instincts of the parent, make it unreasonable to require parents to submit the child in the womb to abortion, or the child in the crib to adoption." We agree.

        Child rearing expenses in this case being the direct, natural and foreseeable consequences of Dr. Jones' negligence, we do no more today than apply traditional negligence and damage principles in affirming the judgment below. As stated in Sherlock v. Stillwater Clinic, supra, 260 N.W.2d at

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175, our conclusion "is at best a mortal attempt to do justice in an imperfect world."



1 Our grant of certiorari was prior to consideration of the appeal by the Court of Special Appeals. See Maryland Code (1980 Repl.Vol.), § 12-201 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. 2 Judge Sfekas instructed the jury that in addition to rearing costs, it could consider other elements of damages, i.e., (1) "the personal injuries including mental distress sustained, and their extent and duration"; (2) "the effects that such injuries have on the overall physical and mental health and well-being of the plaintiffs as well as the effect on the marriage relationship"; (3) "the pain and suffering accompanying childbirth"; (4) "the medical and other expenses reasonably incurred"; and (5) "the loss of earnings, if any, you find in the past, and such earnings or reduction in earning capacity which with reasonable probability may be expected in the future." 3 These cases are based, in part, upon recognition of the so-called "benefits rule" contained in the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 920 (1979), which states: "When the defendant's tortious conduct has caused harm to the plaintiff or to his property and in so doing has conferred a special benefit to the interest of the plaintiff that was harmed, the value of the benefit conferred is considered in mitigation of the damages, to the extent that this is equitable." 4 Declaration of the public policy of the State is normally the function of the legislative branch of government; in discerning that policy, courts consider, as a primary source, statutory and constitutional provisions. Felder v. Butler, 292 Md. 174438 A.2d 494 (1981)Adler v. American Standard Corp., 291 Md. 31432 A.2d 464 (1981). 5 Some courts have held that to bar recovery, as a matter of law or public policy, of the costs of raising a child following a negligently performed sterilization would be constitutionally impermissible. These courts reason that individuals have a constitutional right to limit the size of their families through the use of contraceptives in the marital relationship. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 47985 S.Ct. 167814 L.Ed.2d 510 (1965), or through abortion under certain conditions, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 11393 S.Ct. 70535 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973). See, e.g., Ochs v. Borrelli, 187 Conn. 253445 A.2d 883 (1982)Bowman v. Davis, 48 Ohio St.2d 41356 N.E.2d 496 (1976)Sherlock v. Stillwater Clinic, 260 N.W.2d 169 (Minn.1977)Troppi v. Scarf, 31 Mich.App. 240187 N.W.2d 511 (1971); 68 Va.L.Rev., supra, at 1317.

Failure to Diagnose Cancer Results in $2.5 Million Judgment

The Daily Record reports that a Wicomico County Jury entered a judgment of $2.5 million in favor of the parents of a young woman who died of cancer after it determined that the general surgeon failed to properly diagnose the illness. An article on livescience reports that, misdiagnosis is one the leding causes onf medicla malpractice case. As one might expect, cancer represents one o f the most common cases of misdiagnosis. To make a claim for failure to diagnose you must prove that your doctor failed to identify and treat a medical condition. This failure can occur in one of two ways. First, the doctor may have missed the disease entirely. Secondly, the doctor may have told you it was a different problem that it turned out to be. These medical mistakes can occur from one of the following:
  1. Your physician did not order a particular test when circumstances required him or her to do so.
  2. Your physician did not refer you to a specialist when he or she should have done so.
  3. Your physician did not properly interpret the test results such as x-rays, eegs, and blood work etc
The prevalence of medical mistakes and the severe repercussions warrant seeking a second opinion and prodding your physician for more information in most instances. Speak up and make sure yoru physician addresses your concerns.  

Maryland Personal Injury proceeds cannot be garnished to pay Child Support Arrears

In a 2010 case, the Court of Appeals heard from a father who had obtained a judgment for child support arrears against the mother, Ms. Rosemann. The father was trying to excute on a personal injury settlement Ms. Rosemann received for injuries suffered on a flight. The court held that under Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 11-504(b)(2), the Maryland Legislature intended for funds received as part of a settlement in a personal injury case to be exempt from execution on all judgments, including judgments representing child support arrearages. Curtis O. Rosemann v. Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC, No. 39, September Term 2009. JUDGMENTS – MONEY PAYABLE IN THE EVENT OF PERSONAL INJURY – EXEMPTION FROM EXECUTION – MONEY RECEIVED AS PART OF A SETTLEMENT IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE IS EXEMPT FROM EXECUTION ON A JUDGMENT FOR CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES. Circuit Co urt for How ard Cou nty Case No. 13-C-08-072739 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 39 September Term, 2009 CURTIS O. ROSEMANN v. SALSBURY, CLEMENTS, BEKMAN, MARDER & ADKINS, LLC Bell, C.J. Harrell Greene Murphy Barbera Eldridge, John C. (Retired, Specially Assigned) Rodowsky, Lawrence F. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ. Opinion by Harrell, J. Filed: January 13, 2010 1Section 11 -504 prov ides, in pertinent part: (b) The following items are exempt from execution on a judgment: * * * (2) Money payab le in the ev ent of sickness, ac cident, injury, or death of any person, including compensation for loss of future earnings. This exemption includes but is not limited to money payable on account of judgments, arbitrations, compromises, insurance, benefits, compensation, and relief. Disability income benefits are not exempt if the judgment is for necessities contracted for after the disability is incurred. § 11-504(b)(2 ). Curtis O. Rosemann (“Mr. Rosemann” or the “Judgment Creditor”), the custodial parent of two m inor children , filed writs of garnishment in the Circuit Court for Howard County seeking to execute on two judgments against his former wife, Rosalind Rosemann (“Ms. Rosemann” or the “Judgment Debtor”), for unpaid child support obligations. The writs sought to garnish funds that a law firm held for the benefit of Ms. Rosemann in connection with the settlement of a civil claim ag ainst a third party for alleged personal injuries she suffered. The Circuit Court held that the money was exempt because it was compensation for a personal injury, and therefore protected by § 11-504(b)(2) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Md. Code (1974, 2006 Repl. Vo l. & Supp . 2009), a statu te providing that certain property is exem pt from ex ecution on a judgment.1 On ap peal, the Court of Special A ppeals affirmed. We granted M r. Rosemann’s petition for a writ of certiorari to consider whethe r money received as part of a settlement in a personal injury case is exempt from execution on a judgment for child support arrearages. 408 Md. 487, 970 2The Circuit Court approv ed Mr. Rosemann’s relocation to Arizona with the children in 2002. He enrolled the Maryland child support decree in A rizona and enforce d it there through a contempt petition fo r non-payment of child support. -2- A.2d 892 (2009). We shall affirm the judgment of the intermed iate appellate court and, for the reasons set forth below, hold that apparently the Legislature intended for the funds to be exempt from execution on a judgm ent, eve n one re presenting child support arrea rages. I. FACTS The Rosemanns were married on 16 February 1985. The marriage yielded two children. On 16 Feb ruary 1995, the Circuit Court for Howard County granted the Rosemanns an absolute divorce. At that time the court made no provisio n for ch ild supp ort. On 4 June 1999, the court ordered M s. Rosemann to pay ch ild support to Mr. Rosemann in the amount of $554.92 per month. On Ms. Rosemann’s appeal, the Court of Special Appeals directed entry of a revised amount of $5 33.61 per month. Over the ensuing years, Ms. Rosemann did not pay the child support as ordered. As a consequence, Mr. Rosemann obtained two judgments against his ex-wif e for the ch ild support arrearages – one in the amount of $3,851.70, plus interest, entered in 2001 by the Circuit Court and one in the amount of $30,709.38, plus interest, entered by the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona,2 and en rolled in the Circ uit Cou rt. On 6 May 2005, Ms. Rosemann was injured while a passenger on board an America West (“the airline”) flight. She hired Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC (the “law firm”) of Baltimore City to represent her regarding her personal injury claim 3According to the law firm’s brief here, the personal injury lawsuit was captioned as: “Rosalind Rosemann vs. U.S. Airways, Civil No. RDB-1:07-cv-2105.” 4 According to the parties’ briefs, no transcript of the proceedings before the trial court was prepared because the parties agreed to proceed before the Court of Special Appeals as an Expedited Appeal, as allowed by Maryland Rule 8-20 7(b), with an agreed statement of facts. -3- against America West. The law firm filed suit on her behalf against the airline in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.3 The airline and Ms. Rosemann reached a settlement in the amount of $30,000.00. The check representing the settlement proceeds was made payable to Rosalind Rosemann and th e law firm as her attorn ey. Discovering this, Mr. Rosemann filed in the Circuit Court two writs of garnishment against Ms. Rosemann and the law firm, in whose trust acco unt the latter kept Ms. Rosemann’s share of the settlement proceeds. The first writ sought to execute on the enrolled Arizona judgment. The second writ sought to execute on the judgment entered originally by the Circuit Court. The law firm filed answers claiming that the “funds are exempt from execution on a judgment pursuant to Section 11-504(b)(2) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article . . . .” The trial court consolidated the garnishment proceedings. Cross-motions for summary judgment ensued. After a hearing, the trial court granted the law firm’s motion for summary judgment and entered judgment in its favor.4 Mr. Rosemann filed a timely appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, which affirmed in an unreported opinion. Mr. Rosemann filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, which we granted, 408 Md. 487, 970 A.2d 892 (2009), to consider the followin g question : -4- Did the trial court err in granting the garnishee’s motion for summary judgment and denying the judgment creditor’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that Courts Article, Section 11-504(b)(2) provides an exemption from execution for money payable in the event of sickness, accident or injury, even though Maryland and federal public policy favor excepting a judgment for child support from the exemption statutes? II. STANDARD OF REVIEW The facts are agree d to by the parties. W e are asked to inte rpret a statute, a p urely legal questio n. Harvey v. Marsh all, 389 Md. 243, 257, 884 A.2d 1171, 1179 (2005) (citing Mohan v. Norris, 386 Md. 63, 66 -67, 871 A.2d 575, 577 (2005)); see also Pub. Service Comm’n v. Wilson, 389 Md. 27, 45, 882 A.2d 849, 860 (2005); Reichs Ford Rd. Joint Venture v. State Roads Comm’n of the State Highway Admin., 388 Md. 500, 516, 880 A.2d 307, 316 (2005); Davis v. Slater, 383 Md. 599, 604, 861 A.2d 78, 80-81 (2004). Therefore, our review is non-deferential to the judgments of the intermediate appellate court and the trial court. Harvey, 389 Md. at 257, 884 A.2d at 1179 (citing Mohan, at 66-67, 871 A.2d at 577); Wilson, 389 Md. at 45, 882 A.2 d at 860; Reichs Ford Rd. Joint Venture, 388 Md. at 516, 880 A.2d at 316. III. THE RELEVANT PRINCIPLES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION “‘The cardinal rule of statutory interp retation is to asc ertain and effectuate the intent of the Legislature.’” Lonaconing Trap Club, Inc. v. Md. Dept. of the Env’t, 410 Md. 326, 338, 978 A.2d 702, 709 (2009) (quoting Bd. of Educ. v. Zimmer-Rubert, 409 Md. 200, 212, 973 A.2d 233, 241 (2009)). “‘Statutory construction begins with the plain language of the -5- statute, and ordinary, popular understanding of the English language.’” United States v. Ambrose, 403 Md. 425, 438, 942 A.2d 755, 763 (2008) (quoting Kushell v. Dep’t of Natural Res., 385 Md. 56 3, 576-77, 870 A .2d 186, 193-94 (2 005)). “‘[W]e neither add nor delete language so as to reflec t an intent no t evidenced in the plain language of the statute; nor [do we] construe the statute with forced or subtle interpretations that limit or extend its application.’” Lonaconing, 410 Md. at 339, 978 A.2d at 709 (quoting Ambrose, 403 Md. at 439, 942 A.2d at 763). “This C ourt reads th e statute as a w hole to ensu re that none of its provisions are rendered meaningless.” Id. We will not construe a statute to reach a result “‘that is unreasonable, illogical, or inconsistent with common sense.’” Id. (quoting Zimmer- Rubert, 409 Md. at 215, 973 A.2d at 242). If the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, we need look no further than the language of the statute to ascertain the Legislature’s intent. Anderson v. Council of Unit Owners of the Gables on Tuckerman Condominium, 404 Md. 560, 572, 948 A.2d 11, 19 (2008). When the language of the statute is subject to m ore than on e interpretation, it is ambiguous and we usually look beyond the statutory language to the statute’s legislative history, prior case law, the statutory purpose, and the statutory structu re as aids in asce rtaining the Leg islature’s intent. Id.; see also Kortobi v. Kass, 410 Md. 168, 177 , 978 A.2d 247, 252 (2009); Chesapeake Charter, Inc. v. Anne Arundel County Bd. of Educ., 358 Md. 129, 135, 747 A.2d 625, 628 (2000). Where a statute is ambiguous, we also “consider ‘the consequences resulting from one meaning rather than another, an d adopt tha t construction which av oids an illogic al or unreasonable re sult, -6- or one which is inconsistent with common sense.’” Chesapeake Charter, Inc., 358 Md. at 135, 747 A.2d at 628 (quoting Tucker v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 308 Md. 69, 75, 517 A.2d 730, 73 2 (1986)). With regard to the specific type of statute that we consider in the present case, an “exemption from execution of a judgment law ‘ought to be liberally construed.’” In re Taylor, 312 Md. 58, 71 n.5, 537 A.2d 1179, 1185 (1988) (quoting Muhr v. Pinover, 67 Md. 480, 487, 10 A. 289, 28 9 (1887)); see also Fowler v. Gray, 99 Md. 594, 599, 58 A. 444, 446 (1904); Darby v. Rouse, 75 Md. 26, 28, 22 A. 1110, 1110 (1891). When construing an exemption from execution statute, this Court gives “due consideration . . . to the purpose of granting the exemptions and the objective s to be fulfilled by the granting of them.” In re Taylor, 312 M d. at 71, 537 A.2d at 118 5. IV. ANALYSIS The Maryland Constitution directs the General Assembly to pass laws “to protect from execution a reasonable amount of the property of the debtor.” Md. Const. art. III, § 44. Section 11-504 of the Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings A rticle (1974, R epl. Vol. 2006 & Supp. 2009), for its part, purports to carry out this mandate. See In re Taylor, 312 Md. 58, 60, 537 A.2d 1179, 1180 (1988) (observing that, in compliance w ith the “commandment” in Article III, § 44, the General Assembly enacted § 11-504). Section 11- 504(b) provides certain property to be “exempt from execution on a judgment.” Section 11- 504(b)(2), the exemption to which the Judgment Debtor looks for protection in the present 5In addition to th e persona l injury proceeds exemption enum erated in § 11-504(b)(2), the statute also exempts the following: (1) Wearing apparel, bo oks, tools, instru ments or appliances, in an amount not to exceed $5,000 in value necessary for the practice of any trade or profession except those kept for sale, lease, or barter. * * * (3) Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or any dependent of the deb tor. (4) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed $1,000 in value, in household furnishings, household goods, w earing apparel, appliances, books, animals kept as pets, and other items that are held primarily for the pers onal, family, or household use of the debtor or any depende nt of the debtor. (5) Cash or property of any kind equivalent in value to $6,000 is exem pt, if with in 30 days from the date of the attachment or the levy by the sheriff, the debtor elects to exempt cash or selected items of property in an amount not to exceed a cumulative va lue of $ 6,000. (6) Money payable or paid in accorda nce with an agreement or court order for child su pport. (7) Money payable or paid in accordance with an agreement or court order for alimony to the same ex tent that wages are exempt from attachment under § 15-601 .1(b)(1)(ii) or (2)(i) of the Commercial Law Article. § 11-504(b). (continued...) -7- case, exempts from execution: Money payable in the event of sickness, a ccident, injury, or death of any person, including compensation for loss of future earnings. This exemption includes but is not limited to money payable on account of judgments, arbitrations, compromises, insurance, benefits, compensation, and relief. Disability income benefits are not exempt if the judgment is for necessities contracted for after the disability is incurred.[5] 5(...continued) Section 11-504 also provides that, in “any proceeding under Title 11 of the United States Code, entitled ‘Bankruptcy’, any individual debtor domiciled in this State may exempt the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $5,000 in value, in real property or personal property.” § 11-504(f). Subsection (h) provides that an interest in certain retirement plans also sha ll be exe mpt. Id. § 11-504(h). -8- We conclude here that the langu age of § 1 1-504(b)(2 ) is unambiguous, and, thus, we need look no further than the language of the statute to ascertain the Legislature’s apparent intent. The statute exempts from execution on a judgment “[m]oney payable in the event of sickness, accident, injury, or death of any person, including com pensation for loss of fu ture earnings.” § 11-504 (b)(2). This exemption is broad. It contemplates a variety of payment sources, including “money payable on account of judgments, arbitrations, compromises, insurance, benefits, compensation and relief.” Id. In In re Taylor, we considered the “ tools” exemption fo und in § 11-504 (b)(1). 312 Md. at 60-61, 537 A.2d at 1180. At the time that case was decided, § 11-504(b)(1) exempted from execution on a judgment “‘[w]earing apparel, books, tools, instruments, or appliances necessary for the practice of any trade or profession excep t for those kept for sale or ba rter.’” 312 Md. at 59, 537 A.2d at 1180 (quoting Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. (1974, 1984 Repl. Vol.) § 11-504(b)(1) ). There we observed the legislative intent in enacting § 11-504(b)(1) emanating bright and clear from the plain language of the subsection. The subsection is a reflection of the constitutiona l dictate and glows in the light of the past actions of the legislature concerning the exemption statutes. The leg islative intent is tha t any and all wearing apparel, books, tools, instruments, or appliance s are -9- exempt from execution on a judgment if they are reasonably necessary for the practice of the debtor’s trade or profession. Id. at 70-71, 537 A .2d at 11 85. With regard to § 11-504(b)(2) in the present case, we also see “the legislative intent . . . emanating bright and clear from the plain language of the subsection.” Id. at 70, 537 A.2d at 1185. T he federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit opined that the purpose behind the personal injury exemption found in § 11-504(b)(2) is to “w ithhold[] from creditors funds necessary to recompense the debtor for injuries to his physical person, to make the debtor whole in the eyes of the law, and to restore human capital to the extent monetarily possible.” In re Butcher, 125 F.3d 238, 241 (4th Cir. 1997). In Niedermayer v. Adelman, 90 B.R. 146 (Bankr. D.Md. 1988), the bankruptcy court also considered the underlying purpose o f the personal injury exem ption: A fundamental civility of our jurisprudence subordinates financial obligations to claims of life and liberty. Thus, without the citation of authority, our system does not permit incarceration to satisfy a debt. N or does it permit the sale of human beings as chattels. We would never require, for example, the extraction of a pint of blood from a person for sale in satisfac tion of a money judgment. Likewise an exemption law that p ermits a deb tor to retain his claim to recompense himself for personal injury avoids a creditor’s stripping him of his means of possibly becoming whole when injured in tort. The law will, within limits, allow for attachm ent of his property for the satisfaction of debts, and for that matter lawsuits that go with that property, but it will not allow for attachment of his person for such purpose. Under these principles we can expect that a car which is burned in an electrical fire will be subject to attachment, as would be any claim against the insurance company for the fire loss. On the -10- other hand, a person is not a chattel subject to attachment in satisfaction of a debt, and so, too, a lawsuit seeking to recompense him for da mage to h is person is likewise protected from attachment. 90 B.R . at 148. The money that Ms. Rosemann received from the airline was to compensate her for an alleged injury. It thus was, “[m]oney payable in the event of . . . injury . . . .” § 11- 504(b)(2). The airline agreed to pay the money as part of a “compromise” in which Ms. Rosemann agreed not to pursue f urther h er laws uit again st the airlin e. The settlement funds held by th e law firm, thus , fall squarely with in the pe rsonal in jury exem ption. In the face of the plain language of the statute and its clear applica bility to the facts of the present case, Mr. Rosemann nonetheless urges us to hold that the money received by Ms. Rosemann in compensation for her injury is not exempt because the underlying judgments on which he seeks to execute represent child support arrearages. He bluntly asks us to carve-out an excep tion to the exemption statute so lely on the grou nd of gen eral public policy, based largely on a demonstrable track record in recent years of the Legislature cracking down o n dead-beat parents through sta tutory change s (unrelated to the statute in this case) making it easier to collect such arrearages or put pressure on the d ebtor to pay up. The law firm retorts that, notwithstanding the Legislature’s apparent policy of enhancing the enforceability of child sup port awards, the langu age of the particular statute here is plain and does not include an exception for child support obligations. As the argument goes, had the Legislature intended to bring § 11-504(b)(2) within the initiative to enhance collection of -11- child support arrearages, it knew how to do so and chose not to. It is well establish ed that, in M aryland, a paren t has a duty to support h is or her children. See, e.g., Goldberg v. Miller, 371 Md. 591, 603 , 810 A.2d 947, 954 (2002) (“T his Court has long recognized the parents’ obligation to support their m inor children . This obligation imposes a duty on the parent to provide su pport and confers a r ight on child ren to receive it.”) (intern al citation s omitted). This duty is con firmed in the common law, see id., and in our statutes. See Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law (1984, 2006 Repl. Vol. & Supp. 2009) § 5-203 (Pa rents are “join tly and severally resp onsible for the children’s support, care, nurture, welfare, and education . . . .”). The duty is so important that a parent may not “bargain away” or waive his/her minor child’s right to receive support. See Stambaugh v. Child Support Enforcement Admin., 323 Md. 106, 111-12, 591 A.2d 501, 503-504 (1991) (holding that an agreement between a mother and father to waive payment of child support and arrearages in exchange for father’s consent to the adoption of the minor children by the mother’s husband was invalid becau se it violated public policy). Indeed, the Citizens of Maryland and the General Assembly have taken several steps to ensure that non-supp orting parents honor their ob ligations. For example, the State Constitution provides that a person may be imprisoned for non-payment of child or spousal support obligations. See Md. Const. art. III, § 38 (s tating that “[n ]o person shall be imprisoned for a debt, b ut a valid decree of a court of competent jurisdiction or agreement approved by decree of said court for the support of a spouse or dependent children, or for 6The General Assembly mandated that the A dministration shall: (1) coordin ate a statewide program for suppo rt enforcem ent; (2) maintain a central registry of records on absent parents as required under § 12-105 of this article; (3) locate ab sent parents ; (4) determine the ability of an abs ent parent to pay child supp ort; (5) accept assignment of right, title, or interest in ch ild support made under § 5-312(b)(2) of the Human Services Article; (6) in any case in which an assignment is made under §5- 312(b)(2) of the Human Services Article, prosecute and maintain any legal or eq uitable action available to establish each absent pare nt’s obligation to pay child sup port; (7) cooperate with other states in establishing and enforcing child supp ort obligation s; (8) collect and d isburse support payments through th e State disbursement unit established under § 10-108.7 of this subtitle; and (9) use established legal processe s to enforce court orders to pay support. Fam. Law § 10-108(a). -12- alimony . . . shall not cons titute a debt w ithin the meaning of this section.”); Md. Rule 15- 207(e) (providing procedures for imprisonment upon non-payment of child or spousal support obligation); Middleton v. Middleton, 329 Md. 627, 639, 620 A.2d 1363, 1369 (1993) (holding that “since a parent’s child support obligation is not a debt within the prohibition of § 38, the ob ligation of the defaulting parent may be enforced b y means of the court’s contempt power, including imprisonment, pending the purging of the default.”). The General Assembly authorized the Child Support Enforcement Administration (the “Administration”),6 subject to procedu ral requirem ents, to request the Motor Vehicle Administration (the -13- “MVA”) to suspend th e driver’s licen se of any obligor who has failed to make child supp ort payments. Fam. Law § 10-119(b); see also Md. Code Ann. Transp. (1977, 2009 Repl. V ol.) § 16-203 (providing that if the Administration notifies the MVA that “an obligor is 60 days or more out of compliance with the most recent order of the court in making child su pport payments, the [MVA] shall (1) susp end an ob ligor’s license o f privilege to drive in this S tate . . . .”). The Administration also may request a licensing authority to suspend the occupational license of an obligor who is in arrears with respect to child support payments. Fam. Law § 10-119.3. In addition, §§ 10-120 through 10-138 authorize the Administration, under certain circumstances, to require an employer to “deduct support payments from the earnings of an obligor.” § 10-120(b). These statutes effectuate a federal mandate to create procedures “to withho ld, suspend , or restrict the use of driver’s lice nses, profe ssional and occupational licenses, an d recreation al and spo rting licenses o f individua ls owing overdue support . . . .” 42 U .S.C.S. § 666(a) (16) (LexisNexis 2009). Mr. Rosemann argues that these various statutory methods for enforcing a child support obligation demonstrate generally that an obligee’s right to receive support trumps an obligor’s right to receive any fund s in com pensation for a perso nal injury. We are compelled to disagree. Although the many statutes enacted by the Legislature indeed demonstrate a strong public polic y in favor of enforcing child support awards, that does not authorize th is Court, when the clear applica tion of the p resently conside red statute supplies a re sult that is adverse to that policy, to fashion from whole judicial cloth an exception to the statute. We 7Section 15-601 provided, at the time we decided Williams, that wages “means all monetary remuneration paid to any employee for his employment.” 279 Md. at 676 n.3, 370 A.2d at 1137. -14- are not a super-le gislature . We acknowledge, as we must, that we ha ve held, un der the fac ts and circumstances of other cases and statutes, th at statutes exempting certain property from execution w ere found inapplicable where the underlying debt was for spousal support arrearages. In United States v. Williams, 279 Md. 673, 370 A.2d 1134 (1 977), a former wife o f a retired military officer filed a writ of attachment with the United States to effect a collection of arrearages of alimony. The exemption at issue provided that the following amount of wages w ere exempt from attachment: (1) [T]he g reater of: (i) The product of $120 multiplied by the number of weeks in wh ich the wages du e are earned; or (ii) 75 pe rcent of the wages due; . . . . Id. at 676 n.3, 370 A.2d at 1136 (quoting Md. Code (1975) Commercial Law Article § 16- 602). The United States argued that the retirement pay did not constitute wages and, even if it did, the amount that Mrs. Williams sought was in excess of the amount allowed under the exemption. We held first that federal military retirement pay constituted wages for the purposes of the statute.7 Id. at 678, 370 A.2d at 1137. We held further that “the exemptions from attachment provided by § 15-602(b)(1)(i) and (ii) are inapplicable, because the underlying obligation is for intra-familial support and the very purpose of the statutory -15- exemptions is to p rotect a family from being deprived of all support by attachment proceedings brought by an outsider.” Id. In Williams, we drew an analogy to Safe Dep osit & Trust Co. of Balt. v. Robertson, 192 Md. 653, 65 A.2d 292 (1949), where we permitted the attachment of income from a spendthrift trust to satisfy alimony arrearages, notwithstanding that a typical creditor w ould not be permitted to reach th e fund s. Williams, 279 Md. at 678- 79, 370 A.2d at 1137 (citing Safe Dep osit, 192 Md. at 662 -63, 65 A.2d at 296). In Safe Deposit, our decision “rest[ed] . . . upon grounds of public policy . . . .” 192 Md. at 663, 65 A.2d at 296. We explained the rationale for that as, [t]he reason for the rejection of the common law rule , that a condition restraining alienation by the beneficiary is repugnant to the nature of the estate granted, was simply that persons extending credit to the beneficiary on a voluntary basis are chargeable with notice of the conditions set forth in the instrument. This reasoning is inapplicable to a claim for alimony which, in Maryland at le ast, is an award made by the court for food, clothing, habitation and other necessaries for the maintenance of the wife. The obligation continues during the joint lives of the parties, and is a duty, no t a debt. . . . We think the rule that gives legal effect to spendthrift provisions as against contract creditors should not be extended to claims for support or alimony. In such situations the wife is a favored suitor, and her claim is based upon the strongest grounds of public p olicy.” Id. at 662-63, 65 A .2d at 29 6 (intern al citation s and quotation marks omitted ). In Blum v. Blum, 295 Md. 135, 141-42, 453 A.2d 824, 828 (1983), we extended the holding of Williams to an obligation to pay contractual spousal support. We drew no distinction between a contractual obligation to pay spou sal support and alim ony, holding that -16- “the obligation to pay contractual spousal support, like the obligation to pay alimony, is not a debt, but rather a duty to provide intra-familial support . . .” Id. Thus, the same statute we interpreted in Williams did “not apply to a wage lien for contractual spousal support . . . .” Id. at 142, 453 A.2d at 828 . In Pope v. Pope, 283 Md. 531, 390 A.2d 1128 (1978), we interpreted a provision of the Unemployment Insurance Law that exempted unemployment benefits from execution. The statute at issue in Pope provided that “‘rights to [unemployment] benefits shall be exempt from levy, execution, attachment, or any other remedy whatsoever provided for the collection of debt . . . .’” Id. at 534, 390 A.2d at 11 30 (quoting Md. C ode (1957, 1969 R epl. Vol.), Art. 16, § 16(c)). In Pope, the forme r wife of a recipient of unemployment benef its sought to enforce the provisions of a decree under which her husband was to pay her permanent alimony of $20 per week. Id. at 532-33, 390 A .2d at 1129. The C ircuit Court ordered a lien on the former husband’s unemployment benef its. Id. The Employment Security Administration opposed imposition of the lien, arguing that a lien on the benefits would violate th e Unemployment Insu rance L aw. Id. at 533, 390 A.2d at 1129-30. Applying the holding in William s, we held that the benefits were not exempt and that the sta tute did “not proh ibit a lien f or alimony . . . .” Id. at 535, 390 A.2d at 112 9-30. We acknowledged that our holding, as in Williams, “fail[ed] to adhere to the literal language of the statute,” id. at 536, 390 A.2d at 1131, but determined nonetheless that the purpose of the unemployment statute mandated our conclusion because “the very purpose of invalidating assignments of -17- unemployment benefits and of exempting them from attachment . . . is ‘to lighten [the] burden which now so often falls with crushing force upon the unemployed worker and his family.’” Id. (quoting Md. C ode (1957, 1969 Repl. Vol.), Art. 95 A, § 16(c)) (em phasis in original). In reaching this conclusion, we explained why contravention of the plain language of the statute was necessary to effec tuate the legisla tive intent: The courts which accept the principle we adopted in Williams are simply recognizing that the legislative purpose underlying such statutes is the protection of the various types of benef its involved from the claims of creditors – not from the claim of a former wife for alimony, which often, as in Maryland, is not considered a debt. Id. at 537, 390 A.2d at 113 2. Mr. Rosemann argues that these cases establish that statutes and constitutional provisions exempting specific property from legal process have been construed judicially to be inapplicable against a claim for child support or alimony. We disagree. The cases establish that statutes exempting wages and unemploym ent benefits from execution on a judgment have been construed to be ina pplicab le as aga inst a claim for f amilial su pport. As the intermediate appellate court, in its unreported opinion in the present case, summarized aptly our prior decisions, “although some portion of the family’s support should be protected from creditors, no part of the wages that provide support should be pr otected from the fam ily itself.” The rationale underlying that construction is that the purpo se of the w age and b enefit exemptions “is to protect a family from being deprived of all support by attachment proceedings brought by an outsider.” Williams, 279 Md. at 678, 370 A.2d at 1137. The -18- exemption at issue in the p resent case, th e persona l injury exemp tion, by contrast, is to make the injured person whole. Unlike wages, a personal injury award is not meant to support directly the injured p arty’s family; it is mean t primarily to pay medical b ills and com pensate for loss of future earnings and pain and suffering. Furthermore, our holding in Safe Dep osit is inapplicable here because the trust funds were intended to provide income to the beneficiary, not, as is the case underlying the personal injury exemption, to make the person whole when injured in tort. The Legislature has considered and amended the exemption statute many times since it was codified as § 11-504 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. See Laws of Md., 1977, Ch. 356; Laws of Md., 1980, Ch. 546; Laws of Md., 1981 , Ch. 765; Law s of M d., 1982, Ch. 703; Laws of Md., 1983, Chs. 175 and 554; Laws of Md., 1984, Ch. 255; Laws of Md., 1988, Ch. 613; Laws of Md., 1989, Ch. 549; Laws of Md., 1998, Ch. 375; Laws of Md., 2003, C h. 21, § 1; Laws of Md., 2004, Ch. 463; Laws of Md., 2007, Ch. 238. Pertinent to the present c ase, in 2007 , the Legislatu re considered § 11-5 04 in conn ection with child support and alimony and amended the statute to exempt from execution money paid or payable for child support or alimony. S.B. 712, Laws of Md., 2007, Ch. 238. The amendment is codified at § 11-504(b )(6) and (7). In enacting that amendment, the Legislature recognized the impact this section may have on domestic support matters, yet did not create an exception to the person al injury monies exemption w ith regard to execution on a judgment for child support arearrages. We may not create judicially an exemption to the -19- statute that the Legislature has not seen fit to impose. As demonstrated by the multiple amendments to § 11-504, the Legislature had ample opportunities to enact an exception permitting a judgment creditor to execute on exempted property where the judgment is for domestic supp ort arrea rages, b ut it has n ot done so. Mr. Rosemann asserts that federal policy in favor of enforcing child su pport obligations also mandates that we conclude that the funds are not exempt from execution in the present case. Pointing to the mandate established in 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(16) requiring States to establish procedures to suspend or restrict licenses, he argues that federal law requires states to give support collection prio rity over any other leg al process u nder state law. He relies on § 666 (b)(7) in sup port of this proposition, which inde ed provides that “[s]upp ort collection under this subsection must be given priority over any other legal process under State law against the same income.” This does not con vince us that his argume nt must carry the day, however, because “income” is defined as “any period ic form of payment due to an individual, regardless of source, including wages, salaries, comm issions, bonuses, worke r’s compensation, disability, payments p ursuant to a pension or retirement program, and interest.” Id. § 666(b)(8). The personal injury settlem ent funds are not a fo rm of periodic payment due to Ms. Rosemann and do not fit within any of the enumerated types of payments. Thus, we conclude that federal law does not require that supp ort collection have a higher priority than Ms. Rosemann’s right to exempt her personal injury settlement proceeds from execution. -20- IV. Conclusion Although anyone (with the possible exception of the non-supporting parent) can sympathize with Mr. Rosemann’s and his ch ildren’s situation , in accordan ce with the wellsettled rules of statutory construction, we cannot “‘judicially place in the statute language which is not there’ in order to avoid a harsh result.” Simpson v. Moore, 323 Md. 215, 225, 592 A.2d 1090, 1094 (1991) (quoting Cotham v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 260 Md. 556, 565, 273 A.2d 115, 120 (1971)). Even where we have determined that an omissio n from a s tatute was inadve rtent, we have decline d to supply word s to reach a desired resu lt. See Birmingham v. Bd. of Pub. Works, 239 Md. 443, 449, 239 A.2d 923, 926 (1968) (“Nor have we the power to correct an omission in the language of a statute, even []though the omission was the obvious result of inadvertence.”); Rogan v. B&O R.R. Co., 188 Md. 44, 54, 52 A.2d 261, 266 (1947) (“Even though a c ertain provisio n, which h as been omitted from a statute, appe ars to be within the o bvious pu rpose or pla n of the statu te, and to have been omitted merely by inadverten ce, neverthe less, the court is not at liberty to add to the language of the law; and the court mus t hold that the L egislature inten ded to om it the provision, however improbable that may appear in connec tion with the general po licy of the statute.”). A s Justice Bra ndeis noted in Iselin v. United States, 270 U.S. 245, 251 (1926), “[t]o supply omissions transcends the judicial function.” If the situation brought to light by this case is an oversight, it is a matter for the Le gislature to correct. Thus, we hold that the money received by the Judgment Debtor is exem pt from execution here pursu ant to § 11-504(b)(2). -21- JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS AFFIRMED. C O S T S TO BE PAID BY PETITIONER.

$50 Million Judgment for Wrongful Birth

In December of 2013, A couple in Washington State was awarded $50 million dollars after a jury trial where they alleged that had their doctor told them that their five-year-old son would be born with a genetic defect, they would have aborted him.The child had “unbalanced chromosomal translocation” resulting in extra or missing genetic material. He cannot walk. Wrongful birth