A jury on June 11 awarded $14.975 million to five Pacific Fertility Center patients who lost eggs and embryos as a result of a cryopreservation tank failure.
The jury found the tank manufacturer, Chart Industries Inc., liable on all claims. Girard Sharp served as co-lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs.
The verdict, which followed a three-week trial presided over by the Honorable Jacqueline Scott Corley of San Francisco federal court, awards more than $14 million in damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress to three women who lost eggs and a married couple who lost embryos due to the catastrophic March 2018 tank failure. The three women were each awarded between $2 million and $3 million, and the couple is set to receive $7.2 million.
The jury held Chart liable for a manufacturing defect in the tank and for its negligent failure to recall the part that malfunctioned, a “controller” intended to monitor liquid nitrogen levels. The jury determined that Chart was 90% responsible for the incident and Pacific Fertility Center only 10% responsible.
Girard Sharp attorneys Dena Sharp, Adam Polk and Nina Gliozzo represented the plaintiffs, together with Gibbs Law Group LLP attorneys Amy Zeman and Geoff Munroe.
“The emotion in the courtroom today was palpable,” Dena Sharp said after the verdict came in. “It has been a privilege to work on the front lines with our clients since 2018, and the impact this devastating incident had on patients’ lives can’t be minimized. To see Chart held accountable at the end of this long road is to see justice served. While nothing can ever bring back the damaged eggs and embryos, the verdict brings some measure of justice and closure for our clients.”
The verdict came in the first trial arising out of the tank failure. Hundreds of other patients also have claims pending against Chart and Pacific Fertility Center, and additional trials are scheduled for the fall.
You can read more about the Pacific Fertility Center litigation here.