as a matter of law, worth the costs of raising her when the parents have chosen differently in deciding against more children.
However these factors would be balanced in the more difficult case where the plaintiff originally sought sterilization for economic reasons, that is not this case. The evidence is clear that plaintiff sought sterilization because she had previously suffered an ectopic pregnancy, and feared for her life should she become pregnant again. There is no evidence to support the view that she sought to avoid the expenses of raising another child. Plaintiff is, of course, entitled to be compensated for the physical and mental anguish she suffered as a result of defendant's tort. To allow her to recover in addition the costs of raising this child would be to give her a windfall.
This conclusion is supported by the fact that once she learned that this pregnancy was a normal pregnancy rather than an ectopic one, plaintiff chose not to have an abortion, though during her previous pregnancy she had chosen to terminate the pregnancy. This indicates that her decision to keep the child was not the result of principled objections to abortion. This, along with plaintiff's testimony that she now loves the child and that it is a source of pride and joy to her and her family, convinces the Court that defendant's wrong against plaintiff consisted in imposing the pain, suffering, and mental anguish of a pregnancy on her, not in imposing the costs of a healthy child greatly cherished by its mother. See Christensen v. Thornby, 192 Minn. 123, 255 N.W. 620 (Minn.1934), distinguished on this ground in Troppi v. Scarf, 31 Mich. App. 240, 187 N.W.2d 511, 514 (Mich.App.1971); Note, Wrongful Conception: Who Pays for Bringing Up Baby? 47 Fordham L.Rev. 418, 432-35 (1978). Accordingly, this Court concludes that weight of authority does not, and the District of Columbia courts would not, allow recovery of the costs of raising a healthy child in circumstances such as these where the plaintiff sought sterilization solely for therapeutic reasons, and prizes the child she bore. The case where sterilization is sought for economic reasons is not before the Court.
Finally, the Court must address the issue of what action to take should the Court of Appeals reverse this last determination. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(c). There is little, if any, support for the $ 200,000 figure which the jury found to be the cost of raising the child less the offset for benefits. Plaintiff testified that the cost of raising her previous child, born in 1964, was approximately $ 60,000. In fact, in her pretrial brief, plaintiff estimated her cost of raising this child at $ 60,298. Plaintiff now argues that the jury could have made a rough adjustment for inflation and arrived at a figure of $ 200,000 based on seventeen years inflation (actually the relevant amount of time is sixteen years: the child is already over one year old). Plaintiff presented no economist, as is the practice in wrongful death cases, nor was there evidence of the reasonableness of the claimed amounts. While defendant could have cross-examined the plaintiff or presented his own evidence on these issues, the Court is nonetheless left with the conviction that the amount of the verdict here is excessive. The interests of justice would best be served, this Court concludes, by a new trial on this issue so that both sides can present evidence on the actual expected costs of raising a child born in 1980, rather than by permitting the existing verdict, which is necessarily found on speculation, to stand.
Accordingly, in an accompanying order, the Court has vacated the $ 310,000 verdict rendered by the jury in this case. A new trial has been ordered on the issue of the amount of plaintiff's medical expenses, unless plaintiff agrees to remit the excess $ 4,000. When the amount of those expenses has been determined, judgment for that amount plus $ 100,000 for pain, suffering, and mental anguish will be entered. Defendant's remaining motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for new trial are denied, except that should the Court be reversed on the informed consent count, then a new trial is granted on the negligence count, and should the Court of Appeals reverse this Court's determination that the cost of raising plaintiff's child is not recoverable, then a new trial is granted limited to the amount of those damages.