Doctor who allegedly used own semen to impregnate patient wants case dismissed
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POCATELLO — A former fertility doctor accused of using his own semen to impregnate a patient wants the lawsuit against them dismissed.
Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer and his former employer, Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls, will have their motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them heard by U.S. District Judge David Nye on Aug. 30 in Pocatello.
One of the arguments used by Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls to warrant dismissing the lawsuit is that Kelli Rowlette had not been conceived when Mortimer’s alleged misconduct took place.
The lawsuit filed by Rowlette, a Washington resident, and her divorced parents, Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler, against Mortimer and his former employer claims Mortimer used his own semen — without Ashby or Fowler’s knowledge or consent — to impregnate Ashby in 1980.
When Ashby and Fowler were having difficulty conceiving a child through artificial insemination, Mortimer recommended they undergo a procedure where donor semen would be mixed with Fowler’s semen to increase the chance of conception. The ratio of genetic material would be 85 percent from Fowler and 15 percent from a donor with characteristics selected by the parents.
Mortimer is accused of knowing Rowlette was his daughter and concealing it even when the family moved to Washington.
One of Mortimer’s claims for dismissing the lawsuit is he only told Ashby and Fowler he had donor sperm meeting their specifications prior to the first insemination attempt that ultimately failed. He argues Ashby and Fowler never asked about what semen was used in the following insemination attempts, nor do they claim he ever told them what semen was used. Mortimer’s lawyers also claim Fowler can’t sue because she was not the doctor’s patient — her mother was.
The family is suing for medical negligence, failure to obtain consent, fraud, battery, infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and engaging in deceptive trade practices.
Additionally, the suit claims Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls is vicariously liable for Mortimer’s alleged actions and for “failure to exercise due care to control Mortimer so he would not injure patients.” None of the doctors currently working at the clinic, worked there when Mortimer was practicing.