An Ontario judge has ruled that a Sudbury woman can use an embryo to try to have a child, after a legal battle with her former husband over ownership.
In S.H. v. D.H., 2018 ONSC 4506, Justice Robert G.S. Del Frate of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that a 48-year-old woman, known as D.H., could proceed with having the embryo implanted, after her former husband, known as S.H., objected to her plans for the embryo’s use.
Neither the woman nor the man had a biological connection to any of the embryos, according to the ruling. The former couple had both participated in the creation of the embryos, with donated eggs and sperm they purchased from a U.S. egg bank during their marriage, before they separated in 2012.
Four embryos were created, two of which were unviable and destroyed.
Another embryo was used for the couple to have a son in 2012 — days before they separated — and one embryo was left, which became subject to the legal battle later, with the husband wanting to donate the embryo and the wife wanting to use it to have a child.
Dale Brawn, the Sudbury lawyer who represented the woman, says the judge’s decision rested on principles of contract law.
“[In] his view, the intentions were very clear, so that when it comes to the use of, in this case, a family asset — because he held that the embryo was property and is jointly owned when it comes to the use of the embryo — then simple contract law should prevail,” says Brawn.
BEACON LAW BECOMES BEYOND LAW
A Toronto-based personal injury firm led by partners Kate Mazzucco and Josh Nisker has changed its name to Beyond Law from Beacon Law after a dispute with another firm.
Nisker says that, from the time the practice opened in October 2017, he and Mazzucco wanted to use the blank slate for a non-traditional name. Mazzucco says the feedback on the new name has been positive.
LAKEHEAD SEARCHING FOR NEW DEAN
Lakehead University is searching for a dean of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law and is consulting within the university and with law associations and local and regional Indigenous leadership organizations, according to a bulletin that was shared with the Lakehead University community.
In April, former dean Angelique EagleWoman resigned after less than two years in the role. She said she felt she was a victim of racism. Formal nominations for the position can be sent to Laverne Smith & Associates Inc. at LakeheadLaw@lavernesmith.com, and input is being sought until Aug. 31.
LAW TIMES POLL
A judge has ruled that the provincial Crown was “overly enthusiastic” when the Crown asked the representative plaintiff in a proposed class action for detailed records of her finances and her therapy records. Readers were asked if they felt ordering costs against the Crown was appropriate. About 45 per cent said yes, the ruling is appropriate, because the actions of the Crown could have created a chilling effect on plaintiffs. About 55 per cent said no, it’s important to obtain as much background as possible in the early stages of a motion for certification.