CORNELL ECON 4040 - Rule of Law (4 pages)

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Rule of Law

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Rule of Law


Lecture number:
Lecture Note
Cornell University
Econ 4040 - Economics and the Law

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Econ 4040 1st Edition Lecture 8 Outline of Current Lecture I Baby M Current Lecture Brief Fact Summary The Sterns entered into a surrogacy contract with the Whiteheads whereby Mrs Whitehead would bear the child of Mr Stern through artificial insemination and relinquish custody of the child to the Sterns upon birth Once the child was born Mrs Whitehead found herself unable to part with the child and sought to retain custody Synopsis of Rule of Law The surrogacy contract is unenforceable due to violation of both statutory law and public policy Custody must be determined based upon the best interests of the child Facts In 1985 William Stern and Mary Beth Whitehead entered into a surrogacy contract stating that Stern s wife Elizabeth was infertile that they wanted a child and Mrs Whitehead was willing to provide that child as mother with Mr Stern as father Through artificial insemination using Mr Stern s sperm Mrs Whitehead would become pregnant Mrs Whitehead would deliver the born child to the Sterns and terminate her maternal rights so that Mrs Stern could thereafter adopt the child Mrs Whitehead s husband Richard was also a party to the contract Mrs Stern was not Mr Whitehead promised to do all acts necessary to rebut the presumption of paternity The contract gave Mrs Stern sole custody in the event of Mr Stern s death Mr Stern agreed to pay Mrs Whitehead 10 000 after the child s birth on its delivery to him He agreed to pay 7 500 to the Infertility Center of New York ICNY and ICNY arranged for the surrogacy contract The history of the parties sug gests good faith However almost from the moment of birth Mrs Whitehead realized she could not part with the child She nonetheless turned her child over to the Sterns on March 30 at the Whiteheads home Later that evening Mrs Whitehead was stricken with unbearable sadness The Sterns concerned that she might commit suicide turned the child over to her on her word that she would return her in a week It became apparent that Mrs

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