Kidney not subject to Equitable Distribution

16 March 2009

In my prior post on the now infamous kidney case, the husband was claiming a distributive award for the value of the kidney he donated to his wife.In a non shocking decision, Referee A. Jeffrey Grob denied the husband’s request for an expert to give testimony to value the donated kidney. The court ruled:

At its core, the defendant’s claim in appropriately equates human organs with commodities

Referee Grob noted that public health law Section 4307 prohibits the transferring of anything of value, any human organ for use in human translation, and that a violation is considered a class E felony. The court stated that the husband’s request would not only run afoul of this statute, but may subject him to criminal prosecution as well.

So there you have it. Donated organs are not subject to equitable distribution. It probably took the husband tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to have a court rule on this too.

Hello, I’m here for your liver.. no wait.. kidney … no wait …

8 January 2009

We want your liver

 This divorce could be straight out of a Monty Python skit.

  Both Newsday and The New York Post have reported about what can only be one of the most bizarre divorces cases, ever.

Doctor and nurse meet and fall in love, and vow to spend a lifetime together in marital bliss. Unfortunately, the wife had severe health problems, which resulted in both kidneys failing. Following two failed kidney transplants, the doctor donated one of his kidneys in 2001, thereby saving his wife’s life.

Two years later, the wife is claimed to have began an extramarital affair with physical therapist.

The wife filed for a divorce in 2005, with the doctor alleging to have been served with the divorce summons in the operating room.

Four years into the divorce action, the doctor is now demanding the kidney back, or to otherwise treat it as part of the marital estate with it being worth $1.5 million.

Assuming that the wife did cheat after receiving a kidney from her husband, nobody can dispute that was a pretty crummy thing to do. And if she really did have the doctor served with the divorce papers in the operating room, that too was even more crummy. Granted, she must have had one heck of a process server, or perhaps the process server was posing as the patient. Who knows.

So assuming all this is true, the doctor certainly has real reason to feel betrayed.

But to ask for a distributive share of the donated kidney as part of equitable distribution takes this divorce to the land of the surreal poka dot bunny rabbits, otherwise known as the place of going from right to wrong.

Like most stories, I’m sure there is a lot more going on than what is being reported by the press. But whatever those facts might be, there is something seriously wrong with a divorce relying on In Re Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’s “Live Organ Transplants” as controlling law.

“We’re here for your liver” 

“But I’m not done using it!”