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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Alabama High Court Revives Abortion Case

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) - The parents of an underage girl can sue her boyfriend's parents for allegedly taking the teen to New York for an abortion, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled.

Evangeline and Eladio Limon sued their daughter's ex-boyfriend, William Ogburn, and his parents, William Ogburn, Sr. and Sandra Sandlin, in Jefferson County circuit court after they took the girl to New York under false pretenses for an abortion.

According to the complaint, when plaintiffs' daughter became pregnant, defendants asked if she could join them on a trip to New York to "see Broadways shows and to meet some of Will's family."

However, the girl's parents said, the real purpose of the trip was for their minor daughter to get an abortion in New York, a state that had "not enacted a parental-notification law applicable to minors seeking an abortion."

The girl's parents further claimed that their daughter began using drugs and became distant once she returned from New York, and she eventually dropped out of school.

They said it wasn't until almost two years later that their daughter told them the real reason for the trip, and it was then that they sued the defendants for negligence, interference with parental rights, tort of outrage and fraud.

A lower court in Birmingham dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, ruling the girl's parents waited too long to file it.

On appeal, the girl's parents argued the trail court erred in deeming their claims untimely because they could not have "reasonably" discovered the fraud allegedly perpetrated by the ex-boyfriend's family due to their "fraudulently" obtaining their permission for the trip "while knowing the true purpose of the trip was to obtain an abortion without parental consent."

"The nature of the ultimate achievement of the fraud, an abortion, and the type of psychological struggle plaintiffs' daughter was experiencing, prevented plaintiffs from reasonably discovering the truth within two years of the initial fraudulent conduct," the plaintiffs said.

Supreme Court Justice Greg Shaw held the plaintiffs are entitled to have their claims reinstated under a "savings clause" of the statute of limitations that says the "claim must not be considered as having accrued until the discovery by the aggrieved party of the fact constituting the fraud, after which he must have two years within which to prosecute his action."

The case was remanded back to the court for further proceedings consistent with the decision.

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