On April 12, 2022, Anna Hock secured summary judgment in the Supreme Court, Kings County, in a rather unique case involving a missing embryo. The client, a fertility clinic, received a frozen embryo from another facility in preparation for insemination. In preparation for the procedure, the embryologist had to thaw the vial that contained the embryo pursuant to a specific protocol. Following the thaw, the embryo was never retrieved. Plaintiff attempted to argue that the embryologist negligently thawed the embryo as it had been visualized at the time of the freeze. Ms. Hock successfully argued, with the assistance of an expert embryologist, that embryo loss can occur in the absence of negligence and unfortunately, there is no guarantee of retrieval of a frozen embryo. It was further argued that this was a “failure to retrieve,” the time between the freeze and thaw process, and that it was impossible to determine when the embryo was damaged and disintegrated. In turn, Plaintiff was unable to establish that the embryo loss was as a direct result of the embryologist’s negligence or proximately caused by her actions. Therefore, Judge Spodek concluded that the fertility clinic was not liable for the embryo loss.
The following day, on April 13, 2022, Anna Hock argued an appeal of an ex parte Order to Show Cause that was signed by Judge Ruchelsman. In this matter, Ms. Hock was seeking the appointment of a Special Guardian, among other relief, over a patient in the emergency room at the hospital client. The patient, despite having been deemed to have capacity, refused to participate in safe discharge planning and could not provide an alternative plan to meet his complex needs. A Special Guardian was required to assist with the limited powers related to safe discharge planning over the patient’s objection. The attorneys for the patient argued that a Special Guardian could not be appointed in the absence of a finding of capacity and that at a minimum, there had to be a hearing. Ms. Hock successfully argued that a Special Guardian could be appointed without a finding of incapacity and the Appellate Court declined to vacate the order.