dismisses 'baby switch' suit
A Stafford County
Circuit Court judge has dismissed a $31 million lawsuit against
the University Medical Center arising from the highly publicized
"baby switch" case.
James W. Haley ruled that Paula K. Johnson failed to show that
she had suffered emotional distress or physical injury, and dismissed
malpractice claims against the hospital because the two-year statute
of limitations had run out before she filed the lawsuit. Even
if the suit had been filed in time, Haley ruled that the state's
$1 million cap on medical malpractice awards would have applied.
also denied Johnson's claim of civil rights violations because
he found that the hospital did not make "a conscious decision
to switch the children's identity," and had not "demonstrated
indifference, unconcern or apathy to the effect of such a switch."
has several legal options remaining. She could appeal Haley's
ruling to the state Supreme Court, or file a separate case against
the hospital on behalf of the daughter she has raised as her own,
Callie Johnson, the biological child of Kevin Chittum and Whitney
Rogers. Callie Johnson was switched shortly after her birth with
Johnsonıs biological daughter, Rebecca Grace Chittum. The state's
$2 million settlement offer to Paula Johnson is still on the table,
according to a state official familiar with the case.