Mandatory Settlement Conference in Evolving End-of-Life Dispute

Over the holidays, a dispute about whether to withdraw life-sustaining treatment between the family of Jahi McMath, a young girl pronounced brain dead by doctors after routine tonsil surgery, and her hospital reached state and federal court and began to receive national attention.  (See coverage on CNN here, Fox News here, ABC News here, NY Times here.)

Just a quick flag and comment on the latest development: that a federal magistrate judge, Donna Ryu, has ordered the hospital and family into court tomorrow morning for settlement talks.  Meanwhile, suits are pending simultaneously in state court and before a federal judge.  While the parties have already engaged in extensive discussions, sometimes a judge can lead parties to agreement where one seemed impossible.  I’m still reviewing the case but will follow up if I have anything to add to the news coverage that comes out in the coming days.

Meanwhile, for further scholarly reading on this subject generally, see Glenn Cohen’s 2004 paper in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review.

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