February 26, 2009

Judge: No kidney in divorce suit

A New York state judge has ruled against a man who demanded $1.5 million for a kidney he gave his estranged wife before they began divorce proceedings.

Dr. Richard Batista, 49, of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., had sought the return of his kidney or $1.5 million for the organ as part of his divorce settlement with Dawnell Batista, 44, of Massapequa, Newsday reported Thursday.

State Supreme Court marital referee Jeffrey Grob ruled Wednesday that putting a monetary value on a human organ is illegal and could expose the defendant to criminal prosecution.

At its core, the defendant's claim inappropriately equates human organs with commodities, Grob as wrote in his 10-page ruling, the New York Daily News reported. While the term 'marital property' is elastic and expansive ... its reach, in this court's view, does not stretch into the ethers and embrace ... human tissues or organs.

However, Richard Batista's lawyer, Dominic Barbara, referred to the decision as a complete victory, citing a statement in Grob's decision that says his client's sacrifices, magnanimity and devotion can be taken into account when the case is settled.