On the morning of Aug. 10, 2013, Patricia Love was a passenger in a car driving along Ga. 49 in Jones County.
She was pregnant with a 3-week-old fetus at the time, she says. About a half-mile north of Pitts Chapel Road, another car struck the one she was riding in from behind.
As a result of that collision, Love miscarried and her baby died. She later filed a $2 million wrongful death lawsuit.
On Thursday, attorneys are set to present arguments in Jones County Superior Court about when life begins in the eyes of the law.
The lawsuit, filed last year, names the other car’s driver, Mamie Bivins of Macon, and the car’s owner, James Bivins, as defendants.
Love’s lawyer, David Dorer, contends in a court filing that Georgia courts previously have held that life begins when a child can move inside a mother’s womb, but that a 2006 amendment to the state’s feticide law now offers protection to an unborn child at any stage of development.
“Her child was lost before it was born as a result of the negligent conduct of the defendants,” Dorer said in the filing.
In another court filing, the Bivinses’ attorneys, Cubbedge Snow III and Michael Mayo, deny that their clients were negligent.
They also argue that the suit should be dismissed because “as a matter of law, there is no claim for wrongful death of an unborn child of that age of gestation.”
Snow and Mayo contend in their response that the law’s standard in defining life that depends on whether a fetus is “able to stir in the mother’s womb” hasn’t changed.
Attempts to reach Snow and Mayo were unsuccessful Wednesday. Dorer declined an interview request, but said Love “hopes that the court rules her wrongful death claim for her unborn child can proceed to a Jones County jury trial.”
In their filing, Snow and Mayo argue that the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that a heartbeat, although visible on a sonogram, doesn’t qualify as movement, and that movement generally occurs between the 10th and 16th week of pregnancy.
Snow and Mayo also noted in their filing that they haven’t been able to confirm or deny Love’s alleged pregnancy and miscarriage.
Love’s lawsuit alleges that Mamie Bivins followed the vehicle Love was riding in too closely, failed to yield the right of way, failed to make a proper stop, operated a vehicle recklessly, failed to obey rules of the road and drove in a “fashion that was not reasonable or prudent under the circumstances.”
Love has incurred more than $24,000 in medical bills, according to the suit, and also has lost wages as a result of injuries to her head, back, neck and pregnancy.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.