Flatt v. Kantak and Meritcare

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Flatt v. Kantak and Meritcare is a 1999 North Dakota case. The parents of Josiah Flatt sued in Cass County District Court, Civil Case No. 99-3761, Dr. Sunita Kantak who circumcised Josiah Flatt and Meritcare Hospital of Fargo where he was circumcised. The plaintiffs were represented by Zenas Baer of Hawley, Minnesota.[1]

Anita Flatt gave birth to a son early on 6 March 1997. That evening, a nurse asked Anita Flatt to sign a consent form to permit the circumcision of newborn Josiah Flatt. The Flatts allege that the consent form was deficient in not stating the benefits or the risks of the procedure. According to the lawsuit, Flatt was still on medication and in great pain at the time the consent form was presented.[1]

Presiding Judge Cynthia Rothe-Seeger denied a motion for summary judgment and said the case may proceed to trial on 3 February 2003. The precedent setting decision confirms that a baby who is circumcised can sue his doctor when he reaches age of majority, even if there was parental consent for the circumcision, and even if the results are considered to be 'normal.’ J. Steven Svoboda, executive director of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) commented, "This is the latest in a series of warnings to doctors who still circumcise: proceed at your peril, because even if you get parental consent and do a standard job of the circumcision, the child can still grow up and sue you for taking away part of his penis."[2]

Judge Rothe-Seeger issued an order in limine to exclude from the evidence presented pictures of a circumcision, the circumcision instruments, and other matters.[3]

Robert S. Van Howe, M.D.[4], Christopher J. Cold, M.D.[4], and Eileen Wayne, M.D.[4], served as expert witnesses for the plaintiffs.

Judge Rothe-Seeger dismissed the case against Meritcare Hospital after the plaintiffs called their last witness, leaving Dr. Kantak as the sole remaining defendant.[5]

The Vogel Law Firm represented the defendants. Craig Shoemaker, M.D.[4],[6] and George Kaplan, M.D.[4],[7] served as expert witnesses for the defendants.

The jury ruled that Dr. Kantak was not negligent in in explaining the risks of circumcision to Anita Flatt for her newborn son, Josiah.[8]

Zenas Baer, attorney for the plaintiffs petitioned the court for a new trial.[8]

External links


  1. a b REFnews Sullivan, Jack (December 1999)."Fargo couple want ban on female genital mutilation to include boys", The Forum. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  2. REFweb Svoboda, J. Steven (29 July 2002). Circumcision Case to Proceed to Trial, http://www.boystoo.com, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  3. REFdocument Rothe-Seeger, Cynthia: Order on Motions in Limine. (24 January 2003). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. a b c d e Abbreviation: REFweb Doctor of Medicine, Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  5. REFnews Baird, Jeff (14 February 2003)."Hospital dismissed from circumcision lawsuit", http://www.cirp.org, The Forum. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  6. REFdocument Shoemaker, Craig: Deposition of Craig Shoemaker, Vogel Law Firm. (27 February 2002). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  7. REFdocument Kaplan, George: Deposition of George Kaplan, M.D., Vogel Law Firm. (26 February 2002). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  8. a b REFnews Forster, Dave (9 July 2003)."Judge hears circumcision trial request", www.cirp.org, The Forum. Retrieved 20 July 2020.