Health Care

Parents Allege Son Injured During Water Birth, Sue for $36 Million

| by Karen Eisenberg
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Parents Amy Benton and Matthew Marino have amended their $36 million-dollar lawsuit against Legacy Health System and are requesting that the court bar Legacy Health System from conducting water births, unless the births are being performed for the purpose of a controlled experimental study. 

Benton and Marino’s 3-year-old son, Luca Marino, was born via water birth on Dec. 14, 2011, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland, Oregon. Their lawsuit alleges that Legacy medical staff was negligent in performing the water birth because Benton had suffered high-risk complications during her pregnancy. Benton claims Legacy should have insisted that the baby be delivered by C-section, not water birth. 

Luca suffers from cerebral palsy, has hearing problems, suffers from serious disabilities and will require special care for the rest of his life. His parents allege Luca was deprived of oxygen during delivery and Legacy medical staff was too late in resuscitating him, which resulted in lifelong permanent damage. They hold Legacy responsible for not staffing an obstetrician during Luca's water birth; only midwives and nurses were present. Additionally, Benton and Marino allege that Legacy failed to inform them of the dangers of water births. However, according to, the Legacy website warns that water births are for low-risk, single pregnancies. 

Richard Rogers is the attorney representing Benton and Marino. According to, the $36 million-dollar lawsuit includes the following: $23 million for Luca’s current and future medical expenses, $10 million for pain and suffering, and $3 million for future loss of hearing. The case was filed in August 2014 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.