52 N.Y.2d 363 (1981)

In the Matter of John Storar. Charles S. Soper, as Director of Newark Developmental Center, et al., Appellants; Dorothy Storar, Respondent. In the Matter of Philip K. Eichner, On Behalf of Joseph C. Fox, Respondent, v. Denis Dillon, as District Attorney of Nassau County, Appellant.

Court of Appeals of the State of New York.

Decided March 31, 1981.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Stephen R. Sirkin, District Attorney (John B. Nesbitt of counsel), for District Attorney of Wayne County, appellant in the first above-entitled proceeding.

Robert Abrams, Attorney-General (Stanley Fishman, Shirley Adelson Siegel and Vincent M. Barone of counsel), for Charles S. Soper, appellant in the first above-entitled proceeding.

James I. De Point for respondent in the first above-entitled proceeding.

Arlene A. Hughes, guardian ad litem for John Storar in the first above-entitled proceeding.

Denis Dillon, District Attorney (William C. Donnino, Anthony J. Girese and Judith R. Sternberg of counsel), for appellant in the second above-entitled proceeding.

William F. Levine, Michael B. Grossman, Bertram B. Daiker and George Danzig Levine for respondent in the second above-entitled proceeding.

Robert C. Minion, guardian ad litem pro se, and John F. Mulholland for guardian ad litem in the second above-entitled proceeding.

Jacqueline Nolan-Haley for Americans United for Life, amicus curiae in the second above-entitled proceeding.

Chief Judge COOKE and Judges JASEN, GABRIELLI and MEYER concur with Judge WACHTLER; Judge JONES concurs in result in an opinion in Part I of which Judge MEYER also concurs; Judge FUCHSBERG dissents and votes to reverse and remit the matter to Supreme Court, Nassau County, with directions to dismiss the proceeding for mootness in a separate opinion.


In these two cases the guardians of incompetent patients objected to the continued use of medical treatments or measures to prolong the lives of the patients who were diagnosed as fatally ill with no reasonable chance of recovery. In Matter of Eichner, Brother Fox, an 83-year-old member of the Society of Mary, was being maintained by a respirator in a permanent vegetative state. The local director...

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