Czech Republic: Romani mother of quintuplets loses her appeal in suit over funds raised for her family
The Czech News Agency reported yesterday that the mother of the first quintuplets ever born in the Czech Republic, Alexandra Kiňová, has not succeeded in suing the "Club of Twins and Higher Multiples" over the way that organization delivered money to her that had been collected for her children by means of a public fundraising drive. Yesterday an appeals court confirmed that it was rejecting her claim.
The club first handed the money over to Prague City Hall, which gave it to Kiňová in February in the form of a gift. Because of this, however, the mother of six lost her eligibility for the welfare benefits she had been receiving.
"The first instance court very correctly described that what is important to the court's decision is the state of affairs that applies at the time of the decision [...]. If, during the course of the trial, the proceeds of the collection were, on the basis of an administrative decision, delivered to City Hall, then it is no longer possible for the court, at the moment of its own decision, to task the defendant with the obligation of delivering the collected money to the plaintiff," explained Jana Knotková, presiding judge of the appeals court, as to why she was rejecting the lawsuit.
According to the decision, which has now taken effect, Kiňová must now reimburse the club for the costs of its legal representation during the appeals proceeding, which are CZK 26 800 [EUR 1 025]. The court has awarded that money to the club because Kiňová pointlessly continued her appeal even after receiving the money from the fundraising drive.
The collection to support the quintuplets' costs of living was announced and organized by the club, with whom Kiňová ended her collaboration in January 2015. That particular fundraising drive was closed at that time at the request of her attorney, Klára Samková, when CZK 616 000 [EUR 23 000] of the monies raised had yet to be delivered to the family.
In the lawsuit, Samková accused the director of the club of transferring the money to City Hall "as an act of personal revenge". The club has rejected that characterization.
"The plaintiff actually got the money, she lost none of it. The defendant transferred the money fully in accordance with the law because she was acting on the basis of a decision by City Hall that was in effect," Robin Sedláček, the organization's attorney, pointed out yesterday.
According to Samková, the situation in the family currently is that the father is making every possible effort to find employment and the mother is still dealing with health complications. Kiňová now cannot draw on any state welfare benefits.
"Because the money was gifted by City Hall to Ms Kiňová, it became the kind of income that impacts welfare eligibility, and the situation now is that my client is no longer entitled to any welfare benefits. At the moment we await a decision as to whether her eligibility for welfare will or will not be renewed," the attorney explained to the Czech News Agency.
Kiňová did not attend the hearing yesterday because she was taking care of her children. Her lawyer pointed out that the terms of the gift were such that her client is now contractually bound by City Hall to use the money just to benefit her children.
"She is not allowed to use this money to buy food for herself, or for the father of these children, or for their oldest son, and that applies to all other necessities related to those members of the household who are not the quintuplets," the attorney said. Samková sees the only opportunity for settlement as being that Kiňová would fully return the gift to City Hall, which would fully return it to the club, which would deliver it to her in a way that does not impact her welfare eligibility.
"At least in the future that will prevent my client from losing her eligibility for welfare," the attorney said. The quintuplets - Alex, Deniel, Martin, Michael and Tereza - were born in good health on 2 June 2013 by Caesarean delivery at the Podolí Hospital in Prague.
All of the children were delivered within the space of five minutes. The chance of a quintuplet pregnancy happening spontaneously is one in 48 million.
Worldwide there are roughly 800 sets of quintuples alive today. More than 130 of them were spontaneously conceived.
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