|In re Quinlan|
|Court||New Jersey Supreme Court|
|Full case name||In the matter of Karen Quinlan, an alleged incompetent|
|Decided||March 31, 1976|
|Citation(s)||70 N.J. 10; 355 A.2d 647 (1976)|
|Majority: Hughes (unanimous)|
|Judge(s) sitting||Chief Justice Hughes, Justices Mountain, Sullivan, Pashman, Clifford and Schreiber and Judge Conford|
In re Quinlan (70 N.J. 10, 355 A.2d 647 (NJ 1976)) was a landmark 1975 court case in the United States in which the parents of a woman who was kept alive by artificial means were allowed to order her removal from artificial ventilation.
Karen Ann Quinlan was 21 years old in 1975. After a night of drinking alcohol and ingesting tranquilizers, Quinlan passed out and ceased breathing for two 15-minute periods. After it was determined that she was in a persistent vegetative state, her father, Joseph Quinlan, wished to remove her from the medical ventilator. Quinlan's primary physician and the hospital both refused.
Quinlan's father retained attorneys Paul W. Armstrong, a Morris County, New Jersey, Legal Aid attorney, and James M. Crowley, an associate at the New York City law firm of Shearman & Sterling with degrees in theology and Church law, and filed suit in the New Jersey Superior Court in Morris County, New Jersey, on September 12, 1975, to be appointed as Quinlan's legal guardian so that he could act on her behalf. Armstrong would later become involved in the Nancy Cruzan case and later still become a judge. Crowley is, as of 2017, legal counsel and advisor to several Vatican-related entities.
The Court denied his request on November 10, 1975. Joseph Quinlan appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which on March 31, 1976, held that he could authorize the cessation of ventilation; and that Saint Clare's Hospital was bound to proceed with this order.