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French girls switched at birth to get €400,000 payouts

Two 20-year-old women accidentally switched at birth and given to the wrong parents will receive €400,000 each from a private clinic in Cannes following a ruling yesterday. The court order was part of a €1.88m payment to members of the two families. The clinic's lawyer, Sophie Chas, said she was not immediately certain whether an appeal would be lodged against yesterday's decision by the court in Grasse. Ms Chas said the court ordered payments by the Clinica Jourdan and an insurance company of €300,000 for each of three parents involved in the case and €60,000 for three brothers and sisters.

"I am perfectly satisfied (with the ruling) because responsibility within the medical chain was acknowledged," the lawyer for the victims, Gilbert Collard, said in a telephone interview. The families had sought a total of €12m, but had little hope of obtaining that amount, he said.

A nurse's assistant had accidentally given baby Manon Serrano who was in an incubator, to another mother after her birth in July 1994, and given the infant next to her to Sophie Serrano.Three years later, Manon's hair grew curly, and her skin was olive-toned - unlike either parent.

Her father separated from Sophie Serrano after village rumours spread about the young girl being "the postman's daughter".

In 2004, DNA tests showed that Manon was the daughter of neither of them. An investigation was launched and their biological child was located.

The other family involved in the case has chosen to remain anonymous.

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