MN Court Rules Against State
Here is the introduction of the lawsuit of Keri and Allen Bearder VS the state of MN Dept of Health (pdf)
Defendants violated the public’s trust and violated the public’s right to privacy and
bodily integrity. Since 1965, Defendants collected newborn blood specimens from children born
in Minnesota. Defendants screened the blood for genetic disorders. Instead of destroying
newborn blood samples and screening results obtained for this newborn screening, Defendants
began operating a newborn blood and DNA warehouse. As of December 31, 2008, the
warehouse held over a 1.5 million screening records and over 800,000 newborn blood
specimens. Unbeknownst to the public at large, Defendants began sharing blood samples and
screening results with private institutions for research projects. At no time did Defendants obtain
consent for these activities.
Failing to obtain consent is a violation of the Genetic Privacy Act and represents an
unprecedented breach of the fundamental and constitutional right to privacy and bodily integrity
in Minnesota. In additional to statutory and constitutional claims, Defendants’ conduct gives rise
to liability in tort. Defendants are aware of their violations, but continue to knowingly violate
the law. The record establishes that MDH will do whatever it wishes to effect what it assumes is
best for the public, even if it that means ignoring and violating laws passed by an elected
legislature. Instead of bringing their conduct into conformance with current law, Defendants
sought to amend the Genetic Privacy Act to allow for non-consensual, storage, use, and
dissemination of newborn blood specimens and test results. Those attempts failed. But
Defendants’ unlawful conduct continues unabated.
Plaintiffs are Minnesota citizens attempting to restrain Defendants from violating the law.
This lawsuit is about the State’s unlawful, unconstitutional, and tortious retention and
dissemination to private parties of newborn blood specimens and genetic testing results without
the informed consent of the newborn’s parents after newborn screening is complete. This
lawsuit is not about ending newborn screening. Rather, this lawsuit is an attempt to bring
Defendants’ conduct into conformance with the law once newborn screening is complete. This
lawsuit seeks, damages, exemplary damages, and injunctive relief.
You can download or open the full pdf of this case here. Or watch the video of the MN Supreme Court Case below.
Here are a few articles on the case:
Minnesota Supreme Court backs families over newborns’ blood storage. Pioneer Press. 11/17/2011
Minn. Court Backs Families In Handling Of Newborn Blood. CBS News. November 16, 2011
Ruling Restricts Newborn Blood Use. Star Tribune. November 16, 2011
Jeff Higgins has filed a lawsuit in TX also. Below is an Austin News KXAN video uncovering the misuse of the blood samples such as giving samples to the military and sold to private companies.
Newborn Blood Spot Litigation: 70 Days to Destroy 5+ Million Samples. Genomics Law Report. Feb 2 2010.
Parents Sue Texas Health Dept. and Texas A&M over Infant Blood Databank. Texas Civil Rights Project. March 18, 2009.
Suit possible over baby DNA sent to military lab for national database. Statesman. Feb. 22, 2010