Thousands of human cell lines already exist in tissue repositories, such as the American Type Culture Collection and those operated by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. Not only are the wrongful-publicity cases irrelevant to the issue of conversion, but the analogy to them seriously misconceives the nature of the genetic materials and research involved in this case. Above all, at the time of its excision he at least had the right to do with his own tissue whatever the defendants did with it: i.e., he could have contracted with researchers and pharmaceutical companies to develop and exploit the vast commercial potential of his tissue and its products. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which was granted on the conversion count. Although a patient may not retain any legal interest in a body part after its removal when he has properly consented to its removal and use for scientific purposes, it is clear under California law that before a body part is removed it is the patient, rather than his doctor or hospital, who possesses the right to determine the use to which the body part will be put after removal. The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. Yet one may earnestly wish to protect privacy and dignity without accepting the extremely problematic conclusion that interference with those interests amounts to a conversion of personal property. 494, 501 (Cal. Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Lack of Informed Consent. This policy weighs in favor of providing a remedy to patients when physicians act with undisclosed motives that may affect their professional judgment. I. Moore, adopting the analogy originally advanced by the Court of Appeal, argues that "[i]f the courts have found a sufficient proprietary interest in one's persona, how could one not have a right in one's own genetic material, something far more profoundly the essence of one's human uniqueness than a name or a face?" 1991 / Moore v. Regents of University of California real commercial value.13 However, as demonstrated by the Moore case, new medical technologies have made some human cells extremely valuable. Federal law permits the patenting of organisms that represent the product of "human ingenuity," but not naturally occurring organisms. The procedural disposition (e.g. As a result of the alleged conversion, Moore claims a proprietary interest in each of the products that any of the defendants might ever create from his cells or the patented cell line. His eloquent paean to the human spirit illuminates the problem, but not the solution. In this case, however, the complaint alleges that plaintiff's doctor recognized the peculiar research and commercial value of plaintiff's cells before their removal from plaintiff's body. If, as alleged in this case, plaintiff's doctor improperly interfered with plaintiff's right to control the use of a body part by wrongfully withholding material information from him before its removal, under traditional common law principles plaintiff may maintain a conversion action to recover the economic value of the right to control the use of his body part. the defendants were actively involved in a number of activities which they concealed from [Moore] . . Research on human cells plays a critical role in medical research. Moore appealed, and the California Court of Appeal reversed, ordering the trial court to reinstate the conversion claim, allow Moore to amend his inadequate informed consent claim, and rule on the remaining claims. Many receive grants from the National Institute of Health for this work. We need not, however, make an arbitrary choice between liability and nonliability. P was a patient at UCLA Medical Center. Human cell lines are patentable because "[l]ong-term adaptation and growth of human tissues and cells in culture is difficult -- often considered an art . . He asks much. "[T]hroughout this period, . Lesser forms, such as indentured servitude or even debtor's prison, have also disappeared. Consortium of California Herbaria (CCH). 2. He urges us to commingle the sacred with the profane. It is certainly arguable that, as a matter of policy or morality, it would be wiser to prohibit any private individual or entity from profiting from the fortuitous value that adheres in a part of a human body, and instead to require all valuable excised body parts to be deposited in a public repository which would make such materials freely available to all scientists for the betterment of society as a whole. For these reasons, we conclude that the use of excised human cells in medical research does not amount to a conversion. Quimbee might not work properly for you until you. The Court of Appeal summed up the point by observing that "Defendants' position that plaintiff cannot own his tissue, but that they can, is fraught with irony." Moore v. The Regents of University of California Supreme Ct of CA- 1990 Facts. Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. . In addition, "there are nearly 350 commercial biotechnology firms in the United States actively engaged in biotechnology research and commercial product development and approximately 25 to 30 percent appear to be engaged in research to develop a human therapeutic or diagnostic reagent. . Accordingly, his attempt to apply the theory of conversion within this context must frankly be recognized as a request to extend that theory. Here, however, plaintiff has alleged that defendants interfered with his legal rights before his body part was removed. . . C513755, Warren H. Deering and John L. Cole, Judges.) . To date, however, the Legislature has not adopted such a system for organs that are to be used for research or commercial purposes, and the majority opinion, despite some oblique suggestions to the contrary, emphatically does not do so by its holding in this case. . Thus the complaint alleges that Moore's "Blood and Bodily Substances were absolutely essential to defendants' research and commercial activities with regard to his cells, cell lines, [and] the Mo cell-line, . Based upon Golde's representations, Moore signed a written consent form authorizing the splenectomy. . On each occasion Moore travelled to the UCLA Medical Center from his home in Seattle because he had been told that the procedures were to be performed only there and only under Golde's direction. Specifically, defendants were conducting research on Moore's cells and planned to "benefit financially and competitively . The operation could not be completed. Products developed through biotechnology that have already been approved for marketing in this country include treatments and tests for leukemia, cancer, diabetes, dwarfism, hepatitis-B, kidney transplant rejection, emphysema, osteoporosis, ulcers, anemia, infertility, and gynecological tumors, to name but a few. Of the relevant policy considerations, two are of overriding importance. A leading decision of this court approved the following definition: "'The term "property" is sufficiently comprehensive to include every species of estate, real and personal, and everything which one person can own and transfer to another. Yet one cannot escape the conclusion that the statute's practical effect is to limit, drastically, a patient's control over excised cells. Since Moore clearly did not expect to retain possession of his cells following their removal, to sue for their conversion he must have retained an ownership interest in them. ( Bouvia v. Superior Court . To hold otherwise would open the door to a massive invasion of human privacy and dignity in the name of medical progress." But the majority's rejection of plaintiff's conversion cause of action does not mean that body parts may not be bought or sold for research or commercial purposes or that no private individual or entity may benefit economically from the fortuitous value of plaintiff's diseased cells. 3d 425 (1976) Thompson V. County of Alameda, 27 Cal.3d 741 (1980) Peter H. Schuck & Daniel Givelber, Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California: The Therapist’s Dilemma, in Torts Stories (Robert L. Rabin & Stephen Sugarman eds., 2003). While he may be a silent partner, his contribution to the venture is absolutely crucial: as pointed out above, but for the cells of Moore's body taken by defendants there would have been no Mo cell line at all. Such research tends to treat the human body as a commodity -- a means to a profitable end. However, as the defendants' patent makes clear -- and the complaint, too, if read with an understanding of the scientific terms which it has borrowed from the patent -- the goal and result of defendants' efforts has been to manufacture lymphokines. . The second important policy consideration is that we not threaten with disabling civil liability innocent parties who are engaged in socially useful activities, such as researchers who have no reason to believe that their use of a particular cell sample is, or may be, against a donor's wishes. This is because the patented cell line is both factually and legally distinct from the cells taken from Moore's body. On each of these visits Golde withdrew additional samples of "blood, blood serum, skin, bone marrow aspirate, and sperm." Moore admits in his complaint that "the true clinical potential of each of the lymphokines . A. A Conservative Court Says "Goodbye to All That"' and Forges a New Order in the Law of Seizure - California v. Hodari D., Randolph Alexander Piedrahita. Moore v. Regents of the University of California. .'" . Under these circumstances, the complaint fully satisfies the established requirements of a conversion cause of action. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. . . It provides Educational Services Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools and has a good reputation for performing valuable services to all its customers. The superior court sustained all defendants' demurrers to the third amended complaint, and the Court o… Moore v. Regents of the University of California was a landmark Supreme Court of California decision. This is such an occasion. The profits are shared in a wide variety of ways, including "direct entrepreneurial ties to genetic-engineering firms" and "an equity interest in fledgling biotechnology firms". The majority then offer a dual explanation: "This is because the patented cell line is both factually and legally distinct from the cells taken from Moore's body."  The next consideration that makes Moore's claim of ownership problematic is California statutory law, which drastically limits a patient's control over excised cells. The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. . Moore v. Regents of the University of California. 2 . Because I conclude that plaintiff's complaint states a cause of action for conversion under traditional common law principles, I dissent from the majority opinion insofar as it rejects such a claim. It extends to every species of right and interest capable of being enjoyed as such upon which it is practicable to place a money value.'" Despite this knowledge, the doctor allegedly failed to disclose these facts or his interest in the cells to plaintiff, either before plaintiff's initial surgery or throughout the ensuing seven-year period during which the doctor continued to obtain additional cells from plaintiff's body in the course of periodic medical examinations. The trial court dismissed the rest of the complaint. Dr. David Golde, a physician-researcher, Rptr. . Moore v. Regents of University of California (1990) 51 Cal.3d 120 , 271 Cal.Rptr. Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4. Moore first visited UCLA Medical Center on October 5, 1976, shortly after he learned that he had hairy-cell leukemia. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the university… 1988) - note that the intermediate decision can be distinguished from the Supreme Court by the reporter in which it appears. . 146, 793 P.2d 479, 15 U.S.P.Q.2d 1753 (1990) Brief Fact Summary. 3 Moore v. Regents, U. California, 249 Cal. If you logged out from your Quimbee account, please login and try again. On October 8, 1976, Golde recommended that Moore's spleen be removed. This exchange of scientific materials, which still is relatively free and efficient, will surely be compromised if each cell sample becomes the potential subject matter of a lawsuit. Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4. Moore also attempts to characterize the invasion of his rights as a conversion -- a tort that protects against interference with possessory and ownership interests in personal property. . Yet their specter haunts the laboratories and boardrooms of today's biotechnological research-industrial complex. The House Committee on Science and Technology of the United States Congress found that "49 percent of the researchers at medical institutions surveyed used human tissues or cells in their research." Second, problems in this area are better suited to legislative resolution. [by exploiting the cells] and [their] exclusive access to [the cells] by virtue of [Golde's] ongoing physician-patient relationship . Under established conversion law, a "subsequent innocent converter" does not forfeit the proceeds of his own creative efforts, but rather "is entitled to the benefit of any work or labor that he has expended on the [property] . . That right, as already discussed, is grounded in well-recognized and long-standing principles of fiduciary duty and informed consent. The Regents Of The University Of California located in California Oakland. Does it uplift or degrade the "unique human persona" to treat human tissue as a fungible article of commerce? . Moore v. Regents of the University of Califo…, Moore v. Regents of the University of California. . . . Golde then used Moore’s cells for research without Moore’s permission. . Another is our prohibition against indirect abuse of the body by its economic exploitation for the sole benefit of another person. ). Moore sued the university for violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Family Rights Act. No contracts or commitments. On June 4, 1982, Sandoz "was added to the agreement," and compensation payable to Golde and the Regents was increased by $ 110,000. This is so because researchers are increasingly able to isolate naturally occurring, medically useful biological substances and to produce useful quantities of such substances through genetic engineering. Jul 9, 1990.] 1991) Appel v. Presley Cos. 806 P.2d 1054 (N.M.1991) Armstrong v. Francis Corp. Golde informed Moore "that he had reason to fear for his life, and that the proposed splenectomy operation . The court feared that because conversion is a strict liability tort, it may open up too many law suits -- Download Moore v Regents of University of California (1990) 51 Cal 3d 120 as PDF -- [. Would it advance or impede the human condition, spiritually or scientifically, by delivering the majestic force of the law behind plaintiff's claim? Defendants admit this allegation by their demurrers, as well they should: for all their expertise, defendants do not claim they could have extracted the Mo cell line out of thin air. Concerned that the imposition of liability for conversion will impede medical research by innocent scientists who use the resources of existing cell repositories -- a factual setting not presented here -- the majority opinion rests its holding, that a conversion action cannot be maintained, largely on the proposition that a patient generally possesses no right in a body part that has already been removed from his body. Such an arrangement would not only avoid the moral and philosophical objections to a free market operation in body tissue, but would also address stated concerns by eliminating the inherently coercive effect of a waiver system and by compensating donors regardless of temporal circumstances. and that defendants could not have applied for and had issued to them the Mo cell-line patent and other patents described herein without obtaining and culturing specimens of plaintiff's Blood and Bodily Substances." at 497. To be sure, the patent granted defendants the exclusive right to make, use, or sell the invention for a period of 17 years. . The 1951 case of Pyeatte v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma, W.D.Okla., 1951, 102 F. Supp. Neither branch of the explanation withstands analysis. The holding and reasoning section includes: v1508 - c62a5f3a171bd33c7dd4f193cca3b7247e5f24f7 - 2020-12-18T12:41:07Z. Plaintiff alleges that his physician failed to disclose preexisting research and economic interests in the cells before obtaining consent to the medical procedures by which they were extracted. Instead, an examination of the relevant policy considerations suggests an appropriate balance: Liability based upon existing disclosure obligations, rather than an unprecedented extension of the conversion theory, protects patients' rights of privacy and autonomy without unnecessarily hindering research. The majority's third and last reason for their conclusion that Moore has no cause of action for conversion under existing law is that "the subject matter of the Regents' patent -- the patented cell line and the products derived from it -- cannot be Moore's property." John Moore v. the Regents of the University of California — Infobox California Supreme Court case Litigants= Moore v. Regents of the University of California ArgueDate= ArgueYear= DecideDate= July 9 DecideYear= 1990 FullName=John Moore, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. The Regents of the University of… … Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee. Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it. The same rule applies to Moore's interest in his own body tissue: even if we assume that section 7054.4 limited the use and disposition of his excised tissue in the manner claimed by the majority, Moore nevertheless retained valuable rights in that tissue. California. He theorizes that he continued to own his cells following their removal from his body, at least for the purpose of directing their use, and that he never consented to their use in potentially lucrative medical research. . In the vast majority of instances the tissues and cells in existing repositories will not represent a potential source of liability because they will have come from patients who consented to their organ's use for scientific purposes under circumstances in which such consent was not tainted by a failure to disclose the known valuable nature of the cells.  Lori Andrews and Marjorie M. Schultz as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiff and Appellant. 1988 Jul 21;249:494-540. The patent issued on March 20, 1984, naming Golde and Quan as the inventors of the cell line and the Regents as the assignee of the patent. . 1988 Jul 21;249:494-540. . In each of the foregoing instances, the limitation or prohibition diminishes the bundle of rights that would otherwise attach to the property, yet what remains is still deemed in law to be a protectible property interest. .," and the probability of success is low. D067120 Defendants certainly believe that their right to do the foregoing is not barred by section 7054.4 and is a significant property right, as they have demonstrated by their deliberate concealment from Moore of the true value of his tissue, their efforts to obtain a patent on the Mo cell line, their contractual agreements to exploit this material, their exclusion of Moore from any participation in the profits, and their vigorous defense of this lawsuit. Specifically, Moore sued for lack of informed consent and breach of fiduciary duty, due to the defendants’ omission of their financial interests in Moore’s cells. Lacking direct authority for importing the law of conversion into this context, Moore relies, as did the Court of Appeal, primarily on decisions addressing privacy rights. 5 The Use of Human Biological Materials in the Development of Biomedical . Although in this case defendants did not disregard a specific directive from plaintiff with regard to the future use of his body part, the complaint alleges that, before the body part was removed, defendants intentionally withheld material information that they were under an obligation to disclose to plaintiff and that was necessary for his exercise of control over the body part; the complaint also alleges that defendants withheld such information in order to appropriate the control over the future use of such body part for their own economic benefit. 407, affirmed 342 U.S. 936, 72 S. Ct. 567, 96 L. Ed. A. Acme Laundry Co. v. Secretary of Environmental Affairs. 146 (1991) Supreme Court of California We granted review in this case to determine whether plaintiff has stated a cause of action against his physician and other defendants for using his cells in potentially … Thus, unlike the majority, I conclude that under established common law principles the facts alleged in the complaint state a cause of action for conversion. One manifestation of that respect is our prohibition against direct abuse of the body by torture or other forms of cruel or unusual punishment. .) Indeed, a legislative response creating a licensing scheme, which establishes a fixed rate of profit sharing between researcher and subject, has already been suggested. Sign In to view the Rule of Law and Holding. I disagree with this conclusion for all the reasons stated by the Court of Appeal. Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal. In October, 1976, John Moore was treated for hairy-cell leukemia' at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical.