February 28, 2006
New York Case on Conversion of Body Part
The Second Circuit has issued an opinion certifying interesting questions regarding property rights in the human body to the New York Court of Appeals. Widow of deceased donor gave both of his kidneys to his friend who was suffering from end-stage renal disease. One kidney was sent to Florida for implantation into donee, but doctors determined that the kidney was damaged. The doctors then requested the second kidney, but were informed that it had already been implanted into another patient. The intended donee sued on a number of theories. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants. The Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment on plaintiff's fraud count but certified questions regarding the donee's ability to maintain a private action against the defendants to the New York Court of Appeals. Judge Jacobs dissented from the certification, asserting that under the facts presented, the intended donee was only entitled to one kidney. The case is Colavito v. New York Organ Donor Network, Inc., No. 05-1305-cv.
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