Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, August 29, 2008

Donated Brains -- Rightly or Wrongly?

OrgansHere is a summary of an interesting organ donation case based on Carol Smith, Appeals court keeps alive lawsuit over organs donated for research, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 26, 2008:

      • Bradley Gierlich died in 1998 intestate and without written body disposition instructions.
      • The King County Medical Examiner's Office was unsuccessful in contacting Brad's dad about possible donations.
      • The M.E. donated parts of Brad's brain for research; Brad was mentally ill and the research concerned schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
      • Robinette Amaker (Brad's sister) claims Brad orally told her he did not want his organs to be donated.
      • Robinette sued the county and the research institution for interference with a corpse and on various other theories.
      • A lower court ruled that Robinette lacked standing to sue because she was not "first in line" to make donation decisions (Brad's dad has a higher priority).
      • The United States Ninth Circuit Court upheld the lower court's dismissal of the invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy claims.  However, it has left up to the Washington Supreme Court to decide on Robinette's standing.
      • The court indicated that it was up to the Washington Court to decide if its version of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act gives family members an implied right to sue for damages if organs are mishandled.


Death Event Planning, New Cases | Permalink

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