Nine Families Sue State of Minnesota

Allege Violations of State Genetic Privacy Law in Newborn Screening

Minneapolis/Saint Paul – Citizens' Council of Health Care (CCHC) announced that a lawsuit has been filed today against the Minnesota Department of Health in response to the Department's violation of the 2006 state genetic privacy law by its collection, storage, use and dissemination of newborn blood and baby DNA.

Nine families have come together to sue the State of Minnesota.

According to the lawsuit filed in Hennepin County Court today, the plaintiffs allege that the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health have "collected, stored, used, and disseminated Plaintiffs children's blood and genetic information without written informed consent, in violation of Minnesota law, and in particular Minn.Stat. §13.386."

Furthermore, plaintiffs allege that, "as of December 31, 2008, Defendant Minnesota Department of Health had stored 819,282 dried blood spot baby samples; had stored 1,567,133 records of the results of newborn genetic screening; and had used 52,519 dried blood spot samples for research."

"None of these activities are authorized in law, and all of them violate the Minnesota genetic privacy law," said Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

"Parents and newborn citizens have been deprived of their lawful privacy and DNA property rights. No government agency is above the law," Brase said. "On behalf of the babies whose rights have already been violated, and on behalf of the approximately 200 babies born each day whose rights will soon be violated, Citizens’ Council on Health Care stands in support of these parents’ decisions to seek enforcement of their civil privacy rights."

Details:

Lawsuit: Bearder, et. al. v. State of Minnesota and MDH
Attorney: Randall G. Knutson
Law Firm: Farrish Johnson Law Office
Law Firm Address: 1907 Excel Drive, Mankato, MN 56002-0550

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)
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