Introduction to the Workshop
URLs Provided by Attendees
- Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues
The electronic form of this document may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop IV, 1994.
Abstracts scanned from text submitted for November 1994 DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop. Inaccuracies have not been corrected.
Adjudication of Genetic Testing and Gene Therapy Evidence in Federal and State Courts
Franklin M. Zweig*
Advances in genetics forecast new challenges for federal and state courts. Supported by the ELSI Program of the DOE Human Genome Project, this project is developing a desk book for judges to assist their management of the complex evidence issues inherent in genetics-related litigation. A companion videotape and CD ROM reference guide is being planned.
Adjudication desk books are traditional tools for judicial use. They typically are resources deployed in judicial chambers upon case assignment. They describe the scope of the litigation issues at hand. They provide glossaries and case law summaries. They suggest tasks to be considered at each procedural stage of lawsuit adjudication. They do not prescribe procedures or outcomes. They provide options for consideration of the presiding judge.
Applied genetics has vigorously been litigated in the forensic field for the past five years. Heated contests can be predicted to occur with respect to the medical technologies derived from molecular biology. This project includes the following activities to prepare courts:
- 1. Preparation of a scientific primer on genetic testing and the prospects for gene therapy in language and with exhibits that make concepts and empirical findings more accessible to courts.
- 2. Inventory of the case law involving genetics issues in order to document a precedent foundation that can be consulted in detail.
- 3. Commentary on the salient procedural implications for genetics information in a prosecution or a civil lawsuit in which genetics information is introduced. These procedural implications include screening evidence proffered pre-trial for its scientific validity in comportment to the rules, statutes, and case law governing the admissibility of scientific evidence and expert witness testimony; qualification of expert witnesses; rulings in response to evidence-related motions; examination of expert witnesses at trial; and issuance of jury instructions.
- 4. Description of collateral legal actions in which genetic testing and gene therapy evidence may prove pivotal, including but not limited to lawsuits over: medical information privacy infringements; medical practice guidelines issued by an authoritative source for either quality assurance, cost-containment, or liability limitations purposes, or a combination thereof; the pursuit of lawsuits related to payments and rates for health insurance reimbursement; the pursuit of lawsuits related to health care provider, laboratory, or utilization reviewer malpractice.
- 5. A workshop on genetics background materials and sensitizing considerations to help determine the desk book's content, organization, and presentation mode.
*Franklin M. Zweig, PI, is Senior Research Staff Scientist for Law and Judicial Policy at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and President, Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts. Correspondence address 3122 Brooklawn Terrace, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 (301) 913-0448, tel and fax.