Moore v. Regents of the University of California
California. Supreme Court. En Banc
Pacific Reporter 2d Series 793: 479-523, 1990
In 1976, John Moore contracted hairy cell leukemia and underwent a splenectomy. His physician, David Golde, asked Moore to return periodically to give cell and fluid samples, in order to conduct research unrelated to Moore's health. From these samples, a financially lucrative cell-line was developed and patented. Moore sued for lack of informed consent and for conversion (interference with the ownership of his cells). The California Supreme Court held that a physician has a fiduciary duty to disclose any ulterior interest unrelated to the patient's health that may affect the physician's professional judgment. Failure to disclose such information creates a cause of action either for lack of informed consent or for breach of the fiduciary duty. The court further held that Moore stated no action for conversion, because to impose such liability would be to impose a duty to investigate the "ownership" of each cell used in research. (KIE abstract)
Date of Decision: 9 July 1990
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