[Moore v. Regents of the University of California (1990) 51 Cal3d Page 120, at 135]
“No court, however, has ever in a reported decision imposed conversion liability for the use of human cells in medical research.*fn15 While that fact does not end our inquiry, it raises a flag of caution. (See fn. 16.) In effect, what Moore is asking us to do is to impose a tort duty on scientists to investigate the consensual pedigree of each human cell sample used in research.*fn16 To impose such a duty, which would affect medical research of importance to all of society, implicates policy concerns far removed from the traditional, two-party ownership disputes in which the law of conversion arose.*fn17 Invoking a tort theory originally used to determine whether the loser or the finder of a horse had the better title, Moore claims ownership of the results of socially important medical research, including the genetic code for chemicals that regulate the functions of every human being’s immune system.*fn18”
By the way, the Supreme Court declined to recognize a continuing property interest in one’s own body parts once they are removed by medical procedures. [Conversion is the violation of a personal property interest.] Thus, the Court did not extend the “Conversion” tort to cover those parts, stating that the person undergoing the procedure lost any continuing property interest on removal. Instead, the liability, if any, the Court concluded, would arise out of a researcher’s or physician’s duty to disclose before the removal what the intended use of the body part was to be.
(C) 2010 FXP