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Bearder v. State

806 N.W.2d 766 (2011)

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Bearder v. State

Minnesota Supreme Court

806 N.W.2d 766 (2011)

Facts

Under a 1965 state newborn-screening law, the Department of Health (the department) (defendant) collected blood samples from newborn children to screen for possible disorders. Providers were required to (1) advise parents about the screening, (2) notify parents that the department might keep the samples and the results, and (3) allow parents to either decline the screening or have their child’s sample or results destroyed after the screening. The screening law required that the department report the screening results and store all samples with positive results. However, if a parent did not request that a sample be destroyed, the department’s policy was to store all samples indefinitely. For some stored samples, the department would either get the parent’s consent or remove the child’s identification and then allow the samples to be used in research. Some of this research was to improve and verify the accuracy of the newborn-screening processes. In 2006, the state passed the Genetic Privacy Act (the act). Under the act, unless another law expressly provided otherwise, providers were required to get consent before collecting, storing, using, or distributing a person’s genetic information. Genetic information was defined as either (1) the information obtained from analyzing an individual’s biological information or specimen or (2) the biological information collected from an individual about a particular genetic condition that was used to provide medical care. The Bearders and eight other families (the families) (plaintiffs) sued the department, claiming that the department had violated the act by not getting their consent before collecting, storing, or using their newborn children’s blood samples. The district court and the appellate court dismissed the families’ claims. The families appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Meyer, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Stras, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Anderson, J.)

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