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Colavito v. New York Organ Donor Network, Inc.

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
860 N.E.2d 713 (2006)


Facts

In 2002, Colavito (plaintiff) was suffering from end-stage kidney failure, with his only hope for survival being a kidney transplant. A good friend of Colavito passed away during this time and donated his kidneys to him. The New York Organ Donor Network (defendant) determined they would be a sufficient match for Colavito, and shipped one to his hospital. Upon its arrival, the medical staff at Colavito’s hospital determined that the kidney they received was not suitable for transplantation, and called New York Organ Donor Network for the other kidney. Colavito’s medical staff was then informed that the remaining kidney had already been given to another recipient. It was later determined that the kidneys would not have been a suitable match for Colavito, and would have been rejected by his body immediately. Nonetheless, Colavito brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claiming fraud, conversion, and violations of New York Public Health Law. The court ruled in favor of New York Organ Donor Network. Colavito then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which determined that the fraud claim failed, but that the conversion and public health law claims were issues to be determined by New York state law. The Second Circuit certified to the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, which accepted.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rosenblatt, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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