This case file and materials are intended to present a scenario and some of the types of materials that would be part of a trial involving issues in biotechnology.
Jerry and Sally Madden, a couple who were expecting their first child, looked into the possibility of preserving their baby's umbilical cord stem cells for use in the event of a manifestation of a number of diseases, which could be treated with stem cells, and signed an agreement with LifeCord.
LifeCord advertised on the Internet its services to collect and store umbilical cord blood stem cells, and its charges for the service an enrollment fee and yearly maintenance fees.
Jerry Madden, the plaintiff, alleges that he made payments as agreed in the written contract between plaintiff and defendant, but the defendant, LifeCord, claims they defaulted. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant was negligent in allowing the backup cooling system to collapse, destroying some of the stem cells. The plaintiff also alleges that the method of creating the stem cell product for treatment was defective, and did not meet current scientific standards for such treatments. By the time plaintiff requested the stem cells from defendant for a diagnosed leukemia in their son, they discovered the defendant thought the plaintiff was in default on the enrollment agreement, and had sold half of the stem cells to an estranged aunt who needed them for treatment of her own leukemia.
The plaintiff paid the defendant the last enrollment payment, which had been in default because of being lost in the mail, and Jerry Madden's son was treated. Defendant used an adenovirus mediated transfer of interferon to the umbilical cord blood stem cells in order to treat the leukemia. While this process has been published in the scientific literature, later publications recommend the use of the retrovirus, rather than the adenovirus. The adenovirus dies too quickly and before enough of the interferon genes can be transferred to the stem cells by the adenovirus. Defendant further utilized the very small number of stem cells which the defendant knew were insufficient to treat the leukemia in the plaintiff. Defendant was aware that the quantity of stem cells was directly proportional to the success of the treatment. As a result of the defendant's misrepresentation, negligence and faulty product design, the plaintiff did not recover from the leukemia and died within two months of the treatment.
Table of Contents
II. Approach to Trial Practice
III. Witness Preparation
IV. Pretrial Motions
V. Voir Dire
VI. Direct, Cross, Redirect, and Recross Examination
VII. Impeachment and Rehabilitation
VIII. Introduction of Exhibits
IX. Pleadings File
X. Depositions Excerpts
XI. Exhibits File
XII. Applicable Statutes