Criminal Justice

1- Answer one of the questions from one of the legal cases about the property.

Group 2

Moore v. Regents of the University of California – Case Brief
Nature of the Case: John Moore sued two doctors (referred to as the Regents of the
University of California) for damages in 1984, referring to multiple causes of action, most
important being conversion and breach of fiduciary duty, along with unjust enrichment, and lack of informed consent. However, the trial court sustained the defendants and Moore
appealed.
Facts: Moore was seeing two doctors from the University of California because he was sick
with leukemia and needed treatment. While the conduction of tests and samples were being
performed or taken, the defendants discovered that Mr. Moores’ biological cells were of the utmost value in the scientific field and recommended that his spleen be removed. The
defendants then removed his spleen and harvested his cells to establish a patent, and began
profiting from his cells. Mr. Moore was informed that his body or fluids were being used for research, but the extent of his knowledge was slim, and was not aware of the monetary value they possessed. Moore sued on conversion (wrongful exercise of ownership rights over the personal property of another), the argument from Moore was that his bodily fluids, cells, and blood were his “tangible, personal property.” Originally the trial court found in favor of the defendants because the conversion cause of action was incorporated into all other causes of action and Mr. Moore appealed.
Issue: Does the misrepresentation and harvesting of cells or bodily tissues without personal
knowledge of what those items are being used for constitute a conversion cause of action?
Holdings: No. the Supreme Court of California ruled in a 4 to 3 vote holding that a a
conversion cause of action could not be developed because a tort of conversion only occurs
when personal property of one person is infringed upon by another person in regard to
possessory or ownership interests’. However, plaintiff could pursue a breach of fiduciary
duty, unjust enrichment, and lack of informed consent.
Reasons: The court reached this decision by stating “To establish a conversion, plaintiff
must establish an actual interference with his ownership or right of possession… Where
plaintiff neither has title to the property alleged to have been converted, nor possession
thereof, he cannot maintain an action for conversion.” The fact of Mr. Moore not expecting
to retain possession of the taken or treated cells, to sue for conversion he must’ve retained an ownership interest in them.
Dissent: Justice Mosk dissents from all of the other Justices leaning on the fact that the
concepts of property and ownership in our laws are extremely broad and abstract. The
limitations being applied are being argued that they diminish the bundle of rights that
otherwise would attach to the property, yet what remains is still deemed in law to be a
protectible property interest. Justice Mosk makes his argument by stating that “Above all
else, at the time of its excision, he at least had the right to do with his own tissue whatever
the defendants did with it.” Representing the fact that he could have conducted business with the doctors or contracted with researchers to exploit and develop the commercial use of his
tissue.
Rule: “For a conversion claim to be established, the plaintiff must prove they own or has the right to possess the personal property in question, had a possessory interest in the property, defendant intentionally interfered with the plaintiffs personal property, that the interference deprived the plaintiff of possession, and the interference caused damages to the plaintiff.” The plaintiff was unable to prove ownership of the bodily fluids or cells harvested or taken by doctors. Throughout the Court of Appeals opinion and the parties brief, there is no research that discloses a case holding that a person retains the right to excised cells to support a cause of action for convention.
Questions:
Do you agree with the holding or the dissenting opinion with regards to your personal human
tissue?
How would Delvin analyze the holding in regards to morality?
Should there be limitations on what bodily fluids or tissues can be represented as property
with consideration to conversion causes of action?

Case Title: Diamond, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks V Chakrabarty
Year: 1980
Court: United States Supreme Court
Case Number: 447 U.S. 303,206 USPQ 193
Some of the facts of this case are that the invented bacterium does not possess characteristics similar to any naturally occurring bacteria. The second fact is that the Patent Act of 1930 did allow patents on some plants (both sexually and asexually reproduced) but excluded bacteria
without giving any sufficient reason for their decision. It can also be noted that the judges behind the first ruling on the case did not fully make their judgment based on the two Patent Acts of 1930 and 1970 (Kumar & Das 2016). The nature of this case is complicated because of the the previous constitutionalized Patent Acts,
Congress rulings, Government definition of terms (manufacture and composition of matter) and the previous court decisions on similar cases. The matter at issue is the demand for patent rights by the respondent (Chakrabarty) over the bacterium. The ruling court denies him the rights regarding the law, 35 U.S.C & 101, which states that microorganisms are not patentable since they are natural products (Soto 2019).

The holding is the definition of genetically engineered microorganisms to determine
whether they belong to the “composition of matter” or “manufacture” group. Congress explains that the plant breeder’s work “in aid of nature” is a patentable invention. Still, the Government says neither manufacture nor composition of matter excludes living things from patents. A notable dissent on this case is the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals denying the inventor the patent rights basing their argument on the Plant Patent Bill, 101, claiming it did not apply to laboratory microorganisms.

Some of the key questions to be asked based on this case are;

why did the Patent office deny the respondent the patent rights of his invention yet had earlier issued patent rights on bacteria?

Why shouldn’t the Congress and Patent Body adopt one law that includes all the patent parameters? From the case highlights, it is evident the respondent
deserved the patent rights on the bacterium since the invention is wholly his handwork and does not rely on any nature’s work.

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