In an 82-page opinion yesterday, a federal judge permitted the claims of more than 800 Guatemalan victims of non-consensual human experimentation, represented by Bekman, Marder & Adkins, to proceed against Defendants, Johns Hopkins, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The Plaintiffs’ class action claims arise from human experiments conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s. The victims, including children, soldiers, prisoners, and individuals in asylums, among others, were intentionally infected with syphilis and other venereal diseases in order to study how those diseases were transmitted and spread. The experiments were sponsored by the U.S. government, but Plaintiffs allege that the design and implementation of the experiments was entirely the work of non-governmental physicians, namely, high-ranking senior doctors and decision makers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb in the 1940s.
In 2010, the U.S. government formally apologized for its role in the experiments, but the private organizations have never apologized. They do not dispute that their doctors were involved in planning and overseeing the experiments, but have denied that the institutions or doctors actively participated in the non-consensual experiments themselves.