January 2019 | For The Defense

Incomplete Penetrance: Whole-Exome Sequencing and Federal Courts

1 min

Andrew Gendron and Thomas M. Morgan, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, published "Incomplete Penetrance: Whole-Exome Sequencing and Federal Courts" in the January 2019 edition of For The Defense. Here is an excerpt:

Civil litigation is not 'to be carried on in the dark,' and caution is to be exercised under Rule 35 to ensure that "sweeping examinations of a party" "are not to be automatically ordered," unless that party has "affirmatively put into issue his own mental or physical condition." See Schlagenhauf, 379 U.S. at 115, 121 (quoting Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501, 507 (1947)).  When a plaintiff alleges a child’s injury due to a toxic exposure or defendant wrongdoing, she has affirmatively put into issue that child’s physical or mental condition. Beyond this, while patients have the right to decline testing in the clinical setting, when they become plaintiffs and place their mental or physical condition at issue, courts should not allow them to dictate what testing may be done, especially where this has the potential to create a false impression concerning the completeness of testing.