Brain-harvesting lawsuit ends in mistrial

Posted Jan. 20, 2010, at 9:56 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s first lawsuit targeting a Maryland laboratory accused of failing to get proper family consent before taking the brains of deceased family members has ended in mistrial.

The mistrial was declared late last week by Justice Paul Fritzsche (FRITCH’-ee) after a plaintiff testified he chose to put the case before a jury because he didn’t want to settle. The Portland Press Herald says Fritzsche ruled the statement implied to jurors that the defendant offered a financial settlement to avoid a trial.

More than a dozen people have sued the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

Most said they gave permission for a tissue sample to be taken; instead, the entire brain was removed. The brains are used in research into schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.