By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) — A Massachusetts judge on Monday dismissed lawsuits by families accusing Harvard of mishandling the bodies of loved ones that were donated to its medical school and whose parts were then sold on the black market by the former manager of its morgue.
Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger in Boston ruled the lawsuits failed to plausibly allege Harvard Medical School (HMS) failed to act in good faith in handling the bodies or was legally responsible for ex-morgue manager Cedric Lodge's «appalling» alleged conduct.
«To the contrary, Lodge's horrifying scheme was allegedly undertaken for purely personal gain, and could not possibly have been of any benefit to HMS or furthered the interests of HMS in any way,» Salinger wrote.
The judge said as a result, the families had not put forward allegations that, if true, could overcome the immunity Harvard enjoyed under the state's Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which governs the donation of human bodies for research.
He also dismissed related claims against two employees who ran Harvard's anatomical gift program, Mark Cicchetti and Tracey Fay.
Kathryn Barnett, a lawyer for the families at Morgan & Morgan, promised an appeal. «These families have had to relive the trauma of losing their loved ones many times over, and we strongly believe that they deserve a day in court,» she said in a statement.
Harvard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 12 lawsuits were filed after federal prosecutors brought charges in June against Lodge and five others accused of buying and selling human remains stolen from Harvard Medical School and an Arkansas mortuary.
Prosecutors said Lodge from 2018 through 2022 would at times let potentialRead more on investing.com