Our law firm is working to obtain justice for hundreds of Guatemalan victims of syphilis experiments conducted by U.S. government researchers in the 1940s. Between 1946 and 1948, U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds in Guatemala with syphilis without their knowledge or permission. Human rights lawyers at our firm are representing 700 former soldiers, orphans, prisoners, and mental health patients in Guatemala, as well as their impacted family members, who were victimized by these outrageous syphilis experiments.
Our firm is preparing to bring a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies on behalf of our Guatemalan clients if reparations are not made by the U.S. government. If you or a family member was a victim of the Guatemalan syphilis experiments, you may be eligible to join this potential class action lawsuit. We urge you to contact us today for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case.
The Guatemalan Syphilis Experiments
The Guatemala syphilis experiments were led by John C. Cutler, who also helped coordinate the infamous Tuskegee, Alabama, study where 600 black men with syphilis were left untreated for decades starting in 1932 to follow the course of the treatable disease. But while the Tuskegee experiment involved subjects already infected with the disease, Guatemalans were intentionally infected with syphilis without their consent. It is unknown when the Guatemala syphilis experiments ceased and whether the medical team provided any cure to those they infected.
In October 2010, the Obama Administration issued a formal apology to the victims of the Guatemala experiments: “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a joint statement. “We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”
Reparations For Victims of the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiments
While the Obama Administration is to be commended for its response in acknowledging these reprehensible human rights abuses, more must be done to make the Guatemalan victims whole. On March 8, 2011, Parker Waichman LLP and its partner law firm, Conrad & Scherer LLP, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting reparations on behalf of the Guatemalan syphilis experiment victims. The letter asks that “a claims process be set up through which aggrieved citizens of Guatemala, who have been adversely affected by this experiment,” can receive a settlement outside the court system. Litigation will proceed on March 11, 2011 if the U.S. government does not waive sovereign immunity or agree to provide reparations by that date.
The causes of action in the potential lawsuit include two causes arising under the Alien Tort Statute for violations of the international prohibitions against medical experimentation on non-consenting human subjects and against cruel, inhuman degrading treatment; and two causes arising under the U.S. Constitution, for the violation of their right to due process and for subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment. Victims who wish to sue in Guatemala may opt out of the class.
The U.S. suit will seek a declaration that the U.S. entities involved in the non-consensual human medical experimentation violated the plaintiffs’ human rights; an injunction to prohibit further such abuses against inhabitants of Guatemala; compensatory and punitive damages for the suffering they endured; and attorneys’ fees and any other relief the court finds appropriate.