The national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP has opposed motions filed by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss a proposed individual and class action lawsuit that seeks punitive and compensatory damages for victims and descendants of Guatemalan experiments, and a declaration that the Defendants violated human rights, and an injunction to prohibit further abuses against Guatemalan residents.
Between 1946 and 1948, US government medical researchers, led by Dr. John C. Cutler, intentionally infected nearly 1,300 Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers, and psychiatric patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, without their permission or knowledge, in an effort to investigate the efficacy of penicillin as a treatment, the federally filed complaint alleges.
On January 9, 2012, the Department of Justice filed two motions seeking the dismissal of the lawsuit asserting the Federal Tort Claims Act provides immunity to the United States for all claims based on injuries suffered in foreign countries and the law provides no remedy for the injured Guatemala plaintiffs.
“We vigorously oppose the assertions made by the Justice Department in its motions, and we pledge to continue to fight for the rights of Guatemalan’s harmed by the reprehensible acts committed by U.S. researchers during the 1940s,” states Peter Cambs, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman LLP. “We will also continue to call on the U.S. government to establish a claims process by which the citizens of Guatemala who were harmed may receive restitution.”