Advertising Suit Against Genetic Testing Company Removed to Federal Court

On June 8, a removal was filed in the case of Biesterfeld, et al, v. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. and Harmony Prenatal Testing. The case, originally filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, has now been removed to the Illinois Northern District Court. The case is regarding alleged fraud and deceptive business practices.

The state court complaint said that Ariosa Diagnostics Inc. manufactures a product called the Harmony Prenatal Test. This test is used during pregnancy to test for certain chromosal and genetic abnormalities prior to birth for either treatment,or elective abortion.

One of the conditions that is tested for is trisomy of the 21st chromosome, which can cause severe medical conditions regarding the heart as well as intellectual disabilities. The plaintiffs allegedly used the test as a safe alternative to an amniocentesis, which samples fetal DNA directly via needle and has potential medical side-effects. They alleged that the test did not disclose that it tested only placental DNA instead of fetal DNA, and that the testing of only placental DNA causes a higher rate of false negatives. The plaintiffs received test results indicating that there was only a 0.1% chance of their son having trisomy of the 21st chromosome, but upon birth was discovered to have a severe expression of this disorder.

The plaintiffs are suing for violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices act, common law fraud, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and negligence.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Vinkler Law Office. The defendants are represented by the firm of Donohue, Brown, Mathewson & Smyth