Nearly 800 former research subjects and their families filed a billion-dollar lawsuit on Wednesday against the Johns Hopkins University, blaming the institution for its role in U.S.-government experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s that infected hundreds of people with sexually transmitted diseases, The Sun reported.
In an earlier lawsuit, the victims sought to hold top U.S. officials responsible, but a federal judge dismissed that case in 2012. The new lawsuit seeks to hold the university responsible because its doctors held key roles on panels that reviewed and approved federal spending on the experiments. The suit, filed in a state court in Baltimore, also names the Rockefeller Foundation and the drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb as defendants.
Johns Hopkins officials called the experiments “deplorable” and “unconscionable,” while a Rockefeller spokesman labeled them “morally repugnant.” Both institutions said that they had no role in designing, paying for, or carrying out the research, and that they would fight the lawsuit.