After a two-year legal battle, the family of Henrietta Lacks has reached a settlement agreement in the case for her cells, unethically harvested by doctors over 70 years ago and sold in products by countless companies. The long-awaited victory is the result of a lawsuit against ThermoFisher Scientific, a $217 billion biotech company that profited from the use of the “HeLa” cells.
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family, announced the estate’s historic win at a press conference in Baltimore on Tuesday.
“Members of the family of Henrietta Lacks and Thermo Fisher have agreed to settle the litigation filed by Henrietta Lacks’ Estate, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore,” he said before a crowd at Canton Waterfront Park. “The terms of the agreement will be confidential. The parties are pleased that they were able to find a way to resolve this matter outside of Court and will have no further comment about the settlement.”
The Lacks family stood near the podium holding a poster-sized family portrait and a bouquet of balloons to honor Lacks on what would’ve been her 103rd birthday.