46.18 Professor Mark Rothstein has commented:
Conceivably, in every case in which the plaintiff seeks to recover for permanent or long-term disability or lost future earnings, regardless of the legal theory of the case, the defendant could seek to discover the plaintiff’s risk of premature incapacity or mortality by obtaining genetic records or performing genetic testing.
46.19 In the United States, negligence suits have been brought in relation to children born with health defects as a result of their parents’ exposure to toxic substances. In a number of these cases the courts have ordered the production of
personal records (such as employment, education and medical records), as well as physical and mental examinations of the person bringing the claim, as well as his or her relatives.
46.20 The use of discovery procedures to seek access to a party’s genetic test results or other genetic information has important implications. If a court were to order a plaintiff (and potentially, his or her relatives) to submit to genetic testing, this could have significant privacy implications, potentially undermining their ‘right not to know’ certain genetic information about themselves. Unless properly scrutinised by the courts, requests for discovery of genetic information could amount to a ‘fishing expedition’; and the potential impact of discovery on plaintiffs and their relatives could be a significant deterrent to bringing legitimate actions.
 M Rothstein, ‘Preventing the Discovery of Plaintiff Genetic Profiles by Defendants Seeking to Limit Damages in Personal Injury Litigation’ (1996) 71 Indiana Law Journal 877, 878.
 J Wriggins, ‘Genetics, IQ, Determinism and Torts: The Example of Discovery in Lead Exposure Litigation’ (1997) 77 Boston University Law Review 1025, 1058. The Australian Law Reform Commission considered the role of discovery as an important aspect of effective case management in its review of the federal civil justice system: Australian Law Reform Commission, Managing Justice: A Review of the Federal Civil Justice System, Report 89 (2000), ALRC, Sydney.
 J Wriggins, ‘Genetics, IQ, Determinism and Torts: The Example of Discovery in Lead Exposure Litigation’ (1997) 77 Boston University Law Review 1025, 1067.