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Brown v. Superior Court

245 Cal. Rptr. 412 (1988)

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Brown v. Superior Court

California Supreme Court

245 Cal. Rptr. 412 (1988)

Facts

The mother of Jan Brown (plaintiff) took the prescription drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage when pregnant with Brown. Brown was one of many injured parties who sued over 170 drug manufacturers (defendants) that produced DES. Brown alleged that the drug manufacturers used the same formula and that DES was unsafe for use in preventing miscarriage and caused severe injury to Brown. The drug manufacturers failed to warn users or their doctors that DES contained a cancer-causing substance. Pretrial rulings for the drug manufacturers held they could not be strictly liable for the alleged defect in DES but only could be liable for failing to warn of known or knowable side effects of the drug. Brown sought a writ of mandate or writ of prohibition in the court of appeal to review the pretrial rulings. That court issued an alternative writ and upheld the trial court's ruling and denied a peremptory writ. The California Supreme Court granted review to examine the court of appeal’s conclusions and its potential conflict with caselaw.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

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