G.D. Searle & Company v. Cohn
United States Supreme Court
455 U.S. 404 (1982)
Susan Cohn suffered a stroke after using an oral contraceptive manufactured by G.D. Searle & Company (Searle) (defendant). Susan and her husband, Walter (plaintiffs), filed suit against Searle in New Jersey state court. Searle was served with notice of the action under New Jersey’s long-arm statute. Searle removed the matter to federal district court. Thereafter, Searle moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Cohns’ action was time barred by New Jersey’s two-year statute of limitations. The Cohns countered that the action should proceed pursuant to a New Jersey statute permitting the tolling of the statute of limitations for an action against a foreign corporation that is not represented in the state by any person or officer upon whom service of process could be served. The district court held for Searle, reasoning that the New Jersey long-arm statute negated the need for the state’s tolling provision and that the tolling statute violated the Equal Protection Clause. Therefore, according to the district court, the Cohns’ suit was barred. The Cohns appealed. In the meantime, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the tolling statute remained in full force and effect. The state supreme court held that the tolling statute did not violate the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution because the increased difficulty of service on an out-of-state corporation served as a rational basis for tolling the statute of limitations. The court of appeals agreed and upheld the constitutionality of the New Jersey law. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 176,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.