United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
7 F.3d 20 (2d Cir. 1993)
Numerous pharmaceutical companies produced a synthetic estrogen called DES marketed for miscarriage prevention between 1941–1971. The Food and Drug Administration discovered that DES caused cancers in women whose mothers had taken the drug. Thus, DES was banned in 1971. By the time the women harmed discovered the injury, there was no way to determine which manufacturer produced the drug their mothers had ingested. The California Supreme Court fashioned the market-share theory of liability, under which manufacturers could be held severally liable for harms caused by the drug based on their percentage of the drug’s market share. Sindell v. Abbot Laboratories, 607 P.2d 924 (1980). Manufacturers could avoid liability only if they could prove they could not have manufactured the drug that harmed the plaintiffs. The market-share theory was followed in New York as well. In this case, a group of women (plaintiffs) sued 33 drug manufacturers for DES injuries in federal court in New York. Delaware corporation Boehringer (defendant) never sold DES, but its predecessor had sold the drug. Beohringer’s predecessor had never done business in New York and had no significant contacts with the state. Boehringer sought dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The judge denied the motion, concluding that jurisdiction and application of New York substantive law to Boehringer were constitutional. The plaintiffs settled with the other 32 manufacturers and declined to prosecute Boehringer. The district court dismissed for failure to prosecute, and Boehringer appealed, arguing that the judge’s conclusions could harm it in 42 outstanding DES cases against it in New York.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Newman, 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 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 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.