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Sutowski v. Eli Lilly & Co.

Supreme Court of Ohio
696 N.E.2d 187 (1998)


Sutowski (plaintiff) was prescribed DES, a synthetic estrogen. More than 200 companies manufactured DES before it was found to be harmful to patients. Sutowski, who had already ingested DES, brought a products-liability suit in federal district court against Eli Lilly & Company (Eli) (defendant), one of the manufacturers of DES. Because Sutowski could not prove that Eli was the manufacturer of the specific version of DES that she ingested, Sutowski based her suit on the market-share theory of liability. This theory had been instituted in DES cases in some states to prevent innocent victims from bearing the cost of injury when there was no way to prove the identity of the specific manufacturer. The district court certified to the Supreme Court of Ohio the question of whether market-share liability existed in Ohio.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cook, J.)

Dissent (Pfeiffer, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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