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Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Torts Keyed to Prosser

Citation. Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories, 26 Cal. 3d 588, 607 P.2d 924, 163 Cal. Rptr. 132, 1980 Cal. LEXIS 151, 2 A.L.R.4th 1061, CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P8648 (Cal. Mar. 20, 1980)

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Sindell (Plaintiff), developed cancer as a result of a drug her mother took while pregnant.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. In certain circumstances where the plaintiff is unable to identity the actual tortfeasor and it is unjust to preclude them from recovery, then the group responsible for the overall harm can be held liable.

Facts. The Plaintiff’s mother took synthetic estrogen while pregnant with the Plaintiff. As a result of receiving the drug in-utero, the Plaintiff developed cancer as an adult. The drug was manufactured by the Defendants, five drug companies (Defendants) and by about 195 other companies not named in the suit. The Defendants together produced 90% of the drug. The Plaintiff is unable to identify which company produced the actual drug her mother took.

Issue. Whether the Defendants are liable for the Plaintiff’s cancer.

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