1985 DES Case: McMahon v. Eli Lilly & Co.


” In proceedings below, plaintiffs Mary McMahon and her husband Francis sued in their individual capacities and as representatives of their deceased son. They claimed that the Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”), a pharmaceutical manufacturer, failed to warn adequately of the dangerous propensities of diethylstilbestrol (DES). This failure to warn, plaintiffs claimed, rendered DES an unreasonably dangerous product, so that Lilly should be held strictly liable for injuries allegedly caused by the drug.

McMAHON v. ELI LILLY AND CO., Leagle, 19851604774F2d830_11466, December 13, 1985.

Mrs. McMahon has found it difficult to achieve full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. Several of her children have been born prematurely. One premature infant son died. During each of her later pregnancies, Mrs. McMahon was bedridden throughout the final months. Plaintiffs claim that these difficulties were caused by her exposure to DES prenatally when her mother ingested the drug.

The case was tried to a jury. After the jury was unable to reach a verdict, the district court granted defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.

  1. First, the court ruled that plaintiff “has not made out aprima facie showing that the defendant Lilly manufactured the drug she took.”
  2. Second, it ruled “Plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case that Lilly knew or should have known of a risk of pre-term labor or prematurity among children of those women who in 1955 had ingested DES during pregnancy.

Plaintiffs appeal. Lilly cross-appeals, arguing that plaintiffs’ claims are barred by Illinois’ product liability statute of repose.” …

… continue reading the full paper McMAHON v. ELI LILLY AND CO., on Leagle.

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