A Pennsylvania appellate court has ruled that product liability Plaintiffs should have been allowed to have juries decide when it was reasonable for them to discover that their breast cancer may have been the result of taking the Defendants’ hormone replacement drugs. The decision reversed the dismissals of product liability lawsuits brought by fourteen post-menopausal women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1998 and 2002.
Each of the Plaintiffs claimed that their illness was the result of taking the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs Prempro, Premarin or Provera. The drugs’ manufacturers argued that the Plaintiffs’ claims accrued when they were diagnosed with breast cancer and claimed the cases were therefore barred by Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations. But the appeals court ruled that a jury must decide when the Plaintiffs should have realized the causal connection between HRT and their breast cancer. The court wrote in the order:
Knowledge of an injury alone is not sufficient to trigger such inquiry. One must have some reason to suspect that the injury was caused by a third party to impose a duty to investigate further. Where the injury is one that may result from non-tortious conduct, such as a disease, that point may be difficult to discern without resolving factual issues. Subjective differences among persons and the situations in which they find themselves are relevant in making that determination.
This is a significant ruling. It is a correct one and will help lots of women.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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