Hastings Law Journal


Joseph Sanders


Mass torts are more than simple groupings of similar, but independent products liability suits; rather, they involve "congregations" of cases that may be profitably analyzed as units. In this Article, Professor Sanders examines the Bendectin litigation from the case congregation perspective. The key question in the Bendectin Cases has been the causation issue--does Bendectin actually cause birth defects? Consequently, Professor Sanders looks at more than just law; he also examines the scientific studies of Bendectin. The examination reveals that, like the cases, these studies have evolved over time. And from an even broader perspective, he illustrates how the law and the science have interacted as the Bendectin litigation has matured. After surveying Bendectin's legal and scientific history, Professor Sanders examines the ways in which the judiciary has rationed its resources to meet the challenges posed by the Bendectin Cases. Finally, the Article concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of case congregation analysis, judicial rationing, and current trends in products liability law.

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