Can Taking Synthetic Estrogen During Pregnancy Cause Cancer to the Baby ?

In Needham v. White Laboratories. Inc., 639 F.2d 394 (7th Cir. 1981), the plaintiff alleged that her mother took a synthetic estrogen manufactured by defendant, dienestrol, during her pregnancy with plaintiff. Plaintiff had been diagnosed with a rare form of vaginal cancer and claimed that the dienestrol her mother took was the proximate cause of her cancer. Following a jury trial, plaintiff was awarded $ 800,000. Defendant complied with Rule 4(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure by filing a post-trial motion within 10 days of entry of the judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). The district court denied the motion, and defendant filed a motion to reconsider 31 days later and a notice of appeal 99 days later. Although the court of appeals determined that the notice of appeal was untimely filed, it nevertheless determined that it had jurisdiction to decide the appeal because the case fit squarely within the exception set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Thompson v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 375 U.S. 384, 11 L. Ed. 2d 404. 84 S. Ct. 397 (1964) (per curiam). In Thompson, the defendant filed a post-trial motion 12 days after entry of judgment. The motion was technically untimely, and for that reason could not toll the running of the notice of appeal time. But, the opposing party did not object to the timeliness of the motion, and the trial court found that the filing was timely. On appeal, the supreme court held that where the defendant relies on the plaintiff's failure to object as to timeliness of the motion and on the district court's explicit assurance that the motion is timely, the defendant is entitled to have his appeal decided on the merits if notice of appeal is filed within the assumedly new limitation period that commenced when the district court ruled on the post-trial motion. Thompson, 375 U.S. at 386-87, 84 S. Ct. at 398.