Cavanaugh v. Abbott Laboratories

In Cavanaugh v. Abbott Laboratories (145 Vt. 516, 496 A.2d 154 [1985]), the plaintiff was the daughter of a woman who, at the direction of a physician, ingested the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant and carrying the plaintiff. Defendants were manufacturers of that drug. The issue considered by Vermont's Supreme Court was whether it should "jettison" an earlier rule which set the accrual date of a personal injury cause of action as the time of the last negligent act attributable to the defendant (Cavanaugh v. Abbott Laboratories, supra, 145 Vt., at 519, 522, 496 A.2d, at 157, 158). Although it overruled its earlier precedent and adopted an accrual rule based upon plaintiff's discovery of her injuries, contrary to the assertion of plaintiff at bar, that Court neither "reconfirmed the existence of liability for in utero torts" (Pl. Mem., p.14 ), nor even addressed the sufficiency of such a claim.