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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

DES Breast Cancer Claims Illustrate Global Claiming Possibilities

The recent DES breast cancer settlement paid by Eli Lilly is worth noting for reasons beyond the specifics of the case itself. The DES breast cancer claims by "DES daughters" are notable for highlighting the potential global scope of potential claims. For example, DES was created in the UK, but was used widely around the world in a variety of ways and was taken by millions of women, with multiple millions of children. So, claiming could arise in many nations – the use of DES is not just a "U.S. problem."

Another relevant factor is global mobility. Modern immigration patterns mean that “DES children” no doubt are scattered around the world. In fact, Aaron M. Levine, a lead trial lawyer for the Fecho sisters, was very open about visiting the UK during February 2012, and hoping to meet “DES daughters” from the UK who might be interested in claiming. A UK article covered in some detail his visit and the DES story.

Take away ? Globalization of sales also creates global litigation risks. One wonders how many corporate directors request and receive Caremark advice (article by Professor Bainbridge) on global claiming risks? And, are they aware that other countries are more rigorous than the US in enforcing duties of directors?

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