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Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Our law firm handles hair relaxer lawsuits for uterine cancer and other consequences of hair relaxer products containing endocrine disruptors in all 50 states. These injuries include:

Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Millions of African American women in the U.S. use hair relaxer products regularly. New scientific research has found that the chemicals in hair relaxers can cause uterine cancer. Women who have used hair relaxer products for long periods and subsequently been diagnosed with uterine cancer are filing product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers and seeking compensation.

Our firm is accepting new cases from women who regularly used chemical hair relaxer products for five years or longer and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer and the other injuries listed above. Contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free case evaluation online.

Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit Updates

February 19, 2024 – Battle of Documents

Lawsuits like the hair relaxer litigation are rarely won with a Perry Mason moment at trial.  They are more typically won in the trenches getting the documents necessary to prove your case.

Hair relaxer lawyers continue to battle over the production of documents.   A hearing was held by Judge Sheila M. Finnegan to discuss the idea of hiring a Special Master with expertise in Electronic Stored Information (ESI), based on what both sides had previously reported.

Judge Finnegan did not agree with the plaintiffs’ suggestion to hire two Special Masters for different ESI aspects, nor with the defendants’ view that no Special Master was needed. The judge asked both sides to talk it over and try to agree on someone who knows a lot about ESI and has experience as a Special Master.

They have until tomorrow to report back if they find someone they all agree on.

February 2, 2024 Update – 191 New Cases Added to MDL

In January 2024, the hair relaxer class action MDL added new cases, bringing the total number of pending cases in the MDL to 8,217. This seems to establish a new average volume, contrasting with the 2,000 to 3,000 new cases per month observed last summer.

January 15, 2024 Update – MDL Surpasses 8,000 Cases

42 new cases were added to the hair relaxer class action MDL over the last monthly period. That brings the total number of pending cases up to 8,026.

January 8, 2024 Update – Bellwether Trials Scheduled

The initial bellwether trial is scheduled for November 3, 2025, with a second trial set for February 2, 2026. While these trial dates may seem distant -because they are – this is how it works in complex MDL class action lawsuits. If you find this frustrating, we get it. Our lawyers find it frustrating, too.   But as far off as it is, scheduling of bellwether trials is a key step in the MDL process. It puts real pressure on the defendants to settle as that trial date approaches.  Hopefully, reasonable settlement payouts will be offered to victims long before these trial dates come to pass. If not, these bellwether trials are representative cases that are tried first to provide both parties with critical insights into how juries might respond to the evidence and arguments. Big verdicts typically equate to larger settlement amounts. Because the outcomes of these trials can heavily influence negotiations for potential settlements for the rest of the cases within the MDL.

December 18, 2023 Update – MDL Growth Slows

Only 17 new  cases were added to the hair relaxer class action MDL over the last month. This is an MDL that has been averaging over 2,000 new cases per month since the summer, so this is a major drop in volume and could be an indication that the growth phase is over for the hair relaxer cases. There are now 7,984 pending cases.

November 28, 2023 Update – 11% Common Benefit Fund

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the hair relaxer MDL are asking the court to order an 11% holdback of compensation plaintiffs’ receive for their work in the case.  It is a big number.

November 21, 2023 Update – MDL Status Conference

On Friday, Judge Mary M. Rowland conducted a status conference for the hair relaxer MDL class action lawsuit in Illinois. This is what came out of the

1.       The court requested the parties to agree on a new briefing schedule for a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, to be submitted by November 28, 2023.

2.       There’s ongoing disagreement regarding the scheduling of Science Day, with parties required to submit their positions in cross briefs by December 6, 2023.

3.       The parties are working on a Case Management Order (CMO) related to the Plaintiffs’ Fact Sheets and Records Authorizations and will inform the court upon completion.

4.       Defendants updated on similar lawsuits in state courts, not seeking any specific action from the court.

5.       Regarding document production for products sold outside the U.S., cross-briefs are due by December 6, 2023, and Revlon must clarify its discovery position by November 27, 2023.

6.       Revlon is set to produce documents in response to two specific Requests for Production by December 15, 2023. Avalon is also required to provide a complete ingredient list in response to Plaintiffs’ Interrogatory 6 by the same date.

7.       The court referred ESI discovery and related disputes to Magistrate Judge Finnegan, without ordering the defendants to disclose all systems used during the relevant period.

November 17, 2023 Update – MDL Grows to 7,967 Cases

There are now almost 8,000 pending cases in the hair relaxer class action MDL. 2,000 more new cases were added to the MDL over the last month. This litigation has averaged around 500 new cases per week since the end of August. Back in February there were just 21 cases.

November 14, 2023 Update – Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss

As predicted, Judge Mary Rowland has upheld the majority of claims in the class action lawsuit against major hair relaxer manufacturers.  The MDL judge’s ruling pushed back on the defendants’ weak preemption argument, finding that federal law does not invalidate the plaintiffs’ state law claims, particularly those alleging negligence and product liability. While the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ fraud claims for failing to meet Rule 9(b)’s specificity requirements, it allowed claims of unfair conduct to proceed and, more importantly to the settlement value of these lawsuits, punitive damages are still in the case. Warranty claims under state law and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act also met the standards for continuation.

An expected win can still be big win and we are full steam ahead in this litigation.

November 1, 2023 Update – 11% Sought for Plaintiff Benefit Fund

Leadership in the hair relaxer lawsuits wants a sum equivalent to 11% of the gross settlement or verdict in every hair relaxer case.   From this holdback, 8% would be allocated to compensate for common benefit work, while the remaining 3% would be designated for the reimbursement of common benefit expenses.

Setting aside the issue of whether this is too much of an ask, keep in mind that this has nothing to do with how much compensation you receive for your hair relaxer cancer lawsuit.  This is about how much money the lawyers in leadership take from your lawyer’s fee.

October 19, 2023 Update – FDA Proposes New Rule for Hair Relaxer

As thousands of new hair relaxer cancer lawsuits continue to get filed, the FDA is now proposing a new regulation that would ban the use of formaldehyde in all hair relaxer products. Formaldehyde has long been a common ingredient used in many hair relaxer products. It is a chemical that is known to be toxic and has been linked to certain types of cancer, including leukemia. However, formaldehyde is not one of the chemicals in hair relaxer that has been linked to ovarian or uterine cancer.

October 16, 2023 Update – 3,752 New Cases Added to Hair Relaxer MDL

As we predicted at the start, the hair relaxer class action litigation is starting to explode. 3,752 new hair relaxer lawsuits were added to MDL in just the last month. That brings the total number of pending lawsuits in the hair relaxer MDL up to 5,996. Just 4 months ago, in June 2023, there were less than 200 pending case.

October 9, 2023 Update – Plaintiffs Win First Discovery Battle

At the MDL status hearing last week, Judge Rowland weighed in on several discovery disputes between the parties. For the most part, she ruled in favor of the plaintiffs by, among other things, requiring the defendants to produce documents even if they were not in their physical possession, and overruling the defense objection to producing patent related materials. The only issue resolved in favor of the defendants was the plaintiffs’ request for litigation hold letters. Judge Rowland has given the defendants a deadline of November 23, 2023 for producing the contested documents.

October 2, 2023 Update – Discovery Dispute Emerging 

As the hair relaxer class action continues to explode with new cases, a major early discovery battle appears to be developing between the plaintiffs and the defendants. Last week, all of the hair relaxer defendants jointly submitted a brief to the MDL Judge detailing various discovery disputes and issues that have arisen. The joint submission details various complaints that the defense has with the discovery requests propounded by the plaintiffs. In short, the defendants are complaining that the plaintiffs are asking for everything under the sun. The issues will be addressed at the MDL status conference set for today.

September 27, 2023 Update – New Order Aimed at Managing Explosive Growth in MDL

Judge Rowland recently issued Case Management Order No. 9 – Service of and Responses to Short Form Complaints (CMO 9). CMO 9 sets for the detailed procedural rules for the filing of Short Form Complaints by new plaintiffs and the process for responding to the SFCs. The order is part of Judge Rowland’s effort to manage an MDL that has started to explode in size over the last few weeks.

September 18, 2023 Update – 2,000 New Cases Added to MDL in Last 3 Months

The hair relaxer class action MDL has been the fastest growing mass tort over the last few months. Back in June, there were only 149 pending cases in the hair relaxer MDL. As of this week, the number of pending hair relaxer lawsuits has swelled to 2,244.  That is a growth rate of around 700 new cases per month.  If this pace continues, and we fully expect that it will, we will pass 4,000 cases by the end of the year and could surpass 10,000 cases before the end of 2024. How big will this MDL get? We think it could end up being comparable in size to the talcum powder MDL, which currently has 47,000 pending cases.

September 1, 2023 Update: – FAQs & New Defense Counsel

The court has helpfully provided answers to frequently asked questions about filing a hair relaxer lawsuit in MDL 23-cv-00818. One of the primary defendants in the hair relaxer class action lawsuit, Dabur International (parent company of Namaste Laboratories) has changed defense counsel this week. Dabur has replaced its defense team from the firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLC (the lead defense firm in the 3M earplug litigation) and replaced them with a new team of lawyers from firm of Baker & McKenzie LLP.

August 17, 2023 Update – Master Complaint

There is now a Master Complaint in the MDL that all parties suing these defendants can incorporate by reference in their lawsuits.

August 4, 2023 – Short Form Complaint Approved

Yesterday, Judge Rowland entered an Order adopting an official Short Form Complaint (SFC) for all future hair relaxer plaintiffs. Going forward, new hair relaxer cancer lawsuits can be filed directly in the class action MDL. and plaintiffs can utilize the new SFC instead of preparing a custom complaint. This will help streamline the process and should facilitate an increase in new case filings.

August 17, 2023 – 36 New Cases Added to the MDL

36 new pending cases were transferred into the hair relaxer class action MDL over the last month. That is down somewhat from the 87 new cases added during the previous month, but mid-summer is always a slow time for mass torts and new filings in MDLs have been down across the board this month. There are now 275 pending cases in the hair relaxer MDL.

August 1, 2023 – 236 Cases Now Pending the MDL 

When the hair relaxer class action MDL was created earlier this year, there were just 21 pending cases before Judge Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois. Just 5 months later and there are now 236 pending cases in the hair relaxer MDL.

Last month was the busiest month so far with 87 new cases added. Unless large blocks of plaintiffs choose to strategically sit on the sidelines, we fully expect the number of cases in the MDL to increase even more dramatically moving forward.

July 1, 2023 – Motion to Bifurcate Discovery

The defendants have asked the court to bifurcate and stay all discovery unrelated to general causation.

What does this mean in English? Bifurcation would be splitting off just the issue of general causation for pretrial.  General causation assesses whether a substance or event has the potential to cause a particular harm on a broader scale. In contrast, specific causation focuses on establishing the connection between the substance or event and the harm suffered by an individual or group. So the defendants want to just start with only focusing on whether hair relaxers cause cancer.

Why is this a bad idea?  Because it would slow down the path to getting these cases ready for trial, pushing us closer to settlement.  This is why bifurcating general causation discovery is not standard practice in multi-district litigation across the country. Discovery bifurcation, especially regarding general causation, is inefficient, costly, and delays resolution of the litigation.

This is particularly true in the hair relaxer class action lawsuit. Because plaintiffs’ causation arguments are strong in this litigation.  So we would spend a year without advancing the cases to prove the Sister Study is correct and that hair relaxers cause cancer.

The MDL judge is unlikely to grant this motion.

June 16, 2023 – 25 New Cases Added to MDL This Month

Over the last month, 25 new hair relaxer lawsuits were transferred into the class action MDL. There are now a total of 149 pending cases in the hair relaxer MDL. When the MDL was created in February there were only 21 pending cases. We expect the volume of new case filing to increase dramatically at some point in the next few months.

June 9, 2023 – Delay Tactics

The defendants in the hair relaxer MDL are pushing for a bifurcated discovery process that would limit the initial discovery phase to the issue of general causation (i.e., evidence linking hair relaxer to cancer). Discovery on other issues would only begin after that initial causation phase is completed. This is a common tactic by defendants in product liability cases like this. The plaintiffs have already voiced very strong objections to the proposal, claiming – with good reason –  that it will cause major delays.

June 1, 2023 – Hair Relaxers and Fertility

A study led by the Boston University School of Public Health has demonstrated a link between the usage of chemical hair straighteners and declines in fertility. The research, featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology, highlights a racial discrepancy, indicating that Black, Hispanic, and mixed-race individuals are more likely to use these products and potentially be exposed to their harmful chemicals. The research also discovered that these groups began using relaxers earlier, more frequently, and for longer periods, correlating with a drop in pregnancy chances.

Is anyone surprised by this?  Of course not.  This study aligns with everything else on the health risks from exposure to toxic chemicals in beauty products, such as phthalates, phenols, and parabens, which can interfere with the endocrine system and impact fertility.

May 23, 2023 – Master Complaint in MDL 

A Master Complaint has been submitted in federal court by the plaintiffs in the ongoing hair relaxer lawsuits. What is a Master Complaint in an MDL class action lawsuit?  It is a consolidated document that outlines the common allegations raised in multiple individual lawsuits. These lawsuits are usually filed against a common group of defendants across different jurisdictions but involve similar issues.

The primary purpose of a Master Complaint is to streamline the litigation process by combining all common allegations and evidence into a single document. This reduces duplication of effort, promotes judicial efficiency, and ensures consistent rulings across similar cases. After the Master Complaint is filed, each plaintiff will file a shorter, individual complaint (often referred to as a Short-Form Complaint) that references the Master Complaint and outlines the specific allegations and damages related to their individual case. This legal document encapsulates all the common claims brought forward by women diagnosed with uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and other conditions due to consistent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in chemical hair straighteners.

May 19, 2023 –  Court Hearing

There was a telephonic hearing yesterday to resolve multiple disputes related to the nuts and bolts of discovery.  The court most sided with the defendants, but the issues are of little consequence.

May 15, 2023 – 22 More Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Join the MDL

Twenty-two new plaintiffs were added to the hair relaxer class action MDL over the last month, bringing up the number of pending cases in the MDL to 124. When the MDL was created in February, there were only 21 cases. The rate of new hair relaxer cancer cases will probably steadily rise throughout the year.

May 11, 2023 – Procedure of Filing in MDL Class Action

The MDL judge issued an order to address confusion about how to direct file new cases related to this hair relaxer class action lawsuit.

If you’re filing a new case, it must be filed separately in the Northern District of Illinois. Note the connection to the MDL on the civil cover sheet, and your case will get its own number.  You must mention Judge Mary Rowland and the master docket number 23 CV 0818 on the cover sheet. Then just make sure you format and requirements listed in the Direct Filing Order and Case Management Order No. 2.

May 5, 2023 – Hair Relaxer Class Action Status Conferences

Future status hearings will occur at 1:00 p.m.(CT) on May 31, June 7, August 23, October 4, and November 17, 2023, in Courtroom 1225, at 219 South Dearborn Street in Chicago.

May 1, 2023 –  New Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

New Hair relaxer lawsuits continue to get directly filed in the Northern District of Illinois, which houses all of the class action lawsuits.  A new suit filed Friday by a Louisiana woman alleges that her uterine cancer and endometriosis were caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair products manufactured by L’Oreal and other defendants.

April 21, 2023 – Push to Ban Hair Relaxers Begins in Europe

A coalition of politicians and female activist groups in the UK are now calling for L’Oreal and other cosmetic companies to take all their hair relaxer products off the market because of the new research linking them to cancer. The British feminist organization Level Up published an open letter urging big cosmetic companies to remove harmful chemicals from hair relaxers or pull them from the shelves. The letter was signed by a collection of very prominent UK politicians, including several top MPs.

We could see a similar push in the U.S. very soon.

April 19, 2023 – Class Action Status Conference

Judge Rowland held a status conference with lawyers for both sides in the hair relaxer class action MDL yesterday. The primary topic of discussion was how to approach the admissibility issues regarding causation. The defendants want Judge Rowland to adopt a two-step process in which general causation will be addressed first before evaluating the evidence linking hair relaxer products to specific cancers (e.g., uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, etc.). The plaintiffs contend this approach will cause undue delay and favor a combined format.  The judge asked the parties to try to come to an agreement before the court rules.

April 18, 2023 – More Case Count

Over the last month, 24 new cases were transferred into the hair relaxer class action MDL. That increases the total number of pending lawsuits in the MDL to 102. The monthly volume of new cases in this litigation will continue to increase as we move forward and we could quickly start to see 100-200 new cases a month by the end of this summer.

April 6, 2023 – Case Count

New hair relaxer lawsuits filed in federal courts continue to be filed. There are over 200 pending hair relaxer cases across the country, most of which have already been transferred into the MDL. Thirty-eight new hair relaxer cancer lawsuits were filed in the second half of March alone. The volume of new filings will also increase significantly following the recent order allowing new cases to be filed directly in the hair relaxer class action MDL.

March 31, 2023 – Direct Filing Lawsuits in Class Action

This is a new order from the MDL in Chicago in the chemical hair straightener class action lawsuit.   This order allows plaintiffs to file directly in the MDL instead of filing in their home state and waiting for the court to transfer the claim.  The lawsuit has to use a specific title and say where the case otherwise would have been filed. After pretrial proceedings and bellwether trials, the individual claims will be returned to the original court if there is no global hair relaxer settlement.

March 27, 2023 – Revlon

Revlon is a major cosmetic company that manufactures and sells several brands of chemical hair relaxer products. The only reason that Revlon has not been pulled into the hair relaxer class action lawsuit as a defendant is that Revlon Inc. filed bankruptcy shortly before the hair relaxer litigation got started. As a result, the automatic bankruptcy stay has protected Revlon from being sued. This does not mean, however, that Revlon will escape liability.

Earlier this month, the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) in the hair relaxer MDL provided Judge Rowland with a detailed update on the Revlon bankruptcy. The PSC has filed a claim in the bankruptcy proceeding for all potential hair relaxer plaintiffs that used Revlon products. That claim must now be factored into the Revlon bankruptcy plan to ensure that potential plaintiffs against Revlon are compensated.

March 16, 2023 – MDL Class Action Adds 50 New Cases

Fifty-seven new hair relaxer cancer lawsuits were transferred into the new class action MDL over the last 30 days. That brings the total number of pending cases in the MDL up from 21 last month to 78. We expect this trend to continue and the volume of new cases to get even bigger as the year progresses. We could easily see this MDL averaging 200 new cases per month by the end of the summer.

March 11, 2023 – What Came Out of the Status Conference

  1. Pleadings/Amending Complaints: Parties will meet and confer to file a consolidated hair relaxer complaint or a form that a unified and efficient hair relaxer lawsuit can take. The parties propose a deadline for filing proposals and meeting and conferring on the issue.
  2. Direct Filing Order: The PLC will provide a draft Direct Filing Order to Defendants before the close of business on March 13, 2023. The parties will submit an agreed-to proposed order, or, if there is no agreement, they will submit their respective proposals to the court on or before March 31, 2023.
  3. General Causation: Unsurprisingly, the hair relaxer lawyers disagree about the issue of bifurcation and conducting general causation first. Parties propose a deadline for submitting a briefing to the court on the issue.
  4. The parties agree to meet and confer on federal and state court coordination, how to deal with probate matters, a preservation order, a plan for the discovery of electronically stored information, and a protection order.

March 1, 2023 – First Status Conference in Class Action MDL

Judge Mary Rowland will hold the first status conference tomorrow with all parties in the new hair relaxer class action MDL. The primary agenda item will be the protocol for forming plaintiffs’ counsel leadership committees tasked with making collective decisions on behalf of all the plaintiffs in the MDL. In her initial Case Management Order, Judge Rowland indicated that there will be a single steering committee. She will also name lead counsel (responsible for handling the bellwether trials) and liaison counsel.

February 27, 2023 –  Class Action Lawsuit Update

Last week we saw the highest weekly volume of new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits filed in federal courts, with 24 new cases. Fourteen new cases were filed on Thursday, and the other ten were filed on Friday. All but three of the new cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois, which is the venue for the hair relaxer MDL.

These updates of a few dozen hair relaxer lawsuits being filed will seem silly in hindsight if our prediction of over 100,000 claims in the MDL class action holds up.

February 16, 2023 – More Relaxer Lawsuits Filed

Since the start of February, 11 more hair relaxer product liability lawsuits have been filed in federal courts. Seven of the cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois. The remaining four were filed in districts nationwide but will all be transferred into the new hair relaxer class action MDL.

February 7, 2023 – More on New MDL

To follow up on the late update yesterday, the JPML agreed to centralize all hair relaxer lawsuits in federal courts into a new class action MDL. The new hair relaxer class action litigation has been assigned to Judge Mary Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Judge Rowland spent several years as a Magistrate Judge in Chicago before being elevated to the federal bench in 2019 with strong bipartisan support. The new MDL starts with around 60 cases pending in federal courts nationwide.

February 6, 2023 – WE HAVE AN HAIR RELAXER CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!

The hair straightener class action lawsuit was approved by the JPML Panel today. All federal hair relaxer lawsuits with be housed in Illinois.

We will have more on this tomorrow.

February 5, 2023 – EPA Focuses on Hair Relaxer Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will add certain phthalates, such as DINP, to its list of harmful toxic chemicals subject to increased regulations and reporting requirements. This is significant because DINP and other phthalates are chemicals in hair relaxer products believed to disrupt the hormone system and increase the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. The EPA’s decision to regulate these chemicals is based on evidence of their link to cancer.

February 1, 2023 – More Hair Straightener Lawsuits 

More proof supports consolidated litigation as we wait for the MDL Panel to rule on the class action. In the last ten days, seven new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits have been filed in federal courts. The cases were filed in five different federal districts in Maryland, Washington, California, Missouri, and Illinois. In January, 23 hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in federal courts.

A ruling from the JPML centralizing the hair relaxer cases into a new class action MDL is expected sometime this week.

January 27, 2023 –  Class Action Hearing Today

The MDL hearing to determine if there will be a hair relaxer class action lawsuit is today in Miami. The MDL Panel that decides these things will likely rule sometime in February. We have said before and will repeat it today: it is hard to imagine a scenario where an MDL is not granted in this litigation.

January 20, 2023 – More Suits Filed

Two more hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in federal courts yesterday. The first was filed in the Northern District of Illinois (the 10th hair relaxer case now pending in that district), and the second was filed in the Western District of Washington (the first in that district). The pace of new hair relaxer lawsuits has increased dramatically since the start of the new, with six new cases just in the last week. This litigation will explode.

January 17, 2023 – Hair Relaxer Litigation Update

The issue of whether to consolidate the hair relaxer lawsuits into a class action MDL will be taken up by the JPML later this month. The plaintiffs recently filed a response to the defendants’ briefs opposing the MDL.

The response correctly rebuts the defense argument that consolidation is inappropriate because the hair relaxer lawsuits involve too many defendants. The response points out the obvious: the JPML regularly consolidates similar cases involving numerous defendants and products. The response also makes another pitch for why the MDL should be assigned to the Northern District of Illinois.

January 12, 2023 – Hair Straightener Lawsuits in 2023

Seven new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits have been filed in federal courts since the start of 2023. Four were filed in the Western District of Missouri, and the others were filed in the Northern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Eastern District of Louisiana. Uterine cancer was the primary injury alleged by five of the plaintiffs. The injuries alleged in the other two cases were ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids.

Does this mean that most hair relaxer lawsuits involve uterine cancer? No. Uterine cancer lawsuits make up about 15% of law firm’s cases. Most of our chemical hair relaxer cases are cancer claims. But there is universal consensus that uterine cancer lawsuits have the strongest supporting science (the Sister Study we discuss below) and uterine cancer is obviously an awful consequence of using hair relaxers. So lawyers are filing uterine cancer lawsuits first because the early verdicts will impact victims’ settlement compensation.

January 4, 2023 – New Hair Relaxer Suit Filed in Missouri

A new hair relaxer causing uterine cancer lawsuit was filed yesterday in Missouri against:

  1.  L’Oréal USA, Inc. (and L’Oréal USA Products, Inc.)
  2. SoftSheen-Carson LLC 
  3. Strength of Nature Global, LLC (both Motions and Just for Me)
  4. Namaste Laboratories, LLC

The lawsuit blames these defendants’ hair care products because the chemicals in their hair straighteners led to her regular and prolonged (and unknown) exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (“EDCs”). The plaintiff worked in a hair salon for a time. She was diagnosed with endometrial carcinoma just a few months ago in September 2022.

January 2, 2023 – Hair Relaxer Class Action Reply Motion

The issue of whether to consolidate the hair relaxer lawsuits into a class action MDL will be taken up by the JPML later this month. The plaintiffs recently filed a reply to the defendant’s brief in opposition to the MDL.

The response correctly rebuts the defense argument that consolidation is inappropriate because the hair relaxer lawsuits involve too many defendants. The response points out that the JPML regularly consolidates similar cases involving numerous defendants and products. The response also makes another pitch for why the MDL should be assigned to the Northern District of Illinois.

December 26, 2022 – More Hair Relaxer Suits Filed

At least five more hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in federal courts since the start of December. One of the hair straightener cases was filed in the Southern District of Ohio. The other lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of Illinois. Three of these chemical hair straightener lawsuits allege uterine cancer. The other two are uterine fibroids lawsuits.

There are now at least 15 hair relaxer personal injury cases and three hair relaxer consumer class action cases pending. The JPML will decide to consolidate these cases into a new hair relaxer class action lawsuit next month.

December 20, 2022 – Hearing Set on Hair Relaxer Class Action Request

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has scheduled a hearing for January 26, 2023, on the motion to consolidate all hair relaxer lawsuits in federal courts into a new class action MDL. L’Oreal and the other defendants strongly oppose MDL consolidation and will voice those objections at the hearing. There are already 15 hair relaxer lawsuits pending in federal courts and many more are expected, so the JPML will probably create an MDL. The primary question is where the MDL will be located.

December 14, 2022 – Defendants Oppose Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit

L’Oréal and its subsidiaries asked a panel of federal judges to reject a consolidated MDL hair relaxer lawsuit, arguing that a class action would “breed inefficiency” because the hair straightener lawsuits share little in common.

Really? Over a hundred women with uterine cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, endometrial cancer, or ovarian cancer contact our law firm daily. Their stories are amazingly similar.

L’Oréal can fight this. But a hair relaxer class action is inevitable.

November 26, 2022 – Medical Monitoring Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit

Last week, a new type of class action hair relaxer lawsuit was filed which seeks to force cosmetic companies to pay for a medical monitoring program for women who may be at risk from the harms of chemical hair relaxers.

The new medical monitoring lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Michigan. A medical monitoring lawsuit is a legal action where individuals seek to receive regular medical exams or tests for potential health problems due to exposure to harmful substances, even if they do not currently have any symptoms.  The plaintiffs in this litigation cite new research linking hair relaxer use to uterine cancer and other health conditions as grounds for requiring defendants like LÓreal to pay for a program that will monitor the long-term health of members of the plaintiff class.

This new hair relaxer case comes on the heels of the recent motion to consolidate the hair relaxer cancer cases into a new class action MDL. Our law firm is not involved in the medical monitoring suit. Our focus is on victims who have suffered significant injuries and death from hair relaxers.

November 18, 2022 – Class Action Sought

On Tuesday, lawyers representing a group of plaintiffs who have recently filed hair relaxer cancer lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting consolidation of the hair relaxer lawsuits into a new, class action MDL. This litigation is going to be big.

The motion notes that there are nine hair relaxer cases involving 13 individual plaintiffs pending in four different federal district courts. All of the cases allege that hair relaxer products caused uterine cancer. The motion requests that the MDL be assigned to Judge Mary Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

The defendants named in the motion include L’Oreal USA, Inc. and a handful of smaller, non-public companies. The defendants may roll over and agree to the MDL class action. It is inevitable. But their lawyers will probably request an alternative venue other than Chicago, Illinois, that they view as more favorable.

Hair Relaxers Contain Harmful Chemicals

 

A hair relaxer is a product used primarily by African American women to make their hair lay flat and straighten. These products use a strong combination of chemicals that attack the hair’s protein structure, causing it to flatten and lay down.

Almost all hair relaxers contain chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates are commonly referred to as “plasticizers” because they are chemicals that are durable to certain types of pliable plastics. Phthalates are widely used in various cosmetic products, including chemical hair relaxers. Phthalatroll overland so endocrine-disrupting chemicals (“EDCs”). EDCs are types of chemicals that impact and disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with hormone receptors.

Hair relaxers contain a phthalate chemical called Di-2- ethyl hexyl phthalate (“DEHP”). DEHP is a synthetic chemical that is not found naturally in the environment. It is biologically toxic. DEHP is considered a probable human carcinogen and it is known to cause significant adverse-health effects including developmental abnormalities and reproductive dysfunction and infertility.

If you are regularly using a product that most likely can cause cancer, isn’t that something consumers should be told? Shouldn’t it at least be listed on the ingredients of the product? You are seeing so many hair relaxer lawsuit television commercials because the negligence seems so obvious and the injuries to these women are very serious.

Chemicals in Hair Relaxer Can Cause Uterine Cancer

What is driving these chemical hair straightener lawsuits is new scientific evidence that has recently emerged which suggests that long-term use of hair relaxer products may cause increased rates of uterine cancer.

Uterine cancer (cancer of the uterus) is the 4th most common type of cancer in women. Each year, approximately 65,000 new cases of uterine cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. This accounts for about 3.5% of all cancer cases. The incidence rate of uterine cancer among black women is twice as high compared to white women in the U.S.

In October 2022, the results of a groundbreaking new medical study on the association between hair relaxers and cancer were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study took over 10 years and looked at the incidence rate of cancer among women who regularly used hair relaxers vs. women who never used hair relaxers.

The study found that women who used hair relaxers were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer compared to non-users. More than twice is a huge finding that has jump-started the hair relaxer litigation.

Even more significant, the incidence rate of uterine cancer increase was even higher among women who reported using hair relaxers more frequently.

In other words, the more hair relaxer the women used, the higher their risk of uterine cancer. This study marked the first epidemiologic evidence showing a clear and definitive connection between hair relaxers and uterine cancer.

Hair Relaxer Can Cause Ovarian Cancer

Each year only 20,000 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the U.S., making it relatively rare. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer only has a 5-year survival rate of 47%. This is mostly because ovarian cancer has very few symptoms in its earlier phases and is usually not diagnosed until the cancer has already spread.

In 2021, a research article from NIH reported that the results of a major long-term study found an association between the use of chemical hair relaxers and higher rates of ovarian cancer. The study showed that women who regularly used hair relaxer (more than 4 times per year) displayed a 50% increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

Just a few weeks after the publication of the study linking chemical hair relaxers to uterine cancer, a product liability lawsuit was filed against several cosmetic companies alleging that their hair relaxers caused uterine cancer. The lawsuit (Mitchell v. L’Oreal, et al. – 1:22-cv-5815) was filed in federal court in Chicago. The plaintiff, Jenny Mitchell, is a Missouri resident who used chemical hair relaxers her entire life.

The lawsuit alleges that Mitchell started using hair relaxers when she was 10 years old. Like many black women in America, Mitchell used hair relaxer products every 6-8 weeks for the next 18 years. In 2018, when she was just 28 years old, Mitchell was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

The hair relaxer lawsuit filed by Jenny Mitchell is the first of what could potentially be thousands of new product liability lawsuits filed against cosmetic companies that manufacture chemical hair relaxers. These lawsuits will allege that the manufacturers knew, or should have known, that the chemicals in their products could increase the risk of uterine cancer.

Let’s point out the obvious. It is way too early to say with any degree of certainty how much hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuits could be worth at trial or in a settlement. So you should be skeptical of any lawyer making settlement amount predictions this early in the game. The first hair relaxer cancer lawsuits are just now getting filed. The scientific evidence on causation has not been tested in court.

So why provide a hair relaxer settlement payout estimate? Victims should know where lawyers’ heads are in terms of what a hair relaxer case is worth because knowing what the upside might be could inform their decision to move forward with bringing a lawsuit. We also think our readers are sophisticated enough to know that this is just an educated guess as to the settlement value of a hair relaxer lawsuit and these predictions could be way off even if the methodology behind the predictions is sound.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?

Every state has a statute of limitations that puts a deadline on how long you can wait before filing a lawsuit. If you don’t file your case before your state’s statute of limitations expires, you will lose the right to file your lawsuit.

The statute of limitations on tort claims like hair relaxer lawsuits might be anywhere from 2-6 years, depending on what state you live in. (Check the Statute of Limitations in all 50 States) Each state has a different time frame. If you are considering a hair relaxer lawsuit, the really important question is not how long the limitation period is, but when the statute of limitations period in your begins to run.

Almost all states follow some version of what is known as the “discovery rule” for determining when the statute of limitations begins to run on an injury lawsuit. Under this rule, the applicable limitation period does not necessarily begin to run on the date of the plaintiff’s injury. Instead, the SOL period starts running when the plaintiff actually discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) that they have grounds for a lawsuit.

Here is how this rule would apply in a typical hair relaxer lawsuit situation. Let’s say you used chemical hair relaxers most of your adult life and 7 years ago you were diagnosed with uterine cancer. If your state has a 2-year statute of limitations does that mean it is too late for you to file a hair relaxer lawsuit since your diagnosis was 7 years ago?

In most states, it would not be too late to file a hair relaxer lawsuit based on the discovery rule. When you were first diagnosed with uterine cancer 7 years ago, you would have had no reason to think that your cancer was somehow related to hair relaxer. The connection between uterine cancer and chemical hair relaxer products did not become public knowledge until October 2022 were findings from the NIH Sister Study were published. This means that in states that follow the discovery rule (which is most of them), the statute of limitations on hair relaxer lawsuits did not begin to run until October 2022 at the earliest.

Unfortunately, however, there are some states in which it might be too late to file your hair relaxer lawsuit. For example, if your state does not follow the discovery rule then it means that the SOL period begins to run from the date of the injury (i.e., when you were diagnosed with uterine cancer). Certain states have something called a “statute of repose” which puts a maximum time limit (usually 7 years or more) on bringing a lawsuit regardless of whether the discovery rule applies or not.

Contact Us About a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Our lawyers are currently seeking product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair relaxer products caused uterine cancer. If you have a potential claim, our attorneys want to help you. If you were diagnosed with uterine cancer or other cancer after regularly using chemical hair relaxers, contact our law firm today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free case evaluation online.

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