Hair Relaxer Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Overview

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Chemical hair relaxers are cosmetic products used to straighten and smooth hair, making it easier to manage and style. However, these hair relaxer products can contain harsh chemicals that may lead to severe health issues when used incorrectly or excessively.

Women diagnosed with uterine cancer after extended use of chemical hair relaxers are taking legal action against the companies that make these items, aiming to receive financial compensation.

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Latest Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Update

As of June 2024 the hair relaxer class action MDL experienced a decrease of nearly 300 pending cases over the past month. This reduction in the hair relaxer cancer lawsuit numbers is due to plaintiffs deciding not to pursue cases involving non-cancer injuries. The total number of pending cases is now 8,170.

April marked another sluggish period for the hair relaxer class action MDL, with only 81 new cases added, up from 53 in March but significantly lower than the 3,000 new hair relaxer litigation cases added in a single month less than a year ago. The total number of cases in the hair relaxer cancer lawsuit has now risen to 8,468.

A recent discovery dispute in the hair relaxer litigation has arisen between hair relaxer lawyers, centering on the interpretation of CMO #9. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are frustrated as defendants continue to issue new or amended Deficiency Letters in response to amended Plaintiff Fact Sheets (PFS), contrary to CMO 9’s explicit language.

According to CMO 9, once a plaintiff responds to a Deficiency Letter, the Designated Defendant cannot issue additional letters identifying new deficiencies unless the case is part of the bellwether selection pool. Defendants, however, are conflating any deficiency with whether a PFS is “substantially complete,” leading to multiple rounds of deficiency notices.

Plaintiffs argue this practice contradicts the negotiated terms of CMO 9 and aims to prevent many plaintiffs from being deemed “substantially complete” for bellwether selection, generating grounds for dismissal despite substantial compliance.

In mid-May 2024, plaintiffs’ lawyers had sought court permission to dismiss certain cancer-related cases without prejudice, allowing them to be refiled later. These cases involve plaintiffs who initially believed they had ovarian, uterine, or endometrial cancer but later found they did not. Many hair relaxer lawsuits were filed quickly due to the Revlon bankruptcy rules, requiring victims to file a lawsuit or lose their ability to sue Revlon.

Why Are Victims Filing Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?

People are filing hair relaxer lawsuits because they believe the prolonged use of these hair relaxer products/hair straightening products has caused them to develop uterine cancer. They are seeking compensation from the hair relaxer manufacturers through product liability lawsuits.

One of the main allegations is that the manufacturers of these hair straightening products did not adequately warn consumers about the potential risks. Plaintiffs argue that if they had known about these health hazards, they would have made different choices about using the chemical hair straighteners and hair relaxers.

In addition to individual cases, multidistrict litigations are also being formed. These hair relaxer lawsuit MDLs consolidate individual lawsuits to address common issues, such as whether hair relaxers have the potential to cause cancer on a larger scale. The goal is to hold hair relaxer manufacturers accountable and prevent future harm.

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Health Implications of Hair Relaxers

The main health implication of using hair relaxers that has led to lawsuits is the development risk of uterine cancer. People allege that long-term use of these hair relaxer products has directly contributed to their cancer diagnosis and are seeking compensation through legal action.

Known Injuries and Side Effects

Apart from developing uterine cancer, the following are the other known health issues associated with hair relaxer use:

  • Scalp irritation and burns: The chemicals in hair relaxers can irritate the scalp and even cause chemical burns if left on for too long.
  • Hair loss and breakage: Prolonged use of hair relaxers can weaken hair strands, leading to hair loss and breakage over time.
  • Allergic reactions: Some users may experience allergic reactions to hair relaxers like itching, redness, or rash due to the chemicals used in these products.
  • Hormonal disruption: Certain chemicals in hair relaxers are suspected of disrupting hormonal balance, although more research is needed.
  • Fertility issues: Some studies have pointed to a potential link between the use of hair relaxers and decreased fertility, particularly among certain racial and ethnic groups who use these products more frequently.

Eligibility for Victims and Legal Procedures

Victims of hair relaxer health issues become eligible to file a hair relaxer cancer lawsuit if they have suffered adverse health effects, such as uterine cancer, directly attributed to the use of hair relaxer products.

These individuals can pursue legal action against the manufacturers’ chemical hair relaxer products by filing product liability lawsuits, either individually or as part of a multidistrict litigation, to seek compensation for their damages.

Am I Eligible to File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

One of the key factors to establish eligibility is the timing of the diagnosis in relation to the usage of the hair relaxer products. Plaintiffs often need to provide medical records, purchase receipts, or other evidence to show a clear timeline linking their condition to using hair relaxers.

Expert testimonies may also be used to establish the connection between the hair relaxer products and the health issue.

Additionally, eligibility can be enhanced if a victim joins a multidistrict litigation or class-action lawsuit. These collective legal actions pool together individual cases to address common issues and can make the legal process more efficient.

Joining an MDL or class action can also provide plaintiffs with access to shared resources and expertise, increasing their chances of a successful outcome.

Steps to File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

The following are the steps to file a hair relaxer lawsuit:

  1. Consult an attorney: Begin by consulting a qualified attorney specializing in product liability or mass tort cases to discuss your situation.
  2. Gather evidence: Collect all relevant medical records, purchase receipts, and any other evidence that establishes a link between your health issues and the hair relaxer product.
  3. File a complaint: Your attorney will draft and file a formal complaint against the manufacturer, outlining the allegations and seeking specific forms of compensation.

Potential Compensation and Settlements

Potential compensation in hair relaxers use lawsuits could range from $150,000 to $1,600,000. Medical expenses (including medication and medical bills for hospitalization and other medical treatment) can be claimed for both past and future treatments related to the adverse effects of using hair relaxers.

Lost wages may be claimed as a hair relaxer settlement if the health issues have led to time off work or reduced the victim’s earning capacity. Additional amounts may also be awarded in the hair relaxer claim for emotional distress, pain, and suffering or to punish the company for negligence in the form of punitive damages.

All Hair Relaxers Updates

June 2024

The hair relaxer class action MDL experienced a decrease of nearly 300 pending cases over the past month. This reduction is due to plaintiffs deciding not to pursue cases involving non-cancer injuries. The total number of pending cases is now 8,170.

Hair relaxer attorneys and legal experts have no updates as yet on the possibility of a hair relaxer settlement in the current hair relaxer cases.

May 2024

April marked another sluggish period for the hair relaxer class action MDL, with only 81 new cases added, up from 53 in March but significantly lower than the 3,000 new cases added in a single month less than a year ago. The total number of cases has now risen to 8,468.

May 30, 2024 – New Discovery Dispute

A recent discovery dispute has arisen between hair relaxer lawyers, centering on the interpretation of CMO #9. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are frustrated as defendants continue to issue new or amended Deficiency Letters in response to amended Plaintiff Fact Sheets (PFS), contrary to CMO 9’s explicit language.

According to CMO 9, once a plaintiff responds to a Deficiency Letter, the Designated Defendant cannot issue additional letters identifying new deficiencies unless the case is part of the bellwether selection pool. Defendants, however, are conflating any deficiency with whether a PFS is “substantially complete,” leading to multiple rounds of deficiency notices.

Plaintiffs argue this practice contradicts the negotiated terms of CMO 9 and aims to prevent many plaintiffs from being deemed “substantially complete” for bellwether selection, generating grounds for dismissal despite substantial compliance.

May 16, 2024 – Dismissal of Certain Cancer Cases Requested

Plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking court permission to dismiss certain cancer-related cases without prejudice, allowing them to be refiled later. These cases involve plaintiffs who initially believed they had ovarian, uterine, or endometrial cancer but later found they did not. Many hair relaxer lawsuits were filed quickly due to the Revlon bankruptcy rules, requiring victims to file a lawsuit or lose their ability to sue Revlon.

Consequently, attorneys filed cases without all necessary medical records to confirm cancer diagnoses and now seek to dismiss them without prejudice to avoid being permanently barred from refiling if covered cancers develop in the future.

May 6, 2024 – Battle Over Special Master Appointment

The appointment of Maura Grossman as special master is a contentious issue. The court has ordered defendants to supplement their response to Professor Grossman’s declaration of no conflict.

The Joint Statement refers to “Defendants’ counsel” without naming the attorney involved in discussions with Professor Grossman regarding TAR-related issues in another lawsuit. The court requires the defendants to provide the attorney’s name, their law firm, and the defendants they represent in this litigation.

Ironically, plaintiffs’ success in hair relaxer lawsuits may hinge not on finding incriminating documents but on proving inaction despite evidence that hair relaxers cause cancer.

There are no updates from either side regarding a hair relaxer settlement in these hair relaxer cases.

April 2024

The momentum of the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL appears to be slowing down, with only 53 new cases added in the past month. This continues a five-month trend of notable decreases in new case filings. Presently, the hair relaxer MDL has a total of 8,387 pending cases.

March 2024

The plaintiffs originally requested that the court order discovery from various foreign affiliates of the defendants, including L’Oréal S.A. The court approved this request recognizing the close corporate relationship between the two entities, although the court did exclude certain document categories from the order.

L’Oréal requested the court to reconsider this decision, citing inaccuracies in the facts presented and the legal and logistical difficulties of enforcing a discovery order on a French entity. However, the court was not persuaded by L’Oréal’s arguments.

Specifically, L’Oréal challenged some of the factual assertions about the relationship between L’Oréal USA and L’Oréal S.A. used by the court. The judge, however, determined that L’Oréal’s objections were largely factual interpretation rather than factual contradictions.

Additionally, L’Oréal raised concerns about complying with the discovery order without following the procedures outlined by the Hague Convention, arguing that this might conflict with the French blocking statute. Nonetheless, L’Oréal failed to convincingly demonstrate how the order would adversely affect French interests. In response to these concerns, the MDL judge allowed L’Oréal USA extra time to work with L’Oréal S.A. to manage these logistical issues.

February 2024

Judge Sheila M. Finnegan has designated Honourable Paul Grimm as the Special Master for Electronic Discovery in the hair relaxer lawsuits case. This appointment came despite the defendants’ suggestion to award the role to Judge Sidney Schenkier.

January 2024

Lawyers in the hair relaxer MDL are focusing on cases linking hair relaxers to uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancers, with over 8,000 cases pending.

A detailed schedule leading to potential bellwether trials by late 2025 is set, emphasizing the importance of Plaintiff Fact Sheets for detailed case information and deadlines for discovery and expert reports.

A favorable verdict in a bellwether trial usually translates to a larger hair relaxer settlement.

December 2023

The hair relaxer lawsuit MDL experienced significant growth over the past few months, with several thousand new cases added each month since the summer, but recently, this trend abruptly slowed, with only 17 new cases filed last month, bringing the total to 7,894 pending hair relaxer lawsuits.

November 2023

During the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL status conference in Illinois, the court requested a new briefing schedule and addressed disagreements over the scheduling of Science Day, with key submissions due by early December.

The parties are working on a Case Management Order, and defendants reported on similar state court hair relaxer lawsuits without seeking specific court actions.

Additionally, document production timelines were set, including Revlon and Avalon’s obligations for specific document and ingredient list disclosures by mid-December, with ESI discovery issues referred to Magistrate Judge Finnegan.

October 2023

The MDL for hair relaxer lawsuits has expanded to include 5,996 cases, with 3,752 new filings in the past month. In contrast, there were fewer than 200 cases pending as of June 2023.

September 2023

The court has offered helpful responses to common queries about initiating a hair relaxer product lawsuit under case MDL 23-cv-00818.

One of the main companies whose chemical hair relaxer is being sued, Dabur International (which owns Namaste Laboratories), has recently switched its legal representation.

Previously defended by the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLC (who also led the defense in the 3M earplug case), Dabur has now opted for a new set of attorneys from the law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP.

August 2023

August 17, 2023: A Master Complaint has been introduced in the hair relaxer lawsuits multidistrict litigation (MDL), offering a standard document that all parties suing can refer to in their lawsuits. On the same day, 36 new cases were added to the hair relaxer MDL, bringing the total number of pending cases to 275. While this is a decrease from the previous month’s 87 new cases, such declines are typical for mid-summer.

August 4, 2023: Judge Rowland approved an official Short Form Complaint (SFC) for future lawsuits involving chemical hair relaxers and cancer. This standardized form will simplify the process, making it easier for new cases to be filed directly in the hair relaxer lawsuits MDL.

August 1, 2023: The number of cases of the hair relaxer MDL reached 236, a significant increase from the initial 21 cases. Last month alone saw 87 new cases added, and this surge in hair relaxer lawsuits is expected to continue.

July 2023

Defendants proposed to bifurcate discovery, focusing first on general causation or whether hair relaxers actually cause cancer. This move is frowned upon as it could slow down case progress and is not standard practice in multidistrict litigation. The judge is unlikely to grant this request.

June 2023

June 16, 2023: In the past month, 25 new hair relaxer lawsuits joined the MDL, increasing the total pending cases to 149. Created with just 21 cases, the MDL is anticipated to see a dramatic rise in new filings soon.

June 9, 2023: The defendants are pushing for a phased discovery process that starts with establishing a link between chemical hair relaxers and cancer. The plaintiffs strongly oppose this, arguing that it will unnecessarily delay the case proceedings.

June 1, 2023: A Boston University School of Public Health study linked chemical hair straighteners to fertility decline. The study, which focused especially on Black, Hispanic, and mixed-race individuals, adds to existing concerns about the health risks of such hair straightening products.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit FAQs

How long will it take for my hair relaxer lawsuit to be resolved?

It can take anywhere from a few months to several years for a hair relaxer lawsuit to reach a conclusion. The timeline for resolving a hair relaxer lawsuit can vary widely depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case and the court’s schedule.

Who are the defendants typically involved in hair relaxer lawsuits?

The defendants in hair relaxer lawsuits are often the manufacturers of the hair relaxer products, usually cosmetic companies, and parent companies or distributors involved in their sales. Legal actions may also target retailers or advertising agencies that promote the hair relaxer products themselves.

Do I need a lawyer to file a hair relaxer lawsuit?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to consult with a lawyer who specializes in mass tort or product liability cases to file a hair relaxer lawsuit. You can find such lawyers through referrals, legal directories, or by researching firms that have experience with hair relaxer cancer lawsuit cases.

How do I find an attorney experienced in hair relaxer lawsuits?

You can locate an attorney experienced in hair relaxer lawsuits by simply filling out our contact form. Our team will swiftly contact you and connect you with a specialist in this area. Reach out to us today for assistance with your case.

File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve experienced health problems from using a specific hair relaxer. Reach out to see if you qualify.

On This Page

Latest Update

Victims Filing Hair Relaxer

Health Implications

Eligibility

All Lawsuit Updates

FAQs

Case Status:
Early stages

Defendants:
Soft Sheen, Strength of Nature, and L’Oreal

Injuries:
Uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, and breast cancer