How the Hair Straightener MDL Benefits Plaintiffs 

January 18, 2023
How the Hair Straightener MDL Benefits Plaintiffs 

A growing number of women are filing product liability lawsuits against the makers of chemical hair straighteners for their failure to warn consumers that prolonged use of these products increases the risk of various cancers of the reproductive system. The most recent action by plaintiffs was a motion to request that their claims be considered as a multidistrict litigation.

While we await word on whether or not the hair straightener cancer lawsuits will be considered individually or collectively, our team encourages you to explore your legal options for recovering damages. The product liability lawyers of Dolman Law Group have been at the forefront of this issue, and we are prepared to aid clients in pursuing maximum compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and other damages.

Why Are Women Suing Makers of Chemical Hair Straighteners

In this case, plaintiffs allege that they have been harmed by the long-term use of chemical hair straighteners. They say that makers failed to provide warning labels for chemical hair straighteners, leaving consumers vulnerable. Plaintiffs report similar injuries or illnesses, including:

The women behind these product liability lawsuits believe that chemical hair straightener makers like L’oreal should be held liable for damages for violating their duty of care to consumers. They claim that makers knew or should have known that their products contained carcinogens, so they were responsible for providing a warning label to consumers.

Their accusations are supported by evidence from multiple studies that link the frequent use of chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk of developing cancer of the reproductive system or other serious health issues. Research from institutions like the National Health Institute has uncovered an alarming increase in cancer rates linked to the heavy usage of chemical hair straighteners. 

In the NIH study, researchers found that women were at twice the risk of developing uterine cancer if they used chemical hair straighteners 4 or more times a year. This phenomenon, as well as the increased rates of other reproductive health issues, can likely be traced back to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals that falsely inflate estrogen levels and trigger the unrestricted growth of mutated cancer cells. Black women are at a heightened risk, as they tend to use chemical hair straighteners more frequently than women of other races.

Plaintiffs Seek Consolidation of Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuits

When a group of people has been similarly harmed by the same negligent party or parties, they may choose to pursue their claims as a multidistrict litigation, rather than as individual plaintiffs. A group of chemical hair straightener plaintiffs is currently attempting to centralize their claims into a multidistrict litigation.

A multidistrict litigation enables injured plaintiffs from jurisdictions across the U.S. to centralize their claims under the authority of one court. In order for plaintiffs’ claims to be consolidated, they first have to be evaluated by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). 

This panel will hear the perspective of both sides to determine whether or not a multidistrict litigation is appropriate. The plaintiffs pursuing product liability lawsuits against the makers of chemical hair straighteners will be able to make their oral arguments at a hearing held in Miami, Florida, on January 26th, 2023.

Effects of Consolidating Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuits into an MDL

There are a few notable effects of centralizing a group of personal injury claims into a multidistrict litigation. First, they are transferred to the jurisdiction of a single court, rather than being evaluated by separate courts with different perspectives. Second, by handling personal injury claims this way, the burden on court resources is reduced because instead of thousands of plaintiffs pursuing similar claims across the U.S., one court oversees all of them.

Another effect of centralizing claims under one judge is that it produces consistent results between cases and the chances of both sides reaching a settlement increase. Additionally, there is an impact on the discovery process. While plaintiffs still bear the burden of proof, plaintiffs may work together during the discovery process. 

Next Steps in the Chemical Hair Straightener Multidistrict Litigation

If the JPML approves the plaintiffs’ request, both sides will begin the discovery process and other pre-trial proceedings under the jurisdiction of the court that the JPML appoints to oversee the MDL. Once these stages are completed, the next step is to conduct bellwether trials. A small number of cases are randomly selected from the plaintiffs involved.

These cases are intended to be more or less representative of the rest of the claims in the MDL. Bellwether claims are used to ascertain the issues or questions that are likely common to the rest of the cases. Additionally, it helps set an expectation for what plaintiffs can expect to receive in terms of a settlement, although the other plaintiffs are not guaranteed to receive the same amount. The defendants may choose to reevaluate their willingness to settle depending on the outcome of the bellwether trials. 

Benefits to Chemical Hair Straightener Plaintiffs

Multidistrict litigation offers plaintiffs notable benefits. If plaintiffs were left to fend for themselves in individual personal injury lawsuits, they would each have to work with their own product liability lawyer to collect evidence to demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty by failing to provide a warning label, and their injuries and damages are a direct result of this negligence.

Instead, an MDL offers plaintiffs the opportunity to compile their evidence, effort, and resources for the same agenda. This includes recruiting expert witnesses, taking deposition statements, and having defective products tested. Product liability lawyers can strategize together to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients and avoid draining their firm’s time and resources. This empowers clients who likely have fewer resources than the larger corporation they are facing to mount an effective claim. 

An important thing to note about multidistrict litigations is that they are distinct from class action lawsuits. Plaintiffs still receive compensation based on their specific damages, rather than a single settlement that is divided evenly among plaintiffs. In effect, an MDL allows injured plaintiffs to reap the benefits of sharing the burden of discovery without forfeiting their ability to be compensated for the true value of their individual claims.

Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?

As personal injury lawyers, we understand how intimidating the prospect of filing a product liability lawsuit is, let alone joining a multidistrict litigation, which most people may be unfamiliar with. Our team has been involved in numerous mass tort cases over our decade of service, meaning that we have the knowledge and experience to negotiate complex claims with great success.

Dolman Law Group can offer you the resources of a larger firm with the individualized attention you can expect from a smaller firm. This translates into a consistent, impressive track record of maximizing compensation for our injured clients.

The hair straightener cancer lawyers of Dolman Law Group will go above and beyond to protect your right to recover compensation for losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. We won’t pressure you to accept a settlement that is less than what you deserve just to close the case. The powerful companies involved in the chemical hair straightener claims will not hesitate to put their best team on the case, and neither should you.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit 

At Dolman Law Group, we are proud of our ability to deliver results. As your product liability lawyers, we will relentlessly negotiate for compensation that is reflective of the losses you have sustained, including financial, physical, and emotional costs.

We are award-winning personal injury attorneys with substantial trial experience, which is beneficial in cases like the chemical hair straightener lawsuits. Our skilled team will guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim, protect your rights, strategize to maximize your compensation, and leverage critical evidence to demonstrate liability and the value of your damages.

If you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, or other reproductive health issues after repeated use of chemical hair straighteners, you should consider pursuing a product liability claim to recover the value of your damages. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our product liability attorneys to learn more about what expectations you should have for the process of participating in an MDL.

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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