JPML Deliberates Over Consolidating Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

February 1, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
JPML Deliberates Over Consolidating Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

Hair relaxer lawsuits are continuing to grow in number as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decides whether to consolidate the various lawsuits under a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The JPML panel met on January 26th, 2023 in Miami to hear the arguments for and against this action and is expected to release a decision this week. 

The growing amount of hair relaxer lawsuits began after a study discovered a link between frequent hair relaxer use and an increased risk of cancer. Plaintiffs claim that manufacturers like L’Oreal should have provided warning labels on their chemical hair relaxer products such as Dark and Lovely to inform consumers of the cancer risk. 

Dolman Law Group Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawyers

Dolman Law Group is now representing clients that have been diagnosed with uterine cancer after long-term chemical hair relaxer use. Our firm specializes in helping consumers injured by defective products ranging from medications to appliances and can provide you with the same award-winning legal representation. 

Consider contacting Dolman Law Group about the details of your case and setting up a free consultation. Our hair relaxer attorneys are happy to discuss what legal options are available to you and how they can help you seek fair compensation for your injuries. Contact our office at 727-451-6900 or fill out a contact form on our website. 

What is Multidistrict Litigation?

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a procedure where a large number of similar civil lawsuits from around the country are brought together under the oversight of a single judge in one court. The one judge in the MDL oversees coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. The judge may also assign leadership positions among the plaintiff’s representation and set up bellwether cases. 

In order for a series of lawsuits to be consolidated this way, the various cases need to have one or more questions of fact in common. MDLs are typically created for product liability lawsuits since these lawsuits can involve a large number of consumers that experience the same or similar injuries. 

Why Multidistrict Litigation?

Instead of having a large number of similar lawsuits proceeding parallel to each other in different courts around the country, an MDL creates a more efficient process where the burden on courts is lifted and plaintiffs have the opportunity to pool their resources and focus their strategy on the pretrial proceedings. 

Even though lawsuits are centralized under an MDL, individual plaintiffs still retain their respective chemical hair straightener lawyers and their cases are still their own. The different lawsuits under an MDL may end up settling during the MDL because of a successful bellwether trial (a sample trial to gauge how the many lawsuits are likely to go) or they might end up dismissed. If neither of these things occurs then a plaintiff’s individual lawsuit is sent back to the original court for a trial there.

Overall, the purpose of MDL’s is to create a more efficient and economic way for these lawsuits to be handled by the courts.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Hearing Over Hair Relaxer MDL

The JPML panel to determine whether to consolidate the latest hair relaxer convened on Thursday, January 26th at the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Miami. Lawyers representing the interests of hair relaxer lawsuit plaintiffs called for the consolidation of the many hair relaxer lawsuits into an MDL while representatives for the defendants in these cases argued in opposition to this action. 

The Argument for Hair Relaxer Lawsuit MDL Consolidation

The lawyers representing plaintiffs in the many current hair relaxer lawsuits made a convincing argument for the consolidation of these many lawsuits. Last year in 2022, a motion was filed with the U.S. JPML to establish an MDL due to the fact that these lawsuits were estimated to drastically increase in number. 

So far there have been over 40 claims filed because of harm sustained by plaintiffs tied to hair relaxer use and all signs indicate that this number will only continue to grow placing an unnecessary burden on the court system that can be avoided with an MDL. 

By centralizing all of these chemical hair straightener lawsuits under an MDL now, a great deal of unnecessary costs, duplicative discovery, and confusion regarding potential inconsistent rulings can be avoided. 

Hair Relaxer Defendants Push Back Against MDL

On the other hand, the manufacturers of chemical hair relaxers argued against the creation of a hair relaxer MDL. This is expected since preventing consolidation means that plaintiffs in these many lawsuits will lose the benefit of coordinating together for the pretrial processes and discovery. It would effectively split an army of lawsuits working together into a multitude of individual legal conflicts that would be easier for the defendants to take on. 

Hair relaxer manufacturers argued that the litigation against them involves too many different products and injuries to be viable for centralizing through an MDL. 

What This Means for Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Plaintiffs

Should an MDL be created, it would be considered a significant win for the plaintiffs in these chemical hair straightener lawsuits. The ability to coordinate pretrial proceedings, develop a strategy with other firms, pool evidence and share resources would give a definite edge. It also means that there is a much higher chance for a settlement to be reached since it is an easier path for defendants to take instead of facing a multitude of individual trials that can financially drain them. 

Studies Have Connected Hair Relaxer Use With Increased Uterine Cancer Risk

The litigation against chemical hair straightener manufacturers over their products began with the publishing of a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022 where researchers discovered a connection between frequent chemical hair straightener use and an increased risk of cancer. 

The findings of this study conducted by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that women that used hair relaxers regularly long term had triple the chance of being diagnosed with uterine cancer compared to women in the study that reported no hair relaxer use. 

The reason for this heightened cancer risk is believed to be caused by the presence of what are known as endocrine disruptors in chemical hair relaxers. These endocrine disruptors affect the body’s endocrine system which is in charge of hormone regulation and can cause disruption that creates too much or too little of certain hormones such as estrogen which can increase the chance of uterine cancer.

Injuries Linked to the Frequent Use of Chemical Hair Relaxers

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Hair Relaxer Lawsuit. 

Dolman Law Group is one of the personal injury law firms that is currently engaged in the ongoing chemical hair relaxer litigation. Our firm is anything but new to these kinds of proceedings. In fact, Dolman Law has a long track history of successful litigation where defective products are concerned. 

Our product liability lawyers have proven time and again that they can not only secure their clients' compensation for their injuries but maximize the value of their claims as well. We believe that consumers are entitled to reasonable compensation that covers everything from medical bills to the mental anguish suffered by their injuries. Do not hesitate to contact our offices about scheduling a free consultation on your case where you can learn more about what our firm has to offer. 


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

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 successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $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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