MDL Centralization for Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

November 22, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
MDL Centralization for Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

Women have suffered adverse health conditions from hair relaxer products, such as uterine cancer, breast cancer, and fibroids. Hair relaxer product manufacturers like L’Oreal and Softsheen Carson, Inc. have come under fire for failing to warn consumers of the dangers of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their products. This has led to many women filing product liability claims for hair relaxer damages.

With the amount of hair relaxer lawsuits increasing, there has been a motion filed to consolidate all hair relaxer lawsuits into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). This would bring all lawsuits before one judge to promote consistent litigation, streamline discovery, and increase the chances of a global settlement. A hearing before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is set for January 26th to determine whether the hair relaxers lawsuits will be consolidated into an MDL.

What Adverse Health Conditions Do Hair Relaxers Cause?

Product liability lawsuits have been filed against hair relaxer product manufacturers for the use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as phthalates. Exposure to these toxic chemicals has been cited as the primary cause of certain adverse health conditions in women using hair relaxers that contain them. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with the functioning of many bodily systems and can lead to significant harm. 

The following are some of the adverse health conditions caused by hair relaxers:

  • Uterine cancer: This is cancer that changes the cells of the uterus, leading to a cancerous tumor. There are two main types of uterine cancer: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. Uterine cancer can lead to vaginal bleeding, thin white or clear vaginal discharge, and lower abdominal pain. 
  • Breast cancer: This is one of the most common forms of cancer a woman can suffer and attacks the cells in the breasts. It can lead to severe health complications such as bone fractures, blocked blood vessels, and spinal cord pressure. 
  • Fibroids: These are muscular tumors that can develop in the uterine wall, otherwise known as the womb. While they can be benign, some cause health problems that can negatively affect a women’s standard of living, including painful periods, excessive bleeding, pain during sex, and infertility.

The Connection Between Hair Relaxers and Cancer

Recent studies have shown a connection between hair products and cancer. According to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the rate of uterine cancer triples in women who use hair-relaxing products than those who do not. A 2019 International Journal of Cancer (IJC) study found that the regular use of hair straighteners and permanent hair dye caused a 9% increase in breast cancer risk.

The connection between hair products and cancer presents a significant risk for African American women, who are more likely to use these products to adhere to eurocentric beauty standards. A 2019 study found that African American women who use permanent hair dye have a 60% risk increase of suffering breast cancer, whereas Caucasian women had an 8% breast cancer risk increase.

Hair Relaxer Brands and Products That Can Cause Adverse Health Conditions

The use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxer products can cause adverse health conditions, such as cancer and fibroids. Products such as Dark & Lovely, Just for Me, Motions, Optimum, and many more have presented a risk of causing negative health effects that can result in significant damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The following are the manufacturers coming under fire for having hair relaxer products that can cause negative health conditions:

  • L’Oreal
  • Namaste Laboratories
  • Strength of Nature
  • Dabur
  • SoftSheen Carson

Product Liability Lawsuits Filed Over Hair Products Causing Uterine Cancer

Product liability is an area of personal injury law that is meant to hold manufacturers, distributors, designers, sellers, etc. accountable for negligence that puts consumers at risk of harm. There are three types of product liability claims: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. 

A failure to warn product liability claim is when a manufacturer fails to adequately warn consumers of any dangers associated with their product. In the case of the hair relaxer lawsuits, plaintiffs argue that the manufacturers knew of the uterine cancer risk presented by the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the products. Despite this knowledge, the manufacturers continued to market the products as safe to the public, particularly to African American women and other women of color.

Plaintiffs Seek to Establish a Federal Hair Relaxer Multi-District Litigation

On November 15th, 2022, plaintiffs in separate hair relaxer lawsuits filed a motion to consolidate their claims in front of one judge as a multi-district litigation (MDL). Plaintiffs will attempt to consolidate into an MDL to simplify complex cases and allow discovery and trial proceedings to be handled in one court. This can help to conserve resources, allow for consistent court rulings, and increase the chances of both parties negotiating a settlement.

The hair relaxer lawsuit plaintiffs filed a motion to transfer to establish a federal MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Their motion for transfer made the case for consolidation by mentioning, “Defendants knew or should have known that their hair relaxer products were dangerous and defective because they contain highly toxic EDCs and they manufactured, marketed, and sold them anyway. The only material difference among some of the Actions is the specific hair relaxer product(s) purchased and used by Plaintiffs.”

United States JPML to Hear Oral Arguments About the Hair Relaxer MDL on January 26th

The motion to consolidate the lawsuits notes that there are currently at least nine hair relaxer lawsuits involving 13 plaintiffs pending in four district federal courts. Before the lawsuits can consolidate into an MDL, the Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation (JPML) will have to hear oral arguments. 

The JPML’s job is to hear arguments to determine whether the civil actions should consolidate into an MDL and determine what court and judge will oversee the case. Hair relaxer plaintiffs will have their hearing before the JPML on January, 26th in Miami, Florida.

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

Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm with experience helping victims pursue compensation for damages caused by at-fault parties, including medical bills, lost earning potential, and mental anguish. We have product liability lawyers with claims experience that can help those that suffer adverse health conditions from hair relaxer products like Dark & Lovely and Just for Me. Our Hair relaxer lawyers are ready to hear your case and provide you with award-winning legal insight regarding your options for seeking compensation. Consumers deserve safe products free of chemicals that put them at unnecessary risk and those that put profit over the lives of consumers should face consequences. Consider contacting the product liability attorneys of Dolman Law about setting up a free consultation on your hair relaxer lawsuit today.


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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