Hair Relaxer Lawsuits: How Victims are Fighting Back Against Negligent Manufacturers
Over the past three months, from December 2022 to February 2023, victims of hair relaxer chemical exposure have put forth significant effort and pushed back against the manufacturers of these potentially harmful products.
December Witnesses a Growing Number of Hair Relaxer Lawsuits
On December 8, 2022, the first hair relaxer lawsuit involving injuries besides uterine cancer was filed in Georgia federal court. The plaintiff in this case claims to have developed uterine fibroids at the young age of 22 after continued use of hair relaxer products from when the woman was 6 years old. Due to extreme pain caused by uterine fibroids, in 2011, the woman decided to undergo surgery. Eight years later, the woman experienced the same type of pain. This lawsuit names L’Oreal and several other cosmetic companies as defendants. The lawsuit claims that the woman’s use of hair relaxers made by the defendant’s led to her developing uterine fibroids.
The next day, L’Oreal and several other cosmetic company manufacturers named as defendants filed a response stating their opposition to the consolidation of hair relaxer lawsuits into a class action multidistrict litigation. As part of its reply, L’Oreal claimed that the consolidation is not appropriate because hair relaxer cases do not involve either common allegations or common questions of facts. If multidistrict litigation is granted, L’Oreal argues the most appropriate forum is New York, where the company is headquartered.
Several days later, on December 13, a new hair relaxer lawsuit was filed against L’Oreal in Ohio federal court. The case was brought by a plaintiff who claims that she has used a hair relaxer routinely since she was the age of 15. The lawsuit names Dark & Lovely, Just For Me, and Optimum as the products in question. The lawsuit does not state dates for when each product was used, but the woman was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2010 at the age of 52.
January Sees an Increase in the Number of Hair Relaxer Lawsuits
On January 3, 2023, the hair relaxer litigation movement continued to expand, with class action rulings expected in several weeks. At this time, more than 100,000 hair relaxer lawsuits are anticipated in this litigation, which might make this class action one of the biggest ones in U.S. history.
A week later, on January 11, 2023, it was announced that a class action hearing involving hair relaxers would be heard on January 26, 2026.
By the halfway mark of January, several new hair relaxer lawsuits were already filed in federal courts. The cases were filed in several federal district courts, including Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Louisiana. Five of the cases claim that uterine cancer was the primary injury caused by hair relaxers. The injuries in the other lawsuits both involve ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids.
A couple of days later, three new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits were filed in federal court. Two of these lawsuits were filed in California and Washington, D.C. The primary injury claimed in all of these lawsuits was uterine cancer, and named several products, including African Pride, Dark & Lovely, Just For Me, Motions, and ORS Olive Oil.
Toward the end of January 26, 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation held a hearing to assess whether they should consolidate the hair relaxer lawsuits in federal court into a new class action.
February Sees More Cases and the Commencement of a Chicago Class Action
At the start of February, several new hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in federal courts in various federal courts, including Maryland, Illinois, Washington, Missouri, and California. The same day, the multidistrict litigation panel met to decide if there would be a hair relaxer class action lawsuit and where the lawsuit would take place.
On February 5, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency commented that it plans to begin regulating phthalates (like Dilosonyl Phthalate (DINP)) as toxic chemicals subject to reporting requirements. This is substantial because these substances disrupt the endocrine system and can be found in hair relaxer products. These substances can end up causing various hormone-related cancers, including both ovarian and uterine cancers.
On February 7, 2023, an Order was issued consolidating all hair relaxer cancer lawsuits in federal cases into new multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Illinois. The multidistrict litigation will begin with 60 pending cases from federal courts throughout the country. The multidistrict litigation panel agreed that a new hair relaxer class action lawsuit should be created and that Illinois is the most appropriate venue for such an action.
Later in February 2023, almost a dozen more hair relaxer product liability lawsuits were filed in federal court. Several of these cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois, while the remaining were filed in federal courts throughout the country.
In the weeks since February 2023, dozens of hair relaxer lawsuits have been filed in federal court. This symbolizes the highest weekly volume of new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits, and it could represent a tide of new cases involving claims against these products.
One of the first big steps that hair relaxer victims took was a status conference involving multidistrict litigation. The judge in this case’s primary business was the creation of a plaintiff’s steering committee, which is a group of plaintiff’s attorneys appointed by the judge who meets routinely and makes decisions regarding all the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Attorney
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness like uterine cancer or endometrial cancer after the use of a hair relaxer, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe. LLP today for assistance. During a free case evaluation, we can review your available options to pursue compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900