Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits MDL 3060
A recent study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirms that using hair relaxers to straighten hair doubles the risk of uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancer in women. This disturbing revelation disproportionately impacts black women who are the main consumers of hair relaxers, as marketing used to push these products reinforced Eurocentric beauty standards, which have long been used to oppress communities of color. As a result of the epidemiological proof that hair relaxers increase the risk of uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancers, hair relaxer lawsuits are being filed around the United States.
What is in Hair Relaxers?
Hair relaxers contain chemicals that straighten or “relax” natural hair. These chemicals, including Phthalates and formaldehyde and other parabens, disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with hormone receptors. The particular chemical in hair relaxers, called Di-2-ethyl hexyl Phthalate or DEHP is a probable human carcinogen. The dangerous chemicals in hair relaxer products are also known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Children exposed to the dangerous carcinogens in hair relaxers are at an even greater risk of eventually developing uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancer at some point during their lifetime. Also, the more times a person has used hair relaxers in their life time, the greater risk they are at developing uterine, endometrial or ovarian cancer. The hair relaxer lawsuits allege that the hair relaxer manufacturers knew that their products contained these dangerous carcinogens.
What Products are Included in the Hair Straightener Lawsuits?
- L’Oreal Products including Cream of nature, SoftSheen Carson, SSC Dark and Lovely and Mizani
- Coppola products including Keratin Smoothing Therapy and Brazilian Smoothing Treatment
- Strength of Nature Global, including Just for Me, Soft & Beautiful, African Pride
- Africa’s Best Including Herbal Intensive Dual Conditioning Relaxer, Touch-up Plus Moisturizing No-lye New Growth Relaxer, and Olive Oil No-Lye relaxers
- IBS Beauty, including IStraight Keratin Advanced Keratin Treatment
- Revlon products, including Conditional Crème Relaxer.
- Soft & Beautiful Product, Botanical Regular Texturizer, No-Lye Regular Texturizer and No Lye Sensitive Scalp Relaxer
- Silk Elements products including Magasilk Shea Butter Relaxer and Luxury Moisturizing Shea Butter Relaxer.
Of note, many of the hair relaxer products that are subject to lawsuits are still on the market. Just because a hair relaxer is still on the market does not mean that it is safe to use. The hair relaxer lawsuits allege that even the hair relaxers that are still on the market are dangerous and increase the risk of uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.
Hair Relaxer Lawsuit MDL 3060 Updates / History
On November 15 2022, a hair relaxer lawsuit motion to transfer was filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (”JPML”) requesting that all hair relaxer lawsuits be transferred to a single federal district court and that all of the hair relaxer lawsuits then be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). At the time the motion to transfer the hair relaxer lawsuits was filed, there were 13 hair relaxer lawsuits pending in four different federal district courts. The Plaintiffs in those initial hair relaxer lawsuits named L’Oreal USA and a handful of smaller companies as defendants. The initial hair relaxer lawsuit plaintiffs were located in the Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of California, Southern District of New York, and Southern District of Georgia.
The hair relaxer defendants responded to the motion to transfer the hair relaxer lawsuits pending before the JPML. In their response, the hair relaxer defendants opposed consolidating all of the hair relaxer lawsuits into a MDL. The JPML set a hearing for January 2023 to decide if all hair relaxer lawsuits filed in federal court would be consolidated.
On January 26, 2023, oral arguments before the JPML were held in Miami, Florida on if all federally filed hair relaxer lawsuits should be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation.
February 6, 2023, the JPML issued a transfer order to consolidate all hair relaxer lawsuits into the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The hair relaxer consolidation is officially known as MDL 3060 or In Re: Hair Relaxer Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation. The JPML assigned the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL 3060 to Judge Mary Rowland, who already presided over two of the pending hair relaxer lawsuits. The JPML remarked that The Honorable May M. Rowland “is a highly capable jurist with the ability and willingness to manage the proceedings efficiently. We are confident that she will steer this matter on a prudent course.” The JPML noted the following in its decision to consolidate all hair relaxer lawsuits into MDL 3060:
“On October 17, 2022, a study led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported findings that women who frequently used chemical hair straightening or hair relaxer products were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as women who did not use such products. These actions filed shortly thereafter, share common questions of fact arising from allegations that defendants’ hair relaxer products contain phthalates, including di–2-ethylhexylphthalate, or other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and that the use of such products caused or increased the risk of developing uterine, ovarian, or breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or other injuries to the reproductive system. All actions share common issues of fact regarding whether exposure to phthalates or other EDCs cause injury to the reproductive system, whether and when defendants knew or should have known of the alleged risks posed by hair relaxer products, and whether defendants engaged in adequate testing and post-market surveillance… Centralization will obviate the risk of duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings on pretrial issues such as what level of exposure to phthalates or other EDCs poses a risk of reproductive injury, and what obligation, if any, defendants had to disclose the presence of such chemicals in their hair relaxer products.”
It was also noted that there were hair relaxer class actions for money spent on hair relaxer products that were part of the motion to consolidate, which are different than the hair relaxer personal injury lawsuits, but both are consolidated together for pretrial purposes in the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL 3060. At the time MDL 3060 was formed there were 44 hair relaxer lawsuits pending in 15 federal district courts, a substantial increase in hair relaxer lawsuits since the filing of the motion to transfer.
Judge Mary Rowland held her first status conference since the formation of the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL 3060. On March 30, 2023, Judge Rowland entered case management order #2, allowing for direct filing of hair relaxer lawsuits into MDL 3060, even if the hair relaxer attorney is not admitted in the Northern District of Illinois, as long as the hair relaxer attorney is licensed in another federal court. A direct filing order such as this is likely to quickly increase the number of hair relaxer lawsuits filed into MDL 3060, because the hair relaxer attorneys will not have to wait on pro hac orders to be granted.
On April 17, 2023, case management order #3 was entered in the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL 3060, issuing a qualified protective order.
Two additional MDL 3060 case management orders were entered in the month of May. Case management order #4 was entered on May 18, 2023, outlining the protocol for producing hair relaxer documents and electronically stored information (ESI). The obligations also extend to the plaintiffs or those injured by the hair relaxer product, who must preserve any relevant social media, among other discoverable evidence. A few days later on May 24, 2023, case management order #5 was entered, which deals with confidentiality of the internal hair relaxer documents.
Hair Relaxer Attorneys
If you were diagnosed with uterine, ovarian or endometrial cancer and used hair relaxers consistently for at least a year, contact the hair relaxer attorneys at Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn today at 202-792-7927 for a free consultation. Our hair relaxer attorneys understand the nuisances of the hair relaxer lawsuit MDL 3060 and are ready to represent you. Contact our hair relaxer attorneys today for a free hair relaxer lawsuit case evaluation. Don’t wait if you or a loved one has developed uterine, ovarian, or endometrial cancer after using hair relaxer products, as all hair relaxer lawsuits are subject to various statute of limitations.