Two new hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in two different federal courts yesterday. The plaintiffs in both hair relaxer suits allege that their long-term use of chemical hair relaxer products caused them to develop uterine cancer. We we will look at the allegations in these most recent cases and discuss the course of nascent hair relaxer litigation.
Debra Ward v. L’Oreal USA, Inc, et al.
The second hair relaxer lawsuit filed yesterday was Debra Ward v. L’Oreal USA Inc., et al. (2:23-cv-00082), which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiff, Debra Ward, is a resident of Bellevue, which is near Seattle in King County, Washington.
The 27-page Complaint identifies just two hair relaxer products allegedly used by the plaintiff for over 40 years: Dark & Lovely and Motions. A group of four corporations were named as defendants in the lawsuit:
L’Oreal is the parent company of SoftSheen-Carson, which manufactures Dark & Lovely. Strength of Nature makes Motions brand hair relaxer and is a subsidiary of Godrej Group, a large international corporation based in India.
After identifying the parties, the Complaint in Ward goes on to recite the history of hair relaxer in the U.S. and the standard summary of the science linking chemicals in hair relaxer products to uterine cancer and another hormone-related disease.
According to the plaintiff-specific fact allegations, Ward used hair relaxer products regularly for 40 years. She applied the products at home and sometimes at the salon.
In October 2021, Ward was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent a full hysterectomy. She claims to have no family history of uterine cancer.
Although the Complaint does not disclose her age, Ward was likely in her 50s at the time of diagnosis based on her statement that she used relaxer products for 40 years.
The Ward Complaint identifies just 3 separate causes of action: (1) strict liability under the Washington Product Liability Act, (2) Violation of the Washington Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, and (3) Fraud.
Carrie Jones v. L’Oreal USA Inc., et al.
The first hair relaxer lawsuits filed yesterday was the case of Carrie Jones v. L’Oreal USA Inc., et al. (1:23-cv-00283), which was filed in the Northern District of Illinois.
This is the 14th hair relaxer lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois, which is by far the most of any federal district. Jones is a resident of Chicago.
The Complaint in the Jones case identifies a group of 4 separate hair relaxer products Jones allegedly used: Dark & Lovely, Carson SoftSheen, African Pride, and ORS Olive Oil. The Jones case involves a slightly larger group of defendants:
- L’Oreal USA, Inc.
- L’Oreal USA Products, Inc.
- SoftSheen-Carson LLC
- Strength of Nature LLC
- Godrej Son Holdings, Inc.
- Dabur International Ltd.
- Dabur International USA, Ltd.
- Namaste Laboratories, LLC
Namaste Laboratories is the manufacturer of ORS, a very popular brand of hair relaxer. Namaste is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dabur International, another large corporation headquartered in India. The 57-page Complaint filed by Jones contains the same boilerplate fact section regarding the history of hair relaxers and the scientific evidence we have seen in all hair relaxer lawsuits.
In the plaintiff-specific fact section, Jones alleges that she was “first exposed to EDCs and/or phthalate-based products around 1991, at or around the age of 13, when she began using Defendants’ Products.” Jones states that she used hair relaxer products regularly from 1991 to 2015. In 2017, Jones was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 39. Jones has undergone extensive medical treatment for her cancer.
Jones sets forth 13 separate causes of action in her Complaint. Her primary causes of action appear to be failure to warn and design defect. In addition to these product liability claims, however, Jones also asserts three separate claims involving allegations of fraud.
- Some many women are calling us with a hysterectomy as a result of uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, and endometriosis that wrote a hair relaxer hysterectomy page to flush out the potential settlements and jury payouts for this injury
About the Hair Relaxer Lawsuits
The Jones and Ward cases filed yesterday bring the total number of hair relaxer product liability lawsuits pending in federal court up to 30. The first hair relaxer cases were filed in October 2022. The rate of new case filings has increased significantly since the start of 2023. Fourteen hair relaxer lawsuits have been filed in 9 different federal districts since January 1st. Half of these have been filed in the last week alone.
The 30 hair relaxer lawsuits are pending in 14 different federal district courts, with the Northern District of Illinois having the most cases at 11.
|California (Central District)
|California (Northern District)
|District of Columbia
|Georgia (Southern District)
|Illinois (Northern District)
|Louisiana (Eastern District)
|Michigan (Eastern District)
|Missouri (Western District)
|New York (Eastern District)
|New York (Southern District)
|Ohio (Northern District)
|Ohio (Southern District)
|Washington (Western District)
The influx of new hair relaxer cases since the start of the new year all but guarantees that the JPML will grant the motion to consolidate the cases into a new class action MDL. The hearing on that motion is set for next week.
Contact Us About Filing a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit
Our firm is currently investigating product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair relaxer caused uterine cancer, and other conditions. If you think you qualify for a lawsuit involving chemical hair straightener, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.