District court largely denies L’Oreal, Revlon, other companies’ attempts to dismiss 8,000+ case multidistrict hair relaxer use injury litigation

As reported by Law360 (subscription), plaintiffs represented by Lieff Cabraser and numerous co-counsel were successful in defeating L’Oreal, Revlon, and other companies’ attempts to get thousands of coordinated hair relaxer-linked cancer injury lawsuits dismissed at the pretrial stage of proceedings.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland ruled injury and other claims from over 8,000 separate lawsuits could proceed, including negligence, strict liability for design defect and failure to warn, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment and wrongful death. Judge Rowland did dismiss four fraud-based claims, but held that the bulk of plaintiffs’ claims should move forward.

“The allegations read as a whole give rise to the inference that defendants’ conduct proximately caused plaintiffs’ injuries: more is not needed at this stage,” Judge Rowland said, noting that the consumers also alleged that the companies “knew or should have known that phthalates and other [endocrine-disrupting chemicals] in their hair relaxer products significantly increase the risk of cancers and other negative health conditions.”

The lawsuits, which were consolidated in Illinois in February, generally accuse L’Oreal and other companies of selling hair relaxation, or lanthionization, products that caused or increased the risk of women developing uterine, ovarian or breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or other injuries to the reproductive system.

The hair relaxer products at issue can be applied by cosmetologists or at home, and they temporarily straighten and smooth hair in a process that can cause burns and lesions on the scalp and allow hair relaxer chemicals to enter the body, according to the plaintiffs.

Read the full story on Law360.com (subscription link).

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser represents over one hundred women who have been diagnosed with cancer after using hair relaxers. Their lawsuits are consolidated with thousands of others in federal court in Chicago in front of Judge Mary M. Rowland, which allows plaintiffs to litigate collectively against the companies responsible for these products. Judge Rowland created a Plaintiff’s Leadership Committee to manage the collective litigation, and appointed Lieff Cabraser’s Kelly M. Dermody to serve on the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee based on her experience and leadership in complex litigation and women’s rights.

Learn more about Lieff Cabraser’s work on the lawsuits on behalf of women who allege their gynecological cancers are related to their long-term use of hair relaxer products.

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