Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit | April 2023 Update

Gerard Ortiz

Our lawyers are reviewing hair relaxer lawsuits in all 50 states.  Our focus is on

Our law firm is concentrating our efforts on the following:

Our attorneys also review chemical hair straightener lawsuits involving Optimum Salon and other hair perms and hair straightener products.

Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit Update

Our law firm has been and will be the leading source of news, updates, and information about hair relaxer lawsuits in this country. Our attorneys are committed to keeping our clients and other victims informed.  So bookmark this page and come back for the latest information.

March 31, 2023 – Case Management Order for Direct Filing of Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

The MDL judge yesterday issued an order that allows any plaintiff whose case would be subject to transfer to the hair relaxer class action lawsuit to file their case directly in the MDL in the Northern District of Illinois. The order outlines specific procedures for direct filing, including a required filing fee and a designated venue in the complaint. This order does not constitute a waiver of any party’s legal rights or remedies, nor does it determine the choice of law or jurisdiction. Defendants need not respond to any complaint filed directly in the MDL unless ordered by the court or by agreement of the parties.

March 27, 2023 – Revlon Part II

Revlon is one of the biggest and best known cosmetic companies in the world and sells chemical hair relaxer products. Revlon has not been named as a defendant in the hair relaxer cancer lawsuits, however, because shortly before the hair relaxer litigation got started Revlon Inc. filed bankruptcy.

Revlon’s pending bankruptcy has prevent potential plaintiffs from filing hair relaxer lawsuits against the company, but this does not mean that Revlon will escape any liability. The PSC in the hair relaxer class action recent filed a report advising MDL Judge Mary Rowland about the status of the Revlon bankruptcy. According to that report, the PSC has already filed a claim against Revlon on behalf of hair relaxer plaintiffs. This means that Revlon’s potential liability in the hair relaxer class action will have to be estimated and then accounted for in any bankruptcy reorganization plan.

March 21, 2023 – Revlon Bankruptcy

Revlon, a cosmetics company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York last year, even before the chemical hair straightener lawsuit got rolling.  Crème of Nature, Herba Rich, African Pride, French Perm, Fabulaxer, Revlon Professional, Revlon Realistic,  and All Ways Natural Relaxer are listed by Revlon as products in the litigation.

No surprise here. But your hair relaxer lawyer must preserve your claim against Revlon with the bankruptcy court if you used these products.

March 16, 2023 – Pending Lawsuit

There are now 78 active cases pending in the hair relaxer class action MDL in the Northern District of Chicago. Fifty-seven new hair relaxer cases were transferred straightener to the MDL from federal courts across the country over the last month. This is probably a sign of things to come. Don’t be surprised if we start seeing 200 new cases a month in this MDL by the end of this year.

March 14, 2023 – Direct Filing for a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

At the most recent MDL status conference, Judge Rowland indicated that she is going to allow future cases from around the country to be directly filed in the MDL using a short form complaint. This will streamline the process of added new cases to the hair relaxer class action MDL by enabling new plaintiffs to initiate their case in the MDL as opposed to filing in their home district and having the case transferred into the MDL. Judge Rowland gave the parties a deadline of March 31 to submit a proposed order for direct filing.

March 11, 2023 – Litigation Update

This post sets out where the hair relaxer class action is today and where it is going so you can better understand what is ahead in this litigation. We also recently updated our hysterectomy page that drills down that particular injury from chemical hair straighteners because so many victims we are talking to required a hysterectomy.

March 1, 2023 – Status Conference

The first status conference in the hair relaxer class action MDL will be held tomorrow in Chicago before MDL Judge Mary Rowland. Judge’s Rowland first item of business will be the formation of a plaintiffs’ steering committee (PSC). The PSC will be a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers appointed by Judge Rowland who will meet regularly and make collective decisions on behalf of all the other plaintiffs in the litigation. Judge Rowland will also consider other housekeeping items such as protocol for the discovery of electronic information and preservation of evidence.

February 27, 2023 – Case Count

Twenty-four new hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in federal courts last week. That marks the highest weekly volume of new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits to date and it could be the start of a major wave of new cases.

All 24 of the new hair relaxer cases were filed on Thursday and Friday of last week and 21 of them were filed in the Northern District of Illinois where the hair relaxer class action already pending.

February 19, 2023 – Case Count

Since the start of February, eleven more hair relaxer product liability lawsuits have been filed in federal courts. Seven of the cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois. The remaining four were filed in districts across the country, but they will all be transferred into the new MDL hair relaxer class action lawsuit in Chicago.

February 7, 2023 – Trump Appointed Judge

Yesterday, the JPML issued an Order consolidating all hair relaxer cancer lawsuits in federal courts into a new MDL class action litigation in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The new hair relaxer MDL will start with around 60 pending cases from districts across the country. The mass tort has been assigned to Judge Mary Rowland, a former Magistrate Judge appointed as a full District Court Judge by President Trump in 2019.

We avoid politics here.  But let’s be honest.  In a vacuum, a Trump nominee is a concern.  Those judges have – not always but generally – been less unfavorable (ironically, because Trump is so litigious) to plaintiffs.  But Judge Rowland received wide bipartisan support for confirmation and their is no reason to believe she will be anything other than a fair and impartial judge.

February 6, 2023 – Class Action Starts

The MDL Panel agreed there should be a hair relaxer class action lawsuit.  The court also agreed with plaintiffs that Illinois is the most appropriate venue for the class action.

This is a big deal.

February 5, 2023 – EPA and DINPs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it plans to start regulating phthalates like Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) as toxic chemicals subject to reporting requirements. This is significant because phthalates, specifically DINP, are the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxer products that are believed to cause hormone cancers such as uterine and ovarian cancer.

February 1, 2023:  More Suits Filed Pending the MDL Panel’s Class Action Decision

Over the last ten days, another seven new hair relaxer tort lawsuits were filed in federal courts. These most recent hair relaxer cases were spread across seven federal districts: the District of Maryland, the Southern District of Illinois, the Western District of Washington, the Western District of Missouri, and the Central District of California. A total of 23 hair relaxer lawsuits were filed in January. Sometime this month – maybe this week – the JPML is expected to consolidate the hair relaxer cases into a new class action lawsuit, hopefully in Chicago.

January 27, 2023: MDL Panel Meets

The MDL Panel meets today in Florida to determine (1) if there will be a hair relaxer class action lawsuit and (2), if so, where that lawsuit will be housed.  The Panel will not rule today. It will likely issue a ruling in a few weeks if history is a guide. We expect these cases to be consolidated in Illinois (the defendants are pushing for New York, which would not be bad). This means that all federal hair relaxer lawsuits, whether filed in Texas, California, Georgia, or any other state in the country, would be sent to a single federal courthouse.

January 17, 2023: New Relaxer Lawsuits

Since the start of this week,  three new hair relaxer product liability lawsuits have been filed in federal courts. Two were filed in the Central District of California, and one was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The primary injury alleged in all three of these new cases is uterine cancer. The products named in the lawsuits include Dark & Lovely, ORS Olive Oil, Just For Me, African Pride, Motions, etc.

January 15, 2023: Litigation Update

Since the start of this year, seven new hair relaxer lawsuits have been filed in federal courts, with five of them getting filed this week. The cases were filed in four different federal district courts, including the Western District of Missouri (4), the Eastern District of Michigan (1), the Northern District of Ohio (1), and the Eastern District of Louisiana (1). Five of the cases allege uterine cancer as the primary injury. The injuries claimed in the other two hair straightener lawsuits are ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids.

January 11, 2023:  Class Action Hearing Date Set

The class action hearing will be on January 26, 2003.

January 3, 2023: Hair Relaxer Litigation Continues to Grow

The hair relaxer litigation continues to grow with the class action ruling expected in four weeks.  There have been no new suits during the holidays.  The last new hair relaxer lawsuit was filed on December 23rd.  But at least five more hair relaxer lawsuits have been filed in federal courts in December.

Four cases were brought in the Northern District of Illinois, and one was filed in the Southern District of Ohio. Two of these cases allege uterine fibroids as the primary injury, and the other 3 are uterine cancer cases. If this pace of new filings continues, around 25 hair relaxer lawsuits should be pending by the time the JPML decides on the MDL next month.

This current number of lawsuits belies how many hair relaxer lawsuits our attorneys expect will be brought in an eventual class action.  Our law firm has over 1,000 clients in a concise period.  There will likely be over 100,000 suits filed in this litigation. This may ultimately be one of American history’s most significant class action lawsuits.

December 29, 2022: New Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Just before Christmas, a new hair relaxer lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois.  In Sanders v. Loreal, a uterine cancer lawsuit is filed against the most common plaintiffs in this litigation:

  • L’Oreal is the parent company of Softsheen-Carson, Inc., which makes Dark & Lovely, Optimum, and other brands
  • Strength of Nature, LLC (a subsidiary of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.) manufactures the Just for Me and Motions line of relaxer products.
  • Namaste Laboratories LLC is the subsidiary of Dabur Ltd., which makes the popular ORS line of hair relaxer products.

December 20, 2022: Hearing Set on Class Action Motion

On January 26, 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) held a hearing to decide whether to consolidate the hair relaxer lawsuits in the federal courts into a new class action MDL. (As of January 28, 2023, we are waiting for the court ruling.)  A group of hair relaxer plaintiffs filed a motion requesting consolidation back in November. L’Oreal and the rest of the hair relaxer defendants are vehemently opposed to consolidation and will voice those objections at the hearing next month.

December 13, 2022: New Uterine Cancer Lawsuit

A recently filed hair relaxer lawsuit, Brownlee v. LÓreal USA, Inc., et al. (3:22-cv-336), was filed in the Southern District of Ohio.  The case was brought by an Ohio resident who alleges that she used chemical hair relaxer products continuously and regularly, starting when she was just 15 in 1973.

The suit identifies three specific hair relaxer products which Brownlee allegedly used: Dark & Lovely, Optimum, and Just for Me. The hair straightener lawsuit does not provide dates for when Brownlee used each lar product. Brownlee was diagnosed with uterine cancer in September 2010 when she was 52.

The defendants named in the Brownlee Complaint include LÓreal, Strength of Nature LLC, and Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (the parent company of Strength of Nature). Numerous causes of action are asserted against each defendant, including strict liability, failure to warn, and general negligence.

December 9, 2022: Defendants Oppose MDL

L’Oreal and other cosmetic company defendants filed a Response this week stating they oppose the consolidation of the hair relaxer lawsuits into a class action MDL. In its reply, L’Oreal argues that consolidation is not appropriate because the various hair relaxer cases do not involve common allegations or questions of fact.

From where we are sitting, this is a crazy assertion.  So many women call our lawyers every day looking to file a hair straightener lawsuit. Their stories are both sad and similar.

If the JPML grants the request and consolidates the hair relaxer cases, L’Oreal argues that the most appropriate forum for the MDL would be the Southern District of New York, where L’Oreal is headquartered, as opposed to Illinois.  Our lawyers believe these suits will be successful in New York, Illinois, or anywhere else.

December 8, 2022:  New Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

The first hair relaxer lawsuit involving injuries other than uterine cancer was recently filed in the Southern District of Georgia (Gamble v. Strength of Nature Global, LLC, et al. (4:22-cv-00256)).

The plaintiff alleges that she developed uterine fibroids at age 22 after continuously using hair relaxer products at the age of just 6. Her uterine fibroids caused extreme pain, and she underwent surgery to remove them in 2011. The uterine fibroids occurred again just eight years later.

The lawsuit names L’Oreal and a group of other cosmetic companies as defendants and claims that Gamble’s use of hair relaxers made by the defendants caused her to develop uterine fibroids.

November 27, 2022: Who Are the Chemical Hair Straightener Defendants?

So far, L’oreal is the only big-name company identified as a defendant in the hair relaxer cancer lawsuits.  Loreal is worth nearly $225 billion.

Other major corporations make hair relaxer products that will likely be brought into the litigation. The two most prominent companies in the hair relaxer market that have not been brought into the litigation so far are Unilever and Proctor & Gamble. Unilever hair relaxer brands include Sunsilk and Just For Me, and P&G’s leading relaxer brand is Ultra Sheen.

Unilever has a market cap of $123 billion, and P&G’s market cap is $344 billion.  These are huge companies that are used to settling lawsuits. So we are looking at deep-pocket defendants that can pay reasonable settlement compensation payouts. Our lawyers expect these companies to end up as crucial defendants in the evolving hair relaxer cancer litigation.

November 21, 2022: Medical Monitoring Class Action Sought

A new hair relaxer class action lawsuit was filed last week in Michigan seeking to establish a medical monitoring program for women who have used chemical hair relaxer products for many years.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of plaintiffs who allege that they (and thousands of other women) are now at increased risk of cancer due to their use of the defendants’ hair relaxer products. Instead of money damages, this lawsuit seeks to force the defendants to pay for a program that will monitor the health of members of the plaintiff class in the hopes of intervening with early medical treatment. This medical monitoring case comes in the same week the JPML was asked to consolidate the hair relaxer cancer cases into a new MDL class action.

This lawsuit may have merit.  Are our hair relaxer lawyers involved in these cases?  We are not.  Our focus is on women who have been harmed by hair relaxers, not people that will maybe one day be harmed.  There is a big difference.  So many women have been harmed – many more than our attorneys predicted when we first got involved.  So while a medical monitoring class action may have merit, our battle is for those women who have suffered from these chemicals that never should have been in hair relaxers.

November 16, 2022: New Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit Sought

November 15, 2022, lawyers representing a group of plaintiffs who have filed hair relaxer cancer lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting consolidation of the hair relaxer lawsuits into a new, class action lawsuit.

The motion notes nine hair relaxer cases involving thirteen individual plaintiffs pending in four different federal district courts. All of the cases allege that hair relaxer products caused uterine cancer.  The motion also points out that we have long known that hair relaxers cause burns that give these toxic chemicals an easy path to the body.

The motion requests that the MDL be assigned to Judge Mary Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The defendants named in the motion include L’Oreal USA, Inc. and a handful of smaller, non-public companies. The defendants will most likely agree to the class action – there will be so many hair relaxer lawsuits filed in the next few months –  but will probably request an alternative venue that they view as more favorable than Chicago.

What would be a jury pool more favorable to defendants?  I’ll say it out loud.  Defendants in these kinds of cases prefer jurisdictions that have fewer Black people on the jury.  The federal court in Chicago would be fair to plaintiffs and defendants.

New Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

A product liability lawsuit was filed last week against cosmetic company L’Oreal. It is the first of many hair relaxer cancer lawsuits that will be filed.  The suit alleges that chemicals in the company’s hair relaxer products caused uterine cancer. This lawsuit and others like it may pave the way for a hair relaxer class action that alleges these products cause uterine cancer.

In this post, we will look at the allegations in this in this suit, including the scientific evidence on causation.  Our attorneys also discuss the likelihood of more hair-relaxer lawsuits and what the potential per person settlement amounts for a chemical hair straightener lawsuit be.

Hair Relaxer Products

Hair relaxers are a group of cosmetic products primarily used by African American women to relax, flatten and straighten their hair.

All hair, regardless of ethnic origin, shares common characteristics in its chemical makeup and molecular structure. The hair shaft, lying in the center and growing up through the follicle, emerges from the scalp as threadlike structures. These hair fibers are each composed of three distinct regions: the cuticle and the outermost area consisting of lamellar layers of structural tissue. The cortex, the inner area comprising the bulk of the fiber, and the medulla (the innermost area lying at the center of the fiber).

High PH Systems

Hair relaxers are high-pH systems containing a strong alkali and are formulated as thick cream emulsions. Chemical hair relaxers are applied to the base of the hair and left in place for a “cooking” interval.  The bonds found in the hair are located within the keratin proteins. The most important type of bond found in the hair is the disulfide bond, also known as the cysteine bond.

Keratin is very sensitive to increases or decreases in the hydrogen ion concentration (or pH) of its environment. Although it is relatively resistant to the action of acids, keratin can be broken down by high-pH alkali solutions. This property is precisely what is exploited during relaxing.

How Hair Relaxers Work

The chemicals in hair relaxers are applied to the base of the hair shaft.  After the marination period, the hair relaxer changes the hair’s texture by compromising the hair’s protein structure. The effect of this protein damage straightens and smooths the hair.

After a period of weeks (4 – 8 weeks on average), depending on the hair’s natural growth rate, the treated portion of the hair grows away from the scalp as new growth sprouts from the roots, requiring additional relaxer treatment to smooth the roots.

These additional treatments are colloquially referred to in the community as “re-touches”, resulting in women relaxing their new growth every four to eight weeks on average, usually for decades.

The application loosens the hair’s tight curls and removes its kinkiness through a chemical reaction that breaks the disulfide bonds in the hair.  This potent mix of chemicals in the products attacks the hair’s protein structure, causing it to flatten.

Hair Relaxer Class Action

The first hair relaxer lawsuits were filed at the end of October 2022. These initial lawsuits were filed in federal courts in several different districts (Illinois, California, and New York) against L’Oreal and other cosmetic companies that manufacture hair relaxer products. Since then, several more hair relaxer personal injury lawsuits have been filed in federal courts nationwide. The chart below lists those cases filed as of December 2022.

11/22/22 Jackie Brownlee S.D. Ohio Dark & Lovely Uterine Cancer
3:22-cv-336 Optimum
Just for Me
11/2/22 Bernadette Gordon N.D. Illinois Dark & Lovely Uterine Cancer
1:22-cv-6033 Just for Me Breast Cancer
11/1/22 Timika Smith N.D. Illinois Dark & Lovely Uterine Cancer
Just for Me
Cantu Shea Butter
11/3/22 Diane Grant N.D. Illinois Care Free Curl Uterine Cancer
1:22-cv-6113 Optimum
Dark & Lovely
11/2/22 Shaquita Davis N.D. Illinois ORS Olive Oil Uterine Fibroids
1:22-cv-6560 Motions Endometriosis
Just for Me
10/26/22 Keaira Gamble S.D. Georgia Just for Me Uterine Fibroids
4:22-cv-256 Motions Endometriosis
ORS Olive Oil
10/26/22 Mahogany Lee S.D. Georgia Dark & Lovely Uterine Fibroids
4:22-cv-257 Optimum
African Pride
10/26/22 Terry Moore N.D. Illinois Dark & Lovely Uterine Cancer
1:22-cv-6785 Motions
ORS Olive Oil
10/21/22 Rugieyatu Bhonopha N.D. California Dark & Lovely Uterine Fibroids
3:22-cv-6395 Just for Me
ORS Olive Oil
10/21/22 Rhonda Terrell S.D. New York Motions Uterine Cancer
1:22-cv-9008 Dark & Lovely
Soft & Beautiful
10/21/22 Jenny Mitchell N.D. Illinois Motions Uterine Cancer
1:22-cv-5815 ORS Olive Oil
Dark & Lovely

In addition to these hair relaxer cases alleging personal injuries, several consumer class action hair relaxer cases have also been filed.

A group of plaintiffs have already filed a motion with the JPML asking for the hair relaxer cases in federal courts to be consolidated into a new class action MDL. L’Oreal and the other defendants have opposed this request.  But a hair relaxer class action lawsuit was certified in January 2023 in Illinois.  This means all federal hair relaxer lawsuits will be housed in federal court in Illinois.

EDCs and Phthalates in Hair Relaxers

As the Complaint in the Mitchell case underscores, hair relaxer products are known to contain very high levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (“EDCs”). EDCs are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system and interfere with hormone receptors.  EDCs are present in hair products under the guise of “fragrance” and “perfumes,” and thus enter the body when these products are exogenously applied to the hair and scalp. Phthalates, estrogens, and parabens are the EDCs typically found in hair products.

EDCs can act directly on hormone receptors, on proteins that control hormone delivery, or disrupt the endocrine system in various ways. EDCs can cause the body to operate as if there were a proliferation of a hormone, resulting in over-responding to a stimulus or responding when it was not supposed to by mimicking a natural hormone. They can increase or decrease hormone levels by affecting the production, degradation, and storage of hormones, and can block hormone stimuli by inducing epigenetic changes, altering the structure of target cells’ receptors, or modifying DNA that regulates gene expression.

Exposure to EDCs is linked to numerous adverse health outcomes such as endometriosis, impaired sperm quality, abnormalities in reproductive organs, various cancers, altered nervous system and immune function, respiratory problems, metabolic issues, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, growth, and neurological and learning disabilities. Specifically, EDCs have the potential to cause several hormone-dependent cancers, including ovarian cancer.

Black women of reproductive age tend to have higher biomarkers of exposure to EDCs.  No one could get their minds around the racial disparities in women’s health outcomes when it came to fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine cancer.  But now it is starting to make more sense.


The other problematic chemical in hair relaxers is phthalates. Phthalates, often called “plasticizers,” are chemicals used to help make certain plastics more durable. Phthalates are commonly used in a wide variety of various cosmetic products, including chemical hair relaxers.  Phthalates are known to interfere with natural hormone production.

The hair relaxer products manufactured by the defendants all contained phthalates, including Di-2- ethyl hexyl phthalate (“DEHP”). DEHP is a highly toxic manufactured chemical. It is not found naturally in the environment.

DEHP is considered a carcinogen. It is known to cause significant adverse-health effects including endometriosis, developmental abnormalities, reproductive dysfunction and infertility, and various cancers.

Other chemicals in hair straightening products include formaldehyde and parabens.  Which of these toxins in hair relaxers most contribute to causing cancer?  We are still figuring that out.

Why use these chemicals in hair relaxers if they can cause such harm?  It works and it is cheap.  Every Dark & Lovely lawsuit and other hair relaxer lawsuits will allege the manufacturer knew of the risks. Yet they did nothing to prevent these women from getting cancer because it was cheaper and easier to use cancer-causing chemicals.  If this is the evidence that a jury hears at trial, you will see large jury payouts that will ultimately lead to a significant class action hair relaxer settlement.

Lack of Federal Oversight Over These Chemicals

Making matters worse, the government provides little control over chemicals used for perms and hair straighteners.  Yes, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires an ingredient declaration on cosmetic products.  But the FDA is not minding the store.  Compounding the problem, there is no law requiring the listing of the individual fragrance or flavors, or ingredients. So potentially cancer-causing phthalates are not listed as long as they are combined with a fragrance.  It is ridiculous and hair relaxer lawsuits might be a catalyst for a change in the law.  Until then, consumers do not know the ingredient declaration if phthalates are in the product they are using.

Uterine Cancer

There are two different types of uterine cancer: endometrial and sarcoma. Endometrial uterine cancer is much more common and more treatable. The sarcoma type of uterine cancer is less common, but it is much more aggressive and difficult to treat.

Uterine cancer is a relatively common type of cancer. Around 65,000 new cases of uterine cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. This equates to around 3.5{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} of all new cancer cases annually. Around 12,500 women died from uterine cancer each year, which accounts for about 2{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} of cancer-related deaths.

The overall 5-year survival rate for uterine cancer is comparatively high at 81{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}. However, the sarcoma type of uterine cancer is much more aggressive and has a lower survival rate.

Uterine cancer has long been assumed to be caused by phthalate metabolites found in hair perms and relaxer products.

The hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuit in Mitchell alleges that “uterine cancer is associated with phthalate metabolites found in hair care products.” Uterine cancer is the 4th most common type of cancer in women. The incidence rate of uterine cancer in black women is twice that of white women in the United States.

The Complaint cites a significant medical study that recently found that women who used chemical hair relaxer products have a higher risk of contracting uterine cancer. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022. The study found that an estimated 1.64{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} of women who never used chemical hair straighteners or relaxers would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70.

Here is the key statistic that makes you stop in your tracks:  for frequent users, that risk more than doubles, increasing to 4.05{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}.

Hair Relaxer and Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is comparatively rare with only 20,000 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. This is less than 1{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} of all cancer cases. The 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is only 47{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, which is much lower than uterine and breast cancer. The biggest reason for this low survivability rate is that ovarian cancer typically has no symptoms in its early stages and there is no simple way to monitor it. As a result, most ovarian cancer cases are not diagnosed until they have reached more advanced stages at which point the cancer has already spread and is less treatable. This is mostly because ovarian cancer has very few symptoms in its earlier phases and is usually

There is solid scientific evidence linking chemical hair relaxers to higher rates of ovarian cancer. The source of this evidence is Sister Study being conducted at NIH. The NIH research team published an article in a medical journal in October 2021 reporting that the study data showed an association between the use of chemical hair relaxers and higher rates of ovarian cancer. The  Sister Study indicated that women who used hair relaxer products 4 times per year or more had a 50{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Do Hair Perms Also Have Uterine Cancer and Other Risks?

Getting a hair perm may expose you to the same risks as you would using a hair relaxer.  Why?  Because many of the same cancer-causing toxins in hair chemicals are used during hair smoothing treatments at the salon.  So may also see hair perm lawsuits flowing from this litigation.

Is There a Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit?

There is not a hair relaxer class action lawsuit as of January 2023.  But there was a hearing on whether there will be a federal hair relaxer class action lawsuit on January 27, 2023  We are awaiting the court’s ruling.

So right now, our lawyers are looking at these as individual hair relaxer lawsuits, not a class action.  But given the volume of new cases our law firm has been getting, a class action for hair relaxer victims already seems inevitable.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?

Is it too late to file a hair relaxer lawsuit? The answer will depend on the applicable statute of limitations in your state. A statute of limitations is a legal deadline on how long plaintiffs have to file a case. If plaintiffs do not get their case filed before the statute of limitations deadline, their claim will be barred and they will never be able to sue.

Each state has its own unique statute of limitations for personal injury cases like hair relaxer lawsuits. The length of the deadline to file a hair relaxer lawsuit varies by state. (Lookup the statute of limitations in all 50 States) If you are thinking about filing a hair relaxer lawsuit, what matter is not how long the limitation period is, but when that SOL period starts to run.

In most states, the start date for the statute of limitations is based on the application of the “discovery rule.” Under this common law rule, the statute of limitations period does not begin to run until the plaintiff knows (or reasonably should know) that they have a potential lawsuit.

The example below will help illustrate how the discovery rule might apply to a typical hair relaxer case:

Jane was diagnosed with uterine cancer 7 years ago. She has used chemical hair relaxer products regularly since she was 15. Jane recently heard from a friend that hair relaxers might cause uterine cancer and that people are filing lawsuits against the cosmetic companies that make these products. Jane’s state has a 2-year statute of limitations on injury claims. It has been more than 2 years since Jane was diagnosed with uterine cancer, but her state follows the discovery rule. Under the discovery rule, the 2-year SOL on Jane’s lawsuit does not begin to run until October 2022, which is when the study linking hair relaxers to uterine cancer was first published. Before that date, Jane had no way of reasonably discovering that she had a claim because there was no published evidence linking hair relaxer to cancer.

Unfortunately, the result in our example above might be different in some states. A minority of states have declined to follow the discovery rule and hold that the SOL period begins to run from the date of the plaintiff’s injury. In Jane’s case that would be when she was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago. Some states have a law called a “statute of repose” which puts a maximum time limit (usually 7-12 years) on bringing a claim regardless of whether the discovery rule applies or not.

Potential Settlement Amounts for Hair Relaxer Uterine Cancer Lawsuits

It is very premature to speculate on how much hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuits could be worth at trial or in a settlement. The case filed by Jenny Mitchell this week is the first product liability lawsuit claiming hair relaxer caused cancer. We still don’t know whether the scientific causation evidence in these cases will hold up in court. But the scientific evidence our lawyers have reviewed looks unbelievably strong which is why you are seeing so many lawyers putting up television commercials for victims with uterine cancer or other injuries who are looking to bring a hair relaxer lawsuit.

With the caveat that it is early in the hair straightener litigation, we can still speculate on the likely settlement amounts of these cases. If we assume that the causation evidence linking chemicals in hair relaxer to uterine cancer is adequate, our lawyers believe that a strong uterine cancer case could have a potential settlement payout between $300,000 to $1,750,000. Cases involving particularly young plaintiffs (such as Jenny Mitchell) could be worth significantly more since uterine cancer typically results in permanent infertility.

Uterine Cancer Settlements and Verdicts

Below are summaries of settlements and verdicts from prior cases in which uterine cancer was the primary injury. This might give us a lens to settlement amounts and jury payouts for a hair relaxer or hair perm lawsuit.  These are not product liability lawsuits. They are medical malpractice cases in which the plaintiffs are alleging that the doctor negligently failed to diagnose uterine cancer.

  • $1,800,000 Settlement (Illinois 2020): failure to diagnose uterine cancer in a 41-year-old plaintiff from Chicago resulted in a 4-year delay in treatment allowing cancer to progress. There is a big difference between a delay in diagnosing cancer and causing cancer from a jury’s perspective.  And… a doctor who makes an innocent mistake is also a more sympathetic defendant that a company that put toxic chemicals in their product without telling anyone.
  • $500,000 Settlement (Washington 2018): failure to diagnose due to poor communication resulting in a 5-month delay of uterine cancer in a 71-year-old plaintiff with a prior history of cancer.
  • $600,000 Settlement (New York 2015): failure to send an ultrasound report caused a delay in the diagnosis of uterine cancer in a 35-year-old woman. Despite the young age of the plaintiff, the settlement amount is likely lower because she did not plan on having more children.
  • $430,000 Settlement (Minnesota 2014): doctor settled the case for allegedly failing to diagnose uterine cancer in a 60-year-old patient resulting in a 2-year delay and progression of cancer to stage 3C.
  • $1,750,000 Settlement (Massachusetts 2013): failure to diagnose uterine cancer in 52-year-old plaintiff resulting in the spread of cancer to lungs and progression to the terminal stage.

There are different issues in these lawsuits – mostly medical malpractice – that you would see in a hair straightener lawsuit against O’Loreal or another one of these defendants.  But malpractice cases are often hard to prove. If these claims are strong, the harm is serious and the settlement amount could be very high.

Contact Us About Filing a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Our firm is currently investigating product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair perm and hair relaxer products cause uterine cancer. If you were diagnosed with uterine cancer after years of regularly using a chemical hair straightener, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

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