Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Target a New Wave of Defendants

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A second wave of defendants has been added to the chemical hair relaxers multidistrict litigation (MDL). The newly added defendants include:

  • Roux Laboratories
  • Advance Beauty Systems, Inc.
  • RNA Corp
  • Wella Operations US, LLC and Wella AG
  • Murrays Worldwide, Inc.
  • John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc.
  • Bronner Brothers, Inc.

“These defendants will be on a separate MDL track for both discovery and the bellwether process,” said Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR) Attorney Chelsie Green, who serves on the Leadership Development Committee for the hair relaxer MDL. 

“Another set of defendants are being investigated, but it’s not confirmed at this time whether a third wave of defendants is to come,” Green added.

First Round of Defendants in the Hair Relaxer MDL

Previously named defendants in the hair relaxer lawsuits include:

  • L’Oreal
  • Revlon
  • Soft Sheen Carson
  • Strength of Nature
  • Godrej
  • Namaste Laboratories
  • McBride Research Laboratories
  • AFAM Concept, Inc.
  • Avalon Industries
  • Beauty Bell Enterprises
  • House of Cheatham
  • Luster Products

What Are Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?

In October 2022, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed findings from a study showing that women who frequently used chemical hair relaxer or straightening products had twice the risk of developing uterine cancer as those who did not use these types of products.

The hair relaxer lawsuits claim that exposure to the products’  phthalates—including di-2-ethylhexylphthalate or other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)—caused women to develop uterine or ovarian cancer.

In February 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the hair relaxer MDL (IN RE: HAIR RELAXER MARKETING, SALES PRACTICES, AND PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, MDL No. 3060).  In a February 6, 2023, Transfer Order, all actions pending in federal courts were transferred and centralized in the Northern District of Illinois under the Honorable Mary M. Rowland.

As of May 1, 2024, more than 8,400 cases are pending in the hair relaxer MDL.

On March 3, 2023, Judge Rowland appointed Brian Barr to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for this litigation.