Who Are the Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Defendants?

Who Are the Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Defendants?

Multiple beauty companies are facing allegations of negligence after reputable studies determined that chemical hair relaxers contain carcinogens. These chemicals increase a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and other serious health issues. Currently, plaintiffs are waiting on a hearing to decide whether or not they can combine their claims into a multidistrict litigation. If you have been diagnosed with cancer of the reproductive system after long-term exposure to chemicals in hair relaxers, you should consider filing a personal injury claim. 

Many women have questions about which specific brands and products are responsible for their cancer or reproductive health issues, if they qualify to be plaintiffs, and what their claims are worth. The product liability lawyers of Dolman Law Group can assist you in evaluating your claim, calculating your damages, and negotiating for the maximum compensation possible. You can contact our team to schedule a free consultation to learn more about the services we offer.

The product liability lawsuits against negligent makers of chemical hair relaxers are based on recent findings that point to a causal relationship between the heavy usage of chemical hair relaxers and certain types of cancer. The health issues associated with chemical hair relaxer use include:

In some cases, researchers found that frequent and long-term use of chemical hair relaxers actually doubled a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer in her lifetime. Black women were at an increased risk as they use chemical hair relaxers at higher rates than women of other races. The studies connecting chemical hair relaxers to uterine cancer and other cancers relied on data originally collected in the Sister Study. 

Which Companies Are Being Sued in Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits?

The Sister Study did not ask participants to document which specific brands or products of chemical hair relaxers they used. As a result, knowing exactly which products are responsible for causing cancer is more challenging, especially because many women use more than one relaxer product to style their hair. That being said, many chemical hair relaxers appear to share a common defect, which is endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These toxins interfere with estrogen levels, leading to the uncontrollable growth of mutated cancer cells and other types of damage.

Several companies have been named in chemical hair relaxer cancer lawsuits. Other companies may yet still be named as more plaintiffs come forward. Thus far, this includes:

  • L’Oréal 
  • SoftSheen Carson
  • Strength of Nature
  • Dabur
  • Namaste Laboratories
  • Cantu Beauty

Why Are Beauty Companies Liable for Carcinogenic Chemical Hair Relaxers?

Product liability claims are brought on the basis of negligence in design, distribution, or marketing. In the hair relaxer cancer claims, plaintiffs argue that the makers of these hair care products should be liable for their damages based on their failure to warn consumers of the potential for cancer and other serious injuries. They claim that the makers had a responsibility to place a warning label alerting consumers to the fact that the frequent use of chemical hair relaxers increased their risk for cancers of the reproductive system.

Process of Establishing Fault in a Product Liability Claim

Product liability claims are a type of personal injury claim, and in order for a plaintiff to be entitled to damages from a personal injury claim they must meet certain criteria. The plaintiff’s representatives must begin by demonstrating that the defendant was obligated to show the plaintiff a duty of care. In this case, performing that duty of care would have looked like providing a warning label on chemical hair relaxers describing the increased risk of cancer. This failure to fulfill the duty of care is known as a breach.

The plaintiff’s representative will then need to connect the defendant’s breach of duty to the injury sustained by the client. In this case, consumers unknowingly used chemical hair relaxers that contained carcinogens, which they could have avoided if a warning label had been present. Finally, it is the product liability attorney’s job to explain how their client’s injury or illness resulted in their damages. If they are successful, then the two parties will negotiate the value of the damages.

Personal injury claims fall under civil law, which has a lower burden of proof on the plaintiff. The evidentiary standard for these types of claims is a preponderance of the evidence. In the context of the hair relaxer lawsuits, plaintiffs must make the case that it is more likely than not the fault of chemical hair relaxer makers that they have developed cancer and sustained damages.

Recovering Damages in a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Plaintiffs can recover a variety of compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Many plaintiffs in the hair relaxer cancer claims have undergone significant financial, physical, and emotional stress related to their cancer treatments. The logistics of receiving treatment alone can inflict a substantial burden on a patient and their family, forcing them to change their lifestyle, money habits, and schedules.

The purpose of compensatory damages is to return the monetary value of what has been taken from a plaintiff as a result of another party’s negligence. Plaintiffs can recover economic damages for their financial losses and non-economic damages for their sentimental or emotional losses.

Examples of Damages in a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses
    • Medication
    • Surgery
    • Hospital stays
    • Lab tests
    • Imaging
    • Chemo
    • Radiation therapy
    • Hormone therapy
  • Job-related losses
    • Lost wages
    • Reduced earning capacity
    • Missed promotions
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Wrongful death

Status of the Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

Representatives for plaintiffs have filed a motion requesting that their claims be considered as a multidistrict litigation. This hearing will be overseen by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on January 26th, 2023. If the JPML rules to proceed with the claims as multidistrict litigation, that would mean that the plaintiffs won’t have to individually investigate the connection between the carcinogenic hair relaxers and their cancer. 

Instead, they can pool their resources and present the evidence on behalf of all the plaintiffs, while still retaining their right to recover compensation for their specific damages. The defendants have argued against this perspective, citing the lack of specific data naming defective products.

If you are interested in filing a hair relaxer cancer lawsuit, you should contact a personal injury lawyer with a solid record of product liability experience as soon as possible to be mindful of the statute of limitations. They will be able to explain the dynamics of a multidistrict litigation in greater detail, assist with the process of filing paperwork and gathering evidence, protect your rights, and negotiate for maximum compensation.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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