Johnson & Johnson Appeals to Higher Court to Override Tylenol Autism Judge’s Rejection of Motion to Dismiss

Johnson & Johnson Appeals to Higher Court to Override Tylenol Autism Judge’s Rejection of Motion to Dismiss

Drug manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson are currently mired in a multidistrict litigation over claims that their acetaminophen-based products increase the risk of autism and ADHD in children when they are exposed in the womb. Johnson & Johnson, the makers of the popular over-the-counter in-relief drug Tylenol, are petitioning U.S. District Judge Denise Cote for approval to seek an appeal of her recent decision in a higher court. 

If their appeal to a higher court is successful, that could have significant implications for the ability of plaintiffs to recover compensation for their children’s medical bills, loss of quality of life, and other damages like lost wages. For parents pursuing compensation in a Tylenol autism lawsuit, hiring a reputable personal injury attorney is essential to ensuring that your position is communicated persuasively and your damages are documented for maximum compensation.

The potential risks of taking acetaminophen pain relief drugs during pregnancy have come under increasing scrutiny by the medical community. An NIH-funded study provided additional evidence to support a growing consensus that children who are exposed to acetaminophen while in utero are at a discernably higher risk of developing ADHD and autism. In the study, researchers analyzed acetaminophen levels in nearly 1,000 infants and determined that the babies with the highest levels of exposure were at a 20% increased risk for autism, and a 30% higher risk of ADHD. This research builds on other studies that reached similar conclusions and advised that acetaminophen-cased products like Tylenol be used in moderation.

Parents File Tylenol Autism Lawsuits Based on Drug Manufacturers’ Failure to Warn

After learning that their children’s autism or ADHD could be related to prenatal acetaminophen exposure, many parents are filing claims against drug manufacturers claiming that they did not provide a warning label that alerted pregnant women to the increased risk of their child developing autism or ADHD if the drug was taken during pregnancy. These claims make similar allegations of negligence against acetaminophen drug manufacturers, so the claims have been consolidated into a Tylenol autism multidistrict litigation.

District Judge Cote is receiving administrative support from a Special Master due to the number of claims, particularly in regard to the discovery process. In an effort to simplify the administrative procedure of filing a Tylenol autism lawsuit, District Judge Cote has approved the use of a Short form complaint for plaintiffs to provide a concise picture of the facts of their individual cases. Additionally, she has requested that plaintiffs submit fact sheets with the pertinent details of their case outlined. For plaintiffs who are looking to join the multidistrict litigation, direct filing is now permitted.

Drug Manufacturers Seek to Appeal Decision to Dismiss Preemption Argument

The representatives for Johnson & Johnson are currently asking District Judge Cote for the ability to pursue an interlocutory appeal with a higher court. That would allow the higher court to issue a ruling on their appeal of Judge Cote’s ruling to reject their motion to dismiss the claims against Johnson & Johnson, without disrupting the proceedings. This would likely have a profound impact on the outcome of the multidistrict litigation.

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson argue that if this issue is decided, there would be no need to continue with the effort of a multidistrict litigation, making it paramount that their appeal be considered immediately. They also claim that the interpretation of controlling questions of law relating to federal preemption of Tylenol labeling has room for reasonable disagreement.

This appeal comes after Judge Cote rejected J&J’s motion to dismiss the claims against them. Representatives for Johnson & Johnson had made an attempt to get the plaintiffs' claims dismissed based on the principle of preemption, an argument already brought by representatives for Walmart earlier on in the proceedings. 

In the new argument for preemption to apply, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson argued that they followed federal labeling guidelines for their products, and because federal law preempts state laws, they were unable to add warnings about the risk of autism and ADHD. District Judge Cote disagreed with the argument made by representatives for the defendants because she believed they had the authority and the ability to issue an additional warning. Recently, she directed plaintiffs to offer alternative language that they felt would constitute an appropriate warning on acetaminophen-based pain relievers, which proved to be a straightforward request, underlining her point.

Recovering Compensation for Damages in a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit

Parents of children with autism or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder often experience reoccurring costs, whether those costs be financial or emotional in nature, not to mention the costs that the children themselves will sustain throughout the course of their life. These long-term damages can be compensated in a Tylenol autism lawsuit. Plaintiffs can pursue compensation for financial losses in the form of economic damages, as well as compensation for intangible costs in the form of non-economic damages.

ADHD and autism are both chronic conditions that last a lifetime, impacting a child’s academic future, career options, and emotional health. That can lead to an accumulation of both economic and non-economic damages. For example, parents of autistic children with high support needs or comorbid conditions may be dealing with ongoing medical expenses and endure high levels of stress. This can take a toll on a family’s finances, dynamics, and stress levels.

Examples of Damages in a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit:

  • Medical bills
    • Medication
    • Therapy
    • Caregiver services
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Job-related losses
    • Lost wages
    • Missed promotions
    • Reduced earning capacity

With the number of Tylenol autism claims increasing, defendants are motivated to minimize the amount of damages they are liable for compensating. The best way to protect the integrity of your claim and maximize your compensation is to hire the best Tylenol autism attorney in your area to represent you and your family. They will have the negotiating skills, the legal knowledge, and the subject matter expertise to mount an effective campaign for compensation in a Tylenol autism lawsuit.


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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