Tylenol MDL Judge Allows New Evidence Despite Dismissing All Experts in December

Tylenol MDL Judge Allows New Evidence Despite Dismissing All Experts in December

Recent developments could (potentially) reinvigorate the Tylenol Autism and ADHD MDL after Judge Cote has allowed a new expert report to be heard. 

In December 2023, Judge Denise Cote rejected all five of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses in the Tylenol Autism and ADHD lawsuit. This was more or less a death blow to the federal Tylenol Autism/ADHD case. Now, Judge Cote has allowed another group of plaintiffs to have their evidence heard despite her previous dismissal due to the lack of evidence that prenatal use of Tylenol causes neurodevelopmental disorders

thurgood marshall courthouse - Judge Allows New Tylenol Evidence - LLN

What happened in December?

December 2023 was the month that anyone following the Tylenol MDL was waiting for. 

On December 7, 2023, the Tylenol Daubert hearing allowed the defendants to examine the expert witnesses and challenge them on their evidence. 

The following Monday, Judge Cote released a 148-page ruling that rejected all five of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses due to a lack of evidence and failure to prove causation. This was a consequential (and disappointing) ruling for the plaintiffs. 

Judge Cote’s opinion found the science flawed, the experts unreliable, and the evidence inconsistent with the scientific consensus. Not one of the five expert witnesses’s testimonies was allowed. Judge Cote found their scientific methodology flawed and that they “cherry-picked” the evidence to get the desired result. 

Judge Cote said, “The unstructured approach adopted by the plaintiffs’ experts permitted cherry-picking, allowed a results-driven analysis, and obscured the complexities, inconsistencies, and weaknesses in the underlying data.” [See page 128]

With no experts or evidence, the judge more or less ended the Tylenol Autism and ADHD Lawsuit.

New Decision, New Expert in Tylenol MDL

Judge Cote’s decision has set a precedent and standard that will be hard to overcome for any future Tylenol plaintiffs. Individual lawsuits can still be filed in state courts, but the December decision significantly weakened their chances. 

However, Judge Cote has made a decision that shakes things up again. 

A new set of plaintiffs, known as the MOTA plaintiffs, are a group of families who were part of the MDL but joined after the December decision. This allowed their lawyers to successfully argue that they deserved their own day court, or at least their expert witness did. 

Judge Denise Cote agreed and allowed the expert to present their arguments.

On February 23, 2024, there will be a Daubert hearing to determine whether their expert witnesses' testimony about the link between Tylenol and autism/ADHD will be admissible in court.

Read more: Tylenol Autism Lawsuit FAQs

MOTA Plaintiffs Bring Long-time Prenatal Acetaminophen Critic Dr. Ness as an Expert

The claim that acetaminophen can potentially cause Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism (ASD) in children has been a topic of research and debate for a long time. 

However, establishing a direct cause-and-effect relationship between acetaminophen and neurodevelopmental disorders is complex because there are so many confounding factors. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t studies that show a very strong correlation.

One of the biggest people pushing for more information and warnings for women is Dr. Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH. She is a respected public health professional and epidemiologist who has been vocal for years about a connection between acetaminophen use by pregnant women and neurodevelopmental disorders in their children. She cites 29 studies that predominantly show a correlation between the disorders and the medicine.

Her goal has always been to inform people so that they can make their own decisions, but now she will play a pivotal role in the Tylenol MDL.

What Will Happen with the MOTA Plaintiffs?

Judge Cote will hear Dr. Ness’s testimony and decide whether the MOTA cases can proceed.

Suppose the expert testimony is allowed, and they can proceed in their litigation. In that case, it opens the door for the Mota plaintiffs to present their evidence of general causation, which could challenge the conclusions reached in the December ruling.

This situation also underscores the complicated nature of these legal proceedings, where new evidence and arguments can emerge, potentially altering the lawsuit's course.

In summary, this latest ruling by Judge Cote in the Tylenol Autism and ADHD MDL brings some attention back to the debate over the safety of acetaminophen and its potential link to neurodevelopmental disorders. By allowing a new expert report to be considered, the court acknowledges the possibility of revisiting previously established conclusions. 

The lawsuit brought by the Mota plaintiffs is one of the last legal battles facing Tylenol manufacturers over the alleged dangers of using Tylenol while pregnant. Should their expert witness be permitted to testify and their lawsuit move forward, it could spark renewed discussions. 

How important this situation turns out to be is yet to be seen. The outcome remains to be seen. Stay tuned to LLN for the latest updates.


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.

Learn More

Latest News