Short Form Complaint Approved for Tylenol Autism Lawsuits

Short Form Complaint Approved for Tylenol Autism Lawsuits

Tylenol autism lawsuits have experienced another development that can significantly benefit the process of this litigation. In a win for the plaintiffs seeking compensation for developmental disorders caused by prenatal Tylenol exposure, the presiding judge over the multidistrict litigation approved a Short-Form complaint to be used in the filing of future Tylenol autism cases.

These many Tylenol autism lawsuits come on the heels of studies that indicate a significant risk of developmental disorders among children exposed prenatally to Tylenol when their mothers took the common over-the-counter drug while pregnant. Plaintiffs claim that developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD could have been avoided had Tylenol been properly labeled with warnings for use during pregnancy. 

What is Short-Form Complaint?

The litigation involving Tylenol has come to involve thousands of plaintiffs that claim to have been harmed by the failure to label the drug properly. These massive numbers of plaintiffs present a problem for the justice system that is tasked with seeing these claims handled efficiently and fairly. 

Numerous measures have been taken to consolidate and streamline these many Tylenol product liability lawsuits so that they do not overwhelm the courts among which, Short-Form complaints are included. Each case involved in this litigation is unique although they will often share many common threads that unite them together in this legal battle. 

Master and Short-Form Complaints

It is common in large product liability lawsuits with vast numbers of plaintiffs for the Court to approve a Master and Short-Form Complaint. These give plaintiff’s the ability to file future lawsuits in the relevant large-scale litigation through an abbreviated form. 

A Master Complaint is filed on behalf of all the plaintiffs in a large-scale lawsuit and gives a broad coverage of the complaints filed by the many plaintiffs involved. Individual plaintiffs looking to join the lawsuit in the future then file a Short-Form complaint which is an abbreviated and standardized version of the Master Complaint. Their Short-Form Complaints adopt certain allegations from the Master Complaint that suit the individual plaintiff’s case as well as a limited amount of case-specific information regarding details such as injuries and damages. 

This simplifies the process and makes management of the various claims much easier so that the process is more streamlined and efficient so that litigation can proceed all the more smoothly. 

Implementation of Short-Form Complaints in the Tylenol Autism Lawsuit

On Monday, January 9th, 2023, Judge Denise Cote, the presiding judge over the Tylenol multidistrict litigation (MDL), approved the Short-Form complaint proposed for families filing Tylenol autism lawsuits. 

The order by Judge Cote that approved these Short-Form Complaints also stated that any plaintiff who has a case pending in the MDL must file a Short-Form Complaint by January 20, 2023. Plaintiffs seeking to file a Tylenol autism case in the future are to complete a Short-Form complaint within 14 days of bringing their case regardless of whether it was filed with the MDL or transferred from another district. 

Other Tylenol Autism Lawsuit Developments

Short-Form complaints present only one of the many measures taken to address the massive number of plaintiffs in the Tylenol lawsuits. One of the first things done to address the number of claims was to consolidate the many Tylenol lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation. 

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established the Tylenol autism lawsuit as a multidistrict litigation in November 2022 under the oversight of Judge Denise Cote. This took all of the similar Tylenol lawsuits from around the country filed because of prenatal exposure to acetaminophen and centralized them. 

This action allows the many different claims filed under different courts across the country to be consolidated under a single court. Consolidation of all of these cases under an MDL also makes pretrial proceedings more efficient since the many claims can uniformly work through discovery and other proceedings. 

Judge Cote would go on to also appoint several lawyers from representing plaintiffs in the MDL to leadership roles in order to provide better delegation and management of the interests of all the claimants. 

Tylenol Lawsuit Bellwether Trials 

Another benefit of multidistrict litigation is the process of undertaking what are known as bellwether trials. These trials serve as a sort of dry run of formal trials that provide the opportunity for both sides of the suit to see how juries respond to evidence and the strength of the respective cases. 

Bellwether trials are intended to be representative of most of the individual lawsuits filed under an MDL and depending on their outcome, the likelihood of settlement or further trial is increased. 

Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Prenatal Exposure Connected to Autism Risk

The impetus for the slew of lawsuits that have been filed over prenatal exposure to Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen or paracetamol, was the publication of a study by John Hopkins University that determined that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen could disrupt fetal development and lead to further developmental issues such as autism spectrum disorder or ADHD as a child grows. Tylenol has been considered a safe over-the-counter main reliever for women during pregnancy and has been used extensively among that demographic for some time.

Ever since that study by John Hopkins University was published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2019, most have recommended against taking the common drug during pregnancy and thousands of parents have come to suspect its involvement in their child’s developmental problems. 

Seeking Compensation for Developmental Disorders Caused by Tylenol Use During Pregnancy

Children that suffer from developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and more are put at a disadvantage early on that can negatively affect their quality of life for the rest of their lives. Tylenol autism lawsuits can provide an opportunity to seek compensation for the damages caused by autism spectrum and other developmental disorders caused by prenatal acetaminophen exposure. 

Tylenol autism lawsuits do not seek to hold defendants such as retailers like Walmart accountable for the harm caused by developmental disorders simply because Tylenol can increase the risk of these disorders. Instead, the basis for these product liability lawsuits is the fact that Tylenol lacked an appropriate warning label to inform consumers of the risks associated with its use during pregnancy. If your child is suffering from developmental disorders such as autism or ADHD as a result of exposure to Tylenol in utero, then consider speaking to an experienced Tylenol autism lawyer today.  such as autism or ADHD as a result of exposure to Tylenol in utero, then consider speaking to an experienced Tylenol autism lawyer today. 


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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