Tylenol Autism Judge Rejects Johnson & Johnson Motion to Dismiss

Tylenol Autism Judge Rejects Johnson & Johnson Motion to Dismiss

U.S. District Judge Cote has ruled that the Tylenol autism lawsuits may proceed after representatives for drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson filed a motion to dismiss the claims. Parents are seeking compensation for damages like medical bills, reduced earning capacity, and emotional distress based on evidence that links prenatal exposure to acetaminophen to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The plaintiffs argue that drug manufacturers like Walmart and Johnson & Johnson are negligent because they did not provide this information on their warning labels. Hundreds of parents are now pursuing compensation in Tylenol autism lawsuits, which have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation. If you took Tylenol or other acetaminophen-based pain relief drugs during pregnancy and your child has since been diagnosed with ADHD or autism, you should speak with a product liability lawyer to determine if you have a claim for damages.

Preemption Argument Denied by Judge in Tylenol Autism Lawsuits Again

U.S. District Judge Cote of the Southern District of New York is responsible for managing the Tylenol autism multidistrict litigation. District Judge Cote issued a rejection of Johnson & Johnson’s motion to dismiss the claims against them on April 20th, 2023. The basis of Johnson & Johnson’s claim was that they had followed the FDA’s rules for providing warning labels, so they should not be held accountable for adhering to state laws that may be more stringent.

They argued that based on the principle of preemption, which is described in the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, following federal guidelines should be sufficient. District Judge Cote dismissed the motion and said that drug manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson were not precluded from including the warning about prenatal exposure on their labels, so plaintiffs will have the opportunity to provide evidence that they are liable.

Before District Judge Cote rejected Johnson & Johnson’s motion to dismiss, she had rejected a similar motion from Walmart. Representatives for Walmart are appealing this denial, but based on Judge Cote’s second rejection of a similar motion it is unlikely that their appeal will be successful. Johnson & Johnson’s representatives claimed that District Judge Cote had not been given the full picture in Walmart’s earlier motion, even though their arguments for dismissal were similar.

Understanding the Tylenol Autism Multidistrict Litigation

With a growing number of plaintiffs joining the MDL, District Judge Cote has simplified the claims process wherever possible by cutting down on detailed paperwork and unnecessary administrative tasks. For example, she has approved the use of a short form complaint, so new plaintiffs can offer a condensed summary of their complaint rather than a longer, more detailed version up front. The Tylenol autism multidistrict litigation is also relying on fact sheets to provide the court with the highlights of each claim.

Additionally, she has approved new plaintiffs to file their claims directly with the Tylenol autism multidistrict litigation to avoid the delay of the case being transferred from the plaintiff’s local jurisdiction. District Judge Cote is being assisted by a Special Master, who will help facilitate the flow of information between the parties involved and the court. Both sides have leadership groups to advocate for their positions.

Beyond organizing filing tasks and facilitating communication, District Judge Cote has requested that representatives for the plaintiffs draft an example of what they thought the warning labels on acetaminophen-based drugs should say about the risk of autism and ADHD when taken during pregnancy. Using evidence from several scientific studies to support their position, the plaintiffs are creating a compelling argument

Tylenol Use During Pregnancy May Cause Autism and ADHD in Children

Multiple research studies indicate that there is likely a causal relationship between using acetaminophen-based pain relief during pregnancy and autism and ADHD in children.

One meta-analysis of over 10,000 mother-child pairs found that the children with the highest levels of acetaminophen exposure were about 20% more likely to develop autism and 30% more likely to develop ADHD. Other studies have found comparable results. 

Researchers affiliated with Johns Hopkins University analyzed a significant data set that recorded the level of acetaminophen in the umbilical cords of babies born beginning in 1998. Babies with the greatest amount of exposure to acetaminophen were 2.86 times more likely to have ADHD, and 3.62 times more likely to have autism as compared to children in the study with little to no exposure. Parents of children with autism and ADHD are now pursuing compensation for damages in Tylenol autism/ADHD lawsuits based on drug companies’ failure to warn consumers about the risk of using these medications during pregnancy.

Recovering Damages in a Tylenol Autism ADHD Lawsuit

The impact of having ADHD or autism often lasts through childhood and into adulthood. People with ADHD or autism may struggle in social situations, traditional learning environments, and in the workplace. For many, this means incurring both emotional and monetary losses throughout their life. For example, an autistic person who has difficulty understanding social cues in the workplace may miss out on promotions, effectively stunting their career, hurting their self-esteem, and limiting their potential salary. 

A person with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder who has difficulty focusing in school and constantly interrupts may be branded as a troublemaker and be denied the assistance they need. Over time, their grades would likely continue to suffer, limiting their options for higher education and potential job prospects. Additionally, they may suffer from anxiety or depression as a result of their circumstances. In a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs can recover compensation for financial losses in the form of economic damages, and compensation for emotional losses in non-economic damages.

Examples of Damages in a Tylenol Autism ADHD Lawsuit:

  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Missed promotions
  • Reduced earning capacity

Contact a Tylenol Autism Lawyer

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or autism after being repeatedly exposed to acetaminophen in utero, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your damages in a product liability lawsuit. Don’t delay in securing a qualified Tylenol autism attorney to represent you. A personal injury attorney with a background in product liability will have the resources and expertise to represent you effectively and maximize your 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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