For decades, healthcare providers have advised pregnant women to use Tylenol or other acetaminophen-based drugs for pain relief as opposed to other medications like ibuprofen. Recent research has discovered that acetaminophen is not the safe alternative that doctors, parents, and government regulators were led to believe it was. Multiple studies have linked the use of acetaminophen-based drugs by pregnant women to autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their children.
Thus far, over 100 Tylenol autism lawsuits have been brought primarily against retailers like Walmart and CVS. Parents are seeking compensation for the medical bills and lost wages they have incurred to manage their children’s chronic conditions and other losses that their family is likely to sustain in the future. If you have reason to believe that you may qualify for compensation in a Tylenol autism lawsuit, you should seek out the services of a product liability attorney to determine your eligibility, calculate your damages, and review the personal injury claims process.
Parents Sue Retailers Over Link Between Autism and Acetaminophen Products
The number of Tylenol autism lawsuits has grown as more parents have recognized that their child’s autism or ADHD is potentially related to prenatal exposure to acetaminophen. These claims are based on evidence from a number of studies that have shown a correlation between pregnant women taking drugs like Tylenol during their pregnancy and the risk of children developing autism and ADHD.
One study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins revealed that a child who was repeatedly exposed to acetaminophen in the womb was 20% more likely to develop Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Researchers examined the levels of acetaminophen present in the umbilical cords of 996 infants from the Boston Birth Cohort. The data also showed that the children with the highest levels of exposure were 30% more likely to develop ADHD. This evidence is consistent with the findings of other studies, such as the analysis of the Danish Birth Cohort that was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology in 2021.
In fact, in 2021 a group of 13 highly reputable scientists authored a consensus statement that warned expectant mothers against using acetaminophen-based pain-relief drugs during pregnancy. It was supported by nearly 100 other experts. Parents are leveraging this body of scientific evidence to hold the makers of Tylenol and other generic acetaminophen-based drugs liable for failing to warn parents about these risks.
Judge Attempts to Simplify Tylenol Autism Multidistrict Litigation Process
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote for the Southern District of New York is presiding over the Tylenol autism lawsuits. With over 100 plaintiffs using the same evidence to lodge similar claims against a specific group of defendants, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined that the most efficient and equitable way to proceed was to consolidate the claims into a group known as a multidistrict litigation.
This still leaves Judge Cote with a large number of claims to manage. Since being assigned this multidistrict litigation, she has appointed a Special Master to assist her by making sure court orders are carried out, facilitating the flow of information, and generally being her right hand. She has also directed plaintiffs to file a short-form complaint when they join the MDL to streamline the process.
In order to avoid the hassle and delay of waiting for individual claims to be transferred from other jurisdictions into the multidistrict litigation, Judge Cote has authorized future plaintiffs to directly file a claim under the multidistrict litigation. Most recently, U.S. District Judge Cote has directed plaintiffs to complete a Plaintiff Fact Sheet. This provides the court with pertinent information for individual claims in a condensed format, such as a family medical history.
Plaintiff Says Consumers Should Be Educated About Tylenol Risks
Karleen DeGroodt, the mother of a young son with autism, is one of the many plaintiffs bringing a product liability lawsuit against the makers of Tylenol and other acetaminophen drug manufacturers. She detected her son’s autism at an early age and notes that he struggled to socialize, meet critical developmental milestones, and had delayed speech. After a thorough examination of family medical history and new Tylenol autism studies, DeGroodt came to the conclusion that her child’s autism was likely liked to her use of acetaminophen during pregnancy.
In retrospect, she wishes that she was aware of the risks of using Tylenol while pregnant, which would have enabled her to make different decisions. In fact, drug manufacturers are legally obligated to fulfill a duty of care for consumers. This means exercising reasonable caution in the design, production, and distribution of their products, including reporting known negative side effects to regulars like the FDA and warning consumers of the risks associated with using their product.
Mothers Accuse Walmart of Negligence for Failure to Warn
A Missouri mom has also filed a product liability lawsuit against Walmart because she believes her child’s autism and ADHD is related to her regular use of Walmart’s generic acetaminophen pain reliever, Equate, to alleviate her headaches. In her product liability lawsuit, she claims that Walmart failed to properly warn consumers, and if she had known that her child could develop neurological issues she wouldn’t have used it.
In another claim, Tiffany Rutledge, a Seattle mom of two, says that her children both developed ADHD as a result of her reliance on Walmart’s Equate to manage her hip pain during pregnancy. She also says that one of her children is likely autistic. Instead of acknowledging that there was a responsibility to add a warning label to its products, Walmart has doubled down on its claim that it should not be held liable because it abided by federal standards.
Walmart’s representatives filed a motion to dismiss based on a preemption argument. They argue that federal standards for warning labels were met, so they should not be subject to state regulations that may be more stringent. This is one of two times this argument has been brought in front of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote. In both cases, she dismissed the motion because the defendants were not prohibited from adding additional warnings by state regulations. Representatives for Walmart have filed for an appeal of her decision.
Who is Eligible to File a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit?
Currently, the Tylenol autism lawsuits are being filed by parents on behalf of their minor children. There are several criteria that must be met in order to be considered eligible to join the multidistrict litigation. To begin with, the following must apply:
- Your child was exposed to acetaminophen in the womb repeatedly
- Your child is under 17
- Your child has been diagnosed with autism or ADHD
Potential plaintiffs who meet these qualifications should be aware that at some point, the court may establish a threshold for exposure, or create other criteria that disqualify certain parties. You should contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in product liability as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a claim and learn more about the requirements for recovering compensation. To most effectively assist in your claim, you should keep a record of any acetaminophen purchases, medical records related to your child, and documentation of their diagnosis.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit?
ADHD and autism are both chronic conditions, which can mean a lifetime of expenses for the child and their family. Someone with ADHD may have difficulty focusing or performing in school, limiting their job opportunities and harming their self-confidence. Over time, they may struggle financially and socially. Children with autism may find it challenging to learn, socialize, and conform to neurotypical systems. Support needs can vary widely based on the individual. In a multidistrict litigation, plaintiffs can still receive compensation according to their specific needs. Plaintiffs in the Tylenol autism lawsuits are seeking compensation for both economic and non-economic damages related to their child’s diagnoses. Economic damages refer to financial losses, while non-economic damages compensate for emotional costs.
Examples of Damages in a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Missed promotions
- Pain and suffering
Consider Contacting A Tylenol Lawsuit Attorney About Your Case
The best way to ensure that your interests are represented effectively is to hire a skilled Tylenol autism attorney. They will be able to make a realistic assessment of the viability of your claim, how much it may be worth, and what evidence you will need to present to accomplish this. A Tylenol autism attorney with a record of maximizing compensation in product liability claims is the most suitable person to advocate for the settlement you deserve.