Court Approves Short-Form Complaint for Tylenol Autism

Court Approves Short-Form Complaint for Tylenol Autism

Heap of medicine pills

Families looking to take legal action against distributors and manufacturers of acetaminophen-based pain medications gained a small victory on Jan. 11, 2023, when a U.S. District Judge approved a short-form complaint. This complaint allows families to submit ADHD and Tylenol autism-related lawsuits in the federal multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) Court, which will help the parties involved evaluate each individual claim. Judge Denise Cote made the decision because more families are seeking to file lawsuits, saying that the active ingredient found in Tylenol resulted in ADHD or autism in their children and that the drug maker or distributor failed to warn or adequately disclose the potential pregnancy dangers.

History of acetaminophen-based medications and pregnancy lawsuits

For many years, pregnant women used Tylenol, along with other acetaminophen-based medications, believing that they were safe. Now, however, some families allege that there is an active ingredient in these drugs that causes autism and ADHD and that the drug makers knew of this risk but didn’t adequately inform pregnant women. Back in November 2022, the Court established a federal MDL, creating a centralized location for all of these Tylenol autism lawsuits. Since these claims raise almost identical factual allegations, the Court decided to include them all in one MDL.

Managing similar cases

As of now, many of the current complaints are against drug retailers, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. This stems from the retailers selling these drugs without pregnancy warnings. It’s expected that several thousand lawsuits will also be filed against Johnson & Johnson for its alleged role in the extensive use of acetaminophen-based medications during pregnancy.

The short-form complaint was proposed by lawyers of the existing claimants, as it will allow for a standardized complaint form for potential future litigants.  They can then use this to adopt specific allegations from the master complaint, then provide limited information on a case-by-case basis about acetaminophen-based drugs and any injuries suffered by their children.

Judge Cote was appointed by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to oversee the growing number of cases. She will manage these cases in the Southern District of New York, allowing the different parties to coordinate discovery related to all claims. As part of this process, the Court expects to create what is known as a “bellwether” process, which is a small group of representative claims prepared in advance for earlier trial dates. The parties involved can then assess how these cases performed in front of a jury and decide on further actions needed.

Determining if you have a case

If you believe your child was injured during pregnancy because of Tylenol or another acetaminophen-based medication, you may have a claim. To proceed, you should speak with a lawyer who will assist you in determining whether you qualify to join the MDL.  If you do, the lawyer can then work with you throughout the rest of the process to help ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

While these Court cases can take some time, it’s still important to join as early as possible if you think you are eligible. Doing so will help you avoid any deadlines and give you more insight into the progress of the litigation. Speak with one of our lawyers today to learn more about potentially joining the MDL and beginning the process of filing a short-form complaint.

Special Master to Oversee Census of Tylenol Autism Lawsuits

Special Master to Oversee Census of Tylenol Autism Lawsuits

The U.S. District Judge in charge of presiding over all federal lawsuits regarding the potential link between Tylenol and autism has appointed a special master to conduct a census to better understand how to efficiently manage claimant data and the discovery process as the number of claimants and lawsuits rapidly expand. These lawsuits concern the connection between taking Tylenol and other generic acetaminophen-based drugs during pregnancies and an increased number of cases of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other similar disorders in the children that were exposed as fetuses.

Thousands of lawsuits expected

The special master’s specific role is to centralize all claims made by families that were allegedly affected by the failure of Tylenol manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and sellers of generic acetaminophen-based alternatives, like Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, and others, to inform customers about the potential risks.

There are currently over 100 pending lawsuits being pursued. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality suggests that children exposed to acetaminophen in the womb may have an increased risk for ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ADS). Similar studies, like the one published in May 2021 in the European Journal of Epidemiology, suggested that the chances of a child developing autism or ADHD increase by around 20% when the mother uses acetaminophen-based drugs during pregnancy.

Upcoming multidistrict litigation discovery plan

The appointed special master, Randi S. Ellis, will use the gathered information to potentially find bellwether cases, which are trials with contexts and details that represent a large number of other similar cases.

In conjunction with this appointment, the Court entered a stipulated order outlining phase-one discovery, which aims to establish protocols for the identification and production of relevant documentary evidence necessary to support scientific evidence that explores or identifies the potential link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and increased chances of ADS and ADHD in children.

Earlier in 2023, the multidistrict litigation (MDL) judge appointed in this case, Judge Denise Cote, made it easier for new plaintiffs to file lawsuits by approving the use of a Short Form Complaint, which allows them to reference the master complaint instead of making specific allegations. The ease with which new plaintiffs can now file Tylenol autism lawsuits will likely lead to large numbers of new lawsuits in the upcoming period.

Seek legal help

Different hands with pills

Thousands of parents across the country are coming to terms with the idea that a drug previously deemed safe during pregnancy may have caused significant harm to their sons and daughters by creating a condition that will require ongoing treatment and care during their lifetime. It’s important for these parents to know that they’re not alone and the injuries potentially caused to their children were neither a result of their actions nor a lack of care.

Although monetary compensation will do little to ease their suffering, it can help give their child the professional support they need to overcome these major challenges and send a message to larger companies that profit is not more important than the safety of children.

Parents of children who may have been affected by the mother taking acetaminophen-based drugs during pregnancy or while nursing should speak with a lawyer ready to provide support and seek justice for their children’s qualifying injuries.

Motion Filed To Consolidate Increase in Tylenol Autism/ADHD Lawsuits

Motion Filed To Consolidate Increase in Tylenol Autism/ADHD Lawsuits

Lawsuits from 20 parents covering the link between autism and the prenatal use of Tylenol or acetaminophen will likely consolidate into one Court. Plaintiffs claim their children developed autism or ADHD due to using the drug during pregnancy. The Tylenol autism lawsuits are against Johnson & Johnson — the company that first developed acetaminophen — and other brands that make generic versions of the product, such as Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. All Plaintiffs feel that they were not provided warnings of the potential dangers of taking acetaminophen during pregnancy and are seeking compensation for a variety of relate issues.

Why Has a Motion Been Filed To Consolidate Tylenol Autism Lawsuits?

Bottle and carton box of tylenol pills

Recent research indicates that there is a 19% and 21% increase in the chance that a child may develop autism or ADHD, respectively, when prenatally exposed to acetaminophen. Because of this research, many experts and legal professionals anticipate the number of cases being filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies that manufacture the drug will increase.

In an effort to provide a more prudent, efficient, and speedy pretrial process, consolidation of said cases is being sought in New York through the filing for an MDL where a judge could potentially hear many of the cases and establish rules for discovery, thresholds for evidence, and recoverable damages.

What Is the Risk of Autism or ADHD With Tylenol Use?

A National Institute of Health study states that the more exposure a pregnant mother has to Tylenol, the higher the risk there will be of the child developing autism or ADHD. Using umbilical cord blood from 996 babies, the study found that by the time the children reached about eight years old, 25.8% developed ADHD, 6.6% developed autism, and 4.2% were diagnosed with both. In this study, it was found that the longer a pregnant woman uses acetaminophen and the higher the dose, the more likely it is that the child will develop autism or ADHD.

This represents a significant increase in the occurrence of autism and ADHD in children over those who were not exposed to acetaminophen. These risks, combined with the failure of the manufacturers and distributors of acetaminophen to provide voluntary warnings even after they were aware of said risks may have unnecessarily exposed tens of thousands of children to an avoidable harm.

Who Can Qualify for a Tylenol Autism Lawsuit?

If a mother took acetaminophen during pregnancy or the postnatal period while nursing, and the child has developed autism or ADHD, she may qualify to pursue action against manufacturers of the drug. A child must be 17 years old or younger, and the mother has to have evidence that she took acetaminophen during pregnancy or while nursing.

This is possible through medical or pharmacy records, where a doctor may have instructed a pregnant patient to take Tylenol, or with receipts from purchasing one of hundreds of name and privately labeled acetaminophen products. This is especially true if mothers feel they weren’t properly informed of the risks associated with taking acetaminophen.

There have been no settlements yet for any Tylenol lawsuits. The studies linking Tylenol to autism and ADHD are also new, so it’s undetermined what the compensation might be for those seeking compensation for damages. Those who feel they qualify to join the Tylenol autism lawsuits should contact legal counsel to determine their eligibility.

Experts Raise Alarm About Tylenol Autism Link

Experts Raise Alarm About Tylenol Autism Link

Heap of medicine pills

A number of studies suggest there may be a link between taking these drugs while pregnant or nursing with a higher rate of ADHD and autism in children. It has been a historically common practice for OB/GYNs to recommend the use of acetaminophen-based drugs, like Tylenol, during pregnancy or postpartum pain relief. Over the past few years, more parents and healthcare workers have begun to wonder if there is a link between taking acetaminophen-based drugs during pregnancy, or shortly after birth, with the increasing number of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

One such case is Karleen Degroodt of Huntington Beach, California. Karleen was an ICU nurse during a pregnancy with her son, Devyn. Due to the stress of being on her feet all day during her pregnancy, Karleen took acetaminophen several times per week to help with the pain. While there existed no complications during her pregnancy and family history of spectrum disorders, , Devyn’s doctor diagnosed him with autism just before his third birthday. Now, because he is nonverbal, Devyn must communicate with others through an iPad necessitating additional and sometimes costly accommodations . Given her medical background and experience, Karleen has wondered if the cause of her child being born with autism was the acetaminophen.

More research into acetaminophen/autism link

The FDA released a drug safety communication in 2015, which essentially called for additional research into how acetaminophen might impact a fetus during pregnancy. In 2019, Johns Hopkins released a study that was funded by the National Institutes of Health related to this imperative. This study supported results found in earlier research that linked the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy to an increase in both ADHD and ASD. Based on these findings, the Johns Hopkins study also called for additional research to confirm the findings.

As research and studies began consistently suggesting potential risks, Nature’s Review Endocrinology released a consensus from numerous scientists, public health officials, and clinicians, all of which urged the FDA to update its Drug Safety Communications recommendations.

However, detractors remain, and without robust study from the international scientific community, the FDA has been reluctant to make any formal recommendations or establish new guidelines for use and labeling.

Ongoing legal battles

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the potential links between acetaminophen and incidents of ADHD or autism, the matter is now proceeding to court. Due to the volume of cases concerning this issue, a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) was established and certified in October 2022. This certification means that all Tylenol-related lawsuits filed anywhere in the United States will now be transferred to and consolidated in New York, allowing plaintiffs to coordinate and share information with one another. It’s expected that there will be over 100,000 claimants filing suit in this MDL.

If you feel that your child was injured by the use of acetaminophen-based drugs during pregnancy or while nursing, you should consult with a lawyer. They can help you determine if you have legal standing to pursue a claim and guide you on how to best proceed.