Tylenol Autism Lawsuit – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Tylenol is one of the most widely used pain-killers across the world. Recent studies have suggested a potential link between maternal use of acetaminophen (its active ingredient) and an increased autism risk.

In response to the concern that acetaminophen could cause autism to develop in children, some parents have begun filing thousands of claims against drug manufacturers as well as against retailers who sold the drug.

If you suspect you may have a claim because your child developed autism after being exposed to it in the womb, this guide explains the status of the Tylenol autism lawsuits.

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What Are the Tylenol Autism Lawsuits?

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In the medical journal, Nature Reviews Endocrinology, a group of 91 leading medical experts issued a Consensus Statement in September of 2021.

The statement warned of the potential link between acetaminophen (also called paracetamol) and autism. It summarized the growing body of research indicating that extensive use of acetaminophen during pregnancy could increase the likelihood of an autism spectrum diagnosis in a baby.

In response to the mounting evidence, some parents and families began taking action and filing claims against manufacturers and retailers. This included Walmart, but not Johnson & Johnson (manufacturer of the brand name Tylenol) at the time. Plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that the defendants failed to warn them of the dangers of their products.


How Are the Lawsuits Linking Tylenol and Autism Progressing?

Because so many people use Tylenol, many cases are being filed. Subsequently, a class action was certified in 2022. And a number of Tylenol lawsuits were moved into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).

A class action means a large group of plaintiffs all come together to bring one big claim. By contrast, plaintiffs retain their individual claims in an MDL but all of the cases are moved so they are heard by one judge to simplify and streamline the process of handling so many cases at once.

While Walmart sought to have the case against it dismissed, arguing that FDA rules prevented additional warning labels, the court was not responsive to these efforts. Legal proceedings continued in the MDL, including the approval of a short form complaint plaintiffs could use to more easily join the case as well as the creation of a discovery plan to focus on the collection of documents showing scientific evidence about prenatal exposure risks.

By August of 2023, hundreds of claims were pending in federal courts and additional defendants had been named including Johnson & Johnson, Family Dollar, 7-Eleven and Dollar Tree. Many cases were also pending in state courts, proceeding separately from the federal multidistrict litigation.

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A Causation Hearing Could Shape Future Cases

With cases mounting, defendants raised challenges as to whether testimony from the plaintiff’s experts should be admitted that attempts to establish the link between acetaminophen and autism. These challenges were to be addressed at a Daubert hearing, which is named after a pivotal case called Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. That case helps establish the criteria for when scientific research and evidence is admissible in court.

The Daubert hearing was held in early December and, on December 19, the judge ruled to exclude the evidence the plaintiffs hope to present.

This finding by the judge establishes that the scientific evidence linking acetaminophen use to autism is inadmissible in federal court. It is likely that all federal cases in this matter, including the MDL, will be dismissed. Lawsuits will, however, continue in state courts.


Should You Join an Acetaminophen Lawsuit?

Acetaminophen lawsuits are a type of product liability claim. In product liability claims, it is not necessary to prove the defendant was negligent in order to recover compensation. If there was a flaw in the design or manufacture of the product or a failure to warn of its dangers, plaintiffs can pursue a claim for compensation for resulting damages.

If you wish to sue, though, you do need to prove a causal link between your use of the product as intended and the harm that resulted. If you used Tylenol or other acetaminophen products when pregnant and your child was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, you may be able to prove this causal link due to the scientific studies showing a tylenol/autism connection.

You could potentially become part of the class action or multidistrict litigation, or could independently pursue your case. If you used the medication for a prolonged period, or if your child developed autism despite a lack of pregnancy complications or a lack of family history of the disease, you may have a stronger claim.

An experienced product liability lawyer can help you to determine what your best option is with regards to making a case for compensation.


Compensation in a Tylenol Lawsuit

Many large-scale product liability claims are resolved through a settlement. In fact, one purpose of a MDL is for bellwether trials (representative trials) to move forward so both the plaintiff and defendants can get an idea of how strong their cases are and what compensation might be awarded by a court. This can help to determine an appropriate settlement.

If cases settle and you are part of the class action or multi-district litigation, your compensation will be determined based on the terms of the settlement as well as how severely your family was affected. It is possible you could recover tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.


Getting Legal Help With an Autism Claim Based on Tylenol Use

If you are considering pursuing a lawsuit based on acetaminophen use during pregnancy, you should consult with an experienced product liability lawyer to determine what legal strategy is best for you. Your attorney can advise you as to whether joining the mass tort litigation that is ongoing is your best course of action to easily and effectively get the compensation you need and deserve.

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Was Your Child Diagnosed With ADHD Or Autism After You Took Tylenol During Pregnancy?

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the lawsuit linking autism to Tylenol legitimate?

Litigation is pending on both the federal and state level against drug manufacturers and retailers related to a link between tylenol and autism. Some scientific evidence suggests extended use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is linked to a higher risk of autism, and parents and families have been suing claiming the drug use resulted in their child’s diagnosis.

Do you qualify for the Tylenol autism lawsuit?

To successfully sue, you must show a link between your child’s diagnosis of autism and maternal use of acetaminophen during pregnancy. You may be able to join pending mass tort action if you meet the requirements for tylenol use during pregnancy or could speak with a product liability lawyer about pursuing your own independent case.

How much money can you get from the Tylenol autism lawsuit?

Hundreds of plaintiffs are currently suing Johnson & Johnson, other drug manufacturers and retailers claiming that Tylenol use during pregnancy resulted in an autism diagnosis. If the defendants settle the lawsuits, plaintiffs could potentially recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The specific amounts will vary based on the settlement the defendants reach and how severely your family was impacted.

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