New York City, NY – The Tylenol autism lawsuits that have been pending in federal court have suffered a major blow. Judge Denise Cote ruled that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs, which aimed to establish a link between Tylenol and autism, did not meet the standards for admissibility in court. As a result, all cases in the Tylenol autism multidistrict litigation (MDL) will be dismissed, effectively putting an end to any further Tylenol autism lawsuits in federal courts. However, the future of these lawsuits may still continue in state courts.
The Tylenol autism lawsuits gained momentum two years ago after a group of doctors and scientists published a letter in a medical journal, warning about a potential connection between prenatal exposure to Tylenol and increased autism rates. In response, a growing number of parents filed lawsuits claiming that their children developed autism due to high levels of Tylenol used during pregnancy.
In October of 2022, all Tylenol autism lawsuits pending in federal courts were consolidated into an MDL presided over by Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York. The outcome of the cases hinged on the admissibility of the plaintiffs’ scientific evidence on causation, which was the subject of the recent ruling.
On December 7, 2023, Judge Cote held a hearing to evaluate the admissibility of expert witnesses’ testimony regarding the link between Tylenol and autism. In her 148-page ruling, she excluded all five of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, stating that their analysis had scientific flaws and failed to align with the established consensus. Judge Cote emphasized that no scientific consensus currently exists regarding the connection between Tylenol’s active ingredient, acetaminophen, and autism or ADHD.
Given the lack of admissible evidence, the Tylenol autism lawsuits in federal courts are effectively concluded. The plaintiffs have the option to appeal the decision, although chances of success are generally slim for such rulings. Following her ruling, Judge Cote issued an Order signaling the litigation’s end and instructed both parties to propose a plan for winding down the cases by January 12, 2024.
While the Tylenol autism lawsuits appear closed in federal courts, they could still be pursued in state courts where the admissibility standards for scientific evidence are often less stringent than those of the federal Daubert standard. This may lead to an influx of Tylenol autism cases in state courts, particularly in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.
It is worth noting that despite Judge Cote’s ruling, many Tylenol autism and ADHD lawyers maintain a strong belief in the connection between these conditions. They anticipate that additional studies will strengthen the evidence supporting this link, giving plaintiffs’ experts more persuasive ammunition should the cases proceed to trial.
In summary, the Tylenol autism lawsuits have suffered a significant setback in federal court due to a ruling by Judge Denise Cote. The evidence presented by the plaintiffs failed to meet the admissibility standards required to prove a link between Tylenol and autism. While the lawsuits face dismissal in federal court, the plaintiffs may seek recourse in state courts, where admissibility standards are typically more lenient. The litigation’s fate will ultimately depend on future developments in the scientific evidence.