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Tylenol ADHD & Autism Lawsuits

Tylenol lawsuits claim the companies that manufacture and sell Tylenol failed to warn of the increased risks of autism and ADHD in children if taken by the mother during pregnancy. Tylenol ADHD and autism lawsuit settlement amounts could be between $300,000 and $600,000, some lawyers estimate.

This is an active lawsuit

See If You Qualify for a Tylenol Lawsuit

If your child was diagnosed with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after you took Tylenol while pregnant, you may be entitled to compensation.

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Last Modified: June 3, 2024
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Latest Tylenol Autism and ADHD Lawsuit Updates

In December 2023, a judge in a Manhattan federal court ruled to bar expert witnesses from testifying that taking Tylenol during pregnancy can lead to autism in babies. The judge found that these experts failed to support their claims with scientific evidence.

This decision will likely mark the end of the federal multidistrict litigation, which consisted of approximately 500 lawsuits involving the popular over-the-counter drug unless the plaintiffs successfully appeal the ruling.

As of June 2024, there were 578 Tylenol autism and ADHD lawsuits pending in federal court.

The decision could mean those cases — and all other federal cases — may be dismissed. But Tylenol autism lawsuits will continue in state courts.

  • May 2024: The MDL remained open and had not been officially closed. The plaintiffs filed appeals. Defendants filed motions to exclude the opinions of Dr. Roberta Ness.
  • February 2024: Lawyers were still accepting Tylenol lawsuits for state courts.
  • December 18, 2023: Judge Denise Cote ruled that the plaintiffs’ expert evidence is inadmissible. Manufacturer Kenvue announced it would seek to dismiss the federal MDL.
  • December 2023: A settlement conference was set for Jan. 4, 2024, to address pending challenges to the admissibility of expert testimony linking Tylenol to autism and ADHD.
  • June 2023: More defendants were added to the cases, including 7-Eleven, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.
  • May 2023: About 118 Tylenol autism/ADHD lawsuits were pending in federal court.
  • April 2023: Judge Denise L. Cote denied Johnson & Johnson’s motion to dismiss based on preemption.
  • January 2023: Judge Cote appointed Randy Ellis as Census Special Master to better coordinate the collection of information from plaintiffs. The judge also outlined the discovery plan.
  • November 2022: Judge Cote approved the members of the Retailer Liaison Committee that will represent the defendants. The judge also denied Walmart’s motion to dismiss.
  • October 2022: Defendants CVS, Costco and Walgreens filed a motion to stay proceedings, and Judge Cote denied it.
  • October 2022: Judges transferred cases from all over the country into multidistrict litigation in New York.

Defendants have tried to dismiss these cases several times.

Tylenol Autism and ADHD Claims Against Manufacturers

People are filing Tylenol claims against Johnson & Johnson and various stores that sold generic acetaminophen products, including CVS, Costco, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sam’s Warehouse, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

According to lawsuits, some studies have linked Tylenol or acetaminophen products taken during pregnancy to an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in children.

Tylenol autism and ADHD lawsuits claim:
  • Scientific evidence was available and Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known that acetaminophen in Tylenol could increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.
  • Manufacturers should have warned the public about the risks of taking Tylenol during pregnancy.
  • Tylenol and acetaminophen are marketed as safe to take during pregnancy even if evidence exists that they increase the risk of ASD and ADHD.

Lawsuits claim several studies link acetaminophen to ADHD and ASD. One observational study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found children born to women exposed to acetaminophen during pregnancy had a 34% risk of developing ADHD, a 19% risk of autism and a 24% chance of hyperactivity symptoms.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins analyzed acetaminophen levels in umbilical cord blood samples from 996 births. Researchers divided the children into three groups based on the amount of acetaminophen in the blood samples. Compared to children in the first group, “children in the middle third group were about 2.26 times more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis and 2.14 times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.”

Mother Files Tylenol Lawsuits

Tiffany Rutledge filed a Tylenol autism and ADHD lawsuit against Walmart in June 2022 on behalf of her minor daughters, L.R. and C.R. Rutledge took acetaminophen throughout both pregnancies, and C.R. developed ADHD, while L.R. has ADHD and is being tested for autism.

“Increasing experimental and epidemiological research shows that prenatal exposure to [acetaminophen] alters fetal development, which significantly increases the risks of neurodevelopmental disorders, including but not limited to, ASD and ADHD,” according to Rutledge’s complaint.

Rutledge is suing for compensation for “permanent injuries and significant pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages and earning capacity, and diminished quality of life.”

Can I File a Tylenol Autism or ADHD Lawsuit?

You may file a Tylenol autism lawsuit if you or your child were diagnosed with ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder after exposure to acetaminophen in the womb. Exposure should have taken place during the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Only a Tylenol autism lawsuit lawyer can tell you if you qualify, so contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your right to file a lawsuit. Lawyers will ask you what year you or your baby were born and how long you took or were exposed to acetaminophen in the womb.

Make sure to have medical records with an ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with you when you speak to an attorney. Proof that you took Tylenol or generic acetaminophen is also helpful evidence.

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Tylenol ADHD and Autism Settlements

Factors that may affect settlement amounts include medical expenses, lost wages and other financial damages, as well as loss of quality of life and pain and suffering. Because there are no cures for ADHD or autism, parents of children with these conditions must manage their children’s care. Depending on its severity, adults with ADHD and autism may have diminished earning capacity.

Additional Tylenol Lawsuits

Prior to the rise of Tylenol autism and ADHD lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, McNeil, faced lawsuits from individuals who claimed the drug caused them to develop liver damage.

Although Johnson & Johnson and McNeil said Tylenol labels warn about the risk of liver damage, consumers and other critics allege the warnings are not strong enough and don’t properly explain the risks.

Tylenol liver injury lawsuits claimed that manufacturers:
  • Negligently designed, manufactured and marketed the drug.
  • Inadequately labeled their product and consciously decided not to re-label or otherwise inform consumers of its hazards.
  • Misrepresented and over-promoted the safety and effectiveness of their product.
  • Hid information about the product’s hazards from consumers.
  • Recklessly disregarded reports of debilitating and potentially lethal side effects caused by Tylenol.
  • Marketed its product without disclosing these side effects where there were safer alternative methods for pain relief.

To streamline pretrial proceedings, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred all federal liver damage lawsuits against McNeil to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in April 2013. U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel oversaw the multidistrict litigation.

According to the April 1, 2013, transfer order, the actions “involve allegations that over-the-counter acetaminophen-containing products that are marketed and sold under its Tylenol brand-name caused liver damage, including liver failure, even when taken as directed.”

McNeil Lobbies White House as Case Goes to Trial

In October 2015, a liver damage case went to trial and resulted in a win for Johnson & Johnson. A New Jersey jury decided that Regina Jackson, 55, couldn’t prove that she had taken Extra Strength Tylenol before spending a week in the hospital.

Jackson’s trial revealed that McNeil was lobbying lawmakers to disregard the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s urging to make Extra Strength Tylenol available by prescription only — a recommendation that threatened the $400 million revenue from the company’s line of extra strength medication.

Bellwether Trial

Judge Stengel selected the case of Rana Terry v. McNeil-PPC, Inc., et al. as the first bellwether case to proceed to trial. Terry filed the lawsuit in 2012, claiming Tylenol caused the 2010 death of her sister, Denice Hayes. Hayes had acute liver failure and died at age 51 after taking two different formulas of the drug “at appropriate times and in appropriate amounts,” according to the lawsuit.

Courts initially set the trial for Oct. 26, 2015. However, it was put on hold following several days of settlement talks. Pretrial ended in Terry’s favor.

On Feb. 10, 2017, McNeil agreed to pay a confidential amount to settle more than 200 liver injury lawsuits under the MDL. McNeil and the plaintiffs’ steering committee of the MDL signed a master settlement agreement that reportedly created a global private settlement program to resolve claims, both filed and unfiled.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.