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Master Complaint Filed in Federal Tylenol Litigation


June 2, 2013 — In April, federal judges centralized dozens of Tylenol lawsuits into a centralized Multi-District Litigation (MDL). Lawyers have filed the Tylenol Master Complaint (PDF), which will serve as a template and allow new plaintiffs to join the litigation by filing a Short Form Complaint. The MDL process will streamline the litigation, which is expected to grow to include hundreds, or even thousands, of lawsuits.

All of the lawsuits in the MDL were filed by plaintiffs who took Tylenol or another product containing acetaminophen and suffered liver damage or liver failure. Plaintiffs allege that drug-makers Johnson & Johnson and McNeill-PPC knew about the risk for many years, but omitted this risk information when marketing Tylenol.

Lawsuits make the following allegations:

  • Defendants did not safely market or design Tylenol.
  • Defendants over-promoted Tylenol’s safety and effectiveness.
  • Defendants did not place adequate warnings or properly label Tylenol.
  • Defendants did not test Tylenol properly.
  • Once defendants knew about the risk of liver injury from Tylenol, they did not provide the public with timely warnings.
  • Defendants did not sell alternative designs that could have prevented the plaintiffs’ injuries.

The Master Complaint also argues that plaintiffs deserve punitive damages in addition to standard compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and economic damages:

“Defendants’ conduct … was extreme and outrageous. Defendants risked the lives of the consumers and users of their products, including Plaintiffs, with knowledge of the safety and efficacy problems and suppressed this knowledge from the general public.”

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