Autism Lawsuit Against Baby Food Manufacturers Over Toxic Metal Contamination Dismissed In Advance of Trial
A California state court judge has dismissed an autism lawsuit brought against baby food manufacturers, which have been accused of distributing products for years that contain high levels of toxic heavy metals.
The lawsuit was filed by Lorenzo and Melissa Catabrana, who say their son, Noah, developed autism following exposure to heavy metals in baby food made by Hain Celestial Group, Gerber Products Co. and other manufacturers. However, California Superior Court Judge Lawrence P. Riff dismissed the lawsuit last week, after determining that the plaintiffs’ expert witness failed to link the child’s consumption of baby food with his autism diagnosis.
Toxic Metal in Baby Food
In 2021, a U.S. Congressional report ignited a firestorm of concerns over dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury found in a number of different popular baby foods, and nearly two years later reports suggest that toxic metals in baby food remain a pervasive problem, with high levels still found in popular brands sold by Gerber, Plum Organics, Sprout, Walmart and others.
The case filed by the Catabrana family is one of several hundred toxic baby food lawsuits filed against manufacturers of products found to contain high levels of heavy metals, each involving similar allegations that children developed autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and other side effects.
In a ruling that only applies to the Catabrana lawsuit, Judge Riff determined that the toxicology expert the family intended to present at trial failed to provide reliable testimony that calculated the amounts of heavy metals consumed by Noah. Therefore, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs could not establish that the baby food caused autism for their child.
The case was expected to go before a jury in October 2023, but that trial date is now canceled. The ruling has no binding impact on hundreds of other baby food autism lawsuits being pursued throughout the U.S. court system against Gerber, Hain and other manufacturers
September 2023 Baby Food Heavy Metals Lawsuits Update
Since early 2021, a series of baby food autism lawsuits and baby food ADHD lawsuits have been filed by parents claiming manufacturers marketed baby foods containing toxic substances as safe for infants and children without disclosing known metal contamination risks.
While plaintiffs previously sought to consolidate the growing number of baby food lawsuits being filed in various U.S. District Courts in to single multi-district litigation, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied the request, resulting in cases against various different manufacturers moving forward independently in a number of different jurisdictions nationwide.
As courts and juries begin to weigh the case-specific evidence presented in some of the earliest filed lawsuits, lawyers are continuing to review potential claims for children who are currently under the age of 15, and developed autism after exposure to heavy metals in baby food for at least one year.
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