Baby Food Injury Lawyers Appointed To Leadership Roles in Autism, ADHD Lawsuits Over Heavy Metal Contamination

Dozens of families have filed baby food injury lawsuits against Gerber, Beech-Nut and other major manufacturers, alleging that children developed ADHD and autism from toxic heavy metals in their products

The U.S. District Judge recently appointed to preside over all federal baby food injury lawsuits has appointed a group of 19 plaintiffs’ lawyers to serve in various leadership positions in the multidistrict litigation (MDL), taking actions that benefit all families pursuing claims for children diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other developmental problems.

Baby food sold by Gerber, Nurture, Beech-Nut and other major manufacturers have been found in recent years to be widely contaminated with toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium, which pose serious health risks for children.

The litigation first emerged in April 2021, after a U.S. Congressional report highlighted internal documents and testing results regarding the baby food heavy metal contamination, finding some products contained more than 91 times the maximum level of arsenic allowed in bottled water; 177 times the allowable levels of lead, 69 times the limits on cadmium, and five times the levels of allowable mercury.

Despite calls from health experts and regulators for manufacturers to entirely remove the contaminants from their products, subsequent testing has found that toxic heavy metals in baby food remain a pervasive problem, with a report published last year finding that popular brands sold by Gerber, Plum Organics, Sprout, Walmart and others still having potentially dangerous levels.

Dozens of families are now pursuing financial compensation for children diagnosed with autism or ADHD, each raising similar allegations that manufacturers played on the parents’ trust that products would be safe, concealing the levels of toxic elements present for years. The lawsuits indicate the defendants knew that if consumers were aware of the high levels of heavy metals in the baby food, they never would have willingly fed the products to their children.


Was your child exposed to toxic baby food?

Toxic baby food sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut and other manufacturers contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, which may be the cause of autism and severe ADHD for children.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify For Compensation

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order last month establishing a federal toxic baby food MDL (multidistrict litigation), which centralized the cases in the Northern District of California before U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.

Baby Food Injury Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Positions

In a pretrial order (PDF) issued on May 16, Judge Corley announced that 19 baby food injury lawyers will serve in leadership positions during the consolidated pretrial proceedings, including two attorneys who will act as co-lead counsel, one serving as plaintiffs’ liaison counsel, and 16 appointed to a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

The lawyers appointed to the leadership positions will be tasked with coordinating status updates for the court, arguing certain pretrial motions, conducting discovery and depositions into common issues that impact all claims, and potentially negotiating a framework for baby food heavy metal injury settlements that may help resolve large numbers of claims. However, each individual plaintiff will still retain their own lawyer to meet various deadlines and establish that they meet the criteria for baby food injury lawsuit payout.

The decision came after an initial status conference in the baby food MDL late last week, during which parties discussed a variety of topics designed to structure the litigation to move forward efficiently.

As part of the coordinated management of the claims, it is expected that Judge Corley will have the parties prepare a series of bellwether cases as early test cases, which will be used to determine how juries may respond to evidence and testimony likely to be repeated in claims throughout the litigation. However, if the parties fail to negotiate baby food toxic metals settlements during the MDL proceedings, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

The next case management conference is scheduled for June 20.


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