Hair Relaxer Injury Litigation with Jennifer Hoekstra

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Last year the Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz law firm filed the first class action against L’Oréal and Softsheen-Carson for injuries, primarily to Black women, allegedly caused by hair relaxers and straighteners.  Now there are more than 60 cases consolidated in multidistrict litigation.

Recent studies cited in the litigation show that Black women who use these products develop cancers at a rate disproportionate to that experienced by white women. The plaintiffs say the products are marketed not only to women but to girls as well. The companies challenge the accuracy of the study methods and say, in the case of a key NIH study, that all of women had sisters who were diagnosed with cancer.

Listen to my interview with veteran mass tort plaintiff attorney Jennifer M. Hoekstra, a partner with Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz. Jennifer boasts an impressive academic and professional record, including graduation from two of the nation’s top schools.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Columbia College, Columbia University in the City of New York. She relocated to Louisiana to attend Tulane Law School, where she earned her J.D. while also completing a certificate in Environmental Law.  During her law school career, she spent a semester studying at the University of Wisconsin School of Law and visited on their International Law Journal as a Junior Member during her Hurricane Katrina evacuation semester.

This is Jennifer’s second appearance on the podcast. She also was my guest on Greatly Exaggerated: The Impact of Bankruptcy on Mass Tort Litigation.

This podcast is the audio companion to the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation. The Journal is a collaborative project between HB Litigation Conferences and the Fastcase legal research family, which includes Full Court Press, Law Street Media, and Docket Alarm. The podcast itself is a joint effort between HB and our friends at Law Street Media. If you have comments or wish to participate in one our projects please drop me a note at