Honest named in class action lawsuit alleging products contain hidden sodium lauryl sulfate

 

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As alleged, Honest claims to be a consumer goods company that is “free from fraud or deception” because it is “genuine, real” and “respectable, praiseworthy.” The truth is, however, that Honest is effectively a marketing company. It gets its products from other manufacturers and then places the “Honest” label on them. It uses the “Honest” brand name, which is the subject of numerous federal trademark and service mark registrations and applications, as a marketing strategy to convey to consumers that the Company’s business practices and products are honest, truthful, and “free from fraud or deception.” In so doing, Honest intends for consumers, in making their purchasing decisions, to rely on this overall commercial impression conveyed by the “Honest” brand name.

Chief among Honest’s specific claims are that its products do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (“SLS”). Honest highlights the absence of SLS because, according to Honest itself, SLS is a “known irritant. This is so well known, in fact, that it’s commonly used in lab testing to intentionally harm skin.”

According to the complaint, Defendants’ claims concerning the absence of SLS are untrue and misleading. As Defendants admit, Honest’s multi-surface cleaner, laundry detergent, and dish soap contain an ingredient called sodium coco sulfate (“SCS”). SLS is a major ingredient in SCS and many scientists treat SLS and SCS as interchangeable. In fact, independent testing has found that Honest’s laundry detergent contains the same amount of SLS as Proctor & Gamble Co.’s laundry detergent, Tide.

Plaintiff and California consumers were misled by Defendants’ statements regarding the absence of SLS from Honest’s products, and the use of the “Honest” brand name for Defendants’ products, and bought these products based on these false, misleading, and deceptive representations. Accordingly, Plaintiff and the Class (as defined herein) have suffered injury as a result of Defendants’ false advertising, warranty breaches, misbranding, and unlawful marketing of Honest’s products, and brings this class action to remedy Defendants’ unlawful acts.

Class Action Complaint

Kellogg named in class action lawsuit over sale of cookies containing partially hydrogenated oil

Kellogg

 

Kellogg manufactures, distributes, and sells a variety of cookie products under the brand name Mother’s Cookies (the “Trans Fat Cookies” or “TF Cookies”), which contain or contained partially hydrogenated oil (“PHO”). PHO is a food additive banned in many parts of the world due to its artificial trans fat content. Artificial trans fat is a toxin and carcinogen for which there are many safe and commercially viable substitutes.

On June 17, 2015, the FDA determined that PHO is unsafe for use in food. Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils, 80 Fed. Reg. 34650 (June 17, 2015) (hereinafter “FDA Final PHO Determination”). Yet Kellogg continues to incorporate this illegal, dangerous additive into the Trans Fat Cookies, even after the FDA tentatively, and then finally declared it unsafe for use in food, rendering products made with PHO unlawful and adulterated.

As alleged, although safe, low-cost, and commercially acceptable alternatives to PHO exist, including those used in competing brands, Defendant unfairly elects not to use these safe alternatives in the Trans Fat Cookies in order to increase profit at the expense of the health of consumers.

This action is brought to remedy Defendant’s unfair and unlawful conduct. Plaintiff seeks an order compelling Defendant to (1) cease using artificial trans fat as an ingredient in the Trans Fat Cookies; (2) award Plaintiff and the Class members restitution, actual damages, and punitive damages to the extent permitted under the law; and (3) pay costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Vemma Nutrition Company named in class action lawsuit over sale of dietary supplements

This is a class action lawsuit against Vemma Nutrition Company Defendants for the false and misleading marketing, advertising, and sale of their Vemma product line, including Vemma, Vemma Mangosteen with Essential Minerals, Vemma Renew, Vemma Next, and Vemma Verve products (collectively, the “Products”). The Products are marketed and sold as liquid dietary supplements and uniformly attribute their “effectiveness” to the Southeast Asian fruit Garcinia mangostana, colloquially known simply as “mangosteen.” Vemma, the name shared by both Defendant Vemma Nutrition Company and the Products themselves, stands for Vitamins Essential Minerals Mangosteen Aloe.

On the labeling and packaging of the Products, Defendants state that each of the Products contains an identical “clinically studied” and “doctor formulated” formula. Defendants claim that the Products’ formula has been clinically proven to show that (1) the Products cause “a significant decrease in C-reactive protein and a significant improvement in immune system function”; (2) the Products reduce C-reactive protein levels from “high risk range” to “low risk range”; (3) the Products caused the “Lowering of C-reactive protein”; (4) the Products “Increase[] ORAC blood levels for 6 hours after intake”; (5) the Products “Increase[] vitamins and antioxidants in the blood”; (6) the Products “Enhance[] Immunity”; (7) the Products “Increase[] overall health status”; (8) the Products are “highly bioavailable”; (9) the Products cause “significant improvement in immune markers”; (10) the Products cause “superior antioxidant absorption”; and that (11) this “gold standard research” “confirms that consuming Vemma daily helps to strengthen the body’s natural immune defense, which causes that people taking it maintain their vitality, and enhance quality of life.”

According to the complaint, in fact, there are no credible studies that “prove” any of Defendants’ claims and the consensus of published research confirms that Defendants’ claims are false. Defendants have also trained hundreds of thousands of their distributors to sell the Products using unlawful health claims, such as through the use of advertising and testimonials attesting to the Products’ ability to cure, aid, alleviate, and prevent diseases. For nearly a decade, Defendants have published and dispersed distributor manuals that specifically instruct distributors to sell the Products using unlawful health claims and related testimonials.

Defendants’ practices are particularly shocking because they violate a Federal Trade Commission injunction barring Defendants from using precisely these kinds of marketing claims. Having been caught by the FTC selling supplements through the use of unlawful health claims and testimonials in 1999, Defendants are well aware that their conduct violates federal and state laws and the FTC injunction levied against them.

Plaintiff seeks relief in this action individually, and on behalf of similarly situated purchasers of the Products for violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq., New York General Business Law § 349, violation of New York General Business Law §350, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment.

GNC named in class action lawsuit over sale of TriFlex joint health dietary supplement

GNC markets, sells and distributes a line of joint health dietary  supplements under its “TriFlex” brand name.  The primary purported active ingredients in all of GNC’s TriFlex Products are glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. Through an extensive, widespread, comprehensive and uniform nationwide marketing campaign, GNC promises that its maximum, clinical strength TriFlex Products will help promote mobility and flexibility, improve joint comfort and cushion joints.

The representations that Defendant makes on the TriFlex Products labels with respect to improving mobility and flexibility, helping with joint discomfort and cushioning joints are clearly directed at and, as a result, the majority of persons who purchase the TriFlex Products are persons suffering from osteoarthritis.

In truth, the TriFlex Products do not promote flexibility or mobility, relieve joint discomfort, or cushion joints. Clinical studies have proven that the primary active ingredients in the TriFlex Products, glucosamine and chondroitin, are ineffective, taken alone or in combination with the other ingredients in the Products, with regard to the purported joint health benefits represented on the Products’ packaging and labeling. As a large scale study sponsored and conducted by the National Institute of Health (“NIH”) concluded: “The analysis of the primary outcome measure did not show that [glucosamine and chondroitin], alone or in combination, was efficacious… Clegg, D., et al., Glucosamine,

While most of the clinical studies finding a lack of efficacy (using the same amounts of the ingredients as are in Defendant’s TriFlex Products) were performed on subjects  with arthritis, some were performed on “healthy” subjects. Moreover, experts in the field deems the arthritis clinical studies finding the ingredients to be inefficacious to be proxies for whether the ingredients are effective for both arthritic and non-arthritic users of these ingredients. As a result, in addition to affirmatively misrepresenting the joint health benefits of the TriFlex Products, Defendant’s failure to disclose the facts regarding these studies also constitutes deception by omission or concealment.

As alleged, Defendant’s joint health benefit representations and omissions are false, misleading and reasonably likely to deceive the public.

As a result of Defendant’s deceptive joint health benefit representations, consumers including Plaintiff and members of the proposed class have purchased Products that do not perform as advertised.

Plaintiff bring this action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated consumers to halt the dissemination of this false and misleading advertising message, correct the false and misleading perception it has created in the minds of consumers, and obtain redress for those who have purchased the TriFlex Products. Based on violations of California state unfair competition laws and breach of express warranties, Plaintiff seeks injunctive and monetary relief for consumers who purchased the Products.

Class action filed against Vitamin Shoppe over sales of True Athlete Training Formula

 

The class action complaint is brought on behalf of those who purchased the dietary supplement True Athlete Training Formula (“Product”) from Defendant Vitamin Shoppe. While Defendant makes certain claims in the labeling and advertising of the Product as a bodybuilding, fitness training and endurance developing formula, none of the ingredients themselves or as formulated by Defendant will deliver the results Defendant promises.

Vitamin Shoppe, Inc., advertises, manufactures, markets, sells and distributes the Product which is sold in the growing and extremely competitive fitness industry as a “Pre-Workout Muscle Building and Performance Enhancing” product. Although the Vitamin Shoppe boasts about the Product’s efficacy in labeling and advertising the Product, it dramatically under-doses and uses ineffective compounds such that none of the promised benefits is or can be delivered by the Product.

As a result of Defendant’s unfair, deceptive, fraudulent, unfair and misleading practices, Plaintiff and Class Members have been unfairly deceived into purchasing the Product which they would not otherwise have purchased, or would have purchased only at a substantially lower price than that charged by Defendant.

Plaintiff brings this action seeking damages and other relief from Defendant for its violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, for its breaches of express and implied warranties, and for its unjust enrichment at the expense of Plaintiff and the class.

Odwalla & Coca Cola sued for false advertising

Defendant Odwalla is a leading consumer packaged food and beverage company that manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells branded beverages and food bars throughout the United States. Defendant Coke is the parent company of Odwalla which distributes and sells a number of brands of beverages including the Fanta line of beverages.

As alleged, Defendants know that many of their consumers wish to maintain a diet comprised of healthy foods that do not contain added sugar. Defendants recognize that consumers are willing to pay a premium for such healthy foods, and Defendants actively promote the health benefits of their products.

Defendants currently market many different flavors and varieties of energy bars and beverage products which list either “Evaporated Cane Juice” or “Organic Evaporated Cane Juice” as an ingredient. These products include: Odwalla White Chocolate Macadamia Chewy Nut Bar, Odwalla Chocolate Almond Coconut Chewy Nut Bar, Odwalla Apple Toffee Pistachio Chewy Nut Bar, Odwalla Strawberry Pomegranate Superfood Bar, Odwalla Strawberry Protein Monster Protein Shake drink, Odwalla Quencher Pomegranate Limeade drink, Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster drink, Odwalla Vanilla AI’Mondo Super Protein drink, Odwalla Citrus C Monster drink, Odwalla Light Lemonade, Odwalla Light Limeade, and Fanta Zero Orange Soda. Each of these products has listed either “Evaporated Cane Juice” or “Organic Evaporated Cane Juice” on its label and each is listed on one or more of the Defendants’ websites as containing “Evaporated Cane Juice” or Organic Evaporated Cane Juice.” All of these products are misbranded.

Defendants also indicate that sugar and evaporated cane juice are two distinct sweeteners although in fact they are both the same, namely sucrose.

Although Defendants list “Evaporated Cane Juice” as an ingredient on the extensive number of products indicated above, and on other products as well, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has specifically warned companies not to use this term because it is 1) “false and misleading;” 2) in violation of a number of labeling regulations designed to ensure that manufacturers label their products with the common and usual names of the ingredients they use and accurately describe the ingredients they utilize; and 3) the ingredient in question is not a juice.

The FDA has also sent out a number of warning letters indicating that evaporated cane juice is a misleading term that misbrands a product.

In discussing “Evaporated Cane Juice” in their marketing materials, Defendants do not disclose the fact that “Evaporated Cane Juice” is, in its ordinary and commonly understood terms known as, “sugar,” and/or “dried cane syrup.”

If a manufacturer is going to make a claim on a food label, the label must meet certain legal requirements that help consumers make informed choices and ensure that they are not misled.

Defendants have made, and continue to make, false and deceptive claims by making unlawful “evaporated cane juice” claims on their Misbranded Food Products. Defendants have violated  labeling regulations mandated by federal and California law by listing sugar and/or sugar cane syrups as “Evaporated Cane Juice.”

According to the FDA, the term “evaporated cane juice” is not the common or usual name of any type of sweetener, including dried cane syrup. Because both sugar and cane syrup have a standard of identity defined by regulation. The FDA provides that “cane syrup has a standard of identity defined by regulation in 21 CFR 168.130, the common or usual name for the solid or dried form of cane syrup is ‘dried cane syrup.'” Similarly, sugar or sucrose is defined by regulation in 21 C.F.R. §101.4(b)(20) and §184.1854, as the common or usual name for material obtained from the crystallization from sugar cane or sugar beet juice that has been extracted by pressing or diffusion, then clarified and evaporated.

According to the FDA, sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup should not be listed in the ingredient declaration by names which suggest that the ingredients are juice, such as “evaporated cane juice.” The FDA considers such representations to be “false and misleading” because they fail to reveal the basic nature of the food and its characterizing properties (i.e., that the ingredients are sugars or syrups).

Cybergenics LLC, makers of Iso-Test named in class action for misrepresentations and false advertisement

Plaintiff purchased Iso-Test and upon such information and belief alleges, that Defendant Cybergenics LLC is a Georgia limited liability company that manufactures, distributes, and/or sells Iso-Test, a once daily male supplement (hereafter “Iso-Test” or “Product”). Defendant sells its Product to consumers in California and throughout the nation.

Defendant makes the following claims on its packaging: “Testosterone Booster” and “Helps boos testosterone by 47%”. These claims made by Defendant, which were seen by all consumers who purchased the Product because these claims are on the Product label, are both false and misleading.

Plaintiff was curious about these claims, and in reliance thereon, decided to purchase the Product. Plaintiff did so after reviewing the challenged marketing claims. Plaintiff used the Product as directed, but was damaged in purchasing Defendant’s Product because he did not experience any of Defendant’s promised benefits. Plaintiff would not have purchased the Product but for the misleading claims described herein that were made by Defendant. In reality, Defendant’s Product does not work as advertised and the claims about the Product’s unique or special testosterone abilities are false 2 and misleading.

Plaintiff brings the lawsuit to enjoin Defendant from such behavior, and to recover the money taken by Defendant’s practices.

Complaint: Cybergenics