L’Oréal named in class action over caustic ingredients in Soft Sheen-Carson Optimum Salon Haircare brand Amla Legend Rejuvenating Ritual Relaxer Kit

This is a class action against L’Oréal, USA, Inc. and Soft Sheen-Carson, LLC. Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable remedies for herself and the putative Class, which includes consumers who purchased Soft Sheen-Carson Optimum Salon Haircare® brand Amla Legend Rejuvenating Ritual Relaxer Kit (hereinafter “the Product”).

The Product is part of Defendants’ Amla Legend product line, as indicated by the large, bold letters on the front and center of the Product’s packaging. In their marketing and advertising materials, Defendants represent that their Amla Legend products, which include the Product, are a “secret ritual for hair rejuvenation,” and that “Amla oil’s intense moisture will rejuvenate every strand, leaving you with thicker-looking, healthier hair,” with “unique properties [that] prevent breakage, restore shine, manageability and smoothness.”

Defendants specifically market the Product to African American women as an “easy no-mix, no-lye relaxer kit that ensures an easier relaxing process for unified results and superior respect for hair fiber integrity”.

As alleged, an inherent design and/or manufacturing defect in the Product causes significant hair loss and skin and scalp irritation, including burns and blistering (collectively “the Injuries”). At no time did Defendants provide Plaintiff with adequate disclosure or warning about the potential dangerous hazards of using the Product as directed by Defendants, of which Defendants have knowledge. Instead, Defendants make numerous assertions regarding the values of Product’s purported safe and gentle qualities in their labeling, marketing and advertising materials, including that the Product is “NO-LYE”, (i.e., does not contain Sodium Hydroxide), is a “rejuvenating ritual” that “refills as it relaxes for amazingly lively-looking hair”, “protects [the] scalp & skin”, has “anti-breakage” properties, provides “unified results and superior respect for hair fiber integrity,” and contains a “powerful anti-oxidant rich in vitamins and minerals.”

Consumers damaged by the Product often have permanent hair loss. Plaintiff and the putative Class Members have suffered injury in fact and loss of money and/or property as a result of using Amla Relaxer.

Unknown to Plaintiff or the putative Class the Product contained, and continues to contain, Sodium Hydroxide, also known as Caustic Soda or Lye (hereinafter “Lye”), and other caustic ingredients or combination of ingredients that causes Injuries upon proper application. Further, the instructions on how to “test” the Product and how to apply the Product are so woefully inadequate they are virtually useless.

Lye is a very strong and caustic ingredient that can and does cause Injuries, including significant hair loss, skin and scalp irritation, burns, blistering, and may also compromise the immune system.

As a result of the defective nature of the Product, it is unfit for its intended use and purpose.

Complaint

Honda named in class action lawsuit alleging defect in the HandsFreeLink™ system

Honda introduced the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ system in its 2004 model year Acura vehicles. Honda promotes Acura as its luxury brand, offering advanced technology and high performance. The HandsFreeLink™ system was initially offered as a luxury add-on but soon became a standard feature of Acura models. The hands-free interface of the HandsFreeLink™ allows drivers to use their phones without using their hands. Drivers “pair” a smartphone with the car, allowing calls to be made using a microphone and the speakers in the car, and enabling the phone to receive voice commands such as “call home” or “call my office” through the car’s system to dial certain numbers or places.

As alleged, the HandsFreeLink™ system is defective. It becomes locked into the “on” position even if not in use and remains “on” even after the car’s ignition switch is turned off. Once locked “on,” the HandsFreeLink™ unit exerts a continuous, substantial, and (in Honda’s words) “parasitic” electric drain on the vehicle’s electric system. This drain depletes and consumes batteries, and leads to premature failure of other essential electric components—such as alternators, which are forced to compensate for the failing batteries. Acura owners are left with cars that will not reliably start, electrical systems prone to fail even while the car is being driven, and essential electrical parts such as batteries and alternators that must be serviced and replaced.

The complaint contends that Honda has known about this defect in the HandsFreeLink™ system since at least June 2005 but has not warned its customers. As a result, Plaintiff and class members have had to pay out of pocket to replace drained batteries and other electrical components, unaware that the real problem is the HandsFreeLink™ system. By the time customers discover the defect resides in the HandsFreeLink™ system (if they ever do), the warranty period is typically expired. Thus, Plaintiff and class members are left to choose between replacing the costly HandsFreeLink™ unit—with no guarantee that the replacement HandsFreeLink™ unit will not also be defective— or paying to disconnect their HandsFreeLink™ system and losing the use of this feature entirely.

Honda continues to sell and lease vehicles with HandsFreeLink™ without disclosing the defect to consumers. 5. Plaintiff seeks relief for himself and a class of all other consumers who purchased or leased Acura vehicles equipped with a HandsFreeLink™ system under California law or, in the alternative, a class of Acura owners in Washington, to redress the harm they have suffered as a result of this defective technology. Plaintiff requests an award of damages and appropriate equitable relief, including an order enjoining Honda from continuing to sell vehicles with the defective HandsFreeLink™ system and requiring Honda to disclose the defect to current Acura owners and repair their vehicles.

Fiat named in class action over use of defeat devices to falsify fuel efficiency, performance, and emissions statistics

The complaint alleges that Fiat intentionally installed of so-called defeat devices on an estimated 104,000 diesel Dodge and Jeep vehicles sold in the United States since 2014 (“Defeat Device Vehicles”). Defendants marketed those vehicles as environmentally friendly vehicles that possessed better fuel efficiency, better performance, and lower emissions. Although Defendants successfully marketed these expensive cars as “clean,” their environmentally-friendly representations were a sham. Defendants did not actually make cars with those desirable and advertised attributes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), Defendants installed their “defeat device” in at least their 3.0-liter EcoDiesel-powered 2014-2016 Dodge RAM 1500 pickup trucks and 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles.

Instead of delivering on their promise of superior fuel economy coupled with low emissions, Defendants devised a way to make it appear that their cars did what they said they would when, in fact, they did not.

The defeat devices Defendants designed and installed work by switching on the full emissions control systems in Defendants’ cars only when the car is undergoing periodic emissions testing. The technology needed to control emissions from Defendants’ cars to meet state and federal emissions regulations, reduces their performance, limiting acceleration, torque, and fuel efficiency.

To hide this, the defeat device simply shuts off most of the emissions control systems in the car once the car has completed its emissions test. While that might have made the car more fun to drive, it resulted in Defendants’ cars sending excess NOx emissions into the environment than is allowed under the Clean Air Act and state regulations.

Jaguar named in class action over defect in the vehicle’s infotainment systems

Plaintiff brings this action for actual damages, equitable relief, including restitution, injunctive relief, and disgorgement of profits, and all other relief available on behalf of himself and all similarly situated individuals and entities (the “Class”) who own, lease or have owned or have leased model year 2016 or 2017 Jaguar XE, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XJ or Jaguar F-Pace vehicles (hereinafter, collectively, the “Vehicles”) manufactured and/or sold by Jaguar.

All of the claims asserted herein arise out of Jaguar’s design, manufacture, and warranting of the Vehicles, as well as Jaguar’s advertising, promoting, marketing, distributing, selling and leasing of the Vehicles as one of the most dependable, safe, and reliable vehicles available.

One of the features of each Vehicle is the multimedia and navigation system (commonly referred to as the “Infotainment System”) that features a touchscreen with touch and swipe controls for the operation of key vehicle functions including navigation, music, phone, climate and driver assistance systems.

The Vehicles are designed and manufactured with uniform and inherent design defects in the Infotainment Systems that cause one or more of the key vehicle functions to fail and renders them unusable (“Defect”).

As a result of the Defect, the Infotainment System and key vehicle functions fail to operate or function as designed. These resulting Vehicle failures from the Defect include, without limitation, failure of the Infotainment System screen to appear on Vehicle start-up, rear camera failing to appear or to function as designed, front parking sensors failing to activate as designed, freezing of satellite radio, failure to recognize USB media, intermittent Bluetooth connectivity and Infotainment System remaining powered after Vehicle shutdown.

Complaint

Lenny & Larry, makers of the Complete Cookie named in class action for overstating levels of protein

Defendant manufactures, markets and sells the Product, “The Complete Cookie,” on its own retail website and in retail outlets, including health food stores and nutritional supplement stores, throughout the United States. The Product is marketed as “quality baked goods that not only taste great, but also contain healthy amounts of beneficial protein.” Defendant has positioned the Product in the protein product marketplace, a marketplace that expects sales of protein products in general to grow 62% and reach U.S. $7.8 billion by 2018.2

Defendant claims that the Product has “16g of protein … in every 4 oz cookie” and claims that the Product was developed “as a better way to feed your muscles while enjoying something tasty.” Indeed, Defendant’s website boasts: “Protein is what we’re all about! We have spent years perfecting our unique blend of naturally occurring [sic] vegetable proteins …” and Defendant markets the Product under the slogan “Make protein fun and delicious.” Defendant repeats these protein content claims on the Product labeling stating that there are “16g Protein per cookie”:

According to the complaint, Defendant’s labels grossly inflate the actual protein content of the Product. Independent testing determined the protein levels to be far below the amount of protein claimed on the Product’s label. Based on Plaintiff’s testing, the Product commonly contains between only 4 and 9 grams of protein per 4 oz cookie, far below the 16 grams of protein content claim made by Defendant. In short, Defendant is marketing a high protein cookie that simply doesn’t deliver on the promised protein content.

COMPLAINT

Audi named in class action lawsuit for use of emissions defeat devices in gasoline vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions

 

Plaintiff brings this action in connection with Audi’s practice of equipping certain gasoline vehicles with an illegal “defeat device” designed to evade governmental emissions regulations by tricking the public and regulators into thinking the vehicles emit far less noxious carbon dioxide gas (“CO2”) than they actually do.

In September 2015, and again in November 2015, Volkswagen and Audi admitted using defeat device software to activate emissions controls when diesel cars were being smog tested and deactivate those controls during normal, on-road driving. Volkswagen, Audi AG’s parent company, took the position that the diesel defeat device was an isolated incident, which it dubiously blamed on “rogue engineers.”

As alleged, it was not an isolated incident, and the unlawful activity was not perpetrated by a few “rogue engineers” but by hundreds of personnel throughout the companies.

Moreover, Audi’s unlawful activity was not limited to its diesel vehicles. It has recently been reported that Audi has been hiding its use of a completely different defeat device on additional gasoline vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.

The vehicles containing the illegal defeat device include at least those vehicles Audi equipped with (1) a ZF 8HP55 “AL551” transmission, including but not limited to, the A6, A8, Q5, and Q 7 or (2) a DL 501-7Q “DL 501” transmission, including, but not limited to, the Audi S4, S5, S6, and S7 models (collectively the “Affected Vehicles”). In those vehicles, Audi installed software which detects when the vehicle undergoes emissions and mileage testing and then programs the car to shift into each higher gear sooner, thus reducing engine RPM, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions. But otherwise, during normal driving operation, the cars’ shift points are higher, resulting in more power and acceleration, but increased fuel consumption, lower MPG, and higher CO2 emissions.

Audi sold the Affected Vehicles to Plaintiff and Class members without informing them of the existence of the defeat devices, and by falsely representing to them that the Affected Vehicles were compliant with all relevant emissions standards when in normal use. Audi also falsely represented the fuel efficiency of the Affected Vehicles.

Because the existence of the defeat devices was concealed, Plaintiff and the Class members were unaware that the vehicles they purchased were equipped with illegal defeat devices. Plaintiff and Class members suffered damages as a result of Audi’s misrepresentations and omissions regarding the defeat device. Plaintiff would not have purchased the Affected Vehicle at all and/or—if the Affected Vehicle’s true nature had been disclosed and mitigated, and the Affected Vehicle rendered legal to sell—would have paid significantly less for it. At the very least, Plaintiff and Class members overpaid for their vehicles, which are incapable of providing the balance of performance, fuel efficiency, and cleanliness that Audi advertised. Plaintiff and Class members have also suffered diminution of vehicle value now that the existence of the defeat device has been revealed.

Complaint

 L’Oreal USA, Inc., makers of Matrix Biolage Keratindose Pro-Keratin + Silk Shampoo named in class action for false advertising

 

This is a nationwide class action brought by Plaintiffs on behalf of consumers who purchased Matrix Biolage Keratindose Pro-Keratin + Silk Shampoo, Pro-Keratin + Silk Conditioner, and/or Pro-Keratin Renewal Spray.

As alleged, keratin is a protein naturally present in human hair, skin and nails. It is made by cells called keratinocytes and consists of amino acids. Its primary function is to protect the cells in hair, skin and nails from damage or stress. Through its uniform, nationwide advertising campaign, including the name of the Keratindose Product line and the names of each Product, Defendants have led consumers to believe that their Keratindose Products actually contain keratin and will confer the claimed benefits of keratin to the consumer.

According to the complaint, the Keratindose Products do not contain any keratin at all and are incapable of providing the claimed benefits of keratin to the consumer.

 

Naming the Products “Keratindose” when they contain no keratin, and echoing that representation with additional statements on the Product labels and in a uniform advertising campaign, is unlawful. The Keratindose Products’ labels are false, deceptive and misleading, in violation of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetics Act and its parallel state statutes, and almost every state warranty, consumer protection, and product labeling law throughout the United States.

  1. Defendants’ misbranding is intentional, and renders the Products worthless or less valuable. If Defendants had disclosed to Plaintiffs and putative Class Members that their Keratindose Products do not contain any keratin at all, and that the Products do not provide the claimed benefits of keratin, Plaintiffs and putative Class Members would not have purchased the Products or they would have paid less for the Products.

As a result of Defendants’ misconduct and misrepresentations, Plaintiffs and putative Class Members have suffered injury in fact, including economic damages.

Complaint

White Wave, makers of Silk Almond Beverages, named in class action lawsuit over mislabeling of the beverage

Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of all persons in the United States who, at any time since four years prior to the filing of this complaint, purchased any Silk Almond milk beverage (“Silk Almond Beverages”) manufactured, marketed, distributed, and sold by WWF Operating Company, dba White Wave Services, Inc. (“WhiteWave” or “Defendant”).

This case arises out of the false, misleading, and deceptive marketing practices of Defendant’s Silk Almond milk products. Defendant has deceptively informed and led its customers to believe that they were purchasing, for a premium price, a dairy milk alternative that is nutritionally equivalent, and even superior, to dairy milk, as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (the “FDA”).

As alleged, Silk Almond Beverages significantly lack many of the essential nutrients and vitamins provided in dairy milk, which Defendant fails to disclose to and actively conceals from consumers.

By calling its Silk Almond Beverages “milk”, a term historically used to define cow’s milk, Defendant has capitalized on reasonable consumers’ understanding of the well-known health benefits and essential nutrients that dairy milk provides without actually providing those health benefits and essential nutrients. Moreover, Defendant’s entire marketing strategy portrays its Silk Almond Beverages as nutritionally superior to dairy milk.

Defendant fails to label its Silk Almond Beverages as “imitation milk”, as required by the FDA, which requires products to be labeled “imitation” if there is any reduction in the content of essential nutrients present in a measurable amount in the standardized food for which the product is substituting. Thus, Silk Almond Beverages must be labeled “imitation milk” because they are, in fact, nutritionally inferior to dairy milk due to their reduction in the content of essential nutrients present in a measurable amount in dairy milk, as identified above and throughout this complaint.

Moreover, because Defendant utilizes the common or usual name of a food (i.e. “milk”) but fails to reveal the basic nature and characterizing ingredients of the Silk Almond Beverages, in accordance with 21 C.F.R. § 102.5(b), Defendant must label its Almond Beverages as “imitation milk”, as required by 21 C.F.R. § 101.3(e).

The Complaint alleges that the amount of essential vitamins and nutrients provided by dairy milk has a material bearing on price and consumer acceptance of products attempting to substitute dairy milk. WhiteWave has labeled its products to highlight its low calorie and fat content as compared to fat-free dairy milk and has been successful in capturing the market share previously attributed to dairy milk due to its omissions regarding the actual nutritional comparison of essential nutrients. By deceiving consumers about the nature, quality, and/or ingredients of its products, WhiteWave is able to command a premium price, increasing consumers’ willingness to pay and reduce the market share of competing products, thereby increasing its own sales and profits.

The complaint also alleges that Defendant’s deceptive labeling poses a serious health concern to consumers. In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report found that in cases where people do not consume dairy, the levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A and riboflavin drop below the recommended intake, and intake levels of potassium, vitamin D and choline also drop substantially.

COMPLAINT

HP named in class action lawsuit for installing firmware that caused wireless printers to fail when being used with non-HP brand ink cartridges

 

Plaintiffs contend that HP intentionally installed firmware on certain wirelessly-enabled HP printers that caused the printers to fail when being used with non-HP brand ink cartridges.

As alleged, Plaintiffs are the purchasers of “all-in-one” HP printers and devices offered by and sold through Defendants. On or around September 13, 2016, these printers ceased to function. The malfunction of the printers was caused by firmware that HP wirelessly installed on these printers in March 2016, without notice or consent from their owners. The firmware operated to disable the printers if ink cartridges manufactured by an HP competitor were being used. In such cases, error messages appeared on the printer and/or the device sending the print job to the printer stating that the printer error was due to a damaged or failed ink cartridge. The error messages instructed the users to replace the non-HP ink cartridges with new cartridges. Only if the cartridges were replaced with ones manufactured by HP did the printers resume operation.

HP intentionally installed this firmware in order to force consumers to purchase HP’s more expensive ink cartridges as opposed to the less expensive ink cartridges manufactured by its competitors. This scheme was intended to and did cause HP to profit in the form of ink cartridge sales and servicing charges.

HP misrepresented to Plaintiffs that the printers were compatible with non-HP ink cartridges. Plaintiffs were induced to purchase the printers and/or ink cartridges from Defendants based on these misrepresentations regarding the functionality and quality of the printers. Defendants also intentionally misrepresented that the printers failed because the ink cartridges being used were damaged or had failed.

COMPLAINT

Michelin North America named in class action lawsuit for misrepresenting tread depth on tires

Defendant produces tires for passenger vehicles. These included the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, Ultra High Performance tire in various sizes (“PSS Tire”). These are marketed as ultrahigh performance tires, and are standard equipment on many luxury sports cars, such as the Chevrolet Corvette, BMW, and Mercedes Benz vehicles.

Among the representations made on the Specification Documents are figures and measurements related to tread depth on the tires. Tread depth is a vertical measurement between the top of the tread rubber to the bottom of the tire’s deepest grooves. In the United States, tread depth is measured in increments of one thirty second of an inch (1/32nd inch). Tread depth is typically measured with a tire tread depth gauge.

New tires used on passenger cars typically start with between 9/32″ to 11/32″ of original tread depth, depending on the grand and model. Tires are legally “worn out” and should be replaced in most States when they reach 2/32″ of remaining tread depth. For example, a typical tire that starts with 10/32″ of original tread depth has only 8/32″ of useable tread depth. Its useable tread depth is calculated by subtracting a worn out tire’s 2/32″ from the new tire’s original depth of 10/32″.

Tread depth for the tires at issue in this lawsuit are consistently at least 1/32” less than the tread depth represented by Defendant Michelin in its Specification Documents. Because of that, Plaintiff and Class Members have received approximately 10% to 12.5% less tread depth and usable tread, and therefore an equivalent reduction in tire mileage, use, and value compared to the same tire with tread depth as actually represented by Defendant.

COMPLAINT