We have previously written about an established class action plaintiff who is making a name for himself throughout the Internet marketing industry by virtue of his liberal use of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”) to bring class action lawsuits. In the past, we had seen such suits in connection with the advertising and sale of consumer products (such as flowers, espresso machines and commercial email advertisements in general), however, we have recently seen a distinct pivot in Harold Hoffman’s focus towards pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, including herbal extracts, vegetable extracts, oils, dietary supplements and the like.

What is the nature of the new Hoffman allegations?

The allegations made by Hoffman in this most recent series of lawsuits typically involve claims of deceptive advertising-based CFA violations, including: (1) that the subject product has not been properly classified as a drug with the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”); (2) that the label of the subject product fails to include certain FDA-required disclaimer language; or (3) that the subject product is improperly advertised or marketed as having certain nutritional, health or medicinal benefits in violation of federal law and FDA regulations. In many of these recent lawsuits, Hoffman has sought to parlay alleged violations of the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act into consumer fraud-based nationwide class action lawsuits, exposing defendant companies to potentially crippling liability.

What Should You Do If Hoffman or Any Other CFA Plaintiff Sues You?

The failure to quickly identify the defenses available to the various versions of CFA class action lawsuits may result in manufacturers, advertisers, and marketers alike finding themselves on weak footing when defending the claims brought against them. Therefore, it is critical to engage counsel knowledgeable in the intricacies of these complex issues in order to minimize the expense of defending such suits, whether brought by a formidable litigator such as Hoffman, or other CFA plaintiffs. Extensive experience with the aggressive defense of marketing and advertising-related lawsuits, as well as class action lawsuits generally, has allowed us to formulate arguments informed by the most effective legal theories related to New Jersey CFA claims, positioning our clients to achieve favorable resolutions.

The best defense to a lawsuit, however, is to take the necessary steps to avoid the prying eyes of class action plaintiffs altogether. Retaining and working closely with counsel that understands the nuances of the laws governing advertising and marketing practices will go a long way towards ensuring that a class action complaint never gets filed in the first place.