From paint to beer to dog food to shampoo, consumer class action false advertising suits continue to proliferate.
Citing a decision from the National Advertising Division, two plaintiffs filed suit against Rust-Oleum Corporation in Illinois federal court, accusing the company of scamming consumers with statements that its paint provides “twice the coverage in a single pass” and will get projects done “in half the time at half the cost of competitive brands.”
Not true, the plaintiffs said, asserting that the “2X” product paint line “performs below its express representations.” Even after the NAD recommended that the company discontinue its 2X claims and change the name of the product, Rust-Oleum has continued to “aggressively” market its paint line as “remarkably superior” to competitors to justify a price premium, the plaintiffs alleged.
The suit seeks an order compelling a corrective advertising campaign as well as disgorgement, restitution, and damages.
In California federal court, a pair of consumers is seeking recovery from Craft Brew Alliance, alleging that they were tricked about Kona Brewing Company’s line of beers. The company “intentionally misleads” consumers into believing the beer line is locally brewed in Hawaii by using marketing and labeling with imagery of the Hawaiian islands, when the beverages are actually brewed on the mainland, the plaintiffs said.
Each beer is branded with its own Hawaiian theme, from the Wailua Wheat Ale to the Longboard Island Lager. For example, the Hanalei Island IPA is named for a town in Kauai, Hawaii. Two people kayaking in the ocean in front of the mountains of Hawaii are depicted on the bottle label accompanied by a description of the beer: “Kayak the stunning Hanalei Bay and ease your way through the tropical paradise of northern Kauai. Refresh your senses with this crisp Island IPA—the subtle bitterness of hops is balanced by passionfruit, orange and guava. Easy does it.”
The “prominent Hawaii imagery and wording on the product labels, taken both in isolation and as a whole, are clearly designed to create the mistaken impression that Kona Brewing Co. beer is made in Hawaii,” the plaintiffs stated, and its social media campaign is “rife” with Hawaiian imagery and references.
The suit seeks injunctive relief as well as monetary damages.
Despite being labeled “natural” and containing “no artificial preservatives,” Rachael Ray’s line of dog food in fact contains artificial additives and preservatives, according to a California consumer’s new lawsuit. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition Holdings deceived consumers in order to capitalize on their preference for natural food products—even for pets—in a $40 million national advertising campaign, the complaint alleged.
Requesting declaratory relief, a corrective advertising campaign, restitution, and monetary damages, the suit emphasized the “prominent” use of the word “natural” not only on the pet food packaging but also on the products’ websites.
Finally, a line of “Sexy Hair” products—including shampoos and conditioners—was the recipient of a consumer class action complaint in Massachusetts federal court. The plaintiff accused Sexy Hair Concepts of advertising its line of products in stores and online as sulfate and salt free when the ingredients list—“printed in very small type on the back side of the container”—states the shampoo contains both sodium sulfate and sodium chloride (salt).
The plaintiff purchased the product thinking that shampoo without salt and sulfates would be good for her hair, she claimed. The plaintiff argued that she was injured by the false promises and asked the court for injunctive relief and monetary damages, trebled under Massachusetts’ consumer protection law.
To read the complaint in Leggett v. Rust-Oleum Corporation, click here.
To read the complaint in Cilloni v. Craft Brew Alliance, click here.
To read the complaint in Grimm v. APN, Inc., click here.
To read the complaint in Crane v. Sexy Hair Concepts, click here.
Why it matters: As the four newly-filed complaints demonstrate, consumer class actions alleging false advertising continue to be filed across the country against a broad range of products.