A California federal court has dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging that GNC Corp., Gencor Nutrients and several individuals defrauded consumers by manipulating scientific data on the health effects of the herbal extract fenugreek and Gencor’s commercial version, Testofen. O’Toole v. Gencor Nutrients, No. 14-3754 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., order entered July 23, 2014). Finding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that California could exercise personal jurisdiction over the non-resident individual defendants, co-founders of defendant Direct Digital, the court first dismissed the claims against them.
The court then dismissed each of the remaining claims in turn. The plaintiffs alleged that Gencor and GNC violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act based on mail and wire fraud, but the court pointed out that the plaintiffs did not explain “the who, what, where, and when” of the allegations. The breach of warranty claims also fail, the court found, because the plaintiffs did not allege reliance, causation and injury. The court then dismissed all remaining claims because they rested on the allegation that Gencor’s clinical trial failed to use the “Bonferroni correction,” which corrects for several dependent or independent statistical tests. The plaintiffs argued that, according to the report attached to their complaint, this failure amounted to an invalidation of the study’s results. The court disagreed, finding that the report actually contradicted the plaintiffs’ argument, and dismissed the remaining actions with prejudice.