A New Jersey resident has filed a complaint on behalf of a putative statewide class against Mona Vie, Inc., alleging that the company engages in a fraudulent scheme through a multi-level system of purportedly independent distributors to sell its 25-ounce beverages at an inflated price—$45—by claiming that it can provide an array of “benefits to nearly every known medical condition.” Pontrelli v. Mona Vie, Inc., No. 13-4649 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.N.J., filed August 1, 2013). Alleging violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, fraud and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, restitution, actual and punitive damages in excess of $5 million, interest, attorney’s fees, and costs.
The complaint alleges that the man behind the alleged scheme, Dallin Larsen, conducted a similar “super juice” enterprise that resulted in Food and Drug Administration scrutiny and unsold inventory poured into a landfill under the agency’s supervision. The plaintiff contends that she saw and relied “upon advertisements, representations and statements made by Defendants or other Scheme members about the alleged health benefits of drinking Mona Vie Products. The advertisements, representations and statements which were relied upon by Plaintiff resulted from the Mona Vie Scheme described herein and were embraced either tacitly or expressly by Defendants.” She alleges that she used the product and did not experience any of the advertised benefits. According to the plaintiff, the alleged scheme allows Mona Vie to distance itself from its “independent distributors” who are exposed to testimonials about the products’ purported benefits during conventions and then, with insufficient training or knowledge, make a frenzy of misleading, false and “outlandish” product representations. The complaint states, “Defendants are veterans of the multi-level-marketing game which has plagued consumers for decades throughout this country.”