Wrapping up a false advertising suit brought against the makers of “kinesio tape,” KT Health Holdings LLC and KT Health LLC agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle a challenge to claims that the athletic tape would relieve sports injuries.
Alexander Vuckovic filed suit in Massachusetts federal court in 2015, alleging that the defendants deceived consumers by promoting their KT Tape Original, KT Tape Pro and KT Tape Pro X as having unique pain-relieving effects that could help prevent injury when applied to the skin. The plaintiff pointed to several studies that showed a lack of evidence for claims that “kinesio taping” alleviated pain and facilitated lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin.
Following discovery, the parties began settlement discussions that resulted in a joint motion in support of preliminary approval of their agreement. The $1.75 million settlement fund will cover payments to class members (those who made purchases dating back to October 2011 are entitled to cash refunds of up to 50 percent of the full retail price they paid for the tape), attorneys’ fees and expenses of roughly $583,000, a $5,000 incentive award for Vuckovic, and the costs of notice and settlement administration.
Class members can submit a claim for one package of KT Tape without providing proof of purchase and can submit claims for up to five packages with purchase receipts or other proof of purchase. In no event will the amount distributed to the class members be less than the attorneys’ fees and expenses.
Injunctive relief was also included that requires the defendants to make labeling and advertising changes for all of the packaging and advertising for KT Tape. The defendants agreed to stop making claims such as “it will keep you pain free,” “prevents injury,” “for injury prevention” and “provides 24-hour pain relief per application.”
The phrase “can be used for hundreds of common injuries” will be modified to state “can be used for many common injuries,” while the disclaimer language on the back of KT Tape packages, in-store displays and elsewhere saying “not clinically proven for all applications” will be tweaked to read “not clinically proven for all injuries.” The revised disclaimer will be in bold print and with increased type size, and will be added wherever the words “for fast, easy pain relief,” “for common injuries” or “common injuries” are used.
To read the memorandum in support of preliminary approval of the proposed settlement in Vuckovic v. KT Health Holdings, LLC, click here.
Why it matters: The settlement agreement reflects the defendants’ “somewhat limited financial resources,” particularly in light of a successful declaratory judgment action filed by one of their insurers denying coverage, while also providing “significant injunctive relief,” the parties told the court in their motion in support of the deal.