A federal court in California has given preliminary approval to a $5.3-million settlement in a putative nationwide class action alleging that Fitflop USA falsely advertised its footwear products by claiming they were effective in strengthening, toning, burning calories, or assisting in weight loss; will result in a quantified percentage or amount of muscle toning; and will reduce cellulite or provide relief from heel spurs, chronic back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, lower limb edema, or degenerative disc disease. Arnold v. Fitflop USA, LLC, No. 11-0973 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Cal., order entered December 19, 2013). A fairness hearing has been scheduled for April 28, 2014.
Without admitting liability, the company has agreed to create a $5.3-million settlement fund and cease making health benefit representations about its products for five years unless it “possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates that such representations are true and non-misleading.” If found to be fair and reasonable, the settlement fund will be used to pay notice and claim administration expenses, plaintiffs’ counsel attorney fees and expenses, and eligible class member claims. Any funds not claimed will be distributed under the cy pres doctrine to Consumers Union and Consumer Watchdog.