Television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz reached a $5.25 million deal in a false advertising class action accusing him of overstating the benefits of dietary supplements promising weight loss.
A trio of plaintiffs filed the case in February 2016, alleging that Dr. Oz and related corporate entities promoted products such as Labrada Garcinia Cambogia Dual Action Fat Buster and Labrada Green Coffee Bean Extract Fat Loss Optimizer as a “magic weight-loss cure” and “revolutionary fat buster” on his eponymous talk show, when in fact no scientific evidence existed to back up the claims.
Without admitting any liability, the defendants reached a deal following extensive negotiations and three mediation sessions. The settlement agreement provides for a $5.25 million fund to pay in full in the following order: any necessary taxes and tax expenses, all costs associated with settlement administration, class counsel fees and expenses (not to exceed 33 percent of the total fund), class representative incentive awards (two for $5,000 and one $7,500 award), and payments to authorized class members.
Class members include U.S. residents who purchased any green coffee bean extract or garcinia cambogia product from Feb. 2, 2012, until the settlement notice is disseminated, or any weight loss product, ingredient and/or plant after viewing three specific episodes of The Dr. Oz Showdevoted to green coffee bean extract or garcinia cambogia. Claimants will receive $30 cash for each product purchased, up to $90 per household without proof of purchase, and without limit for those with receipts.
The defendants also promised not to re-air three episodes of The Dr. Oz Show that promoted the products, as well as to remove online clips from all three episodes.
Once the court grants preliminary approval of the deal, the parties will issue an agreed-upon joint statement. Besides announcing the settlement agreement and the plaintiffs’ request to have the defendants dismissed from the action, the statement notes that none of the defendants “have been found liable for any wrongdoing and are pleased with the resolution of this matter.”
Litigation continues against the manufacturers of the dietary supplements.
To read the joint stipulation of settlement in Woodard v. Labrada, click here.
Why it matters: Green coffee weight loss products gained popularity after they appeared on The Dr. Oz Show but yielded more legal action than weight loss success. In addition to consumer class actions like the one Dr. Oz recently settled, the Federal Trade Commission brought several cases against the manufacturers and marketers of green coffee weight loss products alleging violations of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. One case resulted in a $30 million judgment and a ban on deceptive advertising for one executive, while other companies agreed to pay $9 million and $3.5 million to settle their claims.