Without admitting wrongdoing, the company that makes a line of hair and skin care products under the Organix® brand and advertises them as organic despite the purported de minimis amounts of organic ingredients in them has agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle a putative nationwide consumer-fraud class action. Golloher v. Todd Christopher Int’l, No. 12-6002 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Francisco Div., motion for preliminary approval of class settlement agreement filed August 22, 2013). The company has also agreed to cease using the Organix® brand name for hair and skin care products and will not market its products as “organic” unless they contain at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients.
Under the agreement, class members would be able to recover $4 for each product they purchased, but no more than $28. The settlement fund would be used to pay attorney’s fees and costs of up to $1.625 million as well as “modest service awards to the class representatives.” Any remaining funds would be distributed in equal amounts to the Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union, “two non-profit entities that serve the interest and needs of the Class.” Claiming that the settlement is fair and reasonable because it provides substantial benefits to the class, the memorandum in support of the motion includes a footnote indicating that litigation filed before this suit was instituted settled in September 2012 with restrictions on the defendant’s use of the Organix® brand name and the word “organic” on labels, advertisements or marketing materials in California. A hearing date of September 26, 2013, has been requested.