A California resident has filed consumer fraud claims against the Vitamin Shoppe, Inc., on behalf of a putative statewide class of individuals who purchased the company’s True Athlete Training Formula® expecting that it would, as advertised, build muscle and enhance athletic performance. Hodges v. Vitamin Shoppe, Inc., No. 13-2849 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., filed April 23, 2013). According to the complaint, the product’s ingredients are either useless for “enhancing athletic performance, improving cardiovascular function, or building muscle” or are present at such low levels that they cannot provide the benefits advertised even at the recommended “dosage” levels.
The ingredients on which the complaint focuses are L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate (AAKG), Creatine Monohydrate (CM), Beta-Alanine (Carnosyn®), and AstraGin™. The plaintiff contends that he paid more for the product based on the “false and misleading labeling claims” and would not have purchased the product “absent these claims and advertisements.” He alleges violations of the California Business and Professions Code (“unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice”), California Legal Remedies Act and False Advertising Law; breach of express warranty; and unjust enrichment. And he asserts violations of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and California’s Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law. Seeking to restrain and enjoin the defendant from “continuing to use these deceptive sales tactics,” the plaintiff also seeks compensatory, consequential, special, statutory, and punitive damages; interest; delay damages; attorney’s fees; and costs.