A New York federal court has dismissed a putative class action accusing Estée Lauder of falsely advertising its Advanced Night Repair (ANR ) line’s anti-aging benefits, finding that the plaintiff lacked standing and failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Tomasino v. The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., No. 13-4692 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D.N.Y., order entered August 26, 2014). The plaintiff was unlikely to purchase Estée Lauder products in the future, the court found, so she failed to sufficiently allege a future injury to establish standing for an injunction.
The court also identified problems with the merits of the plaintiff’s allegations. She failed to plead with the plausibility required of a deceptive business practices claim, the court said. In addition, her claims that Estée Lauder’s promotional materials deceived her were incomplete; the court found that “the only factual support she provides in support of her assertion is that ‘the ANR Products do not and cannot live up to the efficacy claims made by Estee Lauder because none of their ingredients can provide the promised results,’” without alleging what ingredients the products contain or explaining how these ingredients are insufficient to support the company’s claims.
The plaintiff further alleged that Estée Lauder cited patent protection in its advertisements but failed to provide the relevant patent numbers; the court found that she had misread a statute which requires a patent holder to include a patent number to recover damages in a patent-infringement action. “The statute has nothing to do with advertising,” the court said. It also dismissed the plaintiff’s arguments that (i) a product that actually achieved the results Estée Lauder claimed would be regulated as a drug, and, that the product was not regulated as such was proof that it could not achieve the results; and (ii) that the company releases new products “every few years” meant that the products cannot work as they claim, or else it would not need to update them.