A federal court in California has dismissed claims filed against GNC Holdings because the plaintiff failed to allege under the Class Action Fairness Act that she is a citizen of a state different from any defendant and because she failed to establish that the amount in controversy exceeded the $5-million jurisdictional minimum; the complaint alleges that the company deceives consumers by making false claims about the effects on human health of the L-Arginine in its Pro Performance Rapid Drive Arginine 5000 product. Hirmez v. GNC Holdings, Inc., No. 13-1828 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Cal., order entered May 27, 2014).
In granting the defendant’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend, the court explained how the complaint sets forth the plaintiff’s residency but not her citizenship, “a fatal flaw by itself, if not corrected.” It also noted that the complaint failed to specify the day of her purchase, the price of the product and how much she paid. A screen shot of products attached as an exhibit is not further elaborated in the complaint, according to the court. Even so, it reflects two prices: $39.99 and $23.97. And because the plaintiff alleges only that the class is composed of “thousands of persons geographically dispersed,” the court observed that, without more, and assuming 2,000 class members and a product without any value, “the aggregate amount in controversy would be only $79,980” at the $39.99 price. Nine thousand class members would bring the amount in controversy to just $359,910, “still well below the jurisdictional minimum of $5,000,000.”
With these issues dispositive, the court declined to address the parties’ remaining arguments. An amended complaint, if any, must be filed by June 20, 2014.