A 2011 action alleging that L’Oreal USA Inc. and L’Oreal USA Products Inc, both are subsidies of L’Oreal SA, has been granted certification for two subclasses claiming that L’Oreal failed to warn purchasers of flammability in its Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum (Product). Federal Court in the Central District of California certified the action.
The original Plaintiffs filed a motion on February 2, 2012 for class certification of a New York Class and a California Class for any and all consumers who purchased the Product. L’Oreal unsuccessfully argued that the plaintiffs did not warrant a class, citing Duke v. Walmart, in which the court denied class status to plaintiffs for the variability of circumstances.
A class action is a lawsuit that allows a large group of people to collectively bring a claim against a defendant. In this case, consumers who purchased the Product between February 2008 to present are entitled to bring action for L’Oreal not warning the consumers that the Product is hazardous when used near flames or heat styling appliances (e.g. hair dryers, curling irons, or flat irons, ect.)
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the sale and labeling of cosmetics here in the USA and enforces restrictions that protect consumers found here. The complaint alleges that two substances used in the Product are flammable and that L’Oreal knew, or should have known, of the flammability. The complaint additionally alleges a failure to warn the consumers of such flammability.
Among the claims against L’Oreal are various failures under the Uniform Commercial Code for Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability, and to warn and correctly label their Product under California Civil Code, and Business and Professions Code, and New York General Business Law.
Brand managers and in-house counsel must adhere to strict regulations to ensure consumers are made well aware of the ingredients in your brand’s products. Labeling and packaging are the face of your product, and brands should always error on the side of caution and over disclosure to avoid costly lawsuits and challenging PR issues.