The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the certification of a class action against The Procter & Gamble Co. over claims that the consumer goods giant made misrepresentations in the packaging of its Align dietary supplement and engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices. The plaintiffs in Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Co., allege that the product is mere “snake oil,” with no scientific proof of its effectiveness.
According to an analysis published by the American Bar Association, the decision may lower the threshold for certification of other class action lawsuits involving small-dollar products used by different consumers for different purposes. There has been a split among federal courts in such cases, with some courts finding that class certification should not be given if some consumers can prove that the product worked as advertised.
In the Rikos opinion, the Sixth Circuit considered two factors – the lower court’s finding that “no individual would purchase Align but-for its digestive health benefits, which P&G promoted through an extensive advertising campaign,” and the plaintiffs’ allegation that Align does not work as promised for anyone. The decision allows the lawsuit to proceed on the merits with a class of individuals who purchased Align in various states and who claim to have been similarly harmed by the product.
The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Class Action Group have successfully represented several hundreds of consumers who have fallen victim to product misrepresentations and false advertising.