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Richardson v. L'Oreal class action settlement

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"If you live in the United States and have purchased a Matrix®, Kérastase®, Redken®, and Pureology® product for in-home use on or after August 30, 2008, you are a member of this Settlement Class and this Notice applies to you."

Putative class-action plaintiffs protest that L'Oreal "professional hair care products were falsely and misleadingly labeled, marketed and advertised as "for sale only in professional beauty salons," "exclusive salon distribution," "Exclusive to Kérastase Consultant Salons," and "Available Only at Fine Salons & Spas" (collectively, "salon-only"), when consumers can purchase these products in major retail outlets throughout the United States where professional salon services are not available." It's hard to imagine how named plaintiff Nancie Ligon, who purchased her L'Oreal hair-care product at a Big Kmart Store in Petaluma, California, was possibly injured: after all, isn't the very presence of L'Oreal in a Big Kmart a telling indicator that "for sale only in professional beauty salons" is puffery?

Never you mind. The parties decided that they wanted to settle, but didn't want to settle in the Northern District of California where Ligon had filed her complaint, and forum-shopped a new post-settlement complaint in the District of Columbia. The settlement is reminiscent of Pampers: nothing for the supposedly-injured class, meaningless label changes in the US so future L'Oreal purchasers won't mistakenly think they're in a "fine salon" when they buy L'Oreal at Kmart, and just shy of a million dollars for the attorneys. The six representative plaintiffs—five of whom didn't join the case until it had already settled—get $1,000 each.

Class members can't opt out: the settlement is under Rule 23(b)(2). The case is Richardson et al. v. L'Oréal USA, Inc., No. 13-CV-508 (D.D.C.).

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.