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By Stephanie Stroup (US)
Last week, Magistrate Judge Beeler in the Northern District of California certified a class of purchasers of cosmetics marketed as “organic” by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
In so doing, Judge Beeler weighed in on several hot spot issues for class certification, including ascertainability, consumer reliance and class-wide damages models. Her determinations seem generally in keeping with the plaintiff-happy class action climate in California, as courts recently seem reticent to deny class certification.
On June 22, 2011, plaintiffs Rosminah Brown and Eric Lohela filed a lawsuit alleging that several different Avalon Organics and Jason cosmetic products (manufactured and marketed by Hain) were falsely advertised, marketed, and sold as organic. The complaint relies heavily on the California Organic Products Act of 2003, which requires cosmetics to be made of at least 70% organic ingredients in order to be marketed as “Organic.”
Plaintiffs claimed that substantially less than 70 percent of the ingredients of several cosmetic products purchased in 2009 from both lines were certified organic, and filed suit.
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