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February 20, 2013 / Jaspreet Tiwana

Aveeno ‘Natural’ Baby Wash Class Action Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson has been sued in U.S. District Court in New Jersey in a class action lawsuit by two mothers alleging that the company tricked consumers into believing that its Aveeno baby wash products were all natural, when in fact they contain various unnatural and synthetic ingredients. Plaintiffs Rebecca Virgil and Heidi Langan have brought this lawsuit on behalf of all of those who have purchased Aveeno Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath. The class action is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, restitution, injunctive relief, unjust enrichment, and consumer fraud.

aveeno

The mothers allege that the Aveeno baby wash products falsely display the phrase “Natural Oat Formula” on the bottles, which would lead an ordinary and reasonable customer to conclude that the entire formula for the product is comprised of natural ingredients. In addition to the products not being natural, the complaint alleges that the Aveeno baby products contain ingredients that can be carcinogenic to humans.  Among these carcinogenic ingredients is Quaternium 15, a preservative used for purposes of embalming and disinfecting. Another chemical found in the Aveeno products was PEG 15 disterate, which is derived from stearic acid and is used a surfactant (this chemical plays a critical role in cleaning products, such as detergent).  The complaint states that the misleading representations on behalf of Johnson & Johnson are particularly egregious because the product is intended to be used on babies. Furthermore, the mothers allege that consumers were willing to pay more for the Aveeno baby wash products when compared to other similar baby wash products that did not claim to be “all natural,” and therefore consumers were economically injured by the false advertising. Thus, instead of receiving the “natural” baby wash product that was advertised to them, the complaint alleges that the consumers received the exact opposite of what was advertised, which was a product that contained unnatural and synthetic ingredients.

The misrepresentations by Johnson & Johnson may violate federal law under the Lanham Act, which prohibits false descriptions or misleading descriptions that may confuse consumers. Such conduct may also violates California law which aims to protect consumers from misrepresentation and fraud.

If you feel you have been the victim of misrepresentations or consumer fraud on the behalf of a company, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.

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