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June 5, 2014 / Alexis Domb

The Skinny on Laci Le Beau Diet Tea: California Federal Court Allows Consumer Class Action to Proceed

On May 14, 2014, a California federal judge declined to dismiss a putative class action against Natrol Products, Inc.—a nutritional supplement company—alleging that advertising of its Laci Le Beau Super Dieter’s Tea as a weight loss aid designed to support reduction of excess body fat and accumulated toxins is false and misleading.

Augustine filed her class action complaint in December 2013 (Augustine et al v. Natrol Products, Inc., Case No. 13-cv003129, S. D. CA.), alleging false advertising and labeling of the Dieter’s Tea. The class action claims that the product’s marketing is “false or deceptive” and that regular use of the product is not only ineffective for weight loss and appetite suppression, but can actually cause dependence on stimulant laxatives and serious health problems.

According to the complaint, the tea’s main ingredient, Senna, is “an herbal laxative that does not assist in weight loss and actually causes chronic bloating and constipation.” As confirmed by the National Institute of Health, Senna is not safe for long-term use, despite that Natrol’s packaging encourages regular use as part of a “lifestyle.” The class action suit claims studies reveal that regular consumption of Senna has been tied to health dangers, such as toxicity, hepatitis, liver failure, arthritis and finger “clubbing,” laxative dependency, and even cancer.

In the recent motion to dismiss, Natrol argued to the court that Augustine’s claims were too vague and that the statements on the tea’s packaging are not likely to deceive consumers, but merely contained nonactionable puffery. The court rejected this argument concluding that a reasonable consumer may be deceived by the statements on the tea’s packaging. The court has allowed the case to move forward, giving Augustine a chance to pursue her claims against Natrol on behalf of herself and others who purchased the Dieter’s Tea.

If you or someone you know has purchased a product in reliance on misleading labeling or advertising, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

 

 

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