Organic labelling class action suit settled in California
According to Lexington Law Group “the parties agreed to a Settlement to avoid the expense and risks of continuing the lawsuit.” As is typical in announcements of this sort the firm notes, “The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. The court has not decided who is right and who is wrong.”
The suit was brought by plaintiffs claiming that advertising and packaging labels led shoppers to think that the products sold in California by both Organics and Jason Brand Cosmetics were mostly or wholly organic.
Lexington Law Group has listed hundreds of product SKUs online for consumer reference. And under the settlement, Hain Celestial, parent company of Avalon Organics and Jason Brand Cosmetics, is allotting a fund of $7.5m to compensate approved class member claims.
That fund will also accommodate notice and administrative costs, incentive awards to the named plaintiffs, as well as attorneys' fees and costs, according to the Lexington Law Group press release. Additionally, the company will give as much as $1.85m in coupons good toward the purchase of Avalon Organics or JASON brand products as part of the settlement.
Anyone who purchased relevant Avalon Organics and Jason products in California during the interval covered by the lawsuit—May 11, 2007 through May 11, 2011—has four choices under the proposed settlement.
Individual consumers may submit a claim for compensation (and forfeit the option of suing Hain on this labelling issue), opt out of the settlement (retaining the right to sue the defendant), send comments objecting to the settlement terms to the court, or take no action.
Hain Celestial, based in Lake Success, NY, has six personal care brands in its portfolio, all with ties to the natural beauty trend: Alba Botanica, Orjene Organics, Queen Helene, Zia Natural Skincare, as well as Avalon Organics and JASON everyday natural care.
And overall the company’s ethical reputation remains good. Just last month, for instance, PETA included an Alba Botanica body wash in a blog post about “cruelty-free body-care product” alternatives to Victoria’s Secret products. (That company conforms to animal testing requirements set by the Chinese government.)