Jessica Karmasek Sep. 8, 2015, 10:29am


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - A Los Angeles man has filed a class action complaint against The Honest Company, the maker of eco-friendly diapers, wipes, bath products and non-toxic cleaning products, claiming the company is anything but honest.

Jonathan D. Rubin filed his 29-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, Thursday.

Rubin, according to his complaint, purchased and used Honest brand hand soap and dish soap from Los Angeles supermarket chain Gelson’s Markets. He also bought and used the company’s brand of sunscreen.

The plaintiff, who is seeking class action certification, argues he paid a “premium” -- “in excess of the price for comparable products not purporting to be natural” -- for the products, believing they were all-natural.

However, according to Rubin’s complaint, the products contain “unnatural” ingredients, including synthetic preservatives, synthetic surfactants and petrochemical-based additives.

Rubin also takes issue with the sunscreen’s effectiveness -- or lack thereof.

“Honest stated and continues to state that Honest Sunscreen is ‘effective’ for sunblock protection. This representation is literally false,” he wrote, pointing to customer reviews on Amazon that detail evidence of sunburn and blisters from exposure to the sun after applying the sunscreen.

This summer, the company received numerous complaints via social media regarding its sunscreen.

“Honest isn’t,” Rubin simply wrote in his complaint.

He seeks to represent a nationwide class, including all U.S. residents who have purchased Honest dish soap, hand soap, diapers, multi-surface cleaner or sunscreen from Sept. 20, 2012 through the final disposition of the action, for personal use and not for resale.

Rubin seeks on his behalf and that of class members:

- An order certifying the class and appointing him as the representative of the class, and appointing San Francisco law firm Phillips Erlewine Given & Carlin LLP as class counsel;

- Declaratory and injunctive relief, including enjoining Honest from continuing the alleged unlawful practices described herein, and directing the company to identify, with court supervision, victims of the alleged misconduct and pay them restitution and disgorgement;

- An order for Honest to engage in a corrective advertising campaign;

- Damages in an amount to be determined by the court, but at least $5 million;

- Restitution, disgorgement and/or constructive trust on all of the “inequitable” payments and profits Honest retained from the plaintiff and class members in an amount to be determined by the court, but at least $5 million;

- Attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs of the action; and

- Pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

Actress Jessica Alba, who co-founded Honest in 2011, told UPI over the weekend that its formulations are “made with integrity and strict standards of safety.”

“The allegations against us are baseless and without merit,” Alba said in a statement to the news agency. “We strongly stand behind our products and the responsibility we have to our consumers.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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