SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) - FitFlop USA has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit claiming its footwear was deceptively advertised for $5.3 million.
The settlement resolves claims that FitFlop was deceptively advertising its footwear as providing health benefits that they did not allegedly deliver.
Class members who purchased FitFlop footwear in the United States between Jan. 1, 2007 and Jan. 8 are eligible to receive between $25 and $100 from the settlement.
FitFlop has denied the allegations, but agreed to a settlement that was approved on April 28, according to court documents.
The proposed settlement creates a $5.3 million settlement fund to provide monetary relief to class members for their purchases of FitFlop footwear and to pay for attorneys' fees, expenses and notice and administration costs, according to the order granting final approval for the class action settlement that was filed April 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
If the settlement fund is not exhausted, the remainder will go to Consumers Union of the United States, a non-profit group that says it is dedicated to fighting false advertising, and Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit civic entity that says it fights to expose, confront and change deceptive corporate practices through policy research, investigation, public education and advocacy.
The settlement fund was reached after the parties engaged in settlement discussions at the early neutral evaluation conference held before Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford and after attending two private mediations with Martin Quinn of JAMS San Francisco on Oct. 9, 2012, and June 19, according to settlement documents.
Following the parties' last mediation session, they continued to engage in numerous telephonic conferences until a tentative settlement was reached in July.
Charlice Arnold, a named plaintiff in the suit, will receive a $5,000 service award and Barbara Glaberson and Angie Ojeda will receive awards of $1,500, according to the settlement document.
The court founds that class counsel's request for $1.325 million in attorneys' fees and $180,000 in expenses is fair and reasonable.
"Through an extensive and comprehensive nationwide marketing campaign, defendant claims that its expensive FitFlop Footwear... with its patent-pending 'Microwobbleboard Technology' will provide to anyone who wears it a variety of health benefits ordinary footwear cannot provide," according to the complaint, which was filed May 4, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
The defendant promised that its shoes improve posture, increase muscle activation and toning and reduce joint strain, the complaint stated.
FitFlops range from approximately $50 to $240, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs were represented by Timothy Gordon Blood, Leslie E. Hurst and Thomas J. O'Reardon II of Blood Hurst & O'Reardon LLP; Janine L. Pollack, Michael Liskow, Francis M. , Gregorek, Betsy C. Manifold, Rachele R. Rickert and Maris C. Livesay of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP; Elaine A. Ryan and Patricia N. Syverson of Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint, PC; James C. Shah of Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP; John F. Edgar of Edgar Law Firm LLC; and Jayne A. Goldstein of Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross LLP.
FitFlop was being represented by Brooke A. Alexander, Laura J. McKay and William S. Ohlemeyer of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.
The case was assigned to District Judge Thomas J. Whelan.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number: 3:11-cv-00973
From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at email@example.com.