EOS-brand lip balm

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - The popular, celebrity-endorsed EOS brand lip balm already has settled a class action lawsuit that was brought against it less than a month ago.

The company said in a statement last week that the lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Rachael Cronin against EOS Products LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Jan. 12, has been resolved.

Cronin, represented by Mark J. Geragos of Los Angeles law firm Geragos & Geragos, alleged the lip balm maker’s product causes severe rashes, dryness, bleeding, blistering, cracking and pigmentation loss. The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit on her behalf and a class of “potentially hundreds of thousands,” went as far as to claim it is a “massive national health problem.”

“Our products are safe -- and this settlement confirms that,” EOS said in a statement. “Our lip balms are hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, made with the highest quality ingredients, meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set by our industry and are validated by rigorous safety testing conducted by independent labs.

“We love our customers and their enjoyment of our products is our top priority.”

Geragos said he was “very pleased” the lawsuit was resolved so quickly and “amicably.”

“This is a testament to EOS being responsive to the concerns of their consumers,” he said in a statement. “EOS has demonstrated through data that their lip balms are hypoallergenic, and has provided a mechanism for individual instances to be resolved.

“EOS makes great products and the company is doing the right thing by adding more information about their lip balm products on packaging so that buyers can make informed choices. We will be applying to the courts to close this case.”

Details of the settlement were not released.

EOS -- an acronym for “evolution of smooth” -- develops, markets, advertises, brands, promotes, distributes and sells one of the highest-grossing lip balm products currently on the market, EOS Visibly Soft Lip Balm.

The balms come in a variety of colors and flavors, with what Cronin described in her complaint as “over-the-top and misleading” names like Barbados Heat-Wildberry, Medicated Tangerine and Honeysuckle Honeydew.

The lip balms also come in “attractive bright circular pods that stand out from the other oblique-shaped lip balms in the marketplace,” the plaintiff stated.

Cronin admitted she was drawn to the product as she was shopping at a Los Angeles-area Target retail store because of its “bright red pod container.”

She said she also had seen EOS advertisements via social media and in print magazines prior to her purchase. The company uses and pays celebrity “brand ambassadors,” such as Kim Kardashian West, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and others, to post photos on Instagram and other social media websites.

Cronin claimed the company’s lip balms cause “devastating adverse reactions,” lasting from a few days to a few months, with some consumers experiencing long-lasting or permanent symptoms.

In her case, Cronin alleged she began applying the lip balm the same day she purchased the product. Within hours, her lips became “substantially dry and coarse,” similar to sandpaper, she said.

In turn, she applied more of the balm, in hopes of achieving “sensationally smooth” lips, as advertised.

“Ms. Cronin’s lips did not become smooth, and began severely cracking on the edges causing flaking and bleeding from the cracks,” the lawsuit stated. “By the next day, Ms. Cronin’s lips and surrounding skin area had severe blistering and rashes causing her to seek medical care.

“Ms. Cronin was in severe shock and panic.”

EOS said Cronin’s lawsuit was without merit.

“Our products are made with the highest quality ingredients and meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set out by our industry and validated by rigorous testing conducted by an independent lab,” the company said.

EOS said the ingredients used in its products are safe and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board, and it is in “full compliance” with all standards and guidelines regarding ingredient use and labeling.

“We sold several million lip balms last month in the U.S. and received 40 consumer complaints, or a complaint rate of 0.001 percent,” the company said in January. “Of those consumers, 35 agreed to receive coupons for replacement products and we didn’t hear from the other five yet.”

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

More News