GNC seeks dismissal of aloe vera product suit, claims consumer fails to state claim

By Melissa Busch | Jun 7, 2017

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) – General Nutrition Corp. (GNC) wants a class action lawsuit filed by an Illinois consumer, alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation over an aloe vera product, dismissed.

On May 1, GNC submitted a memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss the class action complaint filed by Thera Lambert of Crete, Illinois, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

GNC is requesting the suit be dismissed for lack of standing to assert claims under the laws of any jurisdiction other than the state where the alleged purchase occurred and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, according to court records.

On March 21, Lambert filed a suit against GNC, alleging false claims regarding the actual ingredient used for its products.

She contends that labels on bottles of GNC’s product, Aloe Vera Skin Gel, are allegedly misleading because they state that the product is “99 percent Aloe Vera Gel” and because they list aloe barbadensis leaf juice as an ingredient. Lambert claims this is untrue.

Lambert asserts only that tests performed at the request of her counsel show that a bottle of the product - a bottle that she did not buy - may or may not establish that the product was not “99 percent Aloe Vera Gel” or made with aloe barbadensis leaf juice.

GNC argues that Lambert bases her claim against GNC on tests performed by undisclosed individuals on a bottle of the product using undisclosed methods that allegedly show that the product does not contain “acemannan.” Lambert describes acemannan as “a key aloe vera chemical component.”

Based on these allegations, Lambert asserts claims for breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, violation of state consumer protection statutes of five states, and for violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

GNC argues that there are not factual allegations establishing that results of an HNMR test, which was performed by Lambert’s attorneys, will always show that a product that is “made with” aloe vera or uses aloe barbadensis leaf juice as a raw ingredient contains acemannan in the end product, according to court documents.

GNC states Lambert alleges that it is possible for product manufacturers to use aloe vera to make aloe vera gel but still have “little or no acemannan” in the final product.

“Thus, plaintiff’s allegation regarding the alleged absence of acemannan does not plausibly render defendant’s representations false,” according to GNC’s memorandum.

Furthermore, GNC claims Lambert’s allegations don’t establish that aloe vera and aloe barbadensis leaf juice were not ingredients used to make the product or that her attorneys tested any “chemical entity or mixture used as a component in the manufacture of” the product.

Since the plaintiff has not alleged a representation that is false or misleading, Lambert fails to state a claim for violation of the ICFA, according to the company.

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