Lawsuit is 'trivial,' say diet supplement companies facing class action

By Karen Kidd | Jul 24, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – Three diet supplement companies defending themselves against allegations of fraud and other charges told a federal judge in New Jersey July 19 that plaintiffs are barred from prevailing in the case because they can't prove injury or loss and that their claims are "de minimis," or trivial.

In their 21-page answer filed July 19 in U.S. District Court for New Jersey, Diet Works, VitaQuest Intl. and Windmill Health Products listed 22 separate defenses denying that plaintiffs in the class action are entitled relief. 

"Plaintiffs' claims are barred, in whole or in part, because neither she nor any putative class member suffered any cognizable injury or loss," the answer said. "Further, plaintiffs and the putative class' alleged damages are de minimis, and/or are too speculative, and/or are too remote, and/or are impossible to prove and/or allocate."

The defendant companies asked U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to dismiss the case with prejudice and to award defendants "reasonable attorneys' fees, interest, cost of suit and other relief as the court deems just."

U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo  

The defendant companies in the case filed their answer and separate defenses in response to the consolidated amended class complaint by plaintiffs Jacqueline Greek, Joyce Puccio, Renee Shoaf and Pamela Parra. Greek filed the original complaint in the case last summer, following her purchase of Garcinia Cambogia in 2015, alleging false claims about how much hydroxycitric acid is present in its Diet Works Garcinia Cambogia supplement.

Plaintiffs in the case allege the companies commit at least five false and misleading claims in marketing Garcinia Cambogia, including "healthy weight management," "promotes weight loss," "inhibits fat production," "suppresses carbohydrate cravings," and that it is "the all-natural way to help reduce your appetite, burn more calories and suppress carbohydrate cravings to make losing weight faster and easier than ever!”

The plaintiffs claim marketing of Garcinia Cambogia violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection and breaches express and implied warranties under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law.  

Arleo issued an opinion in April, following a defense motion to dismiss, in which she dismissed three of the plaintiffs' nine counts but granted leave for those counts to be repleaded.

In their answer, the defendants describe Windmill as a New Jersey limited liability company based in West Caldwell that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iron Horse, which is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Generic LLC, owned by Keith Frankel. The answer also described VitaQuest as a wholly owned subsidiary of Vitaquest International Holdings, which is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Vitaquest Investments Inc. and Bonjoint LLC, the latter being a wholly owned subsidiary of CK Life Sciences. 

Both Windmill and VitaQuest maintain their principal place of business on Henderson Drive in West Caldwell, according to the answer.

The answer was filed on behalf of the defendant companies by attorneys Shawn L. Kelly and Jonathan D. Henry, partner and senior managing associate with Dentons US in Short Hills, New Jersey.

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