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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Vitamin Shoppe again seeks dismissal of class action lawsuit over Garcinia Cambogia supplement


By Chandra Lye | Aug 10, 2018

SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – The Vitamin Shoppe has requested an amended complaint over a supplement be dismissed with prejudice, claiming the plaintiff is unable to provide evidence supporting her case.

Andrea Nathan filed the class action lawsuit against the Vitamin Shoppe in June 2017 over allegations of false advertising on a bottle of pills she purchased. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted the defendant's motion to dismiss in February but allowed Nathan the opportunity to amend her complaint.

In March, Vitamin Shoppe requested that Nathan’s first amended complaint be dismissed with prejudice because she allegedly has been unable to cite any studies that support her claims. 

“She continues to cite to the exact same studies which the court has already found were misplaced,” it stated in its court filing. "Thus, there continues to be a fatal disconnect between what was the product advertised as and what plaintiff subjectively interpreted the product to offer.”  

Nathan’s complaint stems from an incident in February 2017 when she bought a container of Garcinia Cambogia Extract from the Vitamin Shoppe for $20. The product’s label includes the terms "weight management" and "appetite control," which she alleged made her to believe the product would provide weight loss benefits.

“Nathan alleges ‘[t]he representations on the product’s label were and are false and misleading, and had the capacity, tendency, and likelihood to confuse or confound Plaintiff and other consumers acting reasonably,'" the court stated in its February decision that granted the defendant's motion to dismiss. 

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted Vitamin Shoppe’s motion to dismiss but did so without prejudice, leaving it open for Nathan to continue pursuing her case.

“Plaintiff alleges the product contains false and misleading statements because the phrases ‘weight management’ and ‘appetite control’ appear on the label, in spite of the fact that its only active ingredients Garcinia Cambogia Extract/Hydroxycitric Acid (‘HCA’) and chromium ‘are scientifically proven to be incapable of providing such weight-loss benefits.’”

The court stated that the terms on the label could mean different things for different consumers and did not explicitly imply weight loss.

“It is irrelevant whether the alleged studies disprove that the active ingredients in the product can produce weight-loss benefits because the phrases themselves do not inherently promise weight-loss benefits,” the court said in its February order.

The court also raised questions about the studies that Nathan presented in defense of her position.

“The studies do not discuss the overall effectiveness of weight management or appetite control from all perspectives, i.e., weight gain, loss, and maintenance,” the order said.

Thus, it granted the motion to dismiss on the grounds that Nathan did not present enough evidence to support her case.

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