Johnson & Johnson seeks dismissal of class action over 'hypoallergenic' baby wash

By Mary Ann Magnell | Sep 24, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – The plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the use of the word "hypoallergenic" on baby wash are asking a federal court to deny the company's motion to dismiss their complaint.

On Aug. 17, defendant Johnson & Johnson filed a motion in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California to dismiss the second amended complaint in a lawsuit over allegations that the hypoallergenic claims made by the personal hygiene company are false and misleading.

Plaintiffs Austin Rugg and Jennifer Fish responded Sept. 13 to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss their second amended complaint, stating that the defendant repeats “verbatim many arguments it made previously."

Johnson & Johnson cites an alleged lack of the plaintiffs’ subject-matter jurisdiction as well as alleges that the second amended complaint “and every claim for relief fail to state a claim for which relief can be granted.” 

Additionally, the defendant states that the complaint “fails to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)…and fails to plead with sufficient particularity as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).”

According to the defendant, the plaintiffs “lack standing to challenge products they did not purchase and advertisements and websites they did not see, and to pursue injunctive and declaratory relief.”

The plaintiffs allege that they purchased Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Moisture Wash and Baby Bedtime Lotion or Johnson's Baby Head-To-Toe Wash and Baby Lotion in 2016 and 2017 and that their decision to do so was because of the word “hypoallergenic” that was printed on the products’ labels. 

According to the plaintiffs, they would have not purchased these products had they known that they "contained skin sensitizers, irritants, toxins, carcinogens, or otherwise harmful materials."

The plaintiffs filed suit against the defendant claiming that its products contain “such a high concentration of skin allergens that the products are likely to cause a skin allergy,” according to the plaintiffs' memorandum.

The defendant asserts that the plaintiffs’ definition of “hypoallergenic” is unreasonable, and “departs from the dictionary definition and common understanding.” The defendants also claim that the plaintiffs’ “reliance on (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations is misplaced,” the motion states.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California 5:17-cv-05010

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