In the suit, Zakaria alleges that Gerber claimed (a) Good Start Gentle was the "first and only"formula whose consumption reduced the risk of infants developing allergies; (b) that consumption of Good Start Gentle reduced the risk of developing infant atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disorder; (c) that Good Start Gentle was the "first and only"formula endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") to reduce the risk of developing allergies; and (d) using the FDA term of art "Qualified Health Claim"to convey that Good Start Gentle received FDA approval for the health claims advertised and was fit for a particular purpose when, in actuality, the term "Qualified Health Claim"means that the FDA did not grant approval for the use of a non-qualified health claim and that the scientific support for the claim is limited or lacking (at best).
In October 2014, the FDA issued Defendant a warning letter listing a litany of misrepresentations and falsehoods in the promotion of Good Start Gentle that violated federal law and related regulations. Defendant was instructed by the FDA to cease its deceitful practices or face potential legal action by the FDA.
Further, in October 2014, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") brought suit against Defendant seeking to enjoin its deceptive practices in relation to the marketing and sale of Good Start Gentle, specifically citing Defendant' false or misleading claim "that feeding Gerber Good Start Gentle formula to infants with a family history of allergies prevents or reduces the risk that they will develop allergies"and the false or misleading claim "that Gerber Good Start Gentle formula qualified for or received approval for a health claim from the Food and Drug Administration."
Zakaria estimates that she purchased one container of Good Start Gentle per week from October 2013 to November 2014, from stores in Porter Ranch, California. Some of the containers of Good Start Gentle purchased by Plaintiff had a label that read, "1st & Only Routine Formula to Reduce Risk of Developing Allergies, see label inside.". But for Defendant' allegedly false and misleading representations, Plaintiff alleges that she would not have made these purchases.
Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and other similarly situated consumers, brings this consumer protection action against Defendant based on its course of unlawful conduct. Plaintiff alleges violations of California' Unfair Competition Law, California False Advertising Law, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, as well as Breach of Express Warranty, Breach of the Implied Warranty of Merchantability, and other claims.
Plaintiffs are represented by Stephen J. Fearon, Jr.of Squitieri & Fearon, LLP