Santa Clara, CA: Honest Co, Jessica Alba'' health and personal care products company, is facing allegations of dishonest marketing in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit.
Filed by Brad and Manon Buonasera, the lawsuit claims that the company calls its products natural when in fact they contain synthetic, toxic elements. The Buonaseras claim they would not have paid a premium for the products had they known that they contained synthetic chemicals.
According to the lawsuit, at least 40 products made by Honest Co. contain some 70-plus synthetic and in some cases toxic elements, despite the company's claim that its products contain "no harsh chemicals, ever!"
The lawsuit states: "Instead, Honest's products are a chemical soup, containing a substantial array and significant amount of ingredients that are synthetic, some of which Honest even admits are synthetic, and many of which are federally classified as toxic substances."
In the complaint, the plaintiffs cite the company'' blog which writes about the products and admits that some of the ingredients are synthetic. For example, the company explains that phenoxyethanol, a chemical found in its laundry detergent, is synthetically produced in a laboratory to create a "nature identical" compound, according to the complaint.
Further, the couple allege that the company doesn't tell consumers that phenoxyethanol is toxic by definition under federal law based on animal testing demonstrating that the substance is toxic to the kidneys, nervous system and liver, and can even be lethal.
Honest's ingredients are "legal" for use in personal and household products in that the law doesn't prohibit them from being used, the complaint states. However, the fact that Honest claims its products are natural and contain no harsh chemicals is misleading under New York's consumer protection laws.
The Buonaseras seek to represent a class of all New York residents who purchased any falsely labeled Honest Co. product from a retail location in the state, according to the complaint.
The Buonaseras are represented by Yvette Golan of the Golan Law Firm, Kim Richman of the Richman Law Group, Todd S. Garber and D. Gregory Blankinship of Finkelstein Blankinship Frei-Pearson & Garbor LLP, and Beth Terrell and Samuel Strauss of Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC.
The case is Buonasera et al. v. The Honest Co. Inc., case number 7:16-cv-01125, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.