Rodan + Fields Blasted With $5,000,000 Class Action Lawsuit
A $5,000,000 class-action lawsuit has been filed against Rodan + Fields, a multi-level marketing company specializing in skincare products.
Dr. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields developed Rodan + Fields and in 2002, launched the brand into high-end department stores like Nordstrom. In 2003, Rodan + Fields was purchased by Estée Lauder. In 2007, Dr. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields reacquired the brand and transitioned the company from department stores to multi-level marketing.
With the Rodan + Fields business opportunity they claim to offer, “The opportunity for long-term, generous residual income and The ability to travel the world”. If you take a look at their income disclosure, you find out how great an opportunity you have.
“…many Consultants may never qualify to receive compensation under this Compensation Plan.”
According to their 2016 income disclosure 44% of consultants did not receive compensation from Rodan + Fields.
Here are the details of the Lawsuit:
You’ve always admired your favorite celebrity’s long, thick, and dark eyelashes. So you turned to a chemical serum that advertised it could transform your lashes to achieve that look. But customers who purchased Rodan + Fields’ Enhancements Lash Boost say their quest for beautiful lashes resulted in some ugly side effects including burning, droopy eyelids, and loss of lashes after discontinuing use of the product.
Rodan + Fields sells Lash Boost as a cosmetic so it doesn’t require FDA approval. But Lash Boost contains an ingredient—isopropyl cloprostenate—a synthetic prostaglandin analog in the same class of compounds as the active ingredients in prescription drugs such as glaucoma medications. Prostaglandin analogs are known to cause side effects including eye irritation, eyelid skin darkening, eye drooping, and/or permanent discoloration or darkening of the iris in people who have light-colored eyes.
This matter arises out of Defendant Rodan + Fields’ deceptive labeling and unlawful marketing of its Enhancements Lash Boost (“Lash Boost”) eye serum. Rodan + Fields failed to disclose the harmful side effects linked to an ingredient in their Lash Boost product, which Rodan + Fields markets and sells throughout California and New York.
Rodan + Fields was started by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. Since Lash Boost first entered the market in 2016, Rodan + Fields has marketed it as a cosmetic “eyelash-conditioning serum…clinically shown to enhance the appearance of eyelash volume and length…” But since it entered the market in 2016, Rodan + Fields has failed to disclose material facts to consumers about the existence, severity, and duration of symptoms and side effects associated with an ingredient in Lash Boost: isopropyl cloprostenate.
Isopropyl cloprostenate is a synthetic prostaglandin analog. Prostaglandin analogs are widely used in the medical management of glaucoma to reduce elevated ocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension. Hence, the side effects of prostaglandin analogs are well known to eye doctors.
Although effective in treating individuals with glaucoma who could otherwise lose their vision without treatment, prostaglandin analogs have “potentially sight-threatening side effects,” including:
- iris cysts, cystoid macular edema (which may cause vision loss and distortion);
- anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris or ciliary body); and
- reactivation of herpes simplex keratitis (inflammation and possible scarring of the cornea).
Known side effects also include:
- shrinking of the fat cells around the eye (periorbital fat atrophy) causing eyelid
drooping (upper lid ptosis);
- increased prominence of lid vessels;
- darkening of the eyelid skin and undereye skin;
- increased pigmentation of the iris (meaning it can change the color of the eyes);
- excessive tearing, eye pain, or lid crusting; and
- lengthening of eyelashes.
In April of 2011, the FDA issued a warning letter to another manufacturer of a product containing isopropyl cloprostenate that was promoted for eyelash growth, stating that the product “makes misleading statements regarding the product’s safety and also fails to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from use of the product.” The letter also stated that the products, “are not safe for use except under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to administer them.” Further, prostaglandin analogs are classified as Category C, meaning “women of childbearing age are considered at risk for injury.”
A prostaglandin analog is used in an FDA approved eye lash enhancement product, Latisse, to promote eyelash growth. Possible side effects associated with using prostaglandin analogs are disclosed to Latisse consumers.
But instead of putting Lash Boost through the FDA review process and having to make a thorough disclosure of the side effects associated with prostaglandin analogs, Rodan + Fields markets Lash Boost as a cosmetic. While all prostaglandins and their analogs, including isopropyl cloprostenate, are banned from cosmetic products in Canada, they are not banned from cosmetics in the United States.
Consumers of Lash Boost throughout California and New York, have experienced serious side effects, including change in iris color, eyelid drooping, itchy eyes, eye/lid discoloration, thinning and loss of eyelashes/loss of eyelash hair, eye sensitivity, eye infections, and vision impairment. But instead of disclosing the harmful side effects and risks associated with use of Lash Boost, and letting consumers decide if Lash Boost is worth the risk, Rodan + Fields omitted them and thus engaged in fraudulent, unfair, and unlawful marketing practices.
Disclosing the true risks and side effects of Lash Boost on the product labeling and through its marketing efforts would have been harmful to Rodan + Fields’ sales. In 2016, Rodan + Fields exceeded $1 billion in sales and was the top selling skincare brand in 2016.
This action seeks to compensate consumers who purchased Lash Boost at the cost of $150 per tube. This action does not allege that Lash Boost is subject to FDA regulation or should have been regulated by the FDA.
In marketing and labeling Lash Boost, Defendant violated various state consumer protection laws and engaged in fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this action against Defendant on behalf of themselves and Class Members who purchased the Product in California and New York during the applicable statute of limitations period.
If, after using Lash Boost, you or a family member experienced any of these negative side effects—and weren’t warned about them—Keller Rohrback wants to hear from you to discuss your potential legal claims. Contact attorney Erika Keech at 800.776.6044 or firstname.lastname@example.org.