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Regulating Communications

Arora et al., v. GNC Holdings, Inc.


Arora et al., v. GNC Holdings, Inc., (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Nov. 15, 2019): A California district court denied GNC’s motion to dismiss a consumer class action alleging GNC unlawfully marketed supplements by failing to include the required Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclaimer on its labeling. Plaintiffs alleged the absence of FDA’s disclaimer that it had not evaluated the statements on the label and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease violated various California and New York state consumer protection laws. Further, harms caused by GNC’s deceptive marketing were compounded by misleading phrases (like “clinically studied”) which suggested the supplements had therapeutic value. GNC moved to dismiss the lawsuit arguing, among other grounds, that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue injunctive relief. In particular, given plaintiff’s allegations that the supplements were worthless and that they now know how to read the labels, they will not be harmed in the future. The court disagreed, finding plaintiffs established a future harm by alleging they could not rely on GNC’s labels and they would buy the supplements in the future if they could rely on the labeling. The court also found the plaintiffs sufficiently pled fraud and misrepresentation. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – December 13, 2019.

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