A class action which contends that children’s cold and flu products sold by a 100-year-old California homeopathic remedy company are nothing more than “flavored water” has been certified by a California federal judge.
U.S. District George King, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, recently granted nationwide class status to Enzo Forcellati v. Hyland’s Inc. In the complaint, plaintiff Forcellati identifies six cold and flu products for children—including Cold ‘n Cough 4 Kids and Complete Flu Care 4 Kids—sold by Hyland’s Inc. as “nothing more than sweetened, flavored water with … highly diluted concentrations of the products’ so-called ‘active ingredients.’” It alleges that improvements in children’s symptoms after ingesting the products are nothing more than the “placebo effect.”
California-based Hyland’s, which sells its products in the nation’s chain pharmacy and grocery stores, argued the class should not be certified for a variety of reasons, including: That the interests of consumers’ home states would be impaired by applying California law, the class is insufficiently ascertainable because, although they know how many sales they have made, there are no records that could confirm which individuals belong in the class; and that there is no commonality because each product uses different ingredients and treats different symptoms.
The judge disagreed with most of the defense’s arguments, but did deny the plaintiff’s request to certify subclasses in New Jersey and Missouri, and said they lack standing for injunctive relief.
Defendants’ counsel includes Stephanie Anne Stroup, Jeffrey Margulies and Matthew Gurvitz, Fulbright And Jaworski, LLP.
Plaintiffs’ counsel include Jacob Goldberg and Christopher Hayes, Faruqi And Faruqi, LLP.
Lisa Hoffman contributes to law.com.