United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
IN RE MONAT HAIR CARE PRODUCTS MARKETING, SALES PRACTICES, AND PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO ALL CASES
P. GAYLES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Master Consolidated
Class Action Complaint [ECF No. 114] (“Motion”).
The Court has reviewed the Motion and the applicable law and
is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons that follow, the
Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
action is about hair care products that did not perform as
promised. Rather than promoting healthy hair growth,
Plaintiffs contend that the products at issue cause hair loss
and scalp irritation.
Defendants and The Products
Monat Global Corp. (“Monat”), Alcora Corporation
(“Acora”), and B&R Products
“Defendants”) comprise a family-controlled beauty
conglomerate that designs, manufactures, markets, and
distributes the eight hair-treatment systems at issue in this
action (the “Products”). Compl. ¶ 1, [ECF
No. 99]. Alcora-the umbrella organization for Monat and
B&R-is owned, controlled, and operated by the Urdaneta
family. Id. ¶¶ 24, 26. Monat, a
multinational company that markets and sells the Products, is
a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcora. Id. ¶ 23.
B&R is also a subsidiary of Alcora and is the sole
manufacturer of the Products. Id. ¶ 25. The
Urdaneta family controls the operations of each of the
Products contain the same four key ingredients:
Proctine™, Rejuvenique™, Cipixyl™, and
Crodasorb™ (the “Key Ingredients”).
Id. ¶¶ 60, 62. The Key Ingredients are a
proprietary mix of several ingredients not listed on the
Products' labels. Id. ¶ 61.
Defendants' Marketing and Representations
sell the Products via Monat's website or through sales
agents called Market Partners. Id. ¶ 99.
Defendants require their Market Partners to use approved
marketing material when selling the Products. Id.
their marketing material, Defendants represent that the
Products are clinically tested and proven to promote hair
growth, prevent aging, and reduce hair loss. Id.
¶ 73. Defendants claim, among other things, that the Key
Ingredients reduce the production of hormones contributing to
thinning hair and increase follicle strength. In addition,
Defendants' marketing material states that the Products
are approved by the Food and Drug Administration
(“FDA”) and do not contain any
“toxic” ingredients such as parabens, sulfates,
cyclic silicones, BHT, DEA/MEA, polyethylene glycol,
phthalates, phenoxyethanol, petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin
wax, triclosan, plastic microbeads, formaldehyde releasers,
gluten, harmful colors, or harmful fragrances. Id.
¶¶ 64, 81, 82. Despite Defendants'
representations to the contrary, the Products contain several
harsh chemicals, including Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Benzyl
Alcohol, Red Clover Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, ethanol,
and sulfates. Id. ¶¶ 176-178.
Defendants' marketing material includes
“before” and “after” photos depicting
“customers” with unruly hair before use of the
Products and long shiny hair after use. But these photos are
stock images purchased by Defendants-not real customers.
Id. ¶ 69.
2016, the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) had
received over 825 complaints by customers about Defendants,
over 630 of which related to the Products. Id.
¶ 123. In the complaints, customers stated that the
Products caused their hair to fall out and caused sores and
lesions on their scalps. Id. ¶ 124. In
addition, between August 29, 2017, and March 27, 2019, the
FDA received 237 adverse incident reports from customers
related to the Products. Id. ¶ 146. Like the
BBB complaints, the FDA adverse incident reports indicate
that the Products caused the customers' hair loss, head
sores, and severe skin reactions. Id.
customers complained directly to Defendants about the
Products, Defendants told them that the various adverse
reactions were part of an intended “detox
process.” Id. ¶ 149. Defendants
encouraged the upset customers to continue using the Products
for at least 90 days, while the scalp “detoxed.”
Id. Monat's President later acknowledged that
the purported detoxification process was not scientifically
supported. Id. ¶ 157.
March of 2018, the FDA inspected Defendants'
manufacturing facilities. Id. ¶ 168. Following
the inspection, the FDA issued a report (the “FDA
Report”) noting, in part, that the Products “may
have become contaminated with filth” during
manufacture. Id. at ¶ 170. In addition, the FDA
Report stated that Defendants failed “to sample and
test raw materials for conformance with specifications to
ensure the absence of filth, microorganisms, and or other
adulterants prior to processing or usage.” Id.
at ¶ 171.
are eighteen former users of the Products who claim that the
Products did not perform as promised and caused them to
suffer hair loss, scalp irritation, and severe skin
reactions. Plaintiffs allege that (1) inclusion of the Key
Ingredients and lack of biocides in the Products constitutes
a design defect, (2) contamination of the Products in
Defendants' facilities resulted in a manufacturing
defect, and (3) the Products are more dangerous than a
reasonable consumer would expect based on their packaging and
advertising. Plaintiffs also contend that Defendants
misrepresented the efficacy of the Products. Plaintiffs seek
to represent a nationwide class of all consumers who have
suffered economic damages and bodily injury resulting from
their use of the Products.
December 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended
Consolidated Master Class Action Complaint asserting claims
for (1) violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade
Practices Act (“ F D U T PA ”), (2) violation of
the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, (3) breach of implied
warranty of merchantability, (4) violation of express
warranty, (5) negligence, (6) negligence-failure to warn, (7)
strict liability-design defect, (8) strict liability-failure
to warn, (9) strict liability-manufacturing defect, (10)
unjust enrichment, and, in the alternative, (11-26)
violations of various state consumer protection
laws. Defendants have moved to dismiss arguing
Plaintiffs (1) fail to allege a product defect or causation,
(2) have no standing to bring a claim for ...