A California federal judge has preliminarily approved a $5.3 million class action settlement over allegations that FitFlop USA LLP falsely advertised its toning shoes as having the ability to tone and strengthen leg muscles.
On Thursday, Judge Thomas J. Whelan gave preliminary approval to the FitFlop class action settlement, which would require FitFlop to reimburse customers who purchased the FitFlop shoes from 2007 until the date class notice is issued. The shoes, which cost anywhere between $50 and $240 per pair, include the Electra, Oasis, Pietra and Walkstar brands.
Under the terms of the FitFlop settlement, Class Members are eligible to receive an initial refund of $25 for the first pair of shoes, up to a maximum payment of $60, and $40 for the second pair of shoes, up to a maximum payment of $100. Class Members may make claims for additional pairs of shoes if they can provide a receipt or proof of purchase.
The FitFlop false ad class action lawsuit was initially filed by Charlice Arnold and Arianna Rosales in 2011. They took issue with the “Microwobbleboard” technology, which caused the soles of the shoes to be unstable, which would supposedly cause wearers to work their leg muscles while walking and standing. According to their class action lawsuit, FitFlop claimed that these soles were “biomechanically engineered” to tighten and tone leg muscles. The plaintiffs argued that FitFlop’s “Get a workout while you walk” slogans were deceptive.
The class action lawsuit also accused FitFlop of referring to “unreliable scientific studies” that were not published in peer-review journals to supposedly back up their claims. “The health benefits claims are deceptive, and FitFlop Footwear is not proven to provide any of these benefits,” the FitFlop class action lawsuit said.
“The Court has conducted a preliminary assessment of the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the Stipulation, and hereby finds that the settlement falls within the range of reasonableness meriting possible final approval,” Judge Whelan wrote in his order to preliminarily approve the FitFlop class action settlement.
A fairness hearing for the FitFlop class action settlement has been scheduled for April 28, 2014.
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FitFlop is not the first toning shoe company to come under fire for allegedly making false claims about their shoes. In May, a judge approved a $40 million class action settlement over Skechers toning shoes. Under the terms of the Skechers settlement, Class Members received anywhere between $20 and $80, depending on which products were purchased. In January, a judge also approved a $2.3 million class action settlement over New Balance toning shoes. Payments for the New Balance settlement went out in August.
The plaintiffs are represented by Timothy G. Blood, Leslie E. Hurst and Thomas J. O’Reardon II of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon LLP, and Michael Liskow and Janine L. Pollack of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.
The FitFlop False Ad Class Action Lawsuit is Charlice Arnold, et al. v. FitFlop USA LLC, Case No. 3:11-cv-00973, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
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