A class action lawsuit claims that hundreds of women who used the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit suffered hair loss and scalp burns. Because of this, lead plaintiffs Catherine Reny and Josephine Wells are suing Unilever United States for false representation that the Treatment would smoothe their hair and coat it with Keratin, a protein found naturally in hair. The Plaintiffs are also accusing Unilever of asking consumers to sign releases in exchange for a $50 reimbursement for a haircut.
The plaintiffs contend that “Unilever knew, but failed to disclose to Plaintiffs and the class that the Treatment contains an ingredient or combination of ingredients that causes significant hair loss upon proper application.”
According to the Suave Keratin class action lawsuit, the active ingredient in the Treatment is Thioglycolic Acid, which is the same used in hair depilatories and some hair perming solutions. A test conducted by the Plaintiffs and based on damages caused to them revealed that “the pH level and concentration of Thioglycolic Acid in the Treatment rendered it dangerous and unsafe for sale as an over-the-counter hair smoothing product,” the class action lawsuit says.
Unilever allegedly failed to properly warn consumers of the risks and dangers. “Nowhere on the package labeling or on Unilever’s websites or other marketing materials did Unilever warn Plaintiffs and Class Members that they were at risk,” the Suave Keratin class action lawsuit says. Instead, they decided to “recall” the Treatment in May 2012, saying that it was a decision to “discontinue” selling the product.
To conceal the dangers and serious harm of the Treatment, Unilever allegedly engaged in a campaign to obtain releases from consumers injured by the Suave Keratin Smoothing Kit “without advising them of their right to obtain legal counsel to review the form releases that Unilever propounded and without fully explaining the terms or legal effect of the form releases, including that (a) the form releases purport to release third party retailers for no extra consideration; (b) the form releases purport to release personal injury claims for no extra consideration beyond the economic losses incurred by the consumer; (c) the form releases require consumers to indemnify Unilever for all losses “from any and every claim or demand of every kind and character, including claims for contribution,” (d) the form releases require the consumer to indemnify Unilever from any claims for payment of medical expenses by Medicare/Medicaid; and (e) the form releases require the consumer to hold Unilever harmless “from any and all adverse consequences in the event this settlement results in the loss of right to Social Security and/or Medicare/Medicaid.”
According to the class action lawsuit, the release forms would allow a consumer “to get a meager reimbursement from Unilever for as little as $50.00 for a haircut.”
The Plaintiffs are seeking for class certification, cancellation of the releases, and damages for negligence, gross negligence breach of warranty, deceptive advertising, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Magnuson-Moss Act and business and consumer laws.
This is the second class action lawsuit to be filed against Unilever over hair damage allegedly caused by the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit. Last month, a Kentucky federal judge rejected Unilever US Inc.’s motion to dismiss the first class action lawsuit.
Plaintiffs Terri Naiser and Jonnie Phillips allege in the first Suave Keratin class action lawsuit, filed last year, that they purchased the kit because it was advertised as a keratin-based smoothing treatment instead of a chemical relaxer and its effects were supposed to last up to 30 days. The plaintiffs also claim they purchased the product because the label said that it did not contain formaldehyde and that the treatment was safe. Naiser and Phillips allege that all of these claims are untrue, and that the product contains an ingredient or combination of ingredients that cause hair to fall out.
The new Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit Class Action Lawsuit is Catherine Reny, et al. vs. Unilever United States Inc., et al., Case No. 3:13-cv-04749-EDL, in the United States District Court of Northern District of California.
UPDATE: Unilever agreed to a $10 million class action settlement resolving claims that Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit was falsely advertised and damaged hair.
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