Paparazzi “lead & nickel free” class-action filed in Michigan
Plaintiff Heather Gilbert has filed a lawsuit against Paparazzi in Michigan.
Gilbert’s proposed class-action was filed on June 16th. Central to the lawsuit are alleged misrepresentations regarding toxic metals in Paparazzi jewelry.
Paparazzi is the sole named defendant in Gilbert’s lawsuit.
As alleged by Gilbert in her complaint;
Plaintiff brings this class action on behalf of herself, and a class of persons who purchased Paparazzi’s necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other accessories. which Plaintiff’s testing has revealed contain lead and nickel, in contradiction to Paparazzi’s express claims that its Products were lead and nickel free.
In stark contrast to Paparazzi’s pervasive marketing of its Products as lead and nickel free, Plaintiff’s independent testing, as well as test results obtained from other customers, has revealed that Paparazzi’s Products do in fact contain significant amounts of lead and nickel.
If Defendant Paparazzi disclosed to consumers, including Plaintiff and proposed Class Members, that its Products contained lead and nickel, these consumers would not have purchased the Products at all, or they would not have paid the price they did.
As a result of Defendant Paparazzi’s misconduct, false statements, misrepresentations and material omissions, Plaintiff and proposed Class Members have suffered injury in fact, including economic damages.
Gilbert’s complaint cites various examples of Paparazzi’s “lead and nickel free” marketing claims. It also claims Paparazzi had full control over its marketing message, due to “zealous governing”.
Paparazzi so zealously governs how its consultants market the Products that Paparazzi institutes a pre-marketing review requirement: “Any personalized promotional material or advertising attempt must be approved by Paparazzi and its legal department to ensure that there are no claims or violations to the Paparazzi trademark, namesake, or other legal issues.”
Therefore, Paparazzi controls every aspect of the Products’ marketing: by controlling how consultants are educated, requiring consultants to repeat Paparazzi’s marketing messages, showcasing top consultants and their marketing strategies, and by structuring their business so that hierarchical “teams” develop with consistent marketing claims.
BehindMLM covered the finding that Paparazzi’s jewelry contained toxic metals back in January.
Interestingly, Gilbert describes Paparazzi’s MLM business model as a “pyramid of positions”. She doesn’t disclose whether she’s a Paparazzi Consultant, but states she purchased Paparazzi products between 2018 and 2020.
Based on Paparazzi’s representations, Ms. Gilbert reasonably believed that Paparazzi’s Products were lead and nickel free.
Ms. Gilbert purchased Paparazzi’s Products because she was seeking affordable, low-cost jewelry and accessories that were lead and nickel free.
In making her purchases, Ms. Gilbert specifically relied on Paparazzi’s representations that its Products were lead and nickel free.
In or around early 2022, Ms. Gilbert learned that Paparazzi’s Products were not lead and nickel free as advertised.
When Ms. Gilbert learned that Paparazzi’s Products were not lead and nickel free, she stopped purchasing and wearing Paparazzi’s Products.
Ms. Gilbert did not receive the benefit of her bargain when she purchased Paparazzi’s Products that failed to conform to Paparazzi’s material representations about its Products.
Had she been aware of the false statements, misrepresentations, and omissions regarding the materials present in the Products, Ms. Gilbert would not have purchased Paparazzi’s products.
If her class-action is approved, Gilbert seeks to represent “all others similarly situated”. In other words, Paparazzi’s customers (both Consultants and retail customers).
Two classes will be established, a nationwide class and a Michigan subclass.
Specific counts raised against Paparazzi in Gilbert’s Complaint include:
- breach of express warranty;
- breach of implied warranty;
- violation of Michigan Consumer Protection Act;
- negligent misrepresentation;
- unjust enrichment;
- violation of Michigan’s Breach of Express Warranty Statute; and
- violation of Michigan’s Breach of Implied Warranty Statute
Counts six and seven pertain exclusively to the Michigan subclass.
If approved, Gilbert’s class-action seeks
- an injunction prohibiting the alleged illegal conduct; and
- legal costs
BehindMLM is currently aware of four similar class-actions filed against Paparazzi in the past few months:
- the Hollins Complaint (New York)
- the Johnson Complaint (originally filed in North Carolina, moved to Utah)
- the Teske Complaint (Utah) and
- the Burgess Complaint (California)
I’m expecting the five proposed class-actions will be consolidated at some point. This appears to have already started with Paparazzi moving the North Carolina case to Utah (where the company is situated).
Moving the California case might be an issue as it has some very specific counts of action.
Stay tuned for updates as we continue to monitor the case dockets.
Update 22nd July 2022 – On July 12th Paparazzi filed a motion requesting Plaintiff Gilbert’s case be moved to Utah. The court granted the motion on July 20th.
As of yet I’m not seeing a new Gilbert v. Paparazzi case in Utah. Will check back next week to confirm.
Update 29th July 2022 – Gilbert’s case is now showing up post transfer to Utah.
Nothing substantial on the case docket since the transfer, I’ll continue to monitor.
Update 14th March 2023 – Gilbert voluntarily dismissed her case against Paparazzi on March 30th, 2023.
Such to the extent a settlement was reached between the parties, that hasn’t been publicly disclosed.