Rodan + Fields settles Lash Boost glaucoma med class-action
Rodan + Fields has settled a class-action filed against it over an undisclosed ingredient in their Lash Boost product.
The ingredient at issue is isopropyl cloprostenate, a glaucoma medication with potentially severe side-effects.
Back in 2018 Plaintiffs Barbara Lewis, Akemi Buckingham, Elaina Hufnagel and Tereas Gattuso filed a class-action against Rodan + Fields.
In their complaint, the four Plaintiffs alleged
Since it entered the market in 2016, Rodan + Fields has failed to disclose material facts to consumers about the existence, severity, and duration of symptoms and side effects associated with an ingredient in Lash Boost: isopropyl cloprostenate.
Isopropyl cloprostenate is a synthetic prostaglandin analog. Prostaglandin analogs are widely used in the medical management of glaucoma to reduce elevated ocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension.
Although effective in treating individuals with glaucoma who could otherwise lose their vision without treatment, prostaglandin analogs have “potentially sight-threatening side effects,” including:
a. iris cysts, cystoid macular edema (which may cause vision loss and distortion);
b. anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris or ciliary body); and
c. reactivation of herpes simplex keratitis (inflammation and possible scarring of the cornea).
Known side effects also include:
a. shrinking of the fat cells around the eye (periorbital fat atrophy) causing eyelid drooping (upper lid ptosis);
b. increased prominence of lid vessels;
c. darkening of the eyelid skin and undereye skin;
d. increased pigmentation of the iris (meaning it can change the color of the eyes);
e. excessive tearing, eye pain, or lid crusting; and
f. lengthening of eyelashes.
Given it’s an “eyelash booster”, presumably the inclusion of isopropyl cloprostenate in Lash Boost pertains to “lengthening of eyelashes”.
Citing an 2011 FDA letter to another cosmetic manufacturer warned over the use of isopropyl cloprostenate, and another manufacturer that does warn consumers of potential side-effects, Plantiffs claim
Instead of putting Lash Boost through the FDA review process and having to make a thorough disclosure of the side effects associated with prostaglandin analogs, Rodan + Fields markets Lash Boost as a cosmetic.
As a result of using Lash Boost, Plaintiffs went on to allege
consumers … have experienced serious side effects, including change in iris color, eyelid drooping, itchy eyes, eye/lid discoloration, thinning and loss of eyelashes/loss of eyelash hair, eye sensitivity, eye infections, and vision impairment.
Instead of disclosing the harmful side effects and risks associated with use of Lash Boost, and letting consumers decide if Lash Boost is worth the risk, Rodan + Fields omitted them and thus engaged in fraudulent, unfair, and unlawful marketing practices.
Citing Rodan + Field’s status as “the top selling skincare brand in 2016” and generating over “$1 billion in sales”, Plaintiffs state their class-action
seeks to compensate consumers who purchased Lash Boost at the cost of $150 per tube.
Curiously, Plaintiffs also state their class-action
does not allege that Lash Boost is subject to FDA regulation or should have been regulated by the FDA.
Certainly I’d have thought Rodan + Fields failing to disclose possible harmful side-effects of their products fell within the FDA’s jurisdiction. Or perhaps it’d be a case for the FTC.
Either way, it’s an odd statement to make, given what’s being alleged.
Despite the class-action being filed against Rodan + Fields in April 2018, I only became aware of it recently.
Looking at the docket the case played out over the next four years. It was combined with two other related class-actions early on.
Some Plaintiffs were dismissed along the way, presumably having reached individual settlements with Rodan + Fields.
In June 2021 a “Proposed Order Regarding Settlement” was filed. A settlement agreement between the parties was formally reached on September 28th, 2021.
On April 7th 2022, Class-Action Plaintiffs filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case, finalizing the settlement reached.
Whilst maintaining they’d done nothing wrong, Rodan + Fields agreed to
revise the [Lash Boost] label and instructions for use, (and) to list certain alleged side effects that have been reported by some product users.
R+F will provide expanded cautionary instructions for use, and has agreed to make certain changes in how it advertises the product on its website, as well as in resource materials it provides when training R+F Independent Consultants.
The monetary component of the agreement potentially tops out at $38 million.
$30 million of that is for cash settlements. The remaining $8 million is a Rodan + Fields product credit.
Certified Class Members are any Rodan + Fields affiliates and/or customers, who purchased Lash Boost between October 1st, 2016 and March 11, 2022.
Class Members, through a claim form, can can choose between a Rodan + Fields product credit voucher or cash payment.
As per a court-ordered Settlement Notice;
The maximum amount of the Credit Benefit is $250 and the maximum amount of the Cash Benefit is $175.
Settlement Class Members who submit valid proof(s) of purchase showing that they made more than one purchase of Lash Boost may also receive an additional maximum benefit of up to $250 in credit (a “Credit Repeat Purchaser Benefit”) or an additional maximum benefit of up to $175 in cash (a “Cash Repeat Purchaser Benefit”), for a maximum total benefit of $500 in credit or $350 in cash.
- $250 in credit or $175 in cash if you bought one bottle of Lash Boost
- up to $500 in credit or $350 in cash if you bought more than one bottle
Note that not all of the $38 million settlement pool is going towards Class Members.
Subtracted out of the $30 million component are
- settlement administrative costs ($425,608 estimate)
- attorney’s fees (capped at $15.4 million)
- Class Representative Service Awards ($15,000 each, totaling $165,000 for 11 Class Representatives)
If what’s left doesn’t cover cash claims, they’ll be adjusted down accordingly.
Class Membership is opt-out. Class Members have until July 14th to exclude themselves.
Claim Forms must be filed by Class Members by September 7th, 2022. Claims can be filed on a website set up for Class Members (blue “start your claim” button on the right of the page).
The provided Settlement Notice should answer any queries affected Class Members have. Failing which contact details for the Settlement Administrator and/or Class Counsel are provided.
Please be advised BehindMLM is not in a position to provide personalized legal advice.