FIGS, Inc. has claimed that its health care clothing can kill bacteria and infection, the complaint for this class action says. That would be a real advantage to health care workers—but is it true? The complaint claims that it is not.
The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who bought the products at issue from 2013 to the present. A California Class, for residents of California, has also been proposed.
Health care workers, such as doctors and nurses, are exposed to disease and infection through their work with their patients. They cannot avoid such contamination, nor can they see it. While they can wash their hands between patients, it would be impractical for them to change into a clean set of clothing for each patient. Disease and infection can therefore spread from one patient to another and to the health care workers themselves.
FIGS sells some scrubs and lab coats that are made with material that incorporates something it calls “Fion Technology.” The company claims that this material is antimicrobial and “capable of killing bacteria and infection immediately on contact.” The complaint reproduces a tag detailing the purported benefits of Fion Technology that includes this claim.
How does the material do this? FIGS’s advertising materials attributes this to silver ions that are incorporated into the material’s polymer structure, the complaint says. However, according to the complaint, “at least two peer reviewed studies have debunked claims that silver contains properties capable of killing bacteria and infectious diseases when present in medical scrubs.”
In this case, plaintiff Avegail Torres bought the “antimicrobial” scrubs for herself and her husband. They are both registered nurses. Her husband later researched the claims that the scrubs could kill bacteria and infections and “found multiple scientific studies finding to the contrary.”
The company made the “antimicrobial” claims as early as September 2013, the complaint alleges. However, the complaint also notes that the company has, since June or July 2019, been removing these claims from its website and marketing materials.
The complaint asks that the statute of limitations be tolled (that is, that it not be applied to the alleged offenses in this case) because average consumers would not have a way of knowing that the company’s claims were not true.
The complaint’s allegations include fraud, fraudulent concealment and non-disclosure, and negligent misrepresentation, among other things. It also cites California consumer protection laws, including its Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law.