Consumers have become concerned about chemicals and synthetics in food, cleaners, and products applied to the skin. Because of this, they are willing to pay higher prices for products that are natural, that is, that contain no synthetic or chemical ingredients. Midway Importing, Inc. claims to produce natural soaps, but according to the complaint, all five types cited contain synthetic or non-natural ingredients.
The class for this action is all consumers who bought the products anywhere in the US during the class period. New York and California subclasses have also been proposed. The class period is not defined in the complaint.
According to the complaint, Midway makes products targeted to Hispanic consumers, including a variety of soaps whose labels claim that they’re natural:
Each of the soap packages bears the words “Natural Soap” in the upper left-hand corner.
According to Congress, a “synthetic” substance is one that “is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plants, animals, or mineral sources…”
According to the complaint, the soaps each contain one or more synthetic ingredient.
All five contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is prepared by sulfation of lauryl alcohol and neutralization with sodium carbonate, the complaint says. While it is a common ingredients in soaps and shampoos, it does not meet the definition of natural.
Also contained in one or more of the soaps are the following:
The complaint therefore alleges that the soaps should not be labeled, advertised, or sold a natural, and that Midway has violated the California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act, New York’s General Business Law, and consumer protection laws in the other forty-eight states. Among other things, it also claims breaches of express warranty under state laws and breach of implied warranties.