Peter Thomas Roth joins June Jacobs Labs as the defendants in a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the cosmetic companies have made false claims with regard to the skin rejuvenation capabilities and overall effectiveness of their line of “Rose Stem Cell” and “Water Drench” products.
Citing the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Florida, New York and Washington’s consumer protection laws, the 83-page lawsuit alleges that to increase their sales, defendants Peter Thomas Roth, LLC; Peter Thomas Roth Global, LLC; Peter Thomas Roth Labs, LLC; June Jacobs Labs, LLC; and June Jacobs Laboratories, LLC have tricked consumers into believing the companies’ "Rose Stem Cell" products are scientifically capable of improving and repairing human skin. Moreover, the suit highlights the defendants’ “Water Drench” line of products as similarly misrepresented by the companies as capable of providing the skin with exceptional moisture.
In truth, the three plaintiffs allege, the defendants have “profited enormously” on the back of false marketing claims and deliberately misleading packaging while consumers are “left with overpriced, ineffective skin care products.” According to the suit, consumers have paid a premium price for products that are “scientifically incapable of achieving the promised results."
Echoing at least two prior proposed class actions, the complaint out of New York’s Southern District says that the defendants have positioned themselves within the so-called “prestige” segment of the beauty products market. Unlike mass-market cosmetics, products such as those sold by Peter Thomas Roth are marketed to higher-income consumers and sold predominantly or exclusively by retailers such as Macy’s or Nordstrom or at specialty beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta, the suit explains. According to the case, companies in the defendants’ product arena are typically able to command higher retail prices than they would be able to charge at, say, pharmacies or other mass-market stores.
With the understanding that consumers seek out and are willing to pay a premium for items that can aide with looking youthful and reducing wrinkles, the defendants, the plaintiffs allege, have embarked on a long-term advertising campaign aimed at tricking consumers into believing Peter Thomas Roth products contain “cutting-edge scientific technologies.” Two such Peter Thomas Roth products at the center of this tactic are the defendants’ “Rose Stem Cell” and “Water Drench” goods, the lawsuit says, alleging that despite the defendants’ marketing, advertising and packaging, the companies “know that their claims are false or misleading to reasonable consumers.”
According to the lawsuit, the array of products under the “Rose Stem Cell” and “Water Drench” umbrellas have been falsely and misleadingly represented as able to fight signs of aging based on dubious-at-best scientific evidence. The former, the case says, is positioned by the defendants as containing “stem cells” from several varieties of roses. Peter Thomas Roth, the plaintiffs assert, effectively attempts to trick consumers into believing its “rose stem cells” possess the same regenerative effectiveness as human stem cells.
As the lawsuit tells it, however, the representations made by the defendants are no more than an effort to “capitalize on the recent media attention that has been given to medical research of human stem cells,” aiming to confuse consumers into erroneously believing “Rose Stem Cell” products can lend significant health benefits. From the lawsuit:
“While medical research has shown that human stem cells can provide tremendous health benefits to people under specific circumstances, there is absolutely no evidence that rose stem cells can provide such benefits. Plant stem cells cannot ‘repair,’ ‘rejuvenate,’ or ‘regenerate’ human skin, as Defendants claim or imply. Nor can they ‘stimulate cellular turnover,’ as Defendants claim in their marketing video. Accordingly, Defendants’ representations are false and misleading.”
Even if the defendants’ “Rose Stem Cell” products did contain rose stem cells, those stem cells “would be dead by the time consumers apply them to their skin,” the suit adds, noting the fragility of plant stem cells in the scope of a product’s manufacturing, shipping and storage cycle.
The lawsuit claims the defendants’ “Water Drench” product line is similarly misrepresented in that the serums, creams, eye patches and masks cannot, as the companies advertise, “draw large quantities of water from the atmosphere” and into a user’s skin due to the presence of hyaluronic acid. In addition to picking at the defendants’ use of “buzzy, scientific sounding ingredients” to which the companies know beauty consumers are drawn, the case claims Peter Thomas Roth has “wildly misstate[d] the benefits, if any” of its “Water Drench” ingredients. More from the suit:
“As is uniformly confirmed by the peer-reviewed scientific articles that have examined the hyaluronic acid’s ability to bond to water, hyaluronic acid is incapable of attracting, absorbing, or retaining anywhere near 1,000 times its weight in water, even when it is in its anhydrous (i.e., waterless; completely dry) form. At least nine different academic labs have examined hyaluronic acid’s water retention, and they unanimously report that hyaluronic acid is capable of retaining less than its own weight in water. One even noted that it was examining the ingredient specifically because of its touted hydrating benefits in the cosmetics industry. The investigators concluded that hyaluronic acid had no significant ability to retain water compared to other polysaccharides.”
The lawsuit looks to represent consumers who purchased Peter Thomas Roth’s “Rose Stem Cell” and/or “Water Drench” products in Florida, New York or Washington at any time between August 27, 2015 and the present.