April 9, 2021 – Case Settled, $2.25 Million Deal Proposed
A proposed $2.25 million settlement has been reached to resolve the putative class action detailed on this page.
Counsel for the plaintiffs submitted a motion for preliminary settlement approval on March 17, 2021 with support from defendant Bayer Healthcare LLC. A hearing on preliminary approval is scheduled for April 21, 2021, after which the settlement will need final approval.
If the settlement is approved, those who are covered by the deal and who have receipts for their purchases will be able to file claims for an unlimited number of Coppertone “mineral-based” products and receive $2.50 per unit. Those without proof of purchase may only file claims for up to four products for which they can receive a maximum of $10 in compensation.
According to court documents, Bayer and Coppertone have removed the words “mineral-based” from the labels of the products at issue. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the companies have agreed that should the term “mineral-based” be used on Coppertone sunscreen labels at any point between preliminary approval of the deal and December 31, 2023, they will include a statement on the product packaging that indicates the sunscreen also contains other active ingredients.
“The cessation of the mineral-based claim, and the agreement to add clear labeling representations to ensure transparency moving forward, provide a significant benefit to consumers, regardless of whether they submit a claim or seek exclusion from the settlement,” the motion reads, urging the court to preliminarily approve the deal. “It facilitates a highly visible and competitive marketplace by promoting credibility and fair competition, raises the floor of truth telling in advertising by elevating the customary standard of practice across the industry, and ensures fidelity to consumer protection laws that benefits consumers, the public, and the market.”
ClassAction.org will update this page with any pertinent developments.
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The entities behind Coppertone sunscreen face a proposed class action that alleges the companies fraudulently pass off the products as containing only safe, mineral-based ingredients. In truth, according to the 30-page lawsuit, the following Coppertone sunscreens contain amounts of “harmful chemical-based ingredients” larger than or nearly equal to their active mineral content:
Coppertone Water Babies Mineral-Based Sunscreen Stick;
Coppertone Water Babies Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion;
Coppertone Kids Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion; and
Coppertone Sport Face Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion.
Filed against Bayer AG, Beiersdorf, Inc. and four others, the complaint claims the companies have “falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively” labeled the above-listed products in order to take advantage of consumers’ desire for mineral-based sunscreens. The suit avers the defendants have “reaped many millions of dollars” and “put profits over people” by fraudulently by using less-desirable chemicals as the active ingredient in their purportedly mineral-based sunscreens. Based on the defendants’ representations, consumers are led to think Coppertone’s mineral-based sunscreens are light on artificial ingredients and therefore better for the skin and overall health.
“Put differently,” the lawsuit reads, “reasonable consumers do not believe the Products contain any active synthetic chemical ingredients. This understanding is further reinforced by the fact that nearly all sunscreens on the market that are advertised as mineral or mineral-based contain only active mineral ingredients.”
The case goes so far as to allege that labeling any sunscreen as “mineral-based” when it contains any active chemical ingredients is “wholly misleading and deceptive.” As the lawsuit tells it, the Bayer and Beiersdorf defendants take this conduct a step further by claiming their Coppertone products are “mineral-based” when the percentage of active mineral ingredients in the sunscreens are “less than, or nearly equal to, the percentage of chemical active ingredients.” True mineral-based sunscreens are often comprised of “20-24%” active mineral ingredients, according to the case, which notes such products “do not contain any chemical active ingredients.”
The suit says that had the plaintiffs known certain Coppertone sunscreens contained active chemical ingredients in greater quantities than their mineral-based components, they would not have purchased the products. Among other damages, including monetary restitution and disgorgement of profits, the plaintiffs look for the court to issue an injunction ordering the defendants to stop labeling and marketing Coppertone mineral-based sunscreen in the manner alleged in the complaint.