A celebrity stylist’s hair product company and a class of consumers who claim using the products caused their hair to fall out have agreed to a $26.25 million settlement in a California federal court to end three years of litigation. WEN by Chaz Dean Inc. and the products’ manufacturer, Guthy-Renker LLC, both based in the Los Angeles region, and the class of potentially millions of consumers agreed to the settlement after protracted litigation over whether the companies were negligent in failing to warn consumers about the adverse effects of using their products. It was also claimed the Defendants violated unfair competition and false advertising statutes.
The proposed settlement, which also requires WEN to include a warning label on its Cleansing Conditioner, establishes two avenues of relief for class members:
• those who simply bought the products and are eligible to receive a flat $25 refund, and
• those who used the product and experienced hair loss or scalp pain, who can make injury clams and receive up to a maximum of $20,000.
The settlement class covers individuals who bought WEN hair care products between Nov. 1, 2007, and Aug. 1, 2016.
The basis for the claims in the suit is consumers’ complaints that use of the WEN products, particularly the Cleaning Conditioner, was causing substantial hair loss that continued after stoppage of use. It caused some people to lose up to a third of their hair. Sold through such purveyors as Amazon, QVC and Sephora, WEN bears the imprint of celebrity Los Angeles stylist Chaz Dean, and markets its hair care line as “a revolutionary way to cleanse and hydrate the hair.”
A related action is pending in California federal court against the same Defendants on similar allegations. That suit accuses the companies of continuing to sell the products while failing to warn consumers of the known risks of use of the products.
The consumers are represented by Neville L. Johnson, Douglas L. Johnson and Jordanna G. Thigpen of Johnson & Johnson LLP; William H. Anderson, Charles J. LaDuca and Michael J. Flannery of Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca LLP; and Brian W. Warwick and Janet R. Varnell of Varnell & Warwick PA. The case is Amy Friedman et al. v. Guthy-Renker LLC et al., (case number 2:14-cv-06009) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.