Summary of Action

Numerous class-action lawsuits have been filed across the country over the advertising of glucosamine supplements, all alleging that the various marketers of the products falsely label them as able to rebuild cartilage and support joint comfort without competent scientific evidence to support such claims.

In March 2014, the parties to two of the class actions pending against the marketers of the Move Free® Advanced line of glucosamine supplements reached a proposed settlement agreement that would allow the companies to continue their deceptive labeling in exchange for paying class members between $3 and $10 per bottle purchased (for a maximum of five bottles) and the plaintiffs’ attorneys up to $3 million.  Under the terms of the agreement, the glucosamine marketers will refrain from using just six specific phrases on the labels (nothing a thesaurus can’t get around) and only for a period of two years. After that, they will be able to go back to the original label, but the class members will be forever prohibited from doing anything about it, according to the terms of the settlement.

Because the agreement does not eradicate the deception at issue and is therefore unfair to consumers, TINA.org together with AARP filed a brief in March 2015 as amici curiae opposing the proposed settlement (and supplemented the brief in May 2015 to respond to some minor clarifications and amendments made to the agreement).  However, on October 30, 2015, the Court approved the settlement agreement.  In so doing, though, the Court stated that it “agrees with TINA and AARP that the injunctive relief has limited value to the Class,” and lowered the amount of attorney’s fees the plaintiffs counsel could receive from 33% of the settlement fund to 25% of the fund, as advocated by TINA.org and AARP.

It’s also worth noting that, prior to TINA.org’s and AARP’s filing of their opposition, the plaintiffs had been trying to withdraw from the proposed settlement agreement, citing in their court filings TINA.org’s anticipated objection to the agreement as a reason the settlement was no longer worthy of approval by the Court. The defendants — who ultimately wanted the agreement to be given final approval — successfully objected to the plaintiffs’ request.

For more information about TINA.org’s position or to read the full brief, use the menu.

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