Plaintiffs Squeeze Out Settlement In Crest Toothpaste Class Action
Consumers who accused Crest of puffery in promoting its Sensitivity Treatment & Protection toothpaste will recover the costs of their purchases — about $4 a tube — while their lawyers make a mint.
U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark signed off Thursday on a class-action settlement that includes $700,000 in legal fees.
Claimants will be reimbursed what they paid for the paste, which sells for an average of $8, if they can produce receipts. Otherwise, they'll get $4.
Plaintiff lawyers say the class includes hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide.
The suit, in Rossi v. Proctor & Gamble Co., filed Dec. 13, 2011, alleged Crest falsely said the toothpaste provided "relief within minutes."
The plaintiffs cited an Oct. 28, 2011, report by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which concluded that the Crest product provided relief within days or weeks, not minutes. NAD looked into the issue after rival Colgate complained about the claim.
The suit alleged breaches of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, express warranty and the implied warranty of merchantability, and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Linares found the settlement of $4 per member reasonable in light of risks the class might not prevail at trial.
He said he would not disturb the counsel fees because they were negotiated between the parties and would not reduce class members' recovery.
Linares said the court's fiduciary role in overseeing such fee awards is reduced where there is no potential for conflict of interest between attorneys and the class.