Defective product attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that a class of plaintiffs injured by a Suave hair product is expected to receive over $10 million in a settlement, resolving over a year of litigation. The case centers on Suave’s Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit, which was recalled in May 2012. The hair treatment caused significant hair loss and damage in consumers, leading to the lawsuit.
The class action was filed in August 2012 in Illinois federal court, alleging that Suave’s parent company, Unilever, misled consumers and falsely represented the hair kit. Unilever owns a plethora of well-known brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, AXE, Dove, St. Ive’s and Lipton.
There are actually three class actions in relation to Suave hair loss, the other two are in Kentucky and California. The $10.2 million settlement will likely apply to all three class actions. Among their complaints, plaintiffs allege that that Unilever was deceptive in using dangerous ingredients in the Keratin Infusion and failed to instruct consumers on how to correctly use the product. This failure created undisclosed, significant, and dangerous hazards.
Who can Take Part in the Settlement?
There are three types of plaintiffs who are eligible to receive compensation from this class action. The $10.2 million injury fund will be available to any consumer who purchased a Suave Keratin Infusion kit and suffered scalp injuries from the product. These plaintiffs must provide documentation that they bought the Suave smoothing kit (through a receipt) and have additional proof that they suffered significant scalp injury, typically through medical bills. Consumers who can prove such injury are eligible to receive up to $25,000.
The injury fund may also be available to consumers who suffered minor injury but do not have receipts, however they will only receive about $40. Those with proof (through hairdresser or medical bills) of more minor scalp injury can receive up to $800.
A reimbursement fund of $250,000 will refund consumers (about $10 per customer) who bought the smoothing kit but did not experience significant injury. These consumers must also provide receipts from the Suave purchase.
Between 225,000 and 260,000 Suave Keratin smoothing kits were sold in the five months they were on market. The kits were marketed to help tame frizzy and curly hair. After just one use, consumers’ hair started melting and falling out, despite following all directions clearly and carefully. There was absolutely no warning about this possibility, and plaintiffs claim that Unilever hid or significantly downplayed reports of hair loss.
The hair loss was reportedly caused by an ingredient that caused the release of formaldehyde, which was not listed on its labels. Horror stories of hair loss started coming out in December 2011, with an entire Facebook page created for this purpose, however Unilever did not initiate a recall until six months later. Even after the recall, Unilever chose not to respond to consumer complaints or make any kind of public announcement about the issue. The company continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Product liability lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm encourage anyone injured by this Suave product to come forward. Even if you do not have a receipt from the purchase you may still be eligible to receive compensation for this inherently dangerous product. If you have any questions about the class action and injury fund, contact our firm today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.