This week, a New York federal court gave preliminary approval to a $1.5 million settlement deal that would end claims that the makers of Purex “Natural Elements” misrepresented their laundry detergent via the product’s labeling.
Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. and the consumers who filed the Purex false advertising class action lawsuit have agreed to the proposed settlement that would create a $1.5 million fund that would provide cash payouts for affected customers, a $7,500 payment for the lead plaintiff, and up to $500,000 for Class counsel.
Under the Purex class action settlement, Class Members are eligible for a cash payment of between $2 and $4 for each container of detergent that they purchased.
Consumers who do not have proof of purchase are eligible for payments for up to 10 containers of Purex, while those who do have proof of purchase are eligible for payments for an unlimited number of detergent packages.
Per the terms of the proposed settlement, Henkel must add language to more accurately describe the claim of “Natural Elements,” add a USDA certification label to the product, and stop production and sale of products that aren’t in line with the agreed-upon changes.
The Purex “Natural Elements” class action lawsuit was filed by Tony Luib in May 2017. Luib claimed that the Purex packaging was misleading because of the inclusion of the language “Natural Elements.”
Allegedly, the products contain synthetic ingredients, but consumers may be misled into believing that they do not, because of the “natural” label.
According to the Purex class action lawsuit, on the back of Purex “Natural Elements” laundry detergents, a list of synthetic ingredients are mentioned including: sodium polyacrylate, disodium distryrylbiphenyl disulfonate, lilial, methylisothiazolinone, hexylcinnamaldehyde and benzyl benzoate.
However, the plaintiff argues that consumers shouldn’t have to “scour the ingredients list on the back of the Products in order to confirm or debunk Defendant’s prominent front-of-the-product claims.”
In addition, Purex “Natural Elements” also includes the surfactant (cleaning agent) alcohol ethoxyl sulfate which comes from coconut and palm kernal oils. A federal judge determined in February 2018 that at its molecular level, AES is considered a mixture of natural and synthetic.
Both Luib and Henkel made summary judgment motions in February 2018, which were denied by U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who determined that the question of whether water counts as a natural ingredient, which he said could decide the case, was one that should be determined in court.
“If water is counted as a natural ingredient, the Products consist almost entirely of natural ingredients by weight,” Judge Cogan writes in his order. “If water is excluded from the calculation, the Products consist of a little more than half natural ingredients by weight.”
Luib argued that including water in a product doesn’t rationalize a “natural” label.
Under the terms of the Purex “Natural Elements” class action settlement, Class Members include all U.S. residents who purchased Purex “Natural Elements” between May 19, 2013 and March 8, 2019.
Within 35 days, a website will be reportedly set up to inform Class Members of the settlement terms and the deadlines for filing a claim.
A fairness hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 19 to determine if a Class of consumers should be certified, and to determine if the settlement deal is adequate.
The granting of preliminary approval also halts any other actions around the “Natural Elements” labeling issue until after the fairness hearing and final order for this Purex class action lawsuit.
The proposed settlement deal does not represent an admission of guilt on Henkel’s part, and the company stated that “while Henkel maintains that labels on Purex Natural Elements products have been appropriate, the settlement allows us to avoid the distraction and expense of further litigation and to focus on growing Purex as a high quality laundry detergent at a great value.”
Top Class Actions will post updates to this class action settlement as they become available. For the latest updates, keep checking TopClassActions.com or sign up for our free newsletter. You can also receive notifications when this article is updated by using your free Top Class Actions account and clicking the “Follow Article” button at the top of the post.
Luib is represented by Michael R. Reese of Reese LLP, Jason P. Sultzer of The Sultzer Law Group PC and Christopher J. Moreland of Halunen Law.
The Purex Natural Detergent Class Action Lawsuit is Tony Luib v. Henkel Consumer Goods Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-03021, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
UPDATE: April 2019, the Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent class action settlement is now open.Click here to file a claim.UPDATE 2: October 2019, Top Class Actions viewers started receiving checks worth much lower than the amount previously stated on the settlement website. While disappointing, don’t let that stop you from continuing to file claims for every settlement you qualify for. Check out which class action settlements are still accepting claims in ourOpen Class Action Settlements
Top Class Actions is a Proud Member of the American Bar Association
LEGAL INFORMATION IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE
©2008 – 2021 Top Class Actions® LLC
Various Trademarks held by their respective owners
This website is not intended for viewing or usage by European Union citizens.
Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.