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CEI Challenges Settlement in Similasan Corp. Case where Lawyers get Payday and Class gets Nothing

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is asking the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California to reject a settlement in Allen v. Similasan that gives over half a million dollars to attorneys and zero dollars to unnamed class members.  

“Only the defendant and the class attorneys benefit from this settlement,” said Ted Frank, director of CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness. “There is no relief for unnamed class members, who get nothing for dropping their claims against a homeopathy manufacturer.”

The underlying suit alleged that Similasan falsely marketed its homeopathic products as “Naturally Effective & Safe,” violated FDA regulations, and breached express and implied warranties. If the settlement is approved, past purchasers of Similasan products would be precluded from bringing similar suits against the company for past behavior.

Homeopathy is based on the doctrine that “like cures like.” That is, homeopathic principles suppose that a poison which normally causes fever will instead cure fever when it is highly diluted. No scientific evidence supporting homeopathic principles exists. Published meta-analysis consistently finds that homeopathic remedies are no more efficacious than any placebo.

The settlement purports to require label changes and page about homeopathic dilutions on Similasan’s website, but these cosmetic changes do not provide any relief to class members.

“The supposed relief is just more marketing for the defendant,” said Frank. “For example, the dilutions webpage trumpeted by the settlement is subtitled ‘how our products work’ and falsely suggests homeopathy resembles an allergy or flu shot.” 

Class counsel has requested $545,000 in fees under the settlement agreement. CEI is challenging the settlement on behalf of one of the unnamed class members.