A group of consumers is asking a Florida federal judge to certify a class of purchasers of NBTY Inc.'s ("NBTY" or "The Company") vitamins due to alleged misleading packaging. The complaint alleges NBTY vitamins labeled, "Made in America," contain ingredients imported from foreign countries, which is a violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The plaintiff, Jennifer Sweat ("Sweat"), purchased NBTY vitamins with the "Made in America" label and later learned that not all the ingredients were from United States. The Federal Trade Commission requires products to contain all, or mostly all, elements that are made in the United States in order to put "Made in America" on the label. Sweat alleges at least one of the vitamin's major components is foreign and argues that consumers were deceived, and many would not have purchased the product had they known the vitamins weren't domestically made. Sweat hopes the discovery process will show that these products were sold in other states that forbid customer deception, such as California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Washington. Therefore, she has asked for a delay of class certification, since certification would put an end to the discovery process before she can discover if the products were sold elsewhere.
NBTY filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the suit was merely a "cookie cutter" complaint "cribbed" from other similar suits that were litigated by the same attorneys. In support of its motion, NBTY pointed out that the complaint referred to Sweat as a "he," stated three counts when there were only two, and contained other distinct similarities to the language of multiple suits filed by the plaintiff's counsel. The Company also noted that the complaint does not identify any specific countries from which the alleged foreign products were imported, along with failing to discuss how much of the product consists of foreign components. NBTY concluded that the lack of specificity was proof of the plaintiff's attempt to reuse the same complaint without looking at the actual facts relating to NBTY's product.
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Source: Sieniuc, Kat. "Vitamin Buyers Seek Class Cert. In 'Made In USA' Suit." Law360. Portfolio Media, Inc. 21 Oct. 2016. Web