On January 7, 2021, consumer goods company Unilever United States was served with class claims in New Jersey federal court alleging its popular TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo and TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo (“the products”) contain an ingredient that causes significant hair loss and scalp irritation upon proper application.
In the complaint, named plaintiff Iris Arroyo argues that the defendant failed to properly warn consumers of the risks and dangers associated with using the products and instead heavily marketed the products as being beneficial to healthy hair. Unbeknownst to consumers, the products contain DMDM hydantoin which is a formaldehyde donor, known to slowly leach formaldehyde when it comes into contact with water. The complaint points out that formaldehyde is a well-known human carcinogen that can cause cancer and other harmful reactions when absorbed into the skin.
The plaintiff further alleges that not only was the defendant aware of danger the products posed to consumers, but that it continually concealed the dangers of the products by failing to conduct a recall and repeatedly marketing the products as safe and beneficial. The complaint goes on to display pictures of the product’s packaging which prominently features appealing and allegedly false phrases such as “deeply nourishing,” “gently cleanse” and “repair hair.”
The plaintiff seeks to represent a national class made up of all those who purchased the products and a New Jersey-specific class. The suit brings causes of action for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, breach of express warranty, breach of contract/common law warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud and unjust enrichment.
The case is: Arroyo v. Unilever United States Inc. et al., Case No.: 2:21-cv-00302, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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