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Reese Witherspoon’s Company Sued for Claims of Scam Promotion

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On June 4, 2020, a group of teachers filed proposed class action claims against actress Reese Witherspoon and her clothing company, Draper James, claiming a promotion that promised free dresses to teachers nationwide allegedly deceived entrants into providing the defendants with sensitive personal information.

In the complaint, filed in California Superior Court, named plaintiffs Laryssa Galvez, Judith Lindley and Natalie Anderson, allege that the defendants attempted to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic in order to gather personal information from around one million teachers across the country and to generate positive press surrounding the company. According to the plaintiffs, on April 2, 2020, Draper James posted to its Instagram account that in appreciation for the hard work teachers were doing during quarantine, the company would provide educators with a free dress.

The offer informed would-be participants that in order to be eligible for the promised free dress, they would be required to provide their contact information, along with sensitive education employee identification information, such as a copy of their school ID, the grade level and subjects taught and the name and location of the school.

Ms. Witherspoon heavily advertised her company’s free dress promotion on several national TV programs, including The Today Show and Good Morning America. At no point during the marketing of the free dress campaign did the defendants disclose that the offer was in fact a lottery in which only 250 free dresses were available.

The plaintiffs argued that the defendants clearly intended to mislead class members into disclosing sensitive personal information for the purpose of expanding the company’s customer database. Plaintiffs point out that in 2019, Draper James sales totaled around 150,000 dresses; however, due to its free dress promotion, it gained the contact information of nearly 1,000,0000 new potential customers, expanding the company’s customer database by 700% or more.

Class members further defended their allegations by pointing out that within days of providing personal information, they were bombarded with promotional material from the company. The class is made up of all persons who signed up for the Draper James offer and provided personal information to defendants. The suit brings causes of action for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, restitution, unjust enrichment, quasi-contract assumpsit and violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200.

The case is: Galvez et al v. Draper James, LLC et al, case number 2:20-cv-04976, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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