Class Decertified in Dietary Supplement Lawsuit


A California federal judge Friday decertified the class in a consumer class action lawsuit, brought under California's unfair competition law ("UCL"), false advertising law ("FAL") and Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"), against Nutraceutical Corporation (NASDAQ: NUTR), maker of the dietary supplement, Cobra Sexual Energy. The motion to decertify, brought by attorneys at Hueston Hennigan LLP, successfully refuted plaintiff's assertions that untold numbers of purchasers were deceived by the product's branding and effectively dismantled the substance of the case.

The case was originally brought by plaintiffs Frank Ortega and Troy Lambert (plaintiffs' counsel was forced to dismiss Ortega after defense counsel caught him lying under oath), who had alleged that the realistic depiction of a cobra snake on the product's packaging led them to believe its consumption would fuel marathon sexual sprees on a daily basis.

The court granted class action status in April 2014 based on plaintiffs' promises to the court that they would produce evidence that could be used to calculate class-wide damages. But in his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte, Jr. agreed with Nutraceutical, represented by John C. Hueston and Steven N. Feldman of Hueston Hennigan LLP, that the plaintiffs had "failed to produce the evidence needed" after they had "a full opportunity to conduct discovery."

With the class now decertified, Hueston noted that years of groundless litigation could result in a maximum damages reward for Lambert of less than $100. "This was never about consumers or consumer protection," Hueston said. "We are thrilled the Court saw the glaring deficiencies in plaintiffs' case and granted our motion to decertify the class."

"It turns out that plaintiffs' contentions were misleading, exaggerated and vastly overblown," Feldman said. "There never were thousands of disillusioned customers, just two middle-aged men with fantastical beliefs about what this product would do."

The case is Lambert v. Nutraceutical Corp., CV 13-05942-AB-Ex (C.D. Cal.). The Court's order is docket no. 175.

Hueston Hennigan is a trial and litigation law firm specializing in high stakes business disputes. It serves clients nationally from its offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. For more information, please visit or call (213) 788-4340.

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