Hueston Hennigan Wins Putative Class Action Dismissal

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A U.S. District Court Judge in the Central District of California today dismissed a putative national class action brought against Umeken USA, Inc., a leading manufacturer of dietary supplements and its Chief Executive Officer. The Court granted the dismissal almost entirely with prejudice.

In her complaint filed earlier this year, Plaintiff Min Sook Shin brought 9 state and federal claims related to 15 of Umeken’s products, even though she had not purchased 13 of them. In her suit, Shin alleged, among other things, that Umeken, whose U.S. headquarters is in Cerritos, had engaged in false and misleading advertising and that the products constituted unlawful new drugs that had not been approved by the FDA.

Judge Cormac Carney sided with Umeken, ruling that Shin lacked Article III standing to pursue claims against the 13 products she did not purchase since they were not similar enough to ones she had purchased. Judge Carney also found that plaintiff’s claims that Umeken’s products constituted unlawful drugs and needed labeling beyond the FDA’s requirements for dietary supplements was preempted by the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, and thus dismissed them with prejudice. He also dismissed plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief with prejudice, finding she lacked standing to pursue the claim as well.

Following those claim-specific rulings, the Court went on to dismiss the entire remainder of Shin’s complaint. While Judge Carney granted leave to amend on the remaining claims, he notably challenged plaintiff to see if it could file “coherent Complaint asserting viable claims.”

“We are thrilled that the Court issued this significant and broad ruling dismissing this plaintiff’s class action complaint, and that it did so almost entirely with prejudice,” said Steven Feldman, an attorney for Umeken. “In its order, the Court also made several important rulings on the issues of federal preemption and Article III standing that we think will have a positive impact for defendants in other large class actions.”

Umeken is represented by John Hueston and Steven Feldman of Hueston Hennigan LLP.