A class action lawsuit against a baby teether manufacturer accused of falsely advertising that the products are BPA-free should proceed, a federal judge in California has ruled. According to a report in the Northern California Record, Judge Toy Nunley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, denied I Play Incorporated’s request to dismiss the case brought by Dusty Spearman.
In her lawsuit, Spearman alleges I Play sold Green Sprouts baby teethers that contained bisphenols (BPA), an industrial chemical that is used to make plastics, while advertising that the products are BPA free. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says low levels of BPA exposure are not harmful. But, some research has shown health complications in lab animals.
The lawsuit alleges I Play used the demand for BPA-free products to falsely advertise their baby teethers and fetch a premium price. Spearman wants to certify the lawsuit for all who purchased the baby teethers in the last four years. She says the damages could be more than $5 million for all class members.
I Play asked the judge to dismiss the case. However, the judge refused to do so, but said Spearman should have the opportunity in discovery to prove the $5 million figure. Spearman has been given 60 days to conduct jurisdictional discovery and has an additional 14 days after the discovery period ends to submit a “supplemental opposition to the motion to dismiss.”
The Power of Class Action Lawsuits
This case is an example of how a common consumer has the power to hold a corporation accountable by filing a class action lawsuit. Why do we file class action lawsuits? What is the purpose? Well, tort reform advocates would have you believe that it’s just a way for lawyers to make money. But, upon closer examination, we see that class action lawsuits wield a lot of power on behalf of the little guy.
In this particular case, the woman who filed the lawsuit suffered no great injuries or damages. However, it bothered her that this company advertised that its teethers were BPA-free and used that as a selling point, when in fact, it wasn’t true. Companies that lie to consumers and deceive them to increase profits should be held responsible. But the average individual can do so only with a class action lawsuit. It would simply not feasible for one person to pay the court and legal fees and file a lawsuit against a company.