Class Claims Kirstie Alley Pitches Snake Oil
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kirstie Alley plugs bogus Organic Liaison weight-loss supplements with false claims that they helped her lose 100 lbs., but the products "are nothing more than run-of-the-mill fiber and calcium supplements," a class action claims in Superior Court.
Lead plaintiff Marina Abramyan sued Organic Liaison LLC, Organic Liaison Management and Kirstie Alley, claiming they use deceptive before-and-after pictures of the former "Cheers" star to push their ineffective drugs.
"Ms. Alley's weight loss is not due to the Organic Liaison Program, but rather, is the result of an above average exercise regimen and extremely low calorie diet, including her time on the television program 'Dancing with the Stars' ('DWTS'), where she spent five to seven hours a day exercising as part of the competition," the complaint states.
Abramyan claims the ads call the supplements "USDA approved," though they are "neither certified as an effective weight-loss aid by the USDA nor anything more than standard dietary supplements incapable of causing weight loss."
She claims the USDA certified the product only as organic, and that the defendants cannot cite any evidence from scientifically sound clinical trials for their claim that the product is "proven" to cause weight loss.
Abramyan says she informed the company in December 2011 that its ads violated FTC guidelines, but the company denied it, in a February 2012 response.
Abramyan claims that Alley is both a spokeswoman for the company and an owner/board member of Organic Liaison LLC and Organic Liaison Management.
The weight-loss product market came to $34 billion in 2000, according to the complaint, and continues to grow as obesity rates climb, but the FTC has found weight-loss ads prone to "rampant" deception.
"In peddling the Organic Liaison Program, Ms. Alley attributes her weight loss to the program, but in reality, Ms. Alley's weight loss is due to nothing more than the tried and true concept of diet and exercise," the complaint states. "It is commonly known, and indeed a scientific fact, that if you are increasing exercise while decreasing caloric intake, you will lose weight. There is no magic pill or supplement that causes weight loss."
Abramyan says she bought the products but "did not lose any weight or experience any of the advertised benefits of the program."
She seeks class certification and damages for false advertising on behalf of consumers who have bought into the program since July 2008.
Her lead counsel is Gillian Wade with Milstein Adelman, of Santa Monica.