Oh, Snooki, How Could You?
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) - "Jersey Shore" alum Snooki joined up with recidivist snake-oil salesmen to peddle Zantrex diet pills that don't work, a class action claims in Federal Court.
Lead plaintiff Ashley Brady sued Basic Research LLC, Zoller Laboratories, three of their officers, and Nicole Polizzi aka Snooki.
All three officers have been ordered to cease and desist selling bogus weight-loss products, Brady claims in the lawsuit.
Brady says she bought a bottle of Zantrex-3 in 2010 after reading the label's promises that the drug would provide "546% More Weight Loss Than America's #1 Selling Ephedra-Based Diet Pill," and that it would make her lose weight "without diet and exercise."
Brady claims that Zantrex combines caffeine with herbs that are "unsafe and ineffective for weight control or appetite suppression."
She claims that Snooki is the face of the Zantrex brand, promoting it on her websites, on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and in celebrity gossip magazines.
"Snooki represents ... that Zantrex is safe and effective for weight loss and fat loss," the lawsuit states. "These representations are false, misleading and deceptive because ... Zantrex is neither effective nor safe for weight loss nor fat loss."
According to the lawsuit, Basic Research bills itself as "one of the largest 'nutraceutical' companies in the United States, with annual sales revenues in excess of $50 million." Many of its affiliates or associates are based in Utah, as is defendant Zoller and all three individual defendants, according to the complaint.
Defendant Dennis W. Gay is a principal and director of both companies; the FTC enjoined him in a similar weight-loss scam in 2006, according to the lawsuit.
Defendant Daniel B. Mowrey calls himself Basic Research's "Director of Scientific Affairs," and also was enjoined from this conduct by the FTC's 2006 injunction, Brady says.
Defendant Mitchell K. Friedlander, Basic Research's self-proclaimed "marketing guru," was slapped with a cease-and-desist order from the U.S. Postal Service in 1985, also involving weight-loss snake oil, and a second USPS order involving bogus breast enlargement products, according to the lawsuit.
Brady seeks class certification, an injunction and damages for fraud, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
She is represented by Joseph I. Marchese with Bursor & Fisher, of New York City.