Duracell Battery Case Settled for $6M-Plus

     ORLANDO (CN) - Gillette must donate $6 million worth of batteries and pay consumers to settle claims that it exaggerated the performance of Duracell Ultra, a federal judge ruled.
     Joshua Poertner sued The Gillette Co. and Proctor & Gamble Co. for making false claims that their Duracell Ultra Batteries would perform better than their Copper Top batteries. Poertner claimed Gillette violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act with its misleading marketing.
     Gillette is a wholly owned subsidiary of P&G.
     U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell on Thursday approved the class settlement that includes a donation of $6 million in batteries to charitable organizations, $5.68 million in attorneys' fees and monetary damages to the affected families.
     Poertner had claimed that he bought the Ultra batteries three or four times in 2010, and again in 2012. The ruling notes that there are an estimated 7.26 million similarly situated consumers in the class. Each household in the class will receive between $6 and $12, depending on if they provide a proof of purchase.
     Gillette denied any wrongdoing but has agreed under the settlement to stop using the phrase "our longest lasting" when selling Ultra batteries in the United States. The ruling notes that Gillette stopped selling the batteries all together in July 2013.
The efforts of class counsel "played a large part in ending the defendants' practice of selling the Ultra batteries, which is a direct benefit to the class members," Presnell wrote Thursday in denying objections to the terms of the settlement from a few class members.
     Presnell deemed the battery donation appropriate since it is nearly impossible to identify everyone who purchased the product to provide more monetary relief. While there is no guarantee of a full Spanish website for class members, Presnell did highlight the link to see the claim forms in Spanish.
     "The small number of exclusions and objections from class members relative to the size of the class, and the lack of merit to the objections that were made, further support approval of the Settlement," Presnell wrote.
     "Further, defendants have defended this action vigorously and if this case were to proceed without settlement, the resulting trial and the almost inevitable appeal would be complex, lengthy and expensive," he added. "Accordingly, it could be years before class members receive any benefit, and the ultimate net recovery could well be less than that received under this settlement."