Court Says Settlement Notice Properly Published

     (CN) – The settlement of a class-action lawsuit regarding unlabeled steroids in face cream only needed to have its notice published once, a California appeals court ruled.
     Wankyu Choi and Jae Lee sued Mario Badescu Skin Care Inc., along with Badescu himself, over the labeling and marketing of their Healing Cream.
     The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety had recalled the cream in 2012 after tests revealed the presence of two steroids: hydrocortisone and triamcinolone acetonide in the product.
     According to the ministry, long-term use of steroids could lead to enlarged capillaries and skin atrophy.
     In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs asserted claims of fraudulent concealment, breach of warranty and false advertising.
     Badescu and the plaintiffs agreed to settle the nationwide class-action lawsuit. More than 30,000 customers received a settlement notice, which was also published nationwide in Parade magazine.
     The trial court approved the class and certified the settlement in 2014.
     However, nine class members objected to the settlement. Some of them claimed that the Consumer Legal Remedies Act required four publications of the settlement notice, not just one.
     Justice Richard Aldrich of the Los Angeles-based California Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that the law requires notice of a settlement to be given “‘as the court directs,’ thus granting the trial court discretion to fashion notice of a settlement class.”
     He added that it was “infeasible” for the notice to be published, as the law states, in “a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the transaction occurred.”
     “Determining in which counties around the United States sales of the creams occurred in this case would be impossible,” he wrote. “Civil Code section 1781 does not appear to govern nationwide consumer class actions.”

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