WOODARD v. LABRADA

Case No. EDCV 16-00189 JGB (SPx)

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Frequently Asked Questions

BASIC INFO

What is this Lawsuit About?

This lawsuit alleges violations of consumer protection laws, and claims that Naturex misrepresented the efficacy of Svetol®, a green coffee bean extract ingredient used in certain weight loss supplement products.

Naturex denies that it did anything wrong, and the Court has not made any ruling on the merits of the allegations of the lawsuit. Naturex, however, in order to settle this lawsuit and avoid the expense of further litigation of the claims alleged by Plaintiffs, has chosen to provide consumers with cash payments.

What Is a Class Action and Who Is Involved?

In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case Veda Woodard, Teresa Rizzo-Marino, and Diane Morrison) represent the interests of people who have common claims that are more important than the issues that affect only individuals. All of these people are a Class or Class Members. The named plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are called the Plaintiffs. The company or persons they sued are called the Defendants. This a partial class action settlement that resolves the Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendant Naturex, Inc. Remaining in the litigation are Defendants Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., Zoco Productions, LLC, Harpo Productions, Inc., and Entertainment Media Ventures, Inc. (the “Media Defendants”), and Lee Labrada, Labrada Bodybuilding Nutrition, Inc, Labrada Nutritional Systems, Inc., and Interhealth Nutraceuticals, Inc. (the “Non-Settling Defendants”). One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

Why Is There a Proposed Settlement?

The Court has not decided in favor of either side in the case. Naturex denies all allegations of wrongdoing or liability against it and contends that its conduct was lawful. Naturex is settling to simply to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and inherent risk of litigation, as well as the related disruption of its business operations. Similarly, the Class Representatives and their attorneys assert that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the Class because it provides an appropriate recovery now while avoiding the risk, expense, and delay of pursuing the case through trial and any appeals. There would be no guarantee of success for either side if the case were pursued through trial and any appeals.

WHO IS COVERED

How Do I Know If I Am Part of the Proposed Settlement?

You are a Class Member if you purchased, in the United States, Svetol® or any green coffee bean extract product containing Svetol®, whether or not they were sold under or using the Svetol® trademark (the “Products”), including but not limited to the Labrada Fat Loss Optimizer with Svetol® Green Coffee Bean Extract for personal or household use and not for resale, from February 2, 2012 until May 17, 2019.

Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (1) all judges and magistrates who have presided or are presiding over this action (or the judge or Magistrate presiding over the action through which this matter is presented for settlement); (2) the defendants, defendants’ subsidiaries, parent companies, successors, predecessors, and any entity in which the defendants or their parents have a controlling interest and their current or former officers, directors, and employees; (3) persons who properly execute and file a timely request for exclusion from the class; and (4) legal representatives, successors or assigns of any such excluded person.

If you are still not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can go to documents section of this website, or you can call 1-888-663-5378, and ask for free help.

BENEFITS

What Does the Proposed Settlement Provide?

Settlement Fund

Naturex will cause to be paid the amount of $1,300,000.00 into a Settlement Fund. Naturex shall cause to deposit $100,000.00 of the Settlement Amount into the Settlement Fund no later than thirty (30) business days following the entry of the Preliminary Approval Order. Naturex shall cause to deposit the remainder of the Settlement Amount into the Settlement Fund no later than fifteen (15) business days following the Effective Date. The Effective Date of the settlement occurs three business days after all of the following have occurred: (a) the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement consistent with Parties’ terms herein; (b) the Time for any Objection or appeal to any aspect of the Settlement has expired; ( (c) The Court determines that the Settlement Agreement was entered into in good faith pursuant to Cal. Civ. P. 877.6; (d) The Court enters Final Judgment; and (e) Unless the Parties otherwise agree in writing to waive all or any portion of the following provision, there has occurred: (i) in the event there is a properly and timely filed Objection to entry of the Final Judgment, the expiration (without the filing or noticing of an appeal) of the time to appeal from the Final Judgment; (ii) the final dismissal of all appeals from the Final Judgment; (iii) affirmance on appeal of the Final Judgment in substantial form; (iv) if a ruling or decision is entered by an appellate court with respect to affirmance of the Final Judgment, the time to petition for rehearing or re-argument, petitions for rehearing en banc and petitions for certiorari or any other form of review with respect to such ruling or decision has expired; or (v) if a petition for rehearing or re-argument, petitions for rehearing en banc and petitions for certiorari or any other form of review with respect to the Final Judgment is filed, the petition has been denied or dismissed or, if granted, has resulted in affirmance of the Final Judgment in substantial form.

The Settlement Fund shall be applied to pay in full and in order: (i) any necessary taxes and tax expenses; (ii) all costs associated with the Class Action Settlement Administration, including costs of providing notice to the Class Members and processing claims and all costs relating to providing the necessary notices in accordance with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1715; (iii) any Fee and Expense Award made by the Court to Class Counsel under § VIII, 8.2; (iv) any class representative Incentive Award made by the Court to the Class Representatives under § VIII, 8.3; and (v) payments to authorized Claimants and any others as allowed by this Agreement and to be approved by the Court. The Settlement Fund represents the limit and extent of the Naturex’s (and any Released Naturex Parties’, as defined in the Settlement Agreement) monetary obligations under this Settlement Agreement.

Cash Payments to Class Members who Submit a Valid Claim Form

For Class Members with Proof(s) of Purchase: For Class Members who submit a proof of purchase that shows that he or she purchased one or more Class Product(s) during the period from February 2, 2012 to the May 17, 2017, along with their Claim Form, Naturex will provide $30.00 cash for each Product purchased.

For Class Members Without Proofs of Purchase: For Class Members without a proof of purchase who submit a claim form verifying that he or she purchased one or more Class Product(s) during the period from February 2, 2012 to May 17, 2019, Naturex will provide $30.00 cash for each Product purchased with a limit of $60.00 per household.

In the event the Court approves a class action settlement with any or all of Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., Entertainment Media Ventures, Inc., Zoco Productions, LLC, Harpo Productions, Inc., Sony Pictures Television, Inc. (collectively, the “Media Defendants”) prior to Final Approval of this Settlement Agreement with Naturex and a Class Member receives a payment under the Media Defendants’ settlement, that Class Member shall only be entitled to one $15 payment under this Settlement; provided, however, the claims of Class Members who received a payment under the Media Defendants’ settlement and who submit additional proof(s) of purchase than were submitted in the Media Defendants’ settlement shall be paid pursuant to the settlement terms above.

If the total amount of eligible claims exceeds the Settlement Fund, then each claim’s award shall be proportionately reduced. In the event that there is any remaining cash amount in the Settlement Fund after payment of Notice and Claim Administration Expenses, Attorneys’ Fees, any necessary taxes, tax expenses, and any Court-approved service award to Plaintiffs as well as the tallied amount of all Authorized Claims, the Settlement Administrator shall divide the remaining cash amount equally by the number of Authorized Claimants and shall pay each such Authorized Claimant his or her share of the remaining cash amount. If after all valid claims (plus other authorized fees, costs and expenses) are paid and money remains in the settlement fund after pro rata distribution to Authorized Claimants, any remaining settlement funds thereafter will be awarded cy pres to the Consumers Union subject to Court approval.

In addition, Naturex agrees to the following representations:

a. Naturex does not and will not represent that Svetol® will help users lose weight without diet and exercise.
b. Naturex does not and will not represent that Svetol® has weight loss benefits that are not supported by clinical studies.
c. Naturex does not have control over the representations of third parties (for example, distributors, manufacturers, or retailers) regarding Svetol®; however, in its communications with third parties, Naturex will not inform any third party that Svetol® will help users lose weight without diet and exercise or that Svetol® has weight loss benefits that are not supported by clinical studies.

Subject to Court approval, an incentive award not to exceed $5,000.00 shall be paid to Plaintiff Veda Woodard, an incentive award not to exceed $5,000.00 shall be paid to Plaintiff Diane Morrison, and an incentive award not to exceed $7,500.00 shall be paid to Plaintiff Teresa Rizzo-Marino.

HOW YOU GET A PAYMENT – SUBMITTING A CLAIM FORM

How Can I Obtain a Portion of This Settlement?

Class Members who wish to receive a portion of this Settlement must full complete and submit a Claim Form, along with any supporting documentation, by the specified deadline.

You can obtain a Claim Form on the Internet at www.GCBEProducts.com

Read the instructions carefully, fully complete the form, and submit it online on or before August 30, 2019.

Alternatively, you may submit your Claim Form by mailing it to the following address:

GCBE Products Class Action Settlement
c/o Classaura Class Action Administration
1718 Peachtree St NW #1080
Atlanta, GA 30309

It must be postmarked no later than August 30, 2019.

Settlement Class Members who have complied with the instructions, requirements and deadline for submitting a claim, and whose claims have been reviewed and validated by the Claims Administrator, will be paid from the Settlement Fund in accordance with the following schedule:

i. Naturex shall cause to deposit $100,000.00 of the Settlement Amount into the Settlement Fund no later than thirty (30) business days following the entry of the Preliminary Approval Order. Naturex shall cause to deposit the remainder of the Settlement Amount into the Settlement Fund no later than fifteen (15) business days following the Effective Date.

ii. The Effective Date of this Settlement Agreement shall be three business days after which all of the following events and conditions have been met or have occurred:
  a. The Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement consistent with the Parties’ terms herein;
  b. The time for any Objection or appeal to any aspect of the Settlement has expired;
  c. The Court determines that the Settlement Agreement was entered into in good faith pursuant to Cal. Civ. P. 877.6; and
  d. The Court has entered the Final Judgment.
  e. Unless the Parties otherwise agree in writing to waive all or any portion of the following provision, there has occurred: (i) in the event there is a properly and timely filed Objection to entry of the Final Judgment, the expiration (without the filing or noticing of an appeal) of the time to appeal from the Final Judgment; (ii) the final dismissal of all appeals from the Final Judgment; (iii) affirmance on appeal of the Final Judgment in substantial form; (iv) if a ruling or decision is entered by an appellate court with respect to affirmance of the Final Judgment, the time to petition for rehearing or re-argument, petitions for rehearing en banc and petitions for certiorari or any other form of review with respect to such ruling or decision has expired; or (v) if a petition for rehearing or re-argument, petitions for rehearing en banc and petitions for certiorari or any other form of review with respect to the Final Judgment is filed, the petition has been denied or dismissed or, if granted, has resulted in affirmance of the Final Judgment in substantial form.

iii. If Settlement Class Members affirmatively opt for physical check payments, checks will be sent out 90 calendar days after entry of a Final Approval Order.

How Can I Obtain a Claim Form?

You can obtain the Claim Form in one of three ways:

i. Online: You can download the Claim Form at www.GCBEProducts.com. You can also submit a Claim Form online through the same website.

ii. By Phone: Call toll-free, 1-888-663-5378 to arrange for a Claim Form to be sent to you by either U.S. mail or e-mail.

iii. By U.S. Mail: You may write to GCBE Products Settlement, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

What is Excluding Yourself From the Settlement?

If you do not want to receive any of the settlement benefits from this settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Naturex, on your own, about the subject matter of this lawsuit, then you must take affirmative steps to get out of the settlement. This is called excluding yourself – or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Class.

How Do I Exclude Myself From the Settlement?

To exclude yourself from the settlement, which is sometimes called “opting-out” of the Class, you must send a letter by mail or submit a form through the Settlement Website saying that you want to be excluded from this lawsuit. To exclude yourself from the Class, you must either: (i) send a written request for exclusion that is received no later than August 30, 2019, to: GCBE Products Settlement, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309, or (ii) submit a request for exclusion online through the Settlement Website no later than August 30, 2019.

Your request for exclusion must contain: (1) the name of this lawsuit, “Woodard et al. v. Labrada, et al., Case Number: 16-cv-00189-JGB-SP; (2) your full name, current address, and telephone number; (3) a clear statement of intention to exclude yourself such as “I wish to be excluded from the Class”; and (4) your signature. You may also get an Exclusion Request Form in the documents section of this website.

You cannot exclude yourself by telephone or by e-mail. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any settlement benefits, and you cannot object to the settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Defendant in the future.

If I Don’t Exclude Myself, Can I Sue Naturex for the Same Things Later?

No. If you do not properly and timely submit a request for exclusion, you waive your right to opt out and will be deemed to be a member of the Class. Unless you timely exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Naturex for the claims that this settlement resolves, and you will be bound by the terms of this settlement. If you have a pending lawsuit against Naturex, other than this class action, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, any exclusion request must be signed, mailed, and postmarked or submitted online by no later than August 30, 2019.

If I Exclude Myself, Can I Get the Settlement Benefits from this Settlement?

No. If you exclude yourself, do not send in a claim form to ask for any of the offered settlement benefits.

OBJECTING TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

How Do I Tell the Court That I Object to the Proposed Settlement?

If you are a Class Member, you may object to the settlement if you do not like any particular part of it. In doing so, you must give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it, and the Court will consider your views.

To object, you must send a letter that contains the following:

(i) a reference, in its first sentence, to this Litigation, Woodard et al. v. Labrada, et al., Case No. 5:16-cv-00189-JBG-SP;

(ii) Your full, legal name, residential address, telephone number and email address (and your lawyer’s name, business address, telephone number and email address if objecting through counsel);

(iii) a statement describing your membership in the Settlement Class, including a verification under oath as to the date, name of the Class Products purchased, and the location and name of the retailer from whom you made the purchase of the Products and/or a Receipt reflecting such purchase and any other information required by the Claim Form;

(iv) any documentary or other evidence and any factual or legal arguments that you intend to rely upon in making the objection

(v) a statement of whether the you intend to appear at the Settlement Hearing (Note, if the objector intends to appear at the Settlement Hearing through counsel, the objection must also state the identity of all attorneys representing the objector who will appear at the Settlement Hearing);

(vi) a list of the exhibits that the you may offer during the Settlement Hearing, along with copies of such exhibits; and

(vii) your signature.

If you choose to object through a lawyer, you must pay for the lawyer yourself.

Your objection must be signed, and mailed to the Court, along with any supporting documents, so that it is received no later than August 30, 2019 by the Court at:

Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court
Central District of California- Eastern Division
3470 Twelfth Street
Riverside, CA 92501-3801

A copy of your objection must also be signed, mailed, along with any supporting documents to the Settlement Administrator and each of the following two addresses, so that is received by them no later than August 30, 2019:

Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Class
Ronald A. Marron
LAW OFFICES OF RONALD A. MARRON
651 Arroyo Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
Telephone: (619) 696-9006
Email: ron@consumersadvocates.com

Counsel for Naturex
Stacy Weinstein Harrison
ORRICK, HERRINGTON AND SUTCLIFFE LLP
777 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3200
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Telephone: 213-612-2020
Facsimile: 213- 612-2499
Email: swharrison@orrick.com

What’s the Difference Between Objecting and Excluding?

Objecting is explaining to the Court you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class.

Excluding yourself from the settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

APPEARING IN THE LAWSUIT

Can I Appear or Speak in this Lawsuit and Proposed Settlement?

As long as you do not exclude yourself, you can (but do not have to) participate and speak for yourself in this lawsuit and Proposed Settlement. This is called making an appearance. You can also have your own lawyer appear in court and speak for you, but you must pay for the lawyer yourself.

How Can I Appear in this Lawsuit?

If you want yourself or your own lawyer (instead of Class Counsel) to participate or speak for you in this lawsuit, you must give the Court a paper that is titled a “Notice of Appearance.” The Notice of Appearance must contain the title of the lawsuit, a statement that you wish to appear at the Fairness Hearing, and the signature of you or your lawyer.

Your Notice of Appearance can also state that you or your lawyer would like to speak at the Court’s Fairness Hearing on the Proposed Settlement. If you submit an objection (see 12 above) and would like to speak about the objection at the Court’s Fairness Hearing, both your Notice of Appearance and your objection should include that information.

Your Notice of Appearance must be signed, mailed and postmarked by August 30, 2019, to

the Court at:

Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court
Central District of California- Eastern Division
3470 Twelfth Street
Riverside, CA 92501-3801

Copies of your Notice of Appearance must also be mailed to the following two addresses.

Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Class
Ronald A. Marron
LAW OFFICES OF RONALD A. MARRON
651 Arroyo Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
Telephone: (619) 696-9006

Email: ron@consumersadvocates.com

Counsel for Naturex
Stacy Weinstein Harrison
ORRICK, HERRINGTON AND SUTCLIFFE LLP
777 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3200
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Telephone: 213-612-2020
Facsimile: 213- 612-2499
Email: swharrison@orrick.com

IF YOU DO NOTHING

What Happens If I Do Nothing At All?

If you do nothing, you will get no settlement benefits from this settlement. But, unless you timely excluded yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Naturex about the subject matter of this lawsuit, ever again. 

LAWYERS THAT REPRESENT YOU

Do I Have a Lawyer in this Case?

The Court has appointed Ronald A. Marron, APLC and Cohelan, Khoury, and Singer as legal counsel for the Class. Together, the law firms are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers.

How Will The Lawyers Be Paid?

From the inception of the litigation in 2016 to the present, Class Counsel has not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case or obtaining settlement, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. When they ask the Court to approve the settlement, Class Counsel will also make a motion to the Court to approve and award attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel in a total amount of up to 25% of the $1,300,000.00 Settlement Fund. In addition, Class Counsel may request reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses. No matter what the Court decides with regard to the requested attorneys’ fees, Class members will never have to pay anything toward the fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Class Counsel will seek final approval of the settlement on behalf of all Class Members. You may hire your own lawyer to represent you in this case if you wish, but it will be at your own expense. Class Counsel may also request that an amount be paid to each of the Class Representatives who helped the lawyers on behalf of the whole Class (known as an “incentive award”).

THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING

When and Where Will the Court Decide Whether to Approve the Settlement?

The United States District Court for the Central District of California – Eastern Division (the “Court”) will hold a hearing (the “Fairness Hearing”) at the Federal Courthouse located at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 3470 Twelfth Street Riverside, CA 92501-38018 on October 7, 2019 to decide whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, as well as to determine the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs and incentive fee awards. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that Fairness Hearing. The Court may also discuss Class Counsel’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs. After the Fairness Hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement and whether to grant Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses. We do not know how long it will take the Court to make these decisions.

Do I Have to Come to the Hearing?

No. Class Counsel is working on your behalf and will answer any questions the Court may have, but you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL

What Is The Effect of Final Settlement Approval?

If the Court grants final approval of the settlement, all members of the Class will generally release and forever discharge the Released Naturex Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) from any and all claims, demands, rights, suits, liabilities, and causes of action of every nature and description whatsoever, known or unknown, matured or unmatured, at law or in equity, existing under federal or state law, asserted in, arising out of, or in connection with any Green Coffee Bean Extract Product or Svetol® or any of the matters alleged or that could have been alleged in the Action.

If the Court does not approve the settlement, the case will proceed as if no settlement had been attempted.

If the settlement is not approved and litigation resumes, there can be no assurance that the Class will recover more than is provided for under the settlement, or anything at all. In other words, there is no guarantee of success if litigation proceeds.

GETTING MORE INFO

Are There More Details About the Settlement?

This Notice is only intended to provide a summary of the proposed settlement. You may obtain the complete text of the settlement: at www.GCBEProducts.com; by writing to the Claims Administrator (at the address listed above); or, from the court file, which is available for your inspection during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 3470 Twelfth Street Riverside, CA 92501-3801, under the Civil Action Number 5:16-cv-00189-JGB-SP.

By visiting the document section of this website, you will find the Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint, Naturex’s Answer and Affirmative Defenses, a Claim Form, and an Exclusion Request Form.

You may also contact the Settlement Administrator by email at Contact@GCBEProducts.com, or by writing to GCBE Products Settlement, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309.