In a decision today, Judge Román denied Aveeno’s motion to dismiss a class action challenging its use of the phrase “Active Naturals” on product labels and advertisements for skin care products containing mostly synthetic ingredients. He ruled that claims under NY BCL § 349, for deceptive trade practices, could proceed, despite the fact that the ingredient list on the product labels identified the synthetic ingredients:
Defendant argues it is unreasonable to assume each Aveeno product contains exclusively natural ingredients when its labeling affirmatively identifies its one or two natural ingredients as well as the synthetic ingredients . . . . Although “the presence of a disclaimer or other clarifying language may defeat a claim of deception,” the Court cannot hold as a matter of law that the product labels are not misleading to a reasonable consumer. . . . Seen in tandem with the product labels, the website and Facebook page plausibly support Plaintiff’s contention that a reasonable consumer could be misled. The website focuses exclusively on the natural ingredients found in Aveeno products and the Facebook page touts the “power” of nature. Although “a party does not violate General Business Law § 349 by simply publishing truthful information and allowing consumers to make their own assumptions about the nature of the information,” here the published information emphasizes the plausibly misleading trademark.