Complaint Charges Consumers Have Been Misled into Purchasing Brand Name Product Identical to Less Expensive Solution Manufactured by AMO for COSTCO
Santa Ana, CA December 22, 2008 — Schmidt & Clark, LLP announced today that Southern California-based Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (“AMO”) was named as the defendant in a consumer fraud and false advertising class action lawsuit. The case, Maria Ruiz v. Advanced Medical Optics, et. al, was filed Monday in California State Superior Court in Orange County (#30-2008-00231301). Maria Ruiz brought the complaint on her behalf and on behalf of all California consumers who purchased AMO’s Complete Multipurpose Solution Easy Rub Formula (“Easy Rub”), a contact lens cleaning and disinfection product.
The class action complaint alleges that beginning around August 2007, AMO launched the Easy Rub product as a replacement for its Complete MoisturePlus contact lens solution, which the company had been forced to recall on a global basis in May 2007. That recall followed a report by the Centers for Disease Control linking Complete MoisturePlus to an outbreak of serious corneal infections known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. AMO is currently facing several hundred products liability cases and claims brought by consumers who developed the sight-threatening disease after using Complete MoisturePlus.
AMO advertised the Easy Rub formula as “new” and “unique” when the product was introduced to the market in 2007. However, Ruiz’ complaint alleges Easy Rub actually contains an old formula which AMO has been using for years to manufacture a so-called “private label” solution for retail giant Costco under its Kirkland Signature brand. The Kirkland product is significantly less expensive than Easy Rub even though the formulas are identical. The complaint charges that AMO’s failure to disclose the origins of the Easy Rub formula and its claim that the formula is “new” or “unique” constitutes false and misleading advertising under California law.
The complaint further alleges that marketing claims made by AMO suggesting that Easy Rub provides “enhanced protection” against Acanthamoeba infections are also false and misleading. The disinfectant ingredient contained in Easy Rub, the lawsuit contends, is not effective against Acanthamoeba organisms, and the complaint charges that AMO’s marketing “inappropriately give[s consumers and eye care professionals a false sense of security regarding the risk of developing Acanthamoeba infections.”
The class action complaint seeks a variety of remedies against AMO, including the return of money consumers used to purchase Easy Rub, as well as changes to labeling and advertising for the product.
In addition to The Schmidt Firm, LLP the Plaintiff is represented by Moore Labriola LLP and Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson LLP, both located in Newport Beach, California, along with Moscone, Emblidge & Quadra, in San Francisco and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, in California and New York.