FTC Wins Summary Judgment Against Marketer of Weight Loss Products

April 27, 2009By John R. Fleder & Ricardo Carvajal

By Ricardo Carvajal & John R. Fleder

In Federal Trade Commission v. Medlab, Inc., the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment on April 21, 2009, to the FTC in an action against a marketer of weight loss products, which the FTC alleged had engaged in false advertising and deceptive business practices.  Defendants claimed in their advertising that their products quickly caused substantial weight loss with no dieting or exercising (and that this effect had been demonstrated in clinical studies), and that their products caused permanent weight loss.  In support of its decision, the court cited expert testimony that defendants’ claims were “clearly outside the realm of plausible science.”  Both individual and corporate defendants are liable for restitution in the amount of $2.7 million, which the court calculated by reference not just to profits, but to “the full amount lost by consumers.”