Class action accusing L’Oréal of misleading US consumers over French origins dismissed

Published: 6-Apr-2023

A federal judge has thrown the case out stating that "a mere reference to Paris" is not enough to deceive consumers as to where a product is made

A class action suit which accused L'Oréal of falsely advertising its beauty products as being made in Paris has been dismissed. 

Federal Judge Torres threw out the proposed class action on 3 April, stating that "a mere reference to Paris" is not enough to deceive consumers as to where a product is made. 

Plaintiff Veronica Eshelby accused L'Oréal of misleading US consumers into believing the brand's beauty products are created in France.

She accused the cosmetics giant of trying to trick customers by using a ‘Paris’ label and French language text on products when they are designed for the US market and manufactured in Arkansas and other North American factories. 

L'Oréal's lawyers argued that the brand name does not indicate a place of manufacture and only elicits the company's history.

L’Oréal was founded in Paris and the company’s global headquarters are based there. 

The court order read: "L'Oréal argues that Eshelby has not plausibly pleaded that reasonable consumers are likely to be misled by L'Oréal's product packaging. The court agrees.

“Eshelby alleges that some of the allegedly misleading products do not contain French-language text on the packaging and are, therefore, misleading solely because the word 'Paris' appears on the packaging. 

“As a matter of law, a mere reference to Paris is insufficient to deceive a reasonable consumer regarding the manufacturing location of a product.

"The word 'Paris' always appears in stylised text underneath the word 'L'Oréal' in the same font and colour as the word 'L'Oréal,' such that a reasonable consumer would understand that 'Paris' is part of the brand name 'L'Oréal Paris’.

"L'Oréal has a right to use its brand name to correctly indicate that its products belong to the L'Oréal Paris brand."

Eshelby also alleged she was deceived by seeing French language on products she bought, such as the Ever Pure Shampoo.

The product had part of its English language label translated into French.

The judge stated that none of the text on L’Oréal’s labels make any representations to the country of manufacture – except for the English disclosures on the back of each label that state the country where the product was manufactured.

“Even if a reasonable customer might infer from the brand name that L'Oréal originated in Paris, a reasonable customer would not also conclude that a specific product is made in Paris or elsewhere in France,” said Torres.

“The mere presence of words in a foreign language is insufficient to mislead a reasonable consumer.”

Eshelby has been denied the chance to amend her complaint. 

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