In the past week, several class action lawsuits have been filed in federal court against the maker of EOS lip balm, with the respective plaintiffs claiming that the popular, celebrity-endorsed, lip balm has caused dryness, bleeding, sores, and cracking of their lips and surrounding skin. Unlike personal injury cases in Tallahassee (or any other city), which are governed by state rules, class action lawsuits are governed by federal rules. Before these lawsuits can proceed, a federal judge will have to certify the lawsuit. This means that the judge will have to agree to allow individual cases against EOS to be combined into one.
I’ve heard and read comments about this case, and these seem to be the most prevailing questions: How can someone sue over lip gloss? Isn’t that ridiculous? How can you file a lawsuit over a product that costs so (relatively) little? Isn’t it more expensive to file the lawsuit than for the company to simply refund the customer’s money?
Let’s start with the first question, and work our way through.
How can someone sue over lip gloss?
Whether its lip balm or a washing machine, products are expected to perform as advertised when used for their intended purpose. When this is not the case, and an injury results from the expected use of a product, you may have a product liability case- which is what this class action lawsuit against EOS is. Product liability is due to:
- Defect in manufacture
- Defect in design
- Defect in marketing
A defect in manufacture results from an error in the manufacturing process, typically involving substandard materials or workmanship. A defect in design exists when the product is intrinsically unsafe or useless, regardless of how well it is manufactured. A defect in marketing occurs when a properly designed and manufactured product has a danger that is not obvious but could be avoided by warning the consumer. Any of these product defects is grounds for a lawsuit.
Isn’t that [the lawsuit against EOS for the defect of their lip balm] ridiculous?
Absolutely not. The users of the lip balm had a right to expect the product they were purchasing, which was heavily advertised by popular celebrities, was safe. The manufacturer of EOS is responsible for ensuring the safety of its product- no matter the size or cost.
How can you file a lawsuit over a product that costs so (relatively) little? Isn’t it more expensive to file the lawsuit than for the company to simply refund the customer’s money?
While the cost of a product has no bearing on the ability of the manufacturer to be sued for damages, the truth is that lawsuits are very expensive. That’s why we have class action lawsuits. In a class action lawsuit, consumers can band together and share administrative costs for the lawsuit.
There is also strength in numbers. If one consumer is injured by a product, and her injury is (relatively) minor, than a lawsuit- even if warranted- isn’t an effective use of time and money. However, if many consumers have been injured by a product, then it becomes a much bigger issue- and the case against a manufacturer becomes viable.
We expect the products we purchase to be safe. No one expects to be injured by a lip balm- or any other product. If you have been injured by the EOS lip balm, or by any other product, the product liability lawyers at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks can meet with you and evaluate your claim. We evaluate each claim based on its own merits, and an attorney can help you decide what legal avenues, if any, you should pursue. If there is a class action lawsuit, and you qualify to join, we can help you do that.