SDNY Partially Dismisses Class Action Against Walmart

On Monday, the Southern District of New York issued a partial dismissal in the class action case of Peyton v. Walmart.  According to the plaintiffs’ first amended complaint the class action lawsuit was initiated on behalf of purchasers of Equate Oil-Free cosmetic products.

Further, the complaint states that the defendant, Walmart Inc., distributes Equate-brand products, and is responsible for the advertising, marketing, trade dress and packaging of the Oil-Free products. 

The complaint alleges that the labeling and packing of the Oil-Free products contains false and misleading claims that the products are oil-free. The plaintiffs allege that the claims lure consumers into believing that the Oil-Free products contain no oil or oil-inclusive ingredients. However, the complaint purports that the Oil-Free products in fact do contain oil, including soybean sterols, cocamidopropyl betaine and cyclosiloxanes. 

Additionally, the complaint alleges that the defendant has attempted to conceal the presence of oil as consumers would not be able to understand that the soybean sterols, cocamidopropyl betaine and cyclosiloxanes are in fact oils without an advanced understanding of chemistry. Additionally, the complaint argues that the defendant chose to include the Oil-Free Claims because they did not believe their customers would know the difference. 

The plaintiffs state that they relied on the representations that the products were oil-free when purchasing them and they would not have purchased the products or paid as much for them if they had known the products were not oil-free.

Accordingly, the plaintiffs initiated the present lawsuit claiming violations of New York’s General Business Law, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, injunctive relief and unjust enrichment. Walmart subsequently filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the plaintiffs lack standing and that the products are in fact oil-free. 

Following the motion to dismiss the plaintiffs withdrew their claim for breach of implied warranty and injunctive relief. The court therefore granted Walmarts motion to dismiss in regards to those two claims, but stated that all the other claims may proceed. Further, the court stated that the defendant shall file its answer to the complaint by June 6, 2022. 

The plaintiffs are represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A., and the defendant is represented by Steptoe & Johnson LLP