Smooth, shiny hair—such a simple wish for many women and girls with curly or wavy hair. But keratin treatments at professional salons can cost hundreds of dollars, provide only temporary results, and often contain high levels of dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde.
In 2012, Suave began marketing an affordable “Keratin Infusion Smoothing Kit” intended for home use, promising customers smooth, shiny hair for up to three months. Hundreds of thousands of kits were sold. But rather than smooth, shiny hair, many customers found themselves with NO hair. According to ABC News, some experienced burning scalps and skin, or damaged hair which either had the texture of “straw,” broke off or even fell out in large clumps, leaving bald patches. It was later discovered that Suave’s keratin infusion formula was far too harsh, and was especially bad for hair that had been previously chemically treated (colored, permed, etc.).
How can such a large group of customers seek restitution for the damages they suffered? A class action lawsuit may be the answer.
Class action lawsuits were created for situations like the Suave keratin infusion “debacle.” If a large number of individuals are damaged by a manufacturer’s products, or the actions or inactions of a service provider, these individuals may band together. In legal parlance, they become a “class.” One member of the class, usually the person who initially approached the law firm with the idea of bringing a class action, may be listed in court documents as the “lead plaintiff” or “representative plaintiff.” Other people may join the class as well. The class sues the manufacturer or service provider as a group, and any damages awarded are subsequently divided among all the members of the class. The amount received by each class member depends upon the size of the class, the degree of damage suffered by each person, and any stipulations or limits mandated by the court.
Class action lawsuits are used only in regard to civil (non-criminal) cases, and are often used in cases of involving dangerous products/product liability. Class action suits can be very successful as well. The Suave Keratin Infusion Smoothing Kit case was settled in February 2014. Customers who suffered injuries may make a claim for a monetary award of up to $25,000 (awards vary depending upon the extent of the damages and other factors). More information is available at https://www.topclassactions.com.