Trisha Whitmire and Emily Yanes de Flores, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated (Plaintiffs)
Monat Global Corp. (Defendant)
Monat Global Corp. (“Monat”) is a world-class designer, manufacturer, and distributor of hair care and cosmetic products, focusing on shampoos, conditioners, and rejuvenating oils. The efficacy, quality, and safety of Monat’s products have been a top priority. Although Monat’s formulations are revolutionary and unique, the ingredients it uses have a proven history of safe use in the cosmetics industry, as recognized by world-wide industry and national standards. Despite having no obligation to do so, Monat has engaged several independent laboratories to conduct extensive clinical tests on its products. Those tests unanimously conclude that Monat’s products do not irritate the skin, do not weaken the strength of the hair, and do not damage the surface of the hair strand. Rather, Monat’s products make hair smoother and more manageable. As part of its rigorous effort to ensure continued product safety, Monat has assembled a world- class team of scientists, doctors, and chemists on its Global Scientific Advisory Board, which includes a world-renowned dermatologist and university professor with over 700 scientific publications.
The quality of Monat’s products is demonstrated by Monat’s exponential growth since inception. Beginning with only $17 million in sales during its first full year in 2015, Monat achieved over $250 million in annual sales in the United States and Canada in 2017. Declaration of S. MacMillan (“MacMillan Dec.”), attached as Exhibit B, ¶¶ 8, 10. Since its inception in October 2014, Monat has sold over 14 million units in the United States; it currently has over 300,000 VIP Customers, and over 100,000 independent sales representatives (referred to as “Market Partners”). Id. ¶¶ 11–14.
Only after Monat had sold millions of units of product did stylists and salon owners who sold competing salon-brand products begin spreading malicious falsehoods to damage Monat’s sales—primarily through Facebook. These hair stylists claimed that Monat caused everything from hair loss, balding, and scalp lesions, to miscarriages, bloody stool, migraines, and hormonal imbalances. They offered no scientific support for their claims whatsoever. Indeed, such claims are directly refuted by Monat’s rigorous clinical studies of its products. Nevertheless, due to the fast-paced nature of social media, the false claims about Monat’s products quickly spread across the internet and Facebook like wildfire. And because Facebook is the primary avenue through which Market Partners sell Monat’s products, the firestorm has been particularly damaging to Monat’s business.
To protect Monat and the many individual, independent market partners whose small businesses depend on it, Monat sent letters to the leaders of the Facebook smear campaign, demanding they cease disseminating their malicious lies. When certain individuals refused, Monat took swift legal action, against those who had engaged in the most malicious, egregious, and anticompetitive conduct. Monat acted to protect its legal rights; not to influence this class action. Indeed, Monat responded to this warrantless Facebook campaign before this class action was filed.
While Monat’s actions had nothing to do with this class action, Plaintiffs assert that Monat’s service of letters to protect its business from the impact of the malicious lies is somehow a violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. Not a single case cited by Plaintiffs supports that contention. Instead, Plaintiffs rely on inapposite cases dealing with communications by counsel about pending class actions, and generally after class certification. The proposed class has not been certified, and is unlikely ever to be certified given that Plaintiffs’ claims will require individual and medical-based proof. Moreover, Plaintiffs have not pointed to a single statement by Monat concerning this class action, misleading or otherwise, directly to any individual. Instead,
Plaintiffs’ claims that Monat has made false and misleading statements are based on unsupported assumptions that Monat’s products are causing harm, which are entirely contrary to Monat’s reliable, scientific evidence. Plaintiffs have not met their burden to justify the extraordinary relief of enjoining a putative class defendant’s right to engage in legitimate litigation against individuals actively violating its rights. The class action mechanism is not a shield against illegal, anticompetitive conduct, and this Court should deny Plaintiffs’ request to make it one.