This case involves certain Coppertone spray sunscreen products purchased in the United States before August 2, 2022, that allegedly contained benzene.
For purposes of settlement only, the Court has conditionally certified a settlement class. The settlement is limited to the following Coppertone spray sunscreen products: (1) Pure & Simple SPF 50; (2) Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50; (3) Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50; (4) Sport Mineral SPF 50; (5) Sport SPF 50; (6) Sport SPF 30; (7) Sport SPF 15; (8) Complete SPF 50; (9) Complete SPF 30; (10) Glow Shimmer SPF 50; (11) Glow Shimmer SPF 30; (12) Kids SPF 50. These products will be referred to in this notice as the “Covered Products.” The Settlement Class is defined as “all natural persons who, within the Class Period, purchased in the United States any of the Covered Products for personal, family or household use, and not resale.”
If the settlement does not become effective (for example, because it is not finally approved, or the approval is reversed on appeal), then this litigation will continue.
A lawsuit was brought against Defendants concerning the marketing and sale of certain Coppertone spray sunscreen products which are or were marketed by Defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the Covered Products were inappropriately marketed because it was not disclosed that certain Coppertone spray sunscreen products contained benzene. The lawsuit alleges various harms including but not limited to misrepresentation and improper labeling and was brought on behalf of all consumers who bought the Covered Products.
Defendants deny all claims and allegations made in the Litigation and any wrongdoing whatsoever. Among other contentions, Defendants contend their labeling is accurate, not misleading, and in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. Defendants initiated a consumer recall of the Covered Products in an abundance of caution in September 2021 and maintain that the Covered Products have always been safe for use. The Court has not decided whether Settlement Class Representative or Defendants are correct. By agreeing to the settlement, neither Defendants nor Settlement Class Representative make any admissions regarding the merits of the allegations, claims, or defenses in this case. Defendants are settling the Litigation to avoid the expense, inconvenience, risk, and disruption of the litigation. It is not an admission of any wrongdoing.
Plaintiff alleges that had he known about the presence of benzene in the Covered Products, he would not have paid the same price and/or made the purchase. The complaint seeks to recover, on behalf of all natural persons (other than re-sellers) monetary damages, including the amount paid to purchase the Covered Products, and equitable relief.
Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, that consumers overpaid for the Covered Products, or that there is any legal entitlement to any form of monetary damages or equitable relief.
Defendants deny that they did anything wrong. Instead, both sides have agreed to the proposed settlement to avoid the risk, cost, and time of further litigation. The Court has not decided in favor of the class representative or Defendants. The class representative and Class Counsel appointed by the Court to represent the Settlement Class believe the settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class and is fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interest of the Settlement Class Members.
The Settlement provides both injunctive and monetary relief.
Monetary Relief: Defendants will pay $2.3 million to the Settlement Fund. The Available Settlement Fund will be distributed to eligible Settlement Class Members, Plaintiff’s Counsel, and the named Plaintiff, as described in the next sections.
Injunctive Relief: In connection with the Covered Products, Beiersdorf, Inc. shall require testing for the presence of benzene for at least eighteen (18) months following the entry of the Preliminary Approval order, and will address as test results warrant.
If you timely file a claim that complies with the instructions on the claim form and in this notice, you will receive a portion of the Settlement Fund, in the amount:
- of your purchase price of the Covered Product(s) with a proof of purchase.
- If a class member does not provide proof of purchase, the purchase price of the
Covered Product(s) will be determined by the average retail price for up to six (6) Covered Products claimed per household plus a 10% allowance for sales tax.
Defendants issued a voluntary recall of the Covered Products in September 2021, in which Defendants offered a full refund, set at the average price of the Covered Product, for up to five (5) Covered Products without providing Proof of Purchase, or all products for which Proof of Purchase was provided. Those who submitted valid recall documentation are automatically considered class members with valid claim forms. Class members who received a refund through Defendants’ voluntary recall of the Covered Products should also submit a settlement claim form as they may be entitled to additional relief from the settlement. For those class members who received a refund through Defendants’ voluntary recall of the Covered Products and submit a settlement claim form, the amount of money they receive in the Settlement will be reduced by the amount refunded through the voluntary recall.
In order to reach the total amount available from the Settlement Fund, the amount paid to each class member may increase or decrease pro rata based on the total number of Covered Products purchased by Settlement Class Members submitting valid Claim Forms, each class member’s purchase price of the Covered Product(s), and the number of claimants who have already recovered for their purchase of the Covered Product(s) during the voluntary recall.
“Proof of Purchase” means an itemized retail sales receipt or retail store club or loyalty card record showing, at a minimum, the purchase of a Covered Product, the purchase price, and the date and place of the purchase.
Claims will be paid only if deemed valid and only after the Court approves the settlement.
To make a claim, you must fill out the claim form available on this settlement website, click here to submit claim. You can submit the claim form online, or you can print it and mail it to the Claim Administrator at: Sunscreen Settlement Claim Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Claim forms must be submitted online, or if mailed must be postmarked, by November 7, 2022. Cash payments from the Settlement Fund will be made if the Court gives final approval to the proposed settlement and after the final approval is no longer subject to appeal. If the Court does not approve the settlement, if the settlement is overturned on appeal, or if the settlement is terminated, no cash payments will be made pursuant to the Settlement.
Settlement Payments will be made to Settlement Class Members who submit a valid and timely Claim Form after the Court grants “final approval” to the settlement and after any and all appeals are resolved in favor of upholding the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved and resolving them can take time. Please be patient.
To date, Plaintiff’s lawyers have not been compensated for any of their work on this case. Plaintiff’s lawyers will present evidence to the Court on the time that they have spent litigating this case. In addition, Plaintiff’s lawyers will present evidence that they have paid out- of-pocket expenses (including transcript fees, filing fees, service costs, copying costs, and travel expenses). None of these expenses has yet been reimbursed. As part of the settlement, Plaintiff’s lawyers intend to ask the Court to award them a portion (not to exceed 1/3 or $766,666.66) of the Settlement Fund to pay their attorneys’ fees and also will seek reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred in relation to investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the settlement.
In addition, the named Plaintiff in this case may apply to the Court for a class representative payment from the Settlement Fund of up to $2,500. This payment is designed to compensate the named Plaintiff for the time, effort, and risks he undertook in pursuing this litigation and for executing a broader release of claims than other Settlement Class members.
Plaintiff and his lawyers will file a motion with the Court prior to the final approval hearing in accordance with the Court’s regular notice requirements in support of their applications for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and a payment to the Plaintiff. A copy of that motion will be available on the settlement website.
The Court will determine the amount of fees, costs, expenses, and payment to the Plaintiff to award.
The Settlement releases Defendants and the other Released Parties from all claims, whether arising under state or federal law, that arise directly or indirectly out of, or in any way relate to: (i) the allegations, claims, or contentions that were, or could have been, asserted in the Litigation, including but not limited to allegations, claims, or contentions related in any way to the testing, marketing, sales, advertising, and use of the Covered Products; and (ii) any alleged acts, omissions, or misrepresentations related in any way to the presence of benzene in the Covered Products. The Settlement also releases any unknown claims, expressly waiving any benefits of California Civil Code Section 1542. All personal injury claims are expressly excluded from the Release. The foregoing is only a summary of the released claims. For the terms of the release, please refer to Section 8 of the Settlement Agreement, which can be found by clicking here for Important Documents.
You can exclude yourself from the Settlement Class and litigation if you wish to retain the right to sue Defendants separately for the claims released by the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot file a claim or object to the settlement.
To exclude yourself, you must complete and submit the online form at the settlement website or mail a request to exclude yourself from the settlement to the Claim Administrator at Sunscreen Settlement Claim Administrator, Attn: Exclusion Request, P.O. Box 58220, Philadelphia, PA 19102. If mailed, the exclusion request must contain your name, address, words to the effect of “I wish to be excluded from the Bangoura v. Beiersdorf, Inc. and Bayer Healthcare, LLC. Class Action,” and your signature.
If submitted online, exclusion requests must be made by November 7, 2022. If mailed, exclusion requests must be postmarked by November 7, 2022.
You can ask the Court to deny approval of the settlement, Settlement Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses and/or request for incentive award by timely submitting an objection to the Clerk of the Court. If the Court denies approval to the entire settlement, no settlement payments will be sent out, and the lawsuit will continue.
You may also appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. If you want to raise an objection to the settlement at the Final Approval hearing, you must first submit that objection in writing, by the objection deadline set forth above.
Any objection must include:
- the case name and number Bangoura v. Beiersdorf, Inc. and Bayer Healthcare, LLC., 1:22-cv-00291-BMC (E.D.N.Y.);
- your name, address, and telephone number;
- the name, address, and telephone number of all counsel (if any) who represent you, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason if you are successful, all legal factual support for the right to such compensation;
- documents or testimony sufficient to establish that you are a member of the Settlement Class;
- a detailed statement of your objection(s), including the grounds for those objection(s);
- a statement as to whether you are requesting the opportunity to appear and be heard at the final approval hearing and the reason(s) for your request to appear;
- the identity of all counsel (if any) who will appear on your behalf at the final approval hearing and all persons (if any) who will be called to testify in support of your objection;
- copies of any papers, briefs, declarations, affidavits, or other documents upon which your objection is based;
- a detailed list of any other objections you or your counsel have submitted to any class action in any state or federal court in the United States in the previous five years (or affirmatively stating that no such prior objection has been made); and
- your signature as objector, in addition to the signature of your attorney, if an attorney is representing you with the objection.
Failure to include this information and documentation may be grounds for overruling, striking and/or rejecting your objection.
All the information listed above must be electronically filed via the Court’s ECF system, or delivered to the Clerk of the Court by mail, express mail, or personal delivery such that the objection is received by the Clerk of the Court (not just postmarked or sent) on or before November 7, 2022. By filing an objection, you consent to the jurisdiction of the Court, including to any order of the Court to produce documents or provide testimony prior to the Final Approval Hearing. By filing an objection, you consent to the jurisdiction of the Court, including to any order of the Court to produce documents or provide testimony prior to the Final Approval Hearing.
If you object to the settlement but still want to submit a claim in the event the Court approves the settlement, you must still submit a timely claim according to the instructions described above.
The Court will hold a hearing on January 5, 2023 at 4:45 pm EST to consider whether to approve the settlement. The hearing will be held in person in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The hearing will be held in the courtroom of the honorable Brian M. Cogan, which is Courtroom 8D. The hearing is open to the public. This hearing date may change without further notice to you. Consult the settlement website or the Court docket in this case available through PACER (www.pacer.gov), for updated information on the hearing date and time.
You can inspect many of the court documents connected with this case on the settlement website. Other papers filed in this lawsuit are available by accessing the Court docket in this case available through PACER (www.pacer.gov).
You can contact the Claim Administrator by calling 833-903-3800, or by writing to Sunscreen Settlement Claim Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
You can also obtain additional information by contacting Jason Sultzer at The Sultzer Law Group, P.C. (270 Madison Ave. Suite 1800, New York, NY 10016) or Charles Schafer at Levin, Sedran & Berman LLP (510 Walnut St. Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19106).