By defeating a request for class certification in California federal court, attorneys at Rutan & Tucker, LLP, one of California’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, recently scored a precedent-setting victory for Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. of Edgewood, Maryland.

The class action lawsuit challenged as “false advertising” the company’s claim that its joint health supplement product Cosamin®DS, which contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, reduces joint pain and protects cartilage. The court ruled in favor of Rutan’s client based upon the firm’s written briefs and without oral argument, agreeing that class certification was not appropriate. The ruling saved millions of dollars in proposed refunds that opposing counsel had sought for California consumers who purchased Cosamin®DS over the past four years. The plaintiff did not immediately appeal the ruling.

As the first of its kind among a number of class actions pending against glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate products in federal and state courts across the nation, this class certification victory is particularly significant. Partners Layne Melzer and Karen Walter, members of the firm’s business litigation practice, led the Rutan team. Melzer serves on Rutan’s executive management committee and chairs its Unfair Competition/Class Action Defense Group, which represents businesses in class action, false advertising and “unfair competition” related litigation. Walter is the Group’s co-chair and is an expert in defending state and national class action litigation.

“We congratulate the Rutan team and are pleased that they achieved a major victory for our client in this precedent-setting case,” said Kim Thompson, Rutan’s managing partner.


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