Stephanie N. Grimoldby Jul. 8, 2015, 11:41am

A woman is suing Johnson & Johnson for allegedly misrepresenting the effectiveness of the company’s Bedtime Products that she, and many other parents, have purchased to help their babies sleep better.

Stephanie Leiner, of Chillicothe, filed a class action lawsuit July 2 in federal court in Chicago against Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc., of Skillman, New Jersey, alleging violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act and unjust enrichment, among other counts.

In the lawsuit, Leiner claims she and other Illinois consumers purchased Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Products - specifically, Johnson’s Bedtime Bath and Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion - at a premium price after seeing advertisements claiming such products are “clinically proven” to help babies sleep better.

In Leiner’s experience, after using the Bedtime Products as part of the company’s recommended 3-step nightly routine with her child for a period of time in 2014, she found the products did not help her baby sleep better.

The complaint states Bedtime Products are at least $1 more expensive than other Johnson and Johnson products that do not claim to have “clinically proven” benefits. Had Leiner and other consumers been aware that no studies show the premium products are clinically proven to provide any results, they would have not have purchased the Bedtime Products, she argues.

“Given the existence of similar bath and skin lotion products, long sold by J&J, for washing and moisturizing a baby’s skin, consumers would purchase the Bedtime Products if, and only if, they were exposed to Defendant’s pervasive labeling and advertising campaign that these new Products did something that its others did not do – here, it is that the Bedtime Products were (and are) clinically proven to help baby sleep better,” the complaint states.

The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act prohibits deceptive acts or practices, the lawsuit says, yet Johnson & Johnson has spent extensive amounts of money on a massive marketing campaign to convey its deceptive message.

“Since the launch of the Products and to the present, J&J has consistently and uniformly stated on its labeling and in its other advertisements that the Products are clinically proven to help babies sleep better. J&J intended the statement to appear scientific and give the claims a special significance, when in reality, Defendant knows the Products themselves are not clinically proven,” the complaint reads.

Johnson and Johnson has reaped the benefits of its false representations, collecting millions of dollars from the sales of its Bedtime Products, the complaint states.

Leiner has requested a jury trial and treble damages for herself and the class, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. While individual damages likely will be small, the complaint states the aggregate damages sustained by the class are likely in the millions.

Leiner also requests Johnson & Johnson create and distribute a corrective advertising campaign.

Leiner is represented by Jayne A. Goldstein and Mark B. Goldstein, of Pomerantz LLP in Chicago; James C. Shah and Natalie Finkelman Bennett, of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller and Shah LLP in Media, Pa.; and James B. Zouras, Ryan F. Stephan, Andrew C. Ficzko, Teresa M. Becvar and Jorge A. Gamboa, of Stephan Zouras LLP in Chicago.

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