Misleading Animal Testing Claims Leads to Lawsuit against Avon, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay


LOS ANGELES—California-based Eagan Avenatti LLP filed a class action lawsuit against cosmetic companies Estee Lauder, Avon Products and Mary Kay on behalf of American consumers deceived by the companies’ false and misleading representations relating to animal testing of their products (Beltran et al. v. Estee Lauder, et al., United States District Court – Central District of California, Case No. SA12-CV312 CJC (ANX)).

The Class Action complaint alleges Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay purposely defrauded consumers by falsely claiming their products were not tested on animals when, in reality, the companies knew they’d begun testing various cosmetic products on animals. The complaint further alleges the companies deliberately misled the American public by claiming their products were “cruelty free" at the same time the companies undertook animal testing in order to sell their products in China and reap millions of dollars in Chinese sales. The complaint seeks to certify a class of more than 1,000,000 consumers and requests more than $100,000,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.

On Feb. 16, 2012, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay had been removed from the organization’s “cruelty free" list of companies that do not test on animals after it was discovered the companies were performing animal testing. PETA subsequently downgraded the companies and listed them on PETA’s list of companies that do conduct animal testing.

“While it may make economic sense for a company to pursue sales in China, those sales should not occur at the expense of fundamental principles," stated co-counsel for the Plaintiffs Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti LLP. “Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay should have been open and honest with the American public and told the truth—sales and profits were more important to them than refusing to conduct animal testing."

Co-counsel Filippo Marchino of The X-Law Group, P.C., added, “This case is about being open and honest with consumers.  If you advertise that you are not conducting animal testing, then you shouldn’t be conducting animal testing—it’s that simple."