The opinion of the court was delivered by: David O. Carter United States District Judge
FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER: 1)APPROVING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT; 2)AWARDING CLASS COUNSEL FEES AND EXPENSES; 3)AWARDING CLASS REPRESENTATIVE BRUNO AN INCENTIVE AWARD; and 4)DISMISSING ACTION WITH PREJUDICE
Before the Court is a Plaintiff's Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement, as well as for approval of the payment of incentive awards, attorneys fees and costs, and administrative costs (Docket 172). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Final Approval is GRANTED, the requested fees and costs are ORDERED, and JUDGMENT is ENTERED.
Based on claims that Defendants mislabeled their "Qunol" product as "six times more effective" than other similar products, Plaintiff Kelly Bruno ("Plaintiff") on behalf of herself and the Settlement Class, brought claims against Defendants for violations of the following California laws: (1) California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL); (2) False Advertising Law (FAL); (3) Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA); and (3) breach of express warranty. This Court certified a nationwide class in an Order issued on November 14, 2011, consisting of the following individuals:
All persons, excluding officers, directors, and employees of Quten Research Institute LLC or Tischon Corp. and their immediate families, who on or after January 31, 2007 purchased Qunol CoQ10 in the United States for personal or household use rather than resale or distribution, in packaging stating that Qunol offers six times better absorption or effectiveness.
Order Certifying Class (Dkt. 73).
On October 17, 2012, the Court granted preliminary approval of a settlement between the parties, approved of the parties' proposed notice plan, and set dates for a final approval hearing. Preliminary Approval Order (Dkt. 168). The parties sent notice to members of the settlement class through the court-approved notice plan (which included internet advertisements, emails, first class mail to class members whose address was known), and a settlement website. No class member objected to the settlement. Plaintiff now requests final approval of the settlement along with approval of attorneys fees and costs.
Approval of a class action settlement rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Class Plaintiffs v. Seattle, 955 F.2d 1268, 1291 (9th Cir. 1992). Under Federal Rule ofCivil Procedure 23(e), the Settlement, when taken as a whole, must be (1) fundamentally fair, (2) adequate, and (3) reasonable to the Class. See Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp. , 150 F.3d 1011, 1026 (9th Cir. 1998). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) requires the Court to approve a class action settlement and requires notice of settlement to all class members.
The Settlement requires Defendants to refrain from labeling or advertising Qunol as six times more effective or providing six times more absorption than competing products or "regular CoQ10" for a ten-year period, unless they have new competent and reliable scientific evidence that supports the claim. Settlement Agreement ¶ 4.1.1. Defendants also must request that all licensed or direct shipment online or catalog Qunol vendors remove or otherwise cease using marketing materials making such claims.
Defendants will pay all class members who file a claim, which may be done online, by mail, or by fax. Class Members may obtain $3.55 per Qunol bottle purchased. Claims are limited to $10.65 (e.g., 3 bottles) without proof of purchase, while there is no cap on claims with a proof ...