United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
DEFENDANT UNIVERSAL HANDICRAFT, INC.'S MOTION TO CHANGE
VENUE (Dkt. 50, filed March 20, 2017)
September 29, 2016, plaintiff Lisa Mollicone filed a class
action complaint against defendants Shay Sabag Segev and
Universal Handicraft, Inc. (“UHI”), doing
business as Deep Sea Cosmetics and Adore Organic Innovations.
Dkt. 1. The gravamen of plaintiff's claims is that
defendants made false and misleading representations
regarding the anti-aging properties of cosmetic products that
defendants manufacture, market, and sell.
December 19, 2016, plaintiff filed a first amended complaint.
Dkt. 25 (“FAC”). As a result, on December 20,
2016, the Court denied as moot defendants' pending
motions to dismiss the original complaint. Dkt. 26.
January 30, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in
part defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiff's FAC.
Dkt. 40. Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on
February 21, 2017. Dkt. 42 (“SAC”).
operative SAC, plaintiff asserts thirteen claims on behalf of
herself and all others similarly situated: (1) intentional
fraud and deceit, pursuant to California Civil Code
§§ 1709-1711; (2) fraud by omission and suppression
of facts, pursuant to California Civil Code § 1710(3);
(3) negligent misrepresentation; (4) rescission of purchase
contracts based on fraudulent inducement; (5) rescission of
purchase contracts based on illegality and violations of
public policy; (6) quasi-contract/unjust enrichment; (7)
breach of express warranties; (8) breach of the implied
warranty of merchantability; (9) violations of the California
Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), Cal. Civ.
Code §§ 1750 et seq.; (10) violations of
California's False Advertising Law (“FAL”),
Cal. Civ. Code. §§ 17500 et seq.; (11)
violations of California's Unfair Competition Law
(“UCL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§
17200 et seq.; (12) violations of New Jersey's
Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”), N.J.S.A. §
56:8-1 et seq.; and (13) violations of New
Jersey's Truth-in-Consumer Contract Warranty and Notice
Act (“TCCWNA”), N.J. Stat. Ann. §§
March 20, 2017, UHI filed a motion to transfer venue pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Dkt. 50 (“Motion”).
UHI seeks to transfer this action to the Southern District of
Florida, where UHI is located, or, in the alternative, to the
District of New Jersey, where plaintiff resides. Id.
Plaintiff filed her opposition on March 27, 2017, dkt. 51
(“Opp'n”), and UHI filed its reply on April
3, 2017, dkt. 53 (“Reply”).
carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court
finds and concludes as follows.
alleges the following facts.
organized under Florida laws and maintains its principal
place of business in Miami Beach, Florida. SAC ¶ 21.
Segev is believed to be residing in Florida. Id.
a corporation that sells, distributes, manufactures, and
advertises a line of “super premium cosmetics”
under the Adore Organic Innovation product line. Id.
¶¶ 5, 21. Plaintiff contends that Segev is the
president of UHI and that he “personally participated
in, directed, and controlled the sales, distribution,
manufacturing, and advertising of the Adore Products.”
Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff avers that Segev was an
agent of UHI and that UHI had actual or constructive
knowledge of Segev's conduct. Id. ¶ 98.
Segev allegedly abused UHI's organizational form to
accomplish the fraudulent promotion of UHI's cosmetic
products. Id. ¶ 101. Plaintiff alleges that
Segev is liable for UHI's conduct because, inter alia:
(a) Segev dominates and controls UHI to the extent that the
independence of UHI is a sham; (b) UHI is undercapitalized;
and (c) Segev intermingles the assets of UHI and several
other companies that share the same address in Miami Beach,
Florida. Id. ¶¶ 100-25. Plaintiff also
avers that Segev actually participated in the unlawful
conduct plaintiff alleges in her complaint, and is therefore
personally liable for all such conduct. Id. ¶
advertise their Adore Organic Innovation line as containing a
“proven Plant Stem Cell formula . . . to enable your
skin's own stem cells to renew and slow the aging
process.” Id. ¶ 5. The Adore Organic
Innovation line includes CELLMAX Products-including a cream,
serum, and mask, sold together as a CELLMAX Kit-that are
touted as “proven to restore youthful
appearance[.]” Id. ¶¶ 6-7.
Defendants manufacture, market, and distribute at least 22
products that are substantially similar to the CELLMAX
products because they contain the same types of “plant
stem cells” and use almost identical labeling.
Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff refers to the CELLMAX
products and substantially similar products as the
“Adore Products.” Id.
to plaintiffs, defendants engaged in a “uniform
marketing and advertising campaign designed to convince
consumers that its Adore Organic Innovation Products are
scientifically and clinically proven to provide consumers
with dramatic anti-aging results.” Id. ¶
28. Plaintiff alleges that defendants' representations
regarding the anti-aging effects of their products are false
and misleading because the products neither “halt the
aging process” nor are they “proven to store
youthful appearance.” Id. ¶ 11. Citing
several statements from the Adore website, YouTube videos,
and social media posts, plaintiffs assert that
defendants' anti-aging claims are purportedly backed by
scientific research. Id. ¶¶ 31-38. In
addition, defendants provide a brochure, entitled
“Adore Organic Innovation Science - Stem Cell
Technology, ” in which defendants assert, inter alia,
that “researchers” have concluded that
“plant stem cells [could] be used to protect human skin
stem cells[, ]” and that “[e]xtensive studies
have shown that Plant Stem Cell formula [sic] increases the
vitality and efficiency of all essential skin cells[.]”
Id. ¶¶ 39-43.
plant stem cells that defendants use in their products are
manufactured by Mibelle Biochemistry (“Mibelle”).
Id. ¶ 11. The plant stem cells are a
proprietary ingredient called
According to Mibelle's research director, the anti-aging
benefit of the plant stem cells “could not be confirmed
at clinical trial.” Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff
also cites statements from academics, doctors, and industry