An Illinois federal judge ruled Tuesday that a class action lawsuit filed against vitamin manufacturer Nature’s Way could proceed. Angel McDonnell alleges that she suffered damages from Nature’s Way misrepresentation of its product as “made in the USA” although the pills contain Vitamin C from primarily foreign sources. The case is McDonnell v. Nature’s Way Products LLC, case number 1:16-cv-05011, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
District Judge Sara L. Ellis found McDonnell’s claim that she paid a premium for the “made in the USA” label because she is a “patriotic American” was enough to proceed on charges of violations of Illinois’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Although she did throw out the claim under Illinois’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act because the law requires proof of continuing harm. This is highly unlikely due to McDonnell now being aware of the alleged misrepresentation by Nature’s Way. Judge Ellis also tossed the claim by McDonnell that Nature’s Way misrepresented other products because she didn’t actually purchase any of those products.
The suit was filed in May after McDonnell says she became aware of the false advertising on Nature Way’s “Alive! Women’s Energy Supplement.” She had purchased the pills in 2013 and 2014, in part because of the “made in the USA” label. The complaint cites a 2015 survey by Consumer Reports that concludes nearly “80 percent of Americans are willing to pay more for American-made goods.” Nature’s Way moved to have the case dismissed in December, arguing that her allegations were overly broad and she suffered no actual damages. Judge Ellis found enough proof was provided by McDonnell, and she has agreed to let the case proceed with a jury trial.