JACKSON v. LANG PHARMA NUTRITION

Case No. 37-2017-00028196-CU-BC-CTL

Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego

Frequently Asked Questions

BASIC INFO

What is this Lawsuit About?

This matter is a continuation of four earlier CoQ-10 cases involving the Retailer defendants (except Meijer). These Prior CoQ-10 Cases involved CoQ-10 products manufactured by Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc. and sold by the Retailers. The names of the Prior CoQ-10 Cases are: (1) Thamar Santisteban Cortina v. Wal-Mart, Inc. et al., Case No. 13-cv-020540, United States District Court for the Southern District of California; (2) Leo Harris v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Case No. 5:13-cv-02329, United States District Court for the Central District of California; (3) Raymond Alvandi v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-01503, United States District Court for the Central District of California; and (4) Gary Reynolds, et al. v. Walgreens, Inc., Case No. 4:15-cv-00324, United States District Court for the Northern District of California (collectively the “Prior CoQ-10 Cases”).

While litigating the Prior CoQ-10 Cases, the parties engaged in substantial investigations, extensive discovery, motion practice, and intense settlement discussions. The Prior CoQ-10 Cases were dismissed; however, the Cortina court ordered that all discovery conducted in that case could be used by the parties in future CoQ-10 litigation. Subsequent to dismissal, the Prior CoQ-10 Cases were refiled as Jackson et al. v. Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc. et al.

The proposed settlement class covers the time period of July 1, 2013 to July 24, 2018.

This lawsuit seeks to obtain compensation for violation of consumer protection statutes including the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), False Advertising Law (FAL), and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), and for breach of express and implied warranties.

After the parties engaged in substantial investigation, discovery, and settlement negotiations, Plaintiffs and Defendants have reached an agreement providing for the settlement of the lawsuit. The terms of the proposed Settlement are set forth in the Settlement Agreement filed with the Court, which is also available on this website, at www.Q10Settlement.com/documents.

Plaintiffs and Class Counsel have evaluated the information made available in the course of the lawsuit and have taken into account the risks and uncertainties of proceeding with this litigation, including the risks and uncertainties of class certification, prevailing on the merits, proving damages at trial, and prevailing on post-trial motions and appeal. Based upon their consideration of these factors, Plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe it is in the best interests of the Class to settle the lawsuit on the terms described herein.

Defendants have denied Plaintiffs’ allegations and any wrongdoing, and the Class’s right to recover anything. Nevertheless, they have agreed to settle the lawsuit for the purpose of avoiding the time and expense of further litigation and the uncertainty of trial and appeal.

What Is a Class Action and Who Is Involved?

In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case William Jackson, Edward Buchannan and Thamar Santisteban Cortina) represent the interests of all people who have common or similar claims arising from the purchase of Lang CoQ-10 Softgels. All of these people who purchased the CoQ-10 products between July 1, 2013 and July 24, 2018 are a Class or Class Members. The named plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are called the Plaintiffs. The company or persons they sued (in this case, Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Walgreen Company, and Meijer Distribution, Inc.) are called the Defendants. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

Why Is There a Proposed Settlement?

The Court has not decided in favor of either side in the case. Defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing and liability against them, and contend that their conduct was lawful. The Defendants are settling to simply avoid the expense, inconvenience, and inherent risk of litigation, as well as the related disruption of their normal business operations. Similarly, the Class Representatives and their attorneys assert that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the Class because it provides an appropriate recovery now while avoiding the risk, expense, and delay of pursuing the case through trial and any appeals. There would be no guarantee of success for either side if the case were pursued through trial and any appeals.

WHO IS COVERED

How Do I Know If I Am Part of the Proposed Settlement?

The Class is defined to mean “all persons in the United States who purchased a Lang CoQ-10 Softgel product manufactured by Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc. (hereafter, “Lang CoQ-10 Softgel”) and sold under store brand labels by CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Meijer (“the Retailers”), from July 1, 2013 until the date the notice of settlement is disseminated to the class. See below for a list of the names of the CoQ-10 products that are covered by this class action settlement.

Excluded from the Settlement Class are (1) the judge presiding over this action through the final Approval of this Settlement Agreement; (2) the Defendants, (3) Defendants’ subsidiaries, parent companies, successors, predecessors, any entity in which the defendants or their parent companies have a controlling interest, suppliers and vendors; (4) Defendants’ current or former officers, directors, and employees; (5) persons who properly execute and file a timely request for exclusion from the class; and (6) legal representatives, successors or assigns of any such excluded person.

It is the intent of the parties to include any person who currently has a claim against Defendants regarding the causes of action now alleged or similar causes of action. To the extent that any jurisdiction contains a statute of limitations longer than four (4) years, persons who made purchases prior to four years before the start of this litigation are considered part of the class, but only in those jurisdictions with longer statutes of limitations and only to the extent allowed by law.”

Covered products include:

  • Wal-Mart’s Equate Clinical Strength High Absorption CoQ-10 100 mg
  • CVS/Pharmacy Ultra CoQ-10 100 mg
  • CVS/Health Ultra CoQ-10 100 mg
  • CVS/Pharmacy Enhanced Absorption Formula CoQ-10 100 mg
  • CVS/Health Enhanced Absorption Formula CoQ-10 100 mg
  • Walgreens Well at Walgreens CoQ-10 Enhanced Absorption Formula 100 mg
  • Walgreens Well at Walgreens CoQ-10 Enhanced Absorption Formula 200 mg
  • Meijer’s Ultra CoQ-10 100 mg (“Meijer Ultra CoQ-10”)

If you are still not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can call 1-866-532-6710, or email contact@q10settlement.com and ask for free help.

BENEFITS

What Does the Proposed Settlement Provide?

The two sides disagree on what relief, and how much, could have been won, if any, if the case went to trial. The settlement avoids costs and risks from continuing the lawsuit, provides benefits and relief to purchasers like you, imposes mandatory changes to the disclosures on product labels and, in exchange, releases the Defendants from liability for the alleged claims.

The proposed class settlement will provide the Class with settlement benefits valued in excess of $1,306,000 in monetary relief. This relief will be comprised of three parts: (1) $656,000 cash fund; (2) $650,000 in credits to redeem dietary supplement (s) directly from Lang Pharma’s web site; and (3) mandatory changes to the product labeling. The cash fund will be off-set by notice and administrative costs, attorneys’ fees, class representative incentive fees, and a portion of the shipping and handling costs. If claims exceed the cash amount available, the amounts claimed will be reduced pro rata; if funds remain the cash refund to claimants will be increased pro rata. Likewise, if the fund for product credits is exhausted, the value of each credit claimed will be reduced pro rata; if the fund for product credits is not exhausted, the value of each credit will be increased. Any claimed product credits that remain unused 60 days after delivery will be reissued and donated to Consumers Union, a charitable organization dedicated to consumer rights and protection.

Class Members who file a valid claim form must choose between a partial cash refund of $3.50 pro rata or a product credit valued at $12.50 that may be used to redeem a variety of Lang Pharma products from a designated Lang Pharma website. Class Members must use the product credit within 60 days. A valid claim form will require class members to provide their name, address, phone number, date of purchase, the name of the CoQ-10 supplement that was purchased and other information necessary to process their claim.

In addition to the cash and product credit funds, the Retailer Defendants have agreed to the following changes to their product labels and advertising of their CoQ-10 supplements:

  • Wal-Mart’s Equate Clinical Strength High Absorption CoQ-10 100 mg: “3 Times Better Absorption (1)” “(1) Based on a clinical study. Three times better absorption may not be achieved by all users of this product. Individual results may vary.”
  • CVS Enhanced Absorption Formula CoQ-10 100 mg: “3 Times Better Absorption (1)” or “3X Better Absorption (1)” “(1) Based on a clinical study. Three times (or 3X) better absorption may not be achieved by all users of this product. Individual results may vary.”
  • CVS Ultra CoQ10 100 mg: Change 6X better absorption to “Up to 5X better absorption (1)” “(1) Based on a clinical study. Up To 5x better absorption may not be achieved by all users of this product. Individual results may vary.”
  • Walgreens Well at Walgreens CoQ-10 Enhanced Absorption Formula 100 mg and 200 mg: “Enhanced absorption may not be achieved by all users of this product. Individual results may vary.”
  • Meijer’s Ultra CoQ-10 100 mg: “Up To 5x better absorption may not be achieved by all users of this product. Individual results may vary.”

Class Counsel will apply for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses, which must be approved by the Court. In addition, the Class representatives will apply for the following incentive awards: $1,000.00 each to William Jackson and Edward Buchannan; and $4,000.00 to Thamar Cortina. These awards must also be approved by the Court.

HOW YOU GET A PAYMENT – SUBMITTING A CLAIM FORM

How Can I Obtain a Portion of This Settlement?

You must submit a Claim Form to get a settlement benefit. Claim Forms may be printed and mailed or filed online on this website. Claim Forms are simple and easy to complete, requiring (a) personal information, (b) the name of Lang CoQ-10 Softgel that was purchased, (c) the date of purchase, and (d) affirmation that the information provided is true and correct. In exchange for receiving a monetary or product credit under the Settlement Agreement, you will give up your rights to sue Defendants about the same claims in this lawsuit.

Claim forms must be mailed or submitted online no later than September 4, 2018

How Can I Get a Claim Form?

You can obtain the Claim Form in one of three ways:

i.  Online:  You can submit a Claim Form online here.  You can download the Claim Form here;

 ii. By Phone: Call toll-free, 1-877-752-6801 to arrange for a Claim Form to be sent to you by either U.S. mail or e-mail.

 iii. By U.S. Mail:  You may write to the following address.  Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Q10 Class Action Settlement Administrator,
c/o Classaura Class Action Administration,
1718 Peachtree St #1080,
Atlanta, GA 30309

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

What is Excluding Yourself From the Settlement?

If you do not want to receive any of the benefits from this settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue the Defendants, on your own, about the subject matter of this lawsuit, then you must take affirmative steps to get out of the settlement. This is called excluding yourself – or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Class.

How Do I Exclude Myself from the Settlement?

If you do not want to be bound by this Settlement, you must request to be excluded from the Class. If you request to be excluded from the Class, you will retain any individual rights you have against Defendants and will not have “released” Defendants from liability for any claims. However, you will not receive the benefits described above. If you exclude yourself from this class action settlement, you may not object to the Settlement. If you wish to be excluded from the Class (sometimes referred to as “opting out”), you must download and print an Opt-Out Form from the Settlement Website, fill out and sign the form, and mail it to the following addresses postmarked on or before September 4, 2018 at the following address:

Original mailed to:
Q10 Class Action Settlement Administrator
c/o Classaura Class Action Administration,
1718 Peachtree St #1080,
Atlanta, GA 30309

Copies mailed to:
Ronald A. Marron
Law Offices of Ronald A. Marron, APLC
651 Arroyo Drive
San Diego, CA, 92103

David C. Allen
Barnes & Thornburg LLC
2029 Century Park East, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90067

If I Don’t Exclude Myself, Can I Sue Defendants for the Same Things Later?

No. If you do not properly and timely submit a request for exclusion, you waive your right to opt out and will be deemed to be a member of the Class. Unless you timely exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for the claims that this settlement resolves, and you will be bound by the terms of this settlement if finally approved by the Court. If you have a pending lawsuit against Defendants, other than this class action, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, any exclusion request must be signed, mailed, and postmarked or submitted online by no later than September 4, 2018.

If I Exclude Myself, Can I Get the Settlement Benefits from this Settlement?

No. If you exclude yourself, do not send in a claim form to ask for any of the offered settlement benefits.

OBJECTING TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

How Do I Tell the Court That I Object to the Proposed Settlement?

Objecting is explaining to the Court you do not like something about the settlement or you believe that it is unfair in some way. You can object only if you stay in the Class.

Excluding yourself from the settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Class, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

If you wish to object or to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, you must, no later than September 4, 2018, file with the Court and serve on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel at the addresses set forth below, a written objection that provides contact information and a statement of the facts and law supporting your objection. In addition, if you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, you must also, no later than November 2, 2018 file with the Court and serve on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel a Notice of Intent to Appear, whether in person or through an attorney. More detailed instructions and requirements for objecting are set forth in the Court’s Preliminary Approval.

Class Counsel
Ronald A. Marron
651 Arroyo Drive
San Diego, CA 92103

Defense Counsel
David C. Allen
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
2029 Century Park East, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90067

What’s the Difference Between Objecting and Excluding?

Objecting is explaining to the Court you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class.

Excluding yourself from the settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

IF YOU DO NOTHING

What Happens If I Do Nothing at All?

If you do nothing, you will get no settlement benefits from this settlement. But, unless you timely excluded yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the subject matter of this lawsuit, ever again.

LAWYERS THAT REPRESENT YOU

Do I Have a Lawyer in this Case?

The Court has appointed Ronald A. Marron of the Law Offices of Ronald Marron, as Class Counsel in this case. The Court has determined that Class Counsel is qualified to represent you and other Class Members. You will not be charged any fees by this law firm. This law firm handling the case is experienced in handling similar class action cases.

Nevertheless, you have the right to consult or retain an attorney of your choice at your own expense to advise you regarding the Settlement and your rights in connection with the Settlement and Final Approval Hearing described below.

How Will the Lawyers Be Paid?

From the inception of the litigation, Class Counsel has not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case or obtaining settlement, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. When they ask the Court for final approval of the settlement, Class Counsel will also file a motion and request that the Court award Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses. No matter what the Court decides with regard to the requested attorneys’ fees and expenses, Class members will never have to pay anything toward the fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Class Counsel will seek final approval of the settlement on behalf of all Class Members. You may hire your own lawyer to represent you in this case if you wish, but it will be at your own expense.

THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING

When and Where Will the Court Decide Whether to Approve the Settlement?

The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing to determine whether the Court should approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate to the Class, and whether Judgment should be entered in accordance with the Settlement Agreement. The Court will also consider at the Final Approval Hearing the request of Class Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses, as well as the request of the Class Representatives for incentive awards for services rendered on behalf of the Class.

The Final Approval Hearing will occur at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time on November 29, 2018 in Department C-73 of the San Diego Superior Court, the Honorable Joel R. Wohlfeil presiding. The Court’s address is 330 West Broadway, San Diego, California 92101.

Your attendance at the Final Approval Hearing is not required. However, you may be heard orally at the hearing in opposition to the proposed Settlement if you wish. You may also enter an appearance through an attorney retained at your own expense. If you do not enter an appearance through an attorney, and do not object, Class Counsel will represent you at the hearing.

Can I Be Heard at the Fairness Hearing

Your attendance at the Final Approval Hearing is not required. However, you may be heard orally at the hearing in opposition to the proposed Settlement if you wish. You may also enter an appearance through an attorney retained at your own expense.

If you wish to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, you must, no later than September 4, 2018, file with the Court and serve on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel at the addresses set forth below, a written objection that provides contact information and a statement of the facts and law supporting your objection. In addition, you must also, no later than November 2, 2018 file with the Court and send copies to Class Counsel and Defense Counsel a Notice of Intent to Appear, whether in person or through an attorney. More detailed instructions and requirements for objecting are set forth in the Court’s order that preliminarily approved the settlement, which is included on this website in the Documents section.

Class Counsel
Ronald A. Marron
651 Arroyo Drive
San Diego, CA 92103

Defense Counsel
David C. Allen
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
2029 Century Park East, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Do I Have to Come to the Hearing?

No. Class Counsel is working on your behalf and will answer any questions the Court may have, but you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL

What Is the Effect of Final Settlement Approval?

If the Court approves the Settlement and you have not excluded yourself as described above, you will be bound by the Settlement and will be forever barred from suing Defendants and related entities for the claims released in the Settlement. This applies whether you currently know about the existence of such claims or not.

The claims you will give up are:

Any and all claims, demands, rights, suits, liabilities, and cause of action of every nature and description whatsoever, known or unknown, matured or unmatured, at law or in equity, existing under federal or state law, that any Class Member has or may have against the Released Persons arising out of or related in any way to the purchase of Lang CoQ-10 Softgels, including transactions, occurrences, events, behaviors, conduct, practices, and policies alleged in the lawsuit, that have been brought, could have been brought, or are currently pending in any forum in the United States.

If the settlement is not approved and the litigation resumes, there can be no assurance that the Class will recover more than is provided for under the settlement, or anything at all. In other words, there is no guarantee of success if litigation proceeds.

GETTING MORE INFO

Are There More Details About the Settlement?

For more details of the matters involved in this lawsuit and the Settlement, you may review the Settlement Agreement, pleadings, the Court’s Order and other case documents stored on this website (See Documents section).

You can also contact the settlement administrator Classaura, LLC, 1718 Peachtree St. #1080, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 (contact@q10settlement.com, 1-866-532-6710), or contact Class Counsel at 619-696-9006.

Additionally, if you wish to review the Court’s docket in this case, you may do so by visiting the Court’s public access website (www.sdcourt.ca.gov). Direct your browser to the register of actions link and then enter case number 37-2017-00028196. You may view the Court’s docket from here, including but not limited to documents filed with the Court (on the “Register of Actions”), the Court’s ruling and orders, and other information.

DO NOT TELEPHONE OR ADDRESS ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CASE OR SETTLEMENT TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT OR TO THE JUDGE. THEY ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. THE COURT EXPRESSES NO VIEW AS TO THE MERITS OF ANY CLAIMS OR DEFENSES ASSERTED BY ANY PARTY TO THE ACTION.