SDNY Dismisses Vegan Collagen Product False Advertising Suit

Judge Katherine Falka, of the Southern District of New York, has dismissed consumer Catherine Nguyen’s case against Algenist, LLC for false advertising. While Nguyen argued that Algenist’s packaging falsely claimed that the product’s vegan collagen would reverse signs of aging, the court found the packaging sufficiently imprecise, and the evidence she provided suitably mixed, to warrant dismissal.

As described in the order, Nguyen alleged that Algenist falsely advertised their Calming Relief, Liquid Collagen, and Sleeping Collagen skincare products as having advanced anti-aging products, when collagen applied topically is too big to be absorbed by the skin. To support her arguments, she cited a Coveteur article which does say that collagen, be it sourced from animals or vegan alternatives, cannot penetrate the skin. 

However, the article also states that collagen is an excellent moisturizer and can still “reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, at least temporarily.” The article even goes on to describe one of the listed products as one of the author’s favorite vegan collagen products. As understood by the court, the term “anti-aging” can be summed up by reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. In light of this, the court sided with Algenist. 

The court proceeds to describe a nearly identical ongoing case against L’Oréal USA, in which the plaintiff survived a motion to dismiss. In said case, the order describes, the Southern District similarly dismissed that plaintiff’s legal theory that mirrored Nguyen’s. The court did allow for an argument that L’Oréal’s packaging directly implied that the collagen contained in their products acted in the same way as collagen produced by the body. 

As applied to Nguyen’s case, Judge Falka found that the claims on Algenist’s packaging were too broad to infer such a theory. As such, the case was dismissed without leave to amend.

The plaintiff was represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A., and Algenist was represented by Newman, Simpson & Cohen, LLP and Price Parkinson & Kerr, PLLC.