Have you purchased John Paul Mitchell hair-care products? The company lied to you and violated its promises to never test on animals. Fill out the form to find out your rights »

Case Status
Active
Practice Areas
Court
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Judge Assigned
Hon. Vince Chhabria
Case Number
3:23-cv-00687-VC
Defendant(S)
John Paul Mitchell Systems
File Date

WHAT'S THE ISSUE?

Hagens Berman attorneys have filed a nationwide class-action complaint against John Paul Mitchell Systems, alleging that the hair-care titan has submitted its products to animal testing since 2001, when it began selling them in mainland China. Paul Mitchell has built a brand reputation on its staunch commitment to “cruelty free” beauty and never testing on animals. Consumers deserve to know the truth and to hold the corporation accountable for lies in the name of profit.

FALSE PROMISES

Since its founding in 1980, Paul Mitchell has distinguished itself from industry competitors by taking a bold and unambiguous anti–animal testing stance. “No animal testing. Never have, never will,” proclaim its marketing materials. The company also proudly refers to itself as a “pioneer in cruelty free” and “the first professional hair care company to take a stand against animal testing,” positioning its opposition to animal testing as central to its brand identity. Thanks to decades of very deliberate marketing efforts, many consumers buy Paul Mitchell products because they are ostensibly cruelty free.

By at least 2001, the company expanded its operations to mainland China, where animal testing is required, in most cases, for all beauty products manufactured outside of the country. In 2014 China introduced an exemption to this requirement for foreign companies that chose to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. Paul Mitchell, however, elected not to do so, instead continuing to allow animal testing to be conducted on its products sold in China through 2021.

CRUELTY COVER-UP

In 2012, PETA exposed several cosmetics companies that claimed to be cruelty free for allowing animal testing on their products sold in China. Shortly thereafter, Paul Mitchell announced that it would be pulling its products from the Chinese market. In January 2013, Paul Mitchell co-founder John Paul DeJoria said during a press conference that the company had been made aware, in 2010, of a change in Chinese regulations that required animal testing on beauty products sold there, and that the company swiftly decided to stop selling in China following this discovery. There was, in fact, no such change to regulations in China, where animal testing has been required for hair-care and cosmetics products as early as 1990.

Additionally, Paul Mitchell did not pull out of the Chinese market in 2012. It merely paused its operations, which resumed in 2014. The company could have established domestic manufacturing facilities in China, at this time, and so availed itself of the exception to the testing requirements, but it chose not to.

WHAT ANIMAL TESTING LOOKS LIKE

Many people require no convincing that animal testing is a cruel and inhumane practice, and this is why many prefer to or will only purchase hair-care and cosmetics products that are certified “cruelty free.” There are several tests commonly conducted on animals by laboratories to determine whether a product or chemical is safe for human use. These include:

  • Lethal Dose 50 (LD50), a type of acute toxicity test where animals are dosed with a test chemical to determine the dose at which half of the test animals die.
  • The up-and-down procedure and acute toxic class methods. While these tests do not result in the death of the animal, the animals will often endure intense pain, convulsions, loss of motor function, and seizures.
  • The Guinea Pig Maximization Test, where a chemical is injected into the guinea pig, along with a chemical adjuvant to boost the immune reaction. Multiple doses are given until the animal develops an allergic reaction.
  • The Local Lymph Node Assay (LLNA), where test chemicals are applied to the surface of the ears of mice. The mice are then killed and their lymph node cells are removed and analyzed.

John Paul Mitchell Systems needs to be held responsible for using outrage over animal testing to sell “cruelty free” products to consumers, while it knew full well that testing was being conducted on its products sold in mainland China.

HOW CAN A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT HELP?

Through a class-action lawsuit, individual private citizens can collectively bring claims against powerful corporations which would otherwise have the upper hand, like John Paul Mitchell Systems. A class-action lawsuit seeks to level the playing field, bringing strength to collective action to change corrupt practices and negligent responses to citizens. Though these measures do not bring immediate relief, they are a time-tested method of holding companies accountable for wrongdoing.

TOP CONSUMERS’ RIGHTS LAW FIRM

Hagens Berman is home to some of the most well-respected and successful lawyers representing plaintiffs in class actions, and the firm has achieved settlements valued at $325 billion since its founding. The firm has taken on major institutions for fraudulent billing and predatory behavior, and your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in this area of law.

NO COST TO YOU

There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining this action. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the legal team for the class. In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.

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