Weight Loss News and Current Events - Jillian Sued Over Diet Supplement

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02-10-2010, 08:07 PM
LOS ANGELES Jillian Michaels has been sued for alleged false advertising by a woman who claims she was duped into buying a diet supplement endorsed by the celebrity trainer.

Christie Christensen of Lake Elsinore, Calif., is seeking class-action status for the case she filed Tuesday in Los Angeles. Michaels is a hard-charging, no-nonsense trainer best-known as one of the stars of NBC's hit reality show, "The Biggest Loser."

Christensen's lawsuit claims she bought a product called "Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control" last month and that it has failed to lessen her appetite or cause her to lose weight as advertised.

Michaels' picture and endorsement appear on the packaging, touting her as "America's Toughest Trainer." The product and a Web site advertising include the claim, "Two Capsules Before Main Meals and You Lose Weight ... That's It!"

"Ms. Michaels knows better taking two pills before eating does not miraculously cause weight loss," the lawsuit states.

The Web site and packaging however note that the statements haven't been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Christensen is also suing Utah-based Basic Research, which manufactures and markets several diet and weight loss products endorsed by Michaels.

Michaels' publicist, Heidi Krupp, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday. A representative of Basic Research said the company may issue a statement later Wednesday.

"Calorie Control" is not among the products that NBC lists for sale on its "Biggest Loser" Web site, which include video games, DVDs and equipment, some bearing Michaels' image.

"The Biggest Loser" has been a hit for NBC, often appearing in Nielsen Co.'s Top 20 rankings for prime-time TV programs.

Christensen's suit seeks unspecified damages that are not expected to total more than $5 million. Her filing states she has "struggled with weight loss her entire life" and bought "Calorie Control" because of Michaels' endorsement.

02-10-2010, 08:21 PM
The woman is not stupid, she knows there's no magic pill. I'll wanna smack the judge if she wins, much less millions. Ridiculous.

02-10-2010, 08:28 PM
Urgh, some people! It really irritated me when I first heard about the Jillian Michaels supplements because it does promote that 'magic pill' image, and we all know that's a myth. But still, this woman cannot possibly be serious!

I doubt this suit will go anywhere, otherwise the entire market for weight loss supplements (and really any weight loss product) would be under attack. Besides, how could someone reasonably expect a 'magic pill' for weight loss success, especially someone whose dealt with weight issues her entire life and most likely has tried other 'quick fixes.' $5 million in damages is plain ol' ridiculous, if you're disappointed go for a refund!

Suzanne 3FC
02-10-2010, 08:43 PM
I agree that the woman should have known that there is no magic pill and whether or not she should be awarded damages is debatable. However, if she wins the lawsuit then this will likely cause a stir in the supplement marketing world and hopefully curb the false claims out there that do confuse and persuade those that are desperate to lose weight or are gullible to this type of marketing. Sadly, billions of dollars are spent every year on weight loss products that will never work. Something needs to shake things up a little and help put a stop to it.

02-10-2010, 08:45 PM
That would be nice, but Didn't Dr. Phil lose a similar lawsuit? Didn't seem to make much of an impact on false claims.

02-10-2010, 08:51 PM
Just to be clear, the plaintiff isn't asking for 5 million in damages for herself. She's looking to start a class action suit, with many people who purchased the supplements, the total damages associated being less than 5 million (so, for example, if 10,000 people purchased the supplement and joined the class action, she anticipates that the judge would award them less than 500 dollars each).

I think that, given Jillian's reputation is an expert who believes in "natural" products and losing weight "the right way and not with gimmicks", she had a bit more credibility than your average supplement manufacturer, and therefore might take some people in who would otherwise not go for diet pills. Much as I love her, her response to the lawsuit (as posted on TMZ) doesn't reassure me much...since she's basically saying that it IS a magic pill and appears to be basing a lot of her authority on how many people are using the products, not the number of people who have had significant results, and essentially spins it to a sales pitch at the end:

"The Jillian Michaels line of weight control products is the #1 line of natural weight control products in the United States. Unfortunately, anyone can file a lawsuit in California. (Click through to see the rest)

All it takes is a $355 filing fee. Not only have placebo-controlled, double-blind, published clinical studies been conducted on the active calorie-control compound in Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control, but that research was reviewed by some of the leading weight-loss experts in the world before Jillian would put her name on the product.
The lawsuit will be handled in the courts like all other lawsuits, and we are confident we will prevail. In the meantime, thousands upon thousands of men and women around the United States are using Jillian's Maximum Strength Calorie Control.

To anyone questioning the product's effectiveness, we suggest you try it for yourself. Remember, no weight-control program or product works for everybody. That's why there's a 30 day 100% no-questions-asked money-back guarantee."

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2010/02/10/the-biggest-loser-star-jillian-michaels-diet-dietary-supplement-pill-lawsut-weight-loss/#continuedcontents#ixzz0fBTIhRPN

04-19-2010, 07:42 PM
I really like Jillian Michaels, she has a real attitude of no-BS, and to be honest, I was a bit shocked when I saw things like this on her website. I don't know what to think - I would certainly expect someone to be held to account for such an outrageous marketing claim, but I can't help but wonder why such a claim was made in the first place!

04-19-2010, 08:08 PM
I was disappointed to see Jillian associating herself closely with some of these products. I blame myself for this disappointment, because I expected too much of her. I thought she was "above all that" junk. She is not. I have to deal with that & realize there are very few experts out there who don't also have a personal agenda & a commercial stake in the weight loss industry in some way.

04-19-2010, 11:30 PM

04-20-2010, 02:13 AM
I'd love to see more regulation of supplements advertised for treatment of medical conditions (whether it's weight loss or impotence)....

I think it's ridiculous that a product maker can include a disclaimer in fine print that reads, "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition" when it's clearly being advertised to do exactly that. In essence that disclaimer gives manufacturer's the legal right to lie?

The disclaimer should really read (if truth mattered), "This product is not intended to treat what we say it does. It doesn't work, so don't buy it."

If the supplement is advertised to have a specific effect, it should have that effect. The maker should not be able to claim (in fine print or otherwise) that it's not intended to do, exactly what it's advertised to do.

Celebrity endorsements carry more weight than they should. "It must be true, if So-and-So says it." I've heard that out of the mouths (or keyboards) of well-educated people who should know better.

And while people SHOULD know better, I don't think that should give anyone (celebrity or not) the right to make claims that they can't back up.

Don't make promises you can't keep. It's the most basic premise behind the crime of "fraud." Was it reasonable for the purchaser to expect what was promised? And what exactly was promised? Did the seller deliver what was promised?

Those will be the cornerstones of the case. If Jillian made promises she couldn't deliver then I think she should lose the case (even if the promises were so ridiculous that a reasonable person would recognize them as improbable if not actually untrue). If she implied promises that couldn't be delivered, that is another story.

It's not illegal (unfortunately perhaps) to imply untrue things about a product. If it were most personal hygeine products would be in legal trouble (I'm pretty sure Axe body spray does not compel beautiful women to sexually assault young, nerdy boys).

04-21-2010, 01:09 PM
I'm no fan of Jillian Michaels, but I say good for this woman for starting a class-action law suit.

JM herself says there's no magic pill for weight loss, but then she goes and markets her own supplements (that have the same dangerous ingridients as the other "bogus" pills out there) and she used her image and huge following to make money. I see nothing wrong with this woman's suit, she's essentially calling JM on her BS.

And yes, I think these things should be regulated. History proves that FDA regulation comes after huge problems concerning a certain substance (cosmetics, drugs, food additives, etc.) and I think that these diet supplements will be the next on the chopping block. Thankfully...

05-03-2010, 10:23 PM
I don't watch Biggest Loser - however, I know about Jillian and her tough trainer reputation. Folks say she has motivated many people. Frankly, I've lost any respect for her and her 'snake oil'. She's not credible anymore.

05-03-2010, 11:06 PM
Most of the weight loss "supplements" out there are suspicious. I keep seeing a commercial of I think it is one of the Kardashian sisters walking around in a teeny bikini and she asks "how hot can you be?" I suppose if we take the magic potion advertised then we can be "hot" too! I wonder if any of the people who tout these products have ever USED them! Some of them can be downright dangerous.

Caveat Emptor.

05-04-2010, 10:24 AM
All I know about Jillian is what I have seen on The Biggest Loser (where I do like her "tough love" approach). I do occasionally see or read about products she endorsed and I think I will just say that saef expressed my own sentiments in this matter.

I know nothing about the Calorie Control product but I wonder if it contains any "small print" that also says (like many other similar products) that, e.g., one has to exercise and follow a reasonable diet or something similar.

I don't have any warm feelings against the lady filing the class action suit but I will be interested to see how this folds out.
On the other hand, it is interesting that the Calorie Control snake oil pills are not forced onto TBL contestants. But I guess that would be NBC's decision.

05-04-2010, 12:49 PM
If anyone had the prestige to market a diet pill and make tons of money from it they would. I don't use this as part of my judgment against someone known as a "celebrity trainer". If someone offered you millions to slap your name onto some diet pills could you refuse that offer? I still workout to her dvds and enjoy her harsh, but sometimes verge onto a reality check methods of training on tv. I can also see the legitimacy of a lawsuit. I believe there are lawyers and individuals interested in putting themselves into situations where they can gain recognition and quick cash. Isn't this the same greedy incentive that drives someone who doesn't believe in diet pills to market them?

05-05-2010, 02:50 PM
Just to be clear, the plaintiff isn't asking for 5 million in damages for herself. She's looking to start a class action suit, with many people who purchased the supplements, the total damages associated being less than 5 million (so, for example, if 10,000 people purchased the supplement and joined the class action, she anticipates that the judge would award them less than 500 dollars each).

the truth is that the only people who make any money off of class action law suits are the plaintiff attorneys. The members of the class get a nominal amount, usually a few dollars at most and sometimes not even cash, but just free products or something like that. And the attorneys get a couple of million in attorneys fees.

05-05-2010, 06:38 PM
I think the woman is silly if you struggle with weight all your life it has nothing to do with appetite. Appetite doesn't change emotional eating or bad eating habits.
and just to add to the supplements thing. JM has always been a supporter of supplements that increase fat burn and energy (ie: caffeine aspirin stack) and she talks about them through out her radio show career; but no pill will work w/ out a wonderful exercise and calorie counting and for some alil self therapy.

05-05-2010, 06:51 PM
The woman is not stupid, she knows there's no magic pill. I'll wanna smack the judge if she wins, much less millions. Ridiculous.

Yes, can we sue her for being stupid?

05-05-2010, 07:36 PM
I agree if the woman is overweight, chances are she is struggling with emotional eating, and will never find her answer in a bottle. I love Jillians tough love and have learned so much from her over the years, however I wished she hadn't marketed herself so much.

05-06-2010, 01:17 AM
If the woman is stupid, she's a very common kind of stupid. Celebrities sell and endorse products because people buy stuff that's pushed by celebrities (they believe what celebrities say). As an advertising strategy it works, Which makes everyone who has ever bought a product because it was endorsed, marketed or even allegedly used by a celebrity that same kind of stupid.

Sadly, I have been that kind of stupid in my life (mostly in my teens and twenties, but I can't say that I've never been swayed by a celebrity endorsement more recently).

I've never considered suing, because I recognized that each time I fell for it, I had been stupid to believe the claims in the first place (but for a long time, it didn't make me less susceptible to the next one).

Sadly, for many years, I didn't even speak up when friends talked about trying the same products. I didn't want to admit that I was so stupid as to have tried them. I didn't want to admit it, because I secretly feared that the product was wonderful - it was I who was broken (that I never had a friend succeed any better than I had, should have been a tip of that the product wasn't effective, but it never made me feel any better).

Product after product after product, I eventually learned that all the celebrity-endorsed crap is just that CRAP. But when you voice that out loud, someone accuses you of being jealous of the celebrity, or bitter because the product didn't work for you - or that you're stupid because you didn't realize that exercise in diet had to be involved (and they never believe you about how hard you're working - they only see how badly you've failed).

Advertising is powerful, and false claims should not be protected. If you can't deliver the promise you make or imply, you should be held accountable. Maybe eventually advertisers would stop making promises they can't keep. And I'm not at all impressed with television ads in which fine print disclaimers flash that are too tiny, and pass by too quickly for most people to read, that essentially say "you can't sue us, because you should know that we're lying."

It's like the child's game of crossed fingers behind the back. A lie is a lie no matter how you say it, and whether or not you warn people not to believe you.

Most people are too ashamed for making the mistake to sue - but that only makes diet product sellers bolder. They know that being a celebrity (or using a celebrity endorsement) has a powerful influence on consumers - and that because most people will be too embarassed to sue, they're pretty safe. Even if a few people sue and win - the marketers remain confident in the fact that the embarassed majority will keep their mouths shut out of shame. The customer's pride is worth more than their money - and companies that sell diet products are banking on that (literally).

05-25-2010, 01:39 AM
She's a grown up and should have used her common sense and realized that there's no such thing as a magic pill. It bothers me that people make consious decisions and then when they don't work out the way they want they find somebody else to blame. It's time they take a look in the mirror and start being accountable for their own actions instead of saying "Jillian said it would work" or whatever they tell themselves so they can sleep at night.