OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Ten California district attorneys led by Alameda County D.A. Nancy O’Malley Monday announced an approximately $1 million settlement of allegations that a Minnesota pillow company engaged in false and misleading advertising.
The district attorneys sued My Pillow Inc. of Chaska, Minnesota, last Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland and filed a stipulated settlement, reached with the cooperation of the company and its attorneys, on the same day.
The lawsuit alleged the company conducted false and misleading advertising by claiming, without any reliable scientific evidence, that the foam pillows could help people suffering from fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, sleep apnea, snoring and restless leg syndrome.
In addition to Alameda, the counties participating were Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, and Sonoma.
The $1,095,000 settlement includes $995,000 in civil penalties and another $100,000 in donations to nonprofits around the state that provide shelter to homeless people and victims of domestic violence.
MyPillow said it was pleased with the agreement.
“MyPillow is pleased to have reached an agreement with Alameda County,” the company said in a prepared statement. “Our focus is, and always has been, on sharing MyPillow with as many people as possible. With this settlement, we are able to avoid a costly and drawn out court case and turn our attention back to our number one passion, our customers.”
The civil payments will be divided equally among the 10 district attorney’s offices. Those in Alameda, Santa Clara and Napa counties said they will use the funds for future consumer protection efforts.
“My office will remain vigilant in pursuing false advertising cases against manufacturers of consumer products that deceptively advertise the health benefits of their products,” O’Malley said.
The settlement provides that the pillow company won’t make claims of treating or preventing any disease unless the claim is based on “at least one adequate and well-controlled human clinical study.”
The lawsuit also alleged the company engaged in unfair competition by advertising that its product was the “official bed pillow” of the National Sleep Foundation without disclosing that it had a financial relationship with the Washington, D.C.-based foundation.
The company agreed in the settlement not to advertise endorsements with any organization with which it has a financial connection without enclosing that connection.
Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Teresa Drenick said O’Malley’s office took the lead in filing the lawsuit because that agency began the investigation.
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