What do Alyssa Milano, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Juliana Margulies have in common? In addition to being some of Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies, they’ve all turned to Chaz Dean for help with their hair.
A renowned celebrity stylist, Chaz Dean is in high demand among those in the film and modeling industries. So when he created a line of hair care products called WEN®, it’s no surprise that they essentially became an overnight success.
While any reasonable person knows using his products won’t suddenly start yielding modeling jobs and acting gigs because of their thick and lustrous locks, none of his customers expected to suffer harm. Unfortunately for many, that’s allegedly what happened.
When customers started experiencing hair loss, strand damage, and scalp irritation, their outrage was understandable. If your hair has been thinning uncontrollably and you think products like those in the WEN® line are to blame, you may be entitled to compensation.
Though the suit against WEN® in particular is no longer active, you may be able to file a claim against another manufacturer, assuming you were affected by similar circumstances.
To determine how best to proceed, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a personal injury firm in your area that can help.
- Which WEN® Products Warranted Legal Action?
- Complaints Start Rolling In
- What Should I Do if I Have Been Hurt by Defective Hair Care Products?
- How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Product Liability Lawsuit?
- How Does a Product Liability Lawsuit Work?
- Do I Need Legal Counsel to File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Product Liability Lawsuit?
- What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Product Liability Lawsuit?
- How Much Can You Recover From a Product Liability Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Receive the Funds After Resolving a Lawsuit?
- Wrapping Up
Which WEN® Products Warranted Legal Action?
WEN® by Chaz Dean offers a broad range of products, from volumizing sprays to texturizing balms to anti-frizz creams. The foundation of their line is a “Cleansing Conditioner,” which boasts a 5-in-1 formula and was designed to replace shampoo, detangler, conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner.
One of the brand’s biggest selling points is the fact that they do not use sulfates. A cleaning agent commonly used in household products like laundry detergent and shampoo, sulfates have a lathering effect.
When it comes to washing your hair, a rich lather can help dislodge dirt; however, sulfates aren’t always desirable in shampoo because they tend to strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it brittle and dry in the process.
Instead of using sulfates, WEN® claims their products clean the hair using “natural” conditioners and botanicals. While it’s reasonable to assume such products would therefore be gentle enough for daily use on all hair types—which is exactly how they’re advertised—this does not appear to be the case.
WEN® products that seem to be the most problematic—i.e., those that were named in the class action suit—include the following:
- Cleansing Conditioner
- Styling Crème
- Nourishing Mousse
- Straightening Smoothing Gloss
- Texturizing Spray
- Texture Balm
- Defining Paste
- Re-Moist Intensive Hair Treatment
- Re-Moist Mask
- Glossing Shine Serum
- Volumizing Root Lift
Complaints Start Rolling In
Chaz Dean started developing the products that would make up the WEN® line at his Los Angeles salon in the late 1990s. By 2010, after the products had gained popularity among consumers, users started reporting adverse effects. Such effects included bald spots, breakage, discoloration, skin rash, itching, and eye irritation.
By 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received more than 125 complaints involving WEN® hair care products, which prompted them to open an investigation. While the FDA does not require manufacturers to test cosmetics or personal care products before they hit the shelves, the agency can remove them from the market if they’re deemed unsafe.
Considering the FDA received fewer than 200 complaints total in 2007 for all personal care products, the number of reports against WEN® was disconcerting. Upon commencing their investigation, the FDA learned WEN® had received an additional 21,000 complaints about their products.
By 2016, the agency had collected more than 1,300 formal reports of hair loss and scalp irritation. They posted a notice warning the public of the products’ potential side effects and asked consumers to report any issues to them directly. They also issued a letter for health care providers.
A Class Action Suit Is Filed
By the end of 2015, many of those who had suffered adverse effects while using WEN® products decided it was time to hold the company financially accountable. So in December of that year, a class action lawsuit was filed against WEN®.
Plaintiffs claimed the various formulas had caused partial or complete hair loss. They also alleged the company and distributor were aware of the issues but failed to take reasonable measures to notify consumers or issue a recall.
Executives at WEN® initially denied liability. They claimed there was “no connection” between the use of their hair care products and the alleged adverse effects; however, their parent company, Guthy-Renker, settled the class action suit in October of 2016 for $26 million.
The figure was divided among affected consumers who met various eligibility requirements. For example, they had to have purchased and used certain WEN® products between November 2007 and September 2016. Each individual claimant’s payout depended on the extent of damages that he or she incurred, with some parties recovering up to $20,000.
Although claims for this particular class action settlement were closed in April 2017, you may have grounds for a suit against another hair care product manufacturer. If you experienced balding, strand damage, or scalp irritation despite using products as instructed, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a product liability attorney, who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Hurt by Defective Hair Care Products?
Hair care products don’t always live up to their promises; however, if they actually cause harm, consumers are entitled to take action. If your hair has been thinning dramatically or your scalp has been seriously irritated and you think defective products are to blame, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a local product liability lawyer, who can help you gather the evidence needed to file a tort claim.
While taking action against the manufacturer won’t undo the trauma you’ve experienced, it could provide the money needed to restore your hair. To give your case the best chance of yielding such funds, make sure to:
- Save all the products you suspect are damaging (and their corresponding receipts)
- Keep a journal in which you log the symptoms you suffer
- Photograph the progression of any visible issues, like bald patches
How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Product Liability Lawsuit?
The easiest way to determine if you have grounds for a claim against a manufacturer is by consulting a product liability lawyer. Since most reputable personal injury firms offer free case reviews, you’ve got nothing to lose by filling out our form and then calling the attorney we recommend.
During your initial consultation, the lawyer will ask a number of questions to determine whether you’re likely entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. As such, you should be prepared to discuss how and when you used the product or products in question and what kinds of issues you experienced.
If you’ve sought treatment for any of the adverse effects, bring along your medical records. You should also bring any photographs you took documenting their progression.
How Does a Product Liability Lawsuit Work?
If it turns out you have grounds for a claim, a knowledgeable product liability attorney can guide you through every stage of the proceedings. Generally speaking, you’ll start by determining the total extent of the damages. Then, you’ll send the manufacturer a demand letter.
Even if your letter includes plenty of evidence, the manufacturer probably won’t honor your initial request. They may, however, be willing to negotiate.
After going back and forth several times, most personal injury claims are resolved at this point. As long as the claim is legitimate, the defendant is usually willing to offer a fair settlement so as to skip the hassle that comes with going to court.
If you’re unable to reach a fair settlement, though, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. After submitting your complaint against the defendant, the discovery stage will begin. This is essentially a comprehensive investigation during which both parties gather the evidence needed to strengthen their respective cases.
Mediation usually comes next. During mediation, a neutral third party tries to help the plaintiff and defendant arrive at a resolution that they both deem satisfactory. Depending on the kind of information that came to light, the defendant may be inclined to negotiate at this point.
If negotiations still prove futile, a trial will be scheduled. At this proceeding, both parties will present their cases before a judge and jury, and then a verdict will be issued.
Do I Need Legal Counsel to File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Since virtually all major manufacturers have the resources to challenge every claim that’s filed against them, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel before taking action. Placing your case in the hands of a strategic professional will essentially level the playing field.
As long as an experienced attorney is representing you, the opposing party won’t be able to manipulate you into dropping the suit or accepting an unfair settlement.
Of course, chances are you’ve never needed a product liability lawyer, and you’re wondering how to go about finding a good one in your area. Should this be the case, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a reputable firm that’s equipped to take your case.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Product Liability Lawsuit?
While it’s only natural to hope for a speedy resolution to your suit, the reality is legal proceedings are inherently complex. Even the strongest claims that include irrefutable evidence can take six months to a year to settle. And if your case is one of the few that ends up going to trial, you can be sure it will take even longer.
As long as you turn to a reliable practice for counsel, though, you can be sure your legal team will do everything in their power to avoid unnecessary delays. They will also keep you informed of your case’s progress every step of the way.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Product Liability Lawsuit?
If your hair care product liability case proves impossible to settle, you’ll have a limited amount of time to take the manufacturer to court. The precise deadline will depend on the laws in the state where you’ll be filing the suit.
Called statutes of limitations, these filing deadlines typically range from one to six years. Should you attempt to go to trial after the applicable deadline has passed, the judge will likely dismiss your case, unless an exception applies.
If you want to know precisely how long you’ll have to file a suit, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a product liability attorney who’s well-versed in tort law in your state.
How Much Can You Recover From a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Since every product liability claim is unique, there’s no formula you can apply to determine how much your own case might yield. You can, however, determine a reasonable starting point for the negotiations with help from a personal injury lawyer.
A seasoned attorney can review the kinds of damages you’ve incurred—making sure not to overlook any recoverable losses—and then estimate an acceptable figure for each one. To find a lawyer in your area who can help, complete our form. We’ll review the details you provide and connect you with someone who’s up for the task.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, hair replacement therapies, and emotional distress. If you’re unsure how to go about proving any of these losses, don’t worry; the right attorney can help.
How Long Does It Take to Receive the Funds After Resolving a Lawsuit?
When a product liability claim yields a payout, the injured party can usually expect to receive his or her portion in a matter of weeks. The check is generally made out to the plaintiff’s legal team, since they’re equipped to handle any outstanding bills, like health insurance liens.
After ensuring all those who are owed money have been paid—and taking out their own contingency fee—the firm will give the client the remaining funds.
If you’re dealing with balding, scalp irritation, or strand damage and you think your hair care products are to blame, fill out our form. We’ll connect you with a local product liability attorney who has what it takes to go up against major manufacturers, so you can pursue the compensation you deserve.