Toning Shoe Injury Lawyers Praise FTC’s $40 Million Settlement with Skechers

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Maryland product liability attorney Robert K. Jenner of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, and Kentucky’s Ronald E. Johnson Jr. of Schachter Hendy & Johnson, PSC, say the settlement sends a message that toning shoe manufacturers cannot get away with making deceptive claims.

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Baltimore product liability lawyer Robert K. Jenner

This settlement announcement should now focus consumers’ attention not only on their ability to get a well-deserved refund but also on their physical health.

Maryland product liability lawyer Robert K. Jenner today applauded the Federal Trade Commission for getting Skechers, USA, Inc., to agree to pay a $40 million settlement in response to charges that the company made deceptive claims about the health and fitness benefits of its Shape-Ups, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-Ups toning shoes.

The complaint and proposed settlement were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on May 16, 2012 (Docket No. 1:12-cv-01214-JG).

Jenner, a partner with the Maryland personal injury firm of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, currently is serving as Co-Lead Counsel in a separate action for all plaintiffs who have filed federal court lawsuits against Skechers for injuries alleged to have been caused by the same brand of rocker bottom toning shoes.

Kentucky attorney Ronald E. Johnson Jr. of Schachter Hendy & Johnson, PSC, is serving as the other Co-Lead Counsel in the ongoing Skechers multidistrict litigation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville (MDL No. 2308).

“This settlement announcement should now focus consumers’ attention not only on their ability to get a well-deserved refund but also on their physical health," Jenner said. "We contend that these shoes have caused a litany of health problems, including snapped bones, ripped Achilles tendons and ligaments and stress fractures of the feet, knees and hips.”

The FTC announced the settlement on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, regarding charges that Skechers deceptively advertised that its Shape-Ups would help people to lose weight and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles. To make a claim for a Skechers refund, consumers are directed to the FTC's Skechers settlement website.

The settlement will allow consumers who bought the toning shoes to collect refunds either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class-action lawsuit, according to the FTC.

The settlement also bars Skechers from making future claims about certain health and fitness benefits of the shoes “unless they are true and backed by scientific evidence.”

In September 2011, the FTC reached a $25 million settlement with Reebok over similar charges that it had made deceptive claims about the health and fitness benefits of its toning shoes.

In a press conference, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck, said the higher dollar amount of the Skechers settlement reflected the company’s share of the toning shoes market and the number of consumers potentially impacted.

“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” Vladeck said. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”

Johnson pointed out that the FTC’s settlement does not address injuries allegedly caused by the shoes, which is the focus of the ongoing litigation in the Western District of Kentucky.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs claim that they have sustained injuries from Skechers “Shape-Ups” toning shoes due to the shoes’ rocker bottom sole. They claim that the design altered their gait and caused severe lateral instability.

Johnson cited a May 2011 Consumer Reports article stating that toning shoes had produced more injury reports than any other product in its database.

“The FTC settlement, in our view, supports our key allegations that these shoes have not conferred any health benefits at all while, at the same time, they have exposed thousands of people across the country to the risk of serious injury,” Johnson said.

Jenner said that consumers can learn more about the potential health risks of toning shoes by going to his firm’s toning shoe injury website or its “The Facts About Toning Shoe Injuries” Facebook page.

About Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC

Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, is a national personal injury and product liability law firm with offices in Baltimore, MD, and Columbia, SC. Robert K. Jenner has more than 25 years of experience representing injured consumers nationwide against the manufacturers of defective products, including medical devices and dangerous drugs. He has been honored by his peers for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America," "Maryland's Super Lawyers" and in the "Best of the U.S." The firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars for its clients. For more information, call Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, today at (888) 463-3529 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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