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`Dr. Phil' Diet Pill Maker Settles Suit

CSA agrees to refunds for Shape Up buyers in response to allegations of false product claims.

September 26, 2006|Molly Selvin | Times Staff Writer

Buyers of diet products endorsed by TV psychologist "Dr. Phil" McGraw will be eligible for cash refunds or replacement vitamin supplements under terms of a $10.5-million settlement of a lawsuit alleging that the products didn't work as advertised.

The Shape Up products, which are no longer distributed or sold, included shakes, bars and multi-vitamins made by CSA Nutraceuticals of Irving, Texas.

McGraw plunged into the lucrative weight-loss market in mid-2003 with a campaign that included advice books, a prime-time TV special and the Shape Up products.

Facing a Federal Trade Commission investigation into allegations of false advertising, CSA Nutraceuticals stopped making the products in early 2004.

The class-action lawsuit, filed a year ago in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged that McGraw made false and misleading claims for the supplements.

The plaintiffs who bought the Shape Up products alleged that they lost money, not fat. The regimen required the user to swallow 22 pills daily at a cost of $120 a month.

Under terms of the settlement announced Monday, class members can receive a cash refund of $12.50 for every box of Shape Up they bought, up to four boxes, plaintiffs' lawyer Henry Rossbacher of Los Angeles said. Or they can elect to receive two bottles of Nutrilite Daily Multivitamin/Multimineral supplements for each box of Shape Up, up to eight bottles.

McGraw will not be personally liable for paying the settlement funds.

Greg Phillips, who represents McGraw, said, "We're pleased the case has settled."

Rossbacher estimates that the class includes more than 100,000 people.

Class members must file a valid claim by Jan. 22. Details of the agreement can be found online at www.shapeupsettlement.com or toll free at (888) 212-5570.

molly.selvin@latimes.com

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