Jessica Alba's Honest Co settles false ad lawsuit in U.S. for $1.55 million

Slideshow ( 2 images )

(Reuters) - Honest Co, the shopping website co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, has reached a $1.55 million settlement of U.S. consumer litigation claiming it sold laundry detergent, dish soap and a surface cleaner that contained a harsh chemical it pledged to avoid.

The preliminary accord resolves nationwide litigation accusing Honest of misleading consumers by claiming that its products did not contain the skin irritant sodium lauryl sulfate, when in fact it was a component of a “gentler” ingredient, sodium coco sulfate, that Honest acknowledged using.

According to court papers filed on Monday in Los Angeles federal court, Honest agreed to reformulate its products without either ingredient.

Consumers will be able to seek refunds, or credits on Honest’s website, for up to $50 without proofs of purchase and larger amounts with receipts, the papers show.

Court approval is required. Honest denied wrongdoing.

The company and its law firm did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A hearing to consider preliminary approval is scheduled for July 24.

Alba has had leading roles in the film “Fantastic Four” and TV series “Dark Angel.”

She was a defendant in one of several lawsuits that the settlement covers, but the plaintiffs agreed to drop her from the case, court papers show.

The case is In re: Honest Co Inc Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 16-ml-02719.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker