United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MICHAEL MUIR, MELISSA BOWERS, REGINA CORBIN, COLLEEN GAINES, and DONNA BENGEN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
NATURE'S BOUNTY DE, INC., REXALL SUNDOWN, LLC, and PURITAN'S PRIDE, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA R. PALLMEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Michael Muir's third attempt to plead
individual and class allegations of consumer fraud and unjust
enrichment arising from his and proposed class members'
purchases of the dietary supplement St. John's Wort. The
court dismissed Muir's original complaint insofar as it
asserted claims against manufacturers whose products Muir did
not purchase. See Muir v. NBTY, Inc., No. 15 C 9835,
2016 WL 5234596 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 22, 2016). Muir amended his
complaint to name only one manufacturer-Nature's Bounty,
Inc.-as a defendant, but the court dismissed both his
nationwide class allegations (due to relevant conflicts in
state unjust-enrichment laws) and his multi-state class
allegations (due to Muir's lack of standing to assert
claims under the consumer fraud statutes of states where he
did not purchase St. John's Wort). See Muir v.
Nature's Bounty, Inc., No. 15 C 9835, 2017 WL
4310650 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2017).
Second Amended Class Complaint , four new plaintiffs now
join Muir in seeking damages-individually and on behalf of a
multi-state class of certain persons who purchased St.
John's Wort in Illinois, California, Michigan, or
Pennsylvania-from Nature's Bounty and two additional
corporate Defendants. In the alternative, Plaintiffs propose
four subclasses of persons who purchased St. John's Wort
in one of each of these states.
have moved to dismiss all the claims in the Second Amended
Class Complaint except those that Muir himself asserts under
Illinois law. For the reasons explained below,
Defendants' motion  is granted in part and denied in
part. The individual claims of the non-Illinois Plaintiffs
are dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Defendants' motion is otherwise denied.
Nature's Bounty (DE), Inc. is a Delaware corporation with
its principal place of business located at 110 Orville Drive
in Bohemia, New York. (Second Am. Compl. [hereafter
“SAC”] ¶ 19.) Nature's Bounty
manufactures and sells a product that Plaintiffs refer to as
“Nature's Bounty St. John's Wort Standardized
Extract.” (Id. at ¶ 14.) Defendant Rexall
Sundown, LLC, a Delaware limited liability corporation whose
principal place of business is also located at 110 Orville
Drive in Bohemia, New York, manufactures and sells
“Sundown Naturals St. John's Wort Standardized
Extract.” (Id. at ¶¶ 17, 20.)
Defendant Puritan's Pride, Inc., a Delaware corporation
with its principal place of business in Holbrook, New York,
manufactures and sells “Puritan's Pride St.
John's Wort Standardized Extract.” (Id. at
¶¶ 15, 21.) According to Plaintiffs' Second
Amended Complaint, “Defendants formulated,
manufactured, warranted, advertised and sold the Products in
Chicago, Illinois, throughout the State of Illinois, and
throughout the United States.” (Id. at ¶
4.) The pleadings do not make clear the precise relationship
between the three Defendants. Nature's Bounty's
website lists “Puritan's Pride” and
“Sundown Naturals” as parts of a “broad
portfolio of well-known brands” under which
Nature's Bounty “markets its products.” (Aff.
of Richard S. Wilson, Ex. A to Pls.' Resp. Br. [66-1];
ourcompany/corporate-overview, (accessed Aug. 1,
2018).) In their Reply brief, Defendants appear to concede
that the companies “share a corporate parent.”
(Defs.' Reply , at 6.)
Michael Muir is a resident of Lake Zurich, Illinois.
(Id. at ¶ 14.) In or around July 2015, Muir
purchased Nature's Bounty St. John's Wort
Standardized Extract from the retailer
Walgreens. (Id.) Plaintiff Melissa Bowers,
also a resident of Illinois, “has purchased”
Puritan's Pride St. John's Wort Standardized Extract
“for many years.” (Id. at ¶ 15.)
Plaintiff Regina Corbin resides in California and purchased
Puritan's Pride St. John's Word Standardized Extract
at some point between November 2015 and November 2017.
(Id. at ¶ 16.) Plaintiff Colleen Gaines resides
in Michigan and purchased both Nature's Bounty St.
John's Wort Standardized Extract and Sundown Naturals St.
John's Wort Standardized Extract at some point between
November 2015 and November 2017. (Id. at ¶ 17.)
Plaintiff Donna Bengen resides in Pennsylvania and “has
been purchasing” both Nature's Bounty St.
John's Wort Standardized Extract and Sundown Naturals St.
John's Wort Standardized Extract “for at least 17
years.” (Id. at ¶ 18.)
front labels on each of the products at issue prominently
display the words “Standardized Extract.”
(Id. at ¶ 28.) On the back of each
product's label, the following text appears under the
heading “Supplement Facts”: “Standardized
to contain 0.3% Hypericin, 0.9 mg.” (Id. at
¶ 29.) In fact, Plaintiffs allege, each of the relevant
products “contain[s] different amounts of Hypericin,
and all are far below the amount listed on the label.”
(Id. at ¶ 29.) Plaintiffs have attached
exhibits to the Second Amended Complaint that show that a
company called ChromaDex examined samples of
“Nature's Bounty St. John's Wort, ”
“Sundown Naturals St. John's Wort, ” and
“Puritan's Pride St. John's Wort, ” and
found that the amount of “Total Hypericin” in the
samples ranged from 0.166 mg to 0.615 mg per
“serving.” (Exs. A-C to SAC.) According to
Plaintiffs, “scientific literature” demonstrates
that St. John's Wort only provides “benefits”
when a person ingests at least 0.9 mg of Hypericin each day.
(SAC ¶ 33.) Plaintiffs therefore would not have
purchased Defendants' products “if they had known
that they had a significantly lower quantity of the
Standardized Extract Hypericin than was stated on the
Products' labels.” (Id. at ¶ 37.)
have moved to dismiss all the claims in Plaintiffs'
Second Amended Complaint “other than those asserted by
Michael Muir under Illinois law against Nature's
Bounty.” (Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 14.)
first argue that the court lacks personal jurisdiction over
any of them with regard to the claims asserted by the
non-Illinois Plaintiffs. The doctrine of personal
jurisdiction governs the scope of states' authority to
bind non-resident defendants to the judgments of their
courts. Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121
(2014). Unless a federal statute provides otherwise, a
federal court's jurisdiction over a defendant's
person is determined by the law of the state in which it
sits. Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 700 (7th
Cir. 2010). Illinois law permits a court to “exercise
jurisdiction to the full extent permitted by the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Brook v.
McCormley, 873 F.3d 549, 552 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing 735
ILCS 5/2-209(c)). Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing
personal jurisdiction, though they “need only make out
a prima facie case” where the court has not
held an evidentiary hearing on the subject. Northern
Grain Marketing, LLC v. Greving, 743 F.3d 487, 491 (7th
Cir. 2014). In considering whether Plaintiffs have met this
burden, the court accepts well-pleaded facts as true and
resolves factual disputes in Plaintiffs' favor.
nature of the defendant's contacts with the forum state
determines the propriety of personal jurisdiction and also
its scope.” Tamburo, 601 F.3d at 701. Where a
defendant is not physically present in the forum state, but
the defendant's contacts with that state are “so
‘continuous and systematic' as to render [the
defendant] essentially at home” there, courts in the
forum state have “general jurisdiction . . . to hear
any and all claims” against that defendant.
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 915, 919 (2011). Even if the defendant is not
“essentially at home” in the forum state, a court
may assert “specific jurisdiction” if the
defendant's “suit-related conduct . . . create[s] a
substantial connection with the forum State.”
Walden, 134 S.Ct. at 1121. Specific jurisdiction is
available “whenever the cause of action arises out of
or relates to the contacts between the defendant and the
forum.” Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A.
v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 427 (1984).
case, Plaintiffs do not argue that the court has general
jurisdiction over any Defendant. Defendants, in turn, do not
dispute the existence of specific jurisdiction for claims
brought by persons who purchased the relevant products in
Illinois. Defendants do dispute the existence of
specific jurisdiction vwith regard to the claims of persons
who purchased those products outside of Illinois. The U.S.
Supreme Court's recent decision in Bristol-Myers
Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017),
Defendants suggest, forecloses any possible argument that