What is the Skechers Lawsuit based on?
Remember the big hype when toning shoes were introduced? Was it all false advertising? Television commercials in 2009 for Skechers Shape-Ups featured celebrities such as Super Bowl quarterback Joe Montana and suggested that consumers could get in shape without traditional gym workouts. The promise was that these rocker bottom shoes would help users strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abs, as well as lose weight. It seemed plausible: in order to keep your balance, you had to use different muscles while wearing the shoes, so you would get a great work-out just walking around. No one bought and wore these unique shoes expecting to end up in a doctor’s office or emergency room.
Do the Shoes Improve Fitness?
But maybe the unstable base on the toning shoes wasn’t such a great idea. As early as 2010 the American Council on Exercise completed a study which concluded that there was “simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”
The May 2011 issue of Consumer Reports claimed that toning shoes had produced more injury reports that any other product in its database. Falls and injuries resulted when users could not compensate for the unstable sole and altered gait. Stress fractures to thighbone or hips and shin splints, as well as knee problems and arch problems have been reported.
What Kind of Injuries?
Millions bought products such as Skechers Shape-Ups at prices of about $60 – $100, only to find that the shoes did not deliver the advertised results and even caused injuries. What problems are allegedly caused by the shoes? Everything from ankle and hip fractures to wrist, head, joint, tendon, ligament, and spinal cord injuries. Hospitalizations, surgeries and even permanent disabilities have resulted. The most at-risk population for Shape-Ups injuries are obese individuals and elderly adults. Anyone with balance problems or nerve damage in the foot area is also at high risk of injury. Those with bone disorders such as osteoporosis are at elevated risk of hip injury or even hip fracture while wearing a toning shoe.
Limited Benefits, High Risk
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine reported that the benefits of toning shoes were overstated while the risks were not fully disclosed. As a result, the Federal Trade Commission charged the manufacturer of Skechers Shape-Ups (Manhattan Beach-based Skechers USA Inc.) with making unfounded claims. In May 2012, the company agreed to pay $40 million to settle the charges, providing buyers with refunds for their shoe purchases, but not compensating them for injuries.
If you purchased the company’s line of Shape-Up shoes – or its Resistance Runners, Tone-ups or Toners – you are entitled to a partial refund. You don’t even have to provide proof of purchase. Consumers should submit a claim at www.skecherssettlement.com, fill out the online form and offer up any documentation they have. File your claim as quickly as possible for your share of the $40 million settlement.
*** UPDATE April 18, 2013: The deadline for filing a claim for a shoe refund passed on April 18, 2013. Claims for a refund can no longer be filed.
*** UPDATE May 13, 2013: The settlement for shoe refunds was finalized May 13, 2013 as part of Grabowski v. Skechers USA. Checks will reportedly be mailed in late Summer 2013.
*** UPDATE July 12,2013: The checks for shoe refunds were mailed to approved claimants. Checks must be cashed by October 10, 2013.
Lawsuits include 101 cases against Skechers Shape-Ups filed by Wright & Schulte LLC, a personal injury firm on January 28, 2013, in the federal multidistrict litigation established for Skechers Toning Shoe lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. Defendants are Skechers USA Inc., Skechers USA Inc., II, and Skechers Fitness Group. The consumers claim their injuries were the result of Skechers Toning shoes. Rather than fitness and weight loss, the litigants received serious injuries, including foot, ankle, leg and hip fractures, tendon and ligament damage, head injuries, spinal cord damage, and in one case, a pulmonary embolism. In spite of these risks, the Skechers lawsuit says that the company continues to market and promote the tone up shoes without performing safety testing. Compensation is sought for pain, surgery, physical therapy, lost wages, mental anguish, and medical expenses. Free case evaluations with Wright & Schulte LLC are available through yourlegalhelp.com, or by calling 1-800-399-0795.
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