Consumers Sue Paparazzi: ‘Lead-Free’ Jewelry Contains Lead and Nickel

Apr. 27, 2022 – Consumers represented by Mason LLP have brought a class action lawsuit against multilevel marketing jewelry company Paparazzi LLC in New York federal court accusing it of lying when promoting its products as “lead-free” when they actually have detectable levels of the toxic metal, which can cause hives, itchy skin, vomiting, headaches and fatigue.

For years the $5 jewelry company advertised that every item in its collection was both “lead-free and nickel-free,” but that was not true, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Tamie Hollins, a Newburgh, New York, resident and lead plaintiff, claims Paparazzi’s jewelry contained those and other harmful materials. She hopes to represent a nationwide class and statewide subclass.

“Unbeknownst to plaintiff and members of the proposed classes, and contrary to the representations on the defendant’s website, the products contained toxic heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and lead as well as nickel, which if disclosed prior to purchase would have caused plaintiff and members of proposed classes not to purchase … the products,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit notes that lead can cause adverse health side effects including cognitive decline, hypertension and cardiovascular issues. About 12% to 17% of women are allergic to nickel, the suit claims.

Hollins purchased several pieces in 2021 under the assumption that they were safe to wear, according to her lawsuit. She claims she suffered economic damages by buying the lead- and nickel-laden jewelry.

The Utah-based company largely distributes its products through independent consultants who purchase and then sell the jewelry directly to consumers. Hollins doesn’t claim she was a consultant; rather, she bought the products for “personal purposes,” according to the suit. Hollins also doesn’t claim to have suffered any health side effects from the jewelry.

The suit claims Paparazzi violated New York’s general business law by deceiving customers into thinking the products were safe to wear. It also claims the company unjustly enriched itself.

Hollins claims Paparazzi “quietly” scrubbed the “lead-free and nickel-free” description from its about-our-products webpage in November 2021, the complaint said.

Hollins is represented by Gary E. Mason of Danielle F. Perry of Mason LLP and Jonathan Shub and Kevin Laukaitis of Shub Law Firm LLC.

The case is Hollins v. Paparazzi LLC, No.  5:22-cv-00393, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.