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Morphe Lawsuit Overview: What to Know

We explain the background of the Morphe lawsuit and the latest updates, including critical developments in 2023.

evident Editorial Team
February 27, 2024
Eyeshadow brushes, makeup

Customers of the makeup company Morphe LLC may have heard about a Morphe palette lawsuit, but what is the lawsuit about? And where do the legal proceedings stand?

A class action lawsuit was filed in April 2022 alleging that certain Morphe products contained harmful ingredients that could cause severe eye irritation and various other injuries.

But things got even more complicated when Morphe's struggling parent company filed for bankruptcy in early 2023.

We explain the background of the Morphe lawsuit, the allegations in the class action complaint, and the latest updates in this article.

Key Takeaways

The Parties Involved

The Morphe Brand, founded in 2008 in California, was later incorporated as Morphe LLC in the State of Delaware.

Forma Brands LLC became the parent company of Morphe around 2019 following an acquisition. (Morphe Management Holdings LLC, in turn, is the parent company of Forma Brands LLC).

Without getting lost in the weeds of the corporate structure, though, the key point is that Morphe is the outward-facing brand, while Forma Brands and Morphe Management Holdings are related parent companies.

Morphe Class Action Lawsuit: Overview

So, what is the Morphe lawsuit about? In April 2022, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Morphe and related companies in federal court in California alleging that certain Morphe cosmetics products contained color additives that are "inherently dangerous" and "designated by the FDA as unsuitable and unapproved for cosmetic use in the eye area."

The lawsuit alleged that customers suffered injuries "including painful eye irritation, skin discoloration and staining, rashes, and inflammation" after applying Morphe products "as instructed" by the company. The products at issue include eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners, and Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color.

The proposed class action lawsuit alleged the company acted unlawfully both in the design of its products, given the "inherently dangerous" nature of the ingredients, as well as in its advertising and marketing of Morphe cosmetics. Indeed, the complaint alleged that Morphe eye makeup had "no reasonable use other than cosmetic application in the eye area," despite the fact that plaintiffs allege this would inevitably cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, or other injuries to customers.

The complaint also alleged that Morphe attempted to sidestep liability, such as by naming some of the products "artistry palettes" and "pressed pigments" rather than eyeshadow. But whether called an artistry palette or eyeshadow, the plaintiffs alleged that Morphe's "marketing, advertising, public statements, social media posts and videos, training manuals, and online tutorials encourage and instruct consumers to use the [relevant products] in the eye area."

Morphe Lawsuit List of Products

cosmetics, eyeshadow, makeup

The list of products named in the Morphe lawsuit includes:

  • Eyeshadow palettes (which Morphe calls "artistry palettes")
  • Eyeliners
  • Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color

Which Morphe palettes are in the lawsuit? The short answer is nearly all of them. The complaint states that, at the time of filing, there 49 variations of Morphe eyeshadow palettes listed for sale on the company's website. Plaintiffs alleged that 43 of those eyeshadow palettes contained problematic color additives.

Meanwhile, the color additives that are banned by the FDA but allegedly used in those Morphe products include:

  • FD&C Red No. 4
  • D&C Violet No. 2
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6
  • And many more.

What laws are at issue in the Morphe lawsuit?

The Morphe lawsuit alleged violations of:

The complaint in the Morphe class action lawsuit also sought relief under theories of Breach of Implied Warranties; Unjust Enrichment; multiple theories of Negligence; and Strict Products Liability.

Morphe Lawsuit: 2024 Updates

gavel, law

Unfortunately, developments with Morphe's business after the class action complaint was filed complicated the lawsuit's progress.

Morphe tweeted on January 5, 2023, that the company had "made the difficult decision to close all Morphe stores in the U.S." BeautyMatter reported that the announcement came "after employees were laid off without warning, and stores were emptied of all product seemingly overnight."

A wrench was thrown in the progress of the Morphe class action lawsuit when Forma Brands LLC, Morphe's parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a week later, on January 12, 2023. The judge presiding over the Morphe lawsuit issued an Order Administratively Closing Case in the class action lawsuit the next day.

The order did state, though, that the "order shall not be considered a dismissal or disposition of this action against any party. If further proceedings become necessary, any party may initiate them in the same manner as if this order had not been entered.”

That said, whether customers who used certain Morphe eyeshadow palettes will ever recover compensation for injuries caused by the harmful color additives remains to be seen.