Lorna Jane’s claims its clothing could eliminate COVID-19 will be proven false by scientific experts testifying for the competition watchdog, a court has heard.
Lorna Jane’s claims its clothing could eliminate COVID-19 will be proven false by scientific experts testifying for the competition watchdog, a court has heard.

Lorna Jane’s virus-killing clothes claims false, experts say

Women's sportswear retailer Lorna Jane's "breathless" claims that its clothing can eliminate COVID-19 and prevent its spread will be proven false by scientific evidence given by experts testifying for the competition watchdog, a court has heard.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has asked the Federal Court to order Brisbane-based Lorna Jane Pty Ltd, and its director and founder Lorna Jane Clarkson, to pay a fine for misleading women to buy their brand thinking they would be given greater protection during the pandemic.

Roger Traves QC, counsel for the ACCC, told the first court mention of the case in Brisbane yesterday that the case against the retailer was a very simple one with "nothing tricky" about it.

The ACCC alleges in its pleading filed before Christmas that the fake claims about COVID protection may have made the brand's consumers "less vigilant in taking COVID-19 precautions".

The claims were allegedly made in June and November 2020, on Instagram, the company's website and in a media release, when Australia was in the midst of the global pandemic and lockdowns, the court was told yesterday.

Queensland-based activewear company Lorna Jane claimed their LJ Shield tops and pants could protect wearers from viruses.
Queensland-based activewear company Lorna Jane claimed their LJ Shield tops and pants could protect wearers from viruses.

They were false because there was "no scientific or technological basis to make each of these representations" and "wearing LJ Shield Activewear would not eliminate, render impossible or otherwise stop the spread or transfer of viruses, including COVID-19 including in gyms and upon returning home from the gym", the ACCC claim states.

Mr Traves told Justice Darryl Rangiah that it was "just nonsense" for Lorna Jane's barrister to suggest that the ACCC should be forced at this early stage in its case to specify the precise way in which each of the Lorna Jane statements about its "Lorna Jane Shield" and "groundbreaking technology" were false.

Lorna Jane, which has 108 stores nationwide, is alleged to have contended that its activewear destroyed and prevented the spread of covid 19 in at least 15 separate statements.

Several of the statements were alleged to have been made by Ms Clarkson.

"It (LJ Shield) is not a gimmick," she stated, according to the claim, claiming it was going to "revolutionise" the retail world.

Lorna Jane advertising in Toowong Village Shopping Centre.
Lorna Jane advertising in Toowong Village Shopping Centre.

Lorna Jane's barrister has asked that the court force the ACCC to reveal more details of the wrongdoing it is alleging against its clients, before Lorna Jane is due to file its defence.

"We don't know with proper detail the allegations against us," the barrister said.

Counsel for the company and Ms Clarkson argued the ACCC's case against Ms Clarkson is defective because it fails to plead that Ms Clarkson knew or ought to have known that her statements were false because she knew there was no scientific evidence to back them up.

The company claimed its clothing was sprayed with LJ Shield before it was sent to stores and the spray contained metal nano particles which stuck to the garment, and were designed to kill virus and kill bacteria to which the virus adhered as host.

 

Queensland-based activewear company Lorna Jane claimed their new range of LJ Shield tops and pants could protect wearers from viruses.
Queensland-based activewear company Lorna Jane claimed their new range of LJ Shield tops and pants could protect wearers from viruses.

 

Lorna Jane's barrister told the court yesterday that the ACCC's claim was unclear about whether it was accusing the retailer of not spraying the garments at all, not using metal nanoparticles in the spray, or that the metal nanoparticles failed to kill viruses or bacteria.

Justice Rangiah has ordered the ACCC to give further details of its claim to the retailer.

Lorna Jane are due to file their defence to the claim on March 5.

The case is set to return to court on March 23.

 

 

Originally published as Lorna Jane's virus-killing clothes claims false, experts say



Rising star to headline Lismore Youth Festival

Premium Content Rising star to headline Lismore Youth Festival

The free festival will take place across multiple venues in Lismore on April 14, 15...

Surfers' heroic attempt to rescue man at 'notorious' beach

Premium Content Surfers' heroic attempt to rescue man at 'notorious' beach

Stern warning issued following the tragic death

WATCH REPLAYS: King of the Country Day Three

Premium Content WATCH REPLAYS: King of the Country Day Three

The deciding fixtures of the King of the Country tournament are upon us, with...