Johnson Fistel, LLP Obtains Significant Relief for Thousands of California Massage Heights Members Who Allegedly Forfeited Prepaid Massages
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On June 16, 2022, the San Diego Superior Court granted final approval of a consumer class action settlement resolving allegations that Massage Heights’ membership agreements with thousands of its California members caused them to forfeit prepaid massage services upon membership termination in violation of California law.
Johnson Fistel, court-appointed class counsel, negotiated the settlement following years of investigation and hard-fought litigation with the goal of obtaining a real and direct economic benefit for the class and providing them the opportunity to reinstate their lost massage credits. The settlement does just that, with benefits that include up to approximately 75% reinstatement, carrying a potential value in the several millions, and with no condition that a new membership be purchased or money otherwise be spent out-of-pocket. Johnson Fistel’s creative and persistent advocacy on behalf of the class throughout the case ultimately led to the court’s final approval and confirmation that the settlement fairly, reasonably, and adequately resolved the claims of the class in a manner that serves their best interests.
According to the complaint, the membership agreements at issue failed to unequivocally state that, upon termination or cancellation of membership, the prepaid massages would be forfeited, as required by California law. Thus, when a membership was terminated during the relevant period, either upon cancellation, nonrenewal, or default for nonpayment, the class members’ unused prepaid massages were unlawfully forfeited, which the complaint alleges is unconscionable under Cal. Civ. Code § 1670.5 and further constitutes unlawful liquidated damages penalties in violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 1671(d).
This recent settlement follows a long line of cases in which Johnson Fistel has been a leader in consumer advocacy, and after the firm previously succeeded in similar claims against well-known, national massage chain franchisor, Massage Envy, in the wake of its alleged and publicized membership agreement legal disputes. Attorneys Frank J. Johnson and Chase M. Stern led the prosecution of the Massage Heights litigation for Johnson Fistel.