Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Judge Refuses to Dismiss Fitbit Heart Rate Inaccuracy Lawsuit

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Fitbit Heart Rate Inaccuracy Lawsuit

Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has denied Fitbit’s request to dismiss the lawsuit over the claimed inaccuracy of its PurePulse™ heart rate technology within its popular fitness trackers. The fraud class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of consumers nationwide against Fitbit, Inc. over allegations that the company’s heart rate monitors – the Fitbit Blaze, the Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge – fail to accurately measure user heart rates. Heart rate monitors are used by athletes and others who need to reach or not exceed target heart rates. The use of monitors reporting inaccurate heart rates can lead to serious consequences.

Speaking to CNN, Lieff Cabraser partner Jonathan D. Selbin explained that the Fitbit litigation is “about the way they market it and that they charge a premium for the heart rate monitor, but it’s not giving a meaningful measurement.”

“We are not arguing that it is a medical device. I think that is irrelevant,” noted Selbin. “If they had just been honest, and said it can give you a ballpark figure most of the time, or if the marketing emphasized that you can use these when you are aspiring to be healthier, that would have been OK, but that’s not how they market it.”

Though Fitbit advertises its heart monitors as the most accurate wrist-worn wireless tracking devices on the market, numerous studies show otherwise. A comprehensive study was conducted by researchers at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The study was based off of 43 healthy adults who were tested for 65 minutes each during a variety of activities depicted by Fitbit when marketing the heart rate device. The conclusion was that Fitbit’s heart monitor rates were, on average, 20 beats per minute off during moderate to high-intensity exercise. More recently, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the top-ranked heart hospital in the nation, announced the results of new independent testing on a range of wrist-worn heart rate monitors, confirming the findings in previous studies that the PurePulse™ technology used in Fitbit’s popular fitness trackers is wildly inaccurate during moderate and high-intensity exercise.

As reported by MobiHealthNews, the lawsuit complaint stated: “Driven by sales of these products with PurePulse Technology, Fitbit’s revenues reached $1.858 billion in 2015, compared with $745.4 million in 2014. Plaintiffs allege that because the heart rate monitoring was the key feature of Fitbit’s most important products, its accuracy was crucial to Fitbit’s business success.”

Consumer Protection Attorneys at Lieff Cabraser

On January 5, 2016, attorneys at Lieff Cabraser, along with their co-counsel, filed a class action complaint on behalf of consumers seeking redress for Fitbit’s deceptive and misleading representations about its heart rate monitor products. The consumers claim that, as all the data demonstrates, Fitbit’s heart rate monitors cannot accurately or meaningfully record heart rates during high-intensity exercise, precisely what Fitbit advertised them for. The consumers also claims that Fitbit fraudulently tried to shield itself from liability for these defective products by tricking consumers into agreeing to an arbitration agreement, which the consumers argue should not be enforced.

If you purchased a Fitbit heart rate monitor (Fitbit Charge HR, Charge 2, Blaze, and Surge), we invite you to visit our Fitbit heart rate monitor lawsuit page to contact a consumer attorney at Lieff Cabraser. We welcome the opportunity to learn of your experiences with your Fitbit heart rate monitor and to answer any questions you may have about your legal rights.