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OTRC: Kim Kardashian-endorsed Skechers hit with $40 million lawsuit

Kim Kardashian appears in an ad for Sketchers Shape-ups. / Kim Kardashian appear on the May 14, 2012 episode of 'The Tonight Show.' (Sketchers / NBC)

Skechers' Shape-ups fitness shoes, which featured Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke in their ads, was hit with a $40 million lawsuit for making unfounded claims.

"The FTC's message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims," FTC consumer protection bureau director David Vladeck said in a statement.

On May 16, it was announced that the Federal Trade Commission had determined that the shoe company lied about clinical studies which claimed their Shape-Ups help people lose weight and strengthen muscles in the butt, legs and stomach.

Skechers agreed to pay $40 million in settlement costs and those who purchased Sketcher's Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups are eligible for a refund. They also owe $5 million in class action attorneys' fees.

The shoe company denies that they made false allegations, but said the settlement would be less expensive than dealing with individual lawsuits.

"While we vigorously deny the allegations made in these legal proceedings and looked forward to vindicating these claims in court, Skechers could not ignore the exorbitant cost and endless distraction of several years spent defending multiple lawsuits in multiple courts across the country," David Weinberg, the Company's Chief Financial Officer said in a statement. "This settlement will dispose once and for all of the regulatory and class action proceedings. While we believe we could have prevailed in each of these cases, to do so would have imposed an unreasonable burden on the Company regardless of the outcome."

"Our Company's goal has always been and will continue to be designing and selling quality, affordable shoes for our loyal customers," Weinberg continued. "In short, we settled to avoid the cost and distraction of protracted legal battles so we could get back to doing what we do best."

Sketchers went on to say that researchers from around the world have found benefits from various models of toning shoes, which feature curved soles rather than flat-bottomed footwear.

"The Company fully stands behind its toning shoe products and technology and is permitted under the settlement to continue to advertise that wearing rocker-bottom shoes like Shape-ups can lead to increased leg muscle activation, increased calorie burn, improved posture and reduced back pain," Michael Greenberg, President of Skechers said in a statement. "The Company has received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from literally thousands of customers who have tried our toning shoes for themselves and have written unsolicited testimonials about their positive experiences?not just with our products' exercise benefits, but also with their well known comfort and style."

Kim Kardashian has yet to respond to the lawsuit. She appeared in a commercial where she ditched a personal trainer in favor of wearing Sketchers.

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