The 10 Biggest Skechers Lawsuits in Company History


Skechers is a leading shoe manufacturer that sells popular footwear. The name is synonymous with quality and comfort in athleticwear in many circles. The lifestyle brand offers various sneakers and slides worn with casual and streetwear styles and also provides beachwear. Although it’s a beloved brand, the company has had its share of legal issues. Some lawsuits against the parent company allege a physical injury from selected shoe designs, while others claim trademark infringements. Here are the 10 biggest Skechers lawsuits in the company’s history to give you an idea of the company’s problems.

10. Skechers accused of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit

Settlement amount: Yet to be determined

Louisiana Record reports that New Orleans, Louisiana resident Samuel A. William alleged that a sharp please of plastic inside the pair of Skechers he was wearing came loose and cut through his Achilles tendon on the right foot. The injury occurred on December 23, 2020, due to a defect in the sneaker’s construction. The dangerous design of the shoe did not come with warnings, nor did the sneaker conform to the manufacturer’s warranty as a fitness product.

William filed a complaint against Skechers USA on October 5, 2020, in a federal court in Louisiana’s Eastern District federal court under case number 2:21-cv-01828-JTM-KWR. No information about the amount of the lawsuit or settlement details was shared with the public. It’s common for suits of this type to close with a clause that mandates all parties involved to maintain confidentiality.

9. Nike and Skechers settle the ongoing dispute over trademark infringement

Settlement amount: Confidential

Romano Law confirmed in 2021 that Nike and Skechers settled a longstanding dispute over trademark infringements. The dispute continued for five years, with Nike alleging that Skechers created sneaker designs featuring fly-knight features that infringed on its design patents. Skechers did produce similar models that were based on Nike’s original designs. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board dismissed the attempts of Skechers’ response to invalidate the patents Nike procured on the sneakers by suggesting they were “not novel.”

Skechers attempted to invalidate Nike’s design patents but were unsuccessful with each attempt. After five years of litigation and battling, The case drew to a close with the ruling that Skechers had copied patents secured by Nike for the AirMax 270 and the VaporMax sneakers. The case launched in early 2016, with Nike filing the infringement suit. The list of patent infringements continued to grow as Skechers blatantly continued to copy Nike designs.

The battle continued until late 2021. The two sneaker giants came to an agreement and a settlement to end the litigation that had cost both large sums of funds for the pursuit of the litigation on the part of Nike and defense on the part of Skechers. Confidentiality clauses within the agreement prohibit either company from discussing the terms of the agreement or details of the case. The amount is still unknown; however, such cases generally run into hundreds of millions.

8. Skechers was penalized for worker safety violations

Penalty amount: $5,375

One of the lower known settlement amounts on our list is a civil case investigated by the Moreno Valley Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Skechers facility in Moreno Valley, California, allegedly created a situation that made working conditions unsafe for employees in the General Warehousing and Storage facility. OSHA investigators discovered that the company committed safety-related offenses that put workers at risk for serious injury. The federal case settled with an agreement between Skechers and OSHA with a fine of $5,375 with additional orders to bring the work environment into compliance with local health and safety regulations. The case was resolved on April 23, 2012, with Skechers agreeing to pay the fine and make the changes necessary to protect the health and safety of its warehousing staff.

7. Skechers pays the penalty for wage and hour violations

Penalty amount: $7,060

Violation Tracker confirms that Skechers was accused of committing employment-related offenses, including child labor or youth violations and wage and hour violations. Complaints that Skechers employed youth laborers caused them to work for hours and wage compensation that violated New Jersey labor laws. Complaints investigated by the NJ Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division revealed evidence that Skechers had violated the laws. On September 15, 2018, in a federal civil hearing, Skechers received a penalty of $7,060 for two offenses in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for violating child labor or youth employment laws.

6. Skechers fined for safety violations

Penalty amount: $12,502

Workers complained that Sketchers allowed its employees to work under unsafe working conditions. The allegations triggered an investigation at the federal level from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA investigators discovered three violations at the Skechers Orlando, Florida facility at 517 N Alafaya Trail shoe stores. The civil case penalized Skechers for two serious offenses in 2019, and one violation was classed as “other.” The initial penalty was $20,838, with the final assessment at $12,503. On February 26, 2019, Skechers resolved the civil case by paying the penalties. No other information is available about the incidents documented by OSHA.

5. Skechers fined for Alabama safety violations

Settlement amount: $15,459

Skechers was in the hot seat for yet another series of safety-related violations in 2019. This case emerged in Hoover, Alabama. Although details of the case are not available, the California-based footwear company once again faced scrutinization from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for workplace safety or health violations in a civil case. Investigators discovered the violations at the Skechers shoe store at 3000 Riverchase Galleria Blvd Ste 286.

They deemed the health and safety violations as serious in the federally investigated civil case. Skechers paid fines of $15,459 in the incident on September 11, 2019, to resolve the case. This is one of many fines levied on the company for OSHA violations that year. OSHA summarized the incident stating that they discovered three serious violations with an initial penalty of $25,763 and the fines reduced to $15,458.

4. Skechers was penalized for OSHA violations in 2018

Penalty amount: $19,275

An employee of Skechers sustained serious injuries when their foot was crushed in an incident on June 14, 2018. The worker joined the company as a placement from an employment agency. They were operating a stand-up reach truck when the incident occurred. When driving from one building to another, he turned left, lost control of the vehicle, and veered into a guardrail. He was injured when his foot became pinned between a guardrail and the truck’s reach. His left ankle and foot were crushed in the incident. The worker remained in the hospital for six days.

The incident occurred at the Rancho Belago, California, general warehousing and storage facility on 29,800 Eucalyptus Avenue. An OSHA team of federal investigators discovered that Skechers was liable for the injuries due to its safety-related offenses deemed as serious. They declined to state the specifics of the situation, but Skechers received a fine of nearly $20,000 in the incident. The accident spurred federal investigations and put the Skechers corporation under the microscope. The litigation was one of many health and safety violations that would surface in the years ahead.

3. Skechers penalized over $1 million for 2014 labor law violations

Penalty amount: $1.2 million

Skechers USA Inc faced allegations of unfair labor practices from workers in California. They filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in a civil suit in Roneshia Sayles v. Skechers USA Inc. The California State Labor Board investigated the allegations and discovered that Skechers was guilty of wage and hour violations when it forced employees to work overtime, refusing to provide them with meal and rest breaks. Skechers further failed to compensate workers for overtime pay earned. These are clear violations of the labor laws established to protect workers from such abuses in California. Skechers settled the case on September 5, 2014, by paying fines of $1.2 million, part of which went towards restitution to the workers for the financial damages caused.

2. Skechers were fined for employment offenses in 2005

Settlement amount: $1.6 million

The SEC confirms that Skechers USA Inc faced charges of employment-related offenses against workers when three cases merged into one litigation. They combined Omar Quinones v. Skechers USA Inc, Myrna Cortez v. Skechers USA Inc, and another legal action with the same name. They filed a civil case in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange, in 2005. The three cases heard in the State court are just a few of the many litigations the company faced for allegations of wage and hour violations. Investigators for the State of California’s Labor Board discovered that Skechers long history of worker abuse goes back to 2005.

They looked into the complaints filed by several employees and discovered that Skechers committed overtime violations that resulted in financial harm to its workers. The actions of the company violated California State employment laws. The case handled at the state level was civil, private litigation that ended with the plaintiffs winning in a court of law. The judge ordered Skechers to pay a penalty of $1.6 million, part of which compensated workers for their losses. The settlement was the highest amount levied against Skechers for its unfair treatment of workers, but it was not the only incident. In the years ahead, the company would face similar lawsuits from workers in multiple states, settling privately or for lower penalty amounts.

1. Skechers sued for deceptive advertising in toning shoe case

Settlement amount: $40 million

The Federal Trade Commission confirmed that Skechers experienced a monumental loss when accused of deceptive advertising practices of a toning shoe model in 2012. The brand alleged that a sneaker they called “shape-ups” could help wearers to tone their abdominal, buttocks, and leg muscles while strengthening them. It also claimed that wearing Shape-Up shoes could help people to lose weight. Complaints that the sneakers did not perform as advertised triggered a response from the Federal Trade Commission. Investigators looked into the complaints and followed up with endorsements from a licensed chiropractor who supported the claims made by the company.

He asserted that the claims were based on “independent” clinical studies. The investigation revealed that the doctor married a Skechers executive, creating a conflict of interest. The clinical studies failed to prove that the Shape-Ups provided more benefits than other fitness shoe brands. Although supported and endorsed by Brooke Burke and Kim Kardashian, investigators concluded that there was no evidence to support the claims made by the brand. Skechers entered a class action court case involving 43 states and the District of Columbia as defendants. Attorneys General Offices from Ohio and Tennessee led the legal proceedings that settled in May 2012. The company received a penalty for deceptive advertising and agreed to a settlement of $40 million. Additionally, Skechers had to cease the advertising campaign that made false claims they could not substantiate. The overhyped advertisements ended.

Final thoughts

Although Skechers is a popular lifestyle sneaker brand in the USA and beyond, the company has a long track record of legal troubles. Its reputation suffered from shoe designs that infringed on trademark rights of other brands and unsafe construction and design that led to severe injuries for some of its customers. Claims of false advertising for some fitness models, bodily injury, unsafe working conditions, and unfair treatment of workers have cast a shadow on the company’s otherwise strong reputation. It’s not unusual for an otherwise reputable company to make mistakes. However, it appears that Skechers still has work to bring its subsidiaries, individual stores, and warehouses into compliance with state, federal, and local laws.

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