Ten months after publicly announcing a $50 million lawsuit against Zeltiq, the maker and seller of CoolSculpting, Linda Evangelista has settled her case.
When Evangelista filed her lawsuit in Sept. 2021, she said that, due to disfigurement resulting from CoolSculpting, she became a recluse who could not work. Evangelista experienced Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, also called PAH, after undergoing several CoolSculpting treatments, meaning that fat areas that were supposed to shrink instead grew, hardened and turned numb.
The settlement announcement came on Tuesday, with Evangelista stating, in part, that she was “pleased” to settle the case and is looking forward to “the next chapter of my life with friends and family, and am happy to put this matter behind me.” Terms of the settlement were not revealed, and neither Evangelista’s lawyer, Daniel Markham at Wrobel Markham, nor CoolSculpting parent company Allergan responded to requests for comment. Allergan acquired Zeltiq and its CoolSculpting technology in 2017.
Following Evangelista’s public announcement on social media in Sept. 2021, which garnered over 177,000 likes on Instagram compared to the usual 20,000-35,000 range on her profile, Evangelista then revealed the extent of her PAH to People magazine in February. Her social media posts on Feb. 16 showing the magazine cover and a section of PAH on her back received over 80,000 and 126,000 likes, respectively.
“In today’s media-driven world, employing an assertive press strategy in coordination with your legal strategy can be especially potent,” said Evan Nierman, CEO of global crisis public relations firm Red Banyan. “It’s likely no coincidence that Linda Evangelista appeared on the cover of People magazine and that, a few months later, her case against the company was settled. In her statement making the announcement, Evangelista thanked those who reached out expressing support, and much of that support likely came after publicly sharing her story and focusing media attention on her lawsuit.”
Since the beginning of the year, CoolSculpting has gone on the defensive. It sought to assert its own press strategy with two notable direct-to-consumer campaigns to provide prospective CoolSculpting patients with real patient testimonials and answer questions about the treatment. The first, in March, involved CoolSculpting wading into Reddit via an Ask Me Anything forum. CoolSculpting then launched a May-July campaign called “CoolSculpting Takes You Further,” which featured actual patients telling their stories of using CoolSculpting. The end of the Evangelista lawsuit will allow the company to further push its positive messaging.
Evangelista recently returned to modeling. On July 17, the 57-year-old shared a photo of herself in the latest Fendi campaign and captioned the post: “On September 9, 2022, @Fendi will host a special fashion show in New York City to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the #FendiBaguette, designed by @silviaventurinifendi, and two years since @mrkimjones joined the Maison as Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear.”
In her People magazine interview about her decision to go public with her experience and lawsuit, she said, “I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know. I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame. I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak.”