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Ronie M. Schmelz

Ronie Schmelz is an experienced, business-minded lawyer with decades of experience representing companies in complex commercial litigation, consumer class actions, and regulatory matters.

Ronie spent the first 25 years of her career at an international law firm defending clients in complex litigation, including consumer class actions and disputes involving reinsurance, general commercial, real estate, and health care-related matters. During the second half of her career, she has committed herself to advising clients on litigation-avoidance strategies so they can confidently focus on building and operating their businesses in a manner that reduces the risk of regulatory oversight or consumer challenges. These strategies include implementing best practices for complying with regulations and standards enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as the National Advertising Division (NAD), and ways to reduce exposure to consumer class actions. Ronie advises clients on a myriad of topics – including the implementation of recall procedures and responding to FDA Warning Letters, Notices of Action, and MedWatch Adverse Event Reports – and she defends clients in nationwide consumer class actions.

Ronie has deep industry knowledge and extensive experience advising clients in the consumer product industry, particularly those that manufacture cosmetics, skin and hair care products, dietary supplements, and household goods. Along with her experienced team of Tucker Ellis attorneys, Ronie counsels companies on compliance with the Federal Packaging and Labeling Act, California Proposition 65, the marketing of CBD and hemp products under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), and other federal and state consumer protection, advertising, and unfair business practices laws. Ronie and her team also draft and negotiate vendor and corporate agreements and manage domestic and international intellectual property rights, helping clients achieve good business hygiene by ensuring that proper contracts and IP protections are in place.

A leader in the cosmetics industry, Ronie serves as legal counsel to the executive board of Beauty Industry West. She also frequently speaks at industry events, including Cosmoprof North America and Bologna, Natural Products Association (NPA), California and New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists Suppliers’ Day, and American Conference Institute. She co-teaches a course on Advertising Law at Loyola Marymount University Law School and has taught at both UCLA Extension and the Fashion Institute of Design & Management (FIDM). Ronie also provides added value to client relationships by conducting educational in-house regulatory training sessions.

In addition to her consumer products practice, Ronie has extensive experience litigating reinsurance disputes and advising on insurance coverage matters.

University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D., 1987)
University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., 1984)
State Admissions
California, 1987
New York, 2012
District of Columbia, 2012
Federal Admissions
United States Court of Federal Claims
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
United States District Court, Central District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Southern District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Service Areas
Business Litigation
Class Action Litigation
Intellectual Property
Privacy & Data Security
Food, Cosmetics & Dietary Supplements
Industries Represented
Consumer Products
Dietary Supplements
FDA Law and Regulations
Food Manufacturing
FTC Law and Regulations
Hotels / Resorts
Insurance Carriers
Online/Internet Sales
Professional Organizations
Retail Stores
  • Represents a leading pet supplement company in a lawsuit filed by a competitor alleging Lanham Act violations and false advertising
  • Represents clients in National Advertising Division (NAD) proceedings
  • Represents companies in responding to FDA Warning Letters
  • Represents consumer product companies in nationwide consumer class actions challenging advertising, misbranding, and disclosure practices
  • Counsels clients on the marketing of consumer products containing cannabis/hemp
  • Represents food company in nationwide consumer class action challenging use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) in food products and use of the term “No Trans-Fat” on product labels
  • Counsels personal care product companies on regulatory compliance, advertising, best practices, and litigation avoidance strategies
  • Represents consumer product companies in class actions challenging use of the term “natural” to describe products
  • Represents subscription service companies in actions alleging violations of state automatic renewal laws

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • “Advertising 101: Best Practices for Marketing Ingredient and Product Benefits,” New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (May 2022)
  • “U.S. Regulatory Landscape: What to Know Before Marketing Probiotics,” Healthy Skin Microbiome Summit (June 2021)
  • “Clean Beauty Claims: Regulation, Transparency and Certifications,” 2nd Annual Clean Beauty Connect Virtual Summit (June 2021)
  • “Claims and Descriptions: A Legal Opinion on What You Can and Cannot Say,” CBD Expo Midwest 2021 (April 2021)
  • “Greenwashing,” Moderator, Hairstory Studio Sustainable Beauty Summit (April 2021)
  • “The Microbiome: From Decoding Nature to Biotech Breakthroughs,” Global Synthetic Biology Conference (October 2020)
  • “CBD in Cosmetics: So, What’s Legal?”, LUXE PACK | MakeUp Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (February 2020)
  • “Cannabis Regulations: Canada & European Union,” Processing of Cannabis/Hemp Plants and Refining of CBD Oil: Market, Regulations and Applications,” Las Vegas, Nevada (December 2019)
  • “The Farm Bill Has Passed: How Will Federal Refinement of Rules & Regulations for CBD and Hemp Oil Affect the Cosmetics, Personal Care Products and Dietary Supplements Industries?”, Beauty & Supplement Regulatory Exchange, Washington, D.C. (November 2019)
  • “The Legality of CBD: Separating Fact from Fiction,” 2019 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (November 2019)
  • “How to Tap into the CBD Beauty Trend the Right Way!”, Webinar, Cosmetics Design (October 2019)
  • “Marketing Probiotic Products: Careful What You Say!”, Skin Microbiome Congress 2019, San Francisco, California (September 2019)
  • “CBD and Cosmetics: Separating Fact from Fiction,” Intermountain West Society of Cosmetic Chemists (IMWSCC), Park City, Utah (August 2019)
  • “CBD and Beauty: The Next ___ Year(s),” Cosmoprof North America 2019, Las Vegas, Nevada (July 2019)
  • “CBD and Cosmetics: Separating Fact from Fiction,” California Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Malibu, California (May 2019)
  • “Riding the Coattails: The Latest Developments in Class Action Litigation Affecting the Cosmetics Industry,” ACI Cosmetics & Personal Care Products – Legal, Regulatory and Compliance, New York, New York (March 2019)
  • “Cosmetics 101: How to Market Cosmetics Without Attracting Unwanted Attention From Regulators and Consumer Lawyers,” Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles, California (March 2019)
  • “What to Know Before You Market Products in the United States,” Webinar, Italian Trade Agency, ICE – Italian Trade Commission, Trade Promotion Office of the Italian Embassy (February 2019)
  • “Welcome to 2019! What’s New?”, Natural and Organic Health and Beauty Alliance Webinar (January 2019)
  • “What Can I Say? Best Practices for Product Claims,” Credo Brand Consortium (October 2018)
  • “Regulatory Challenges: Probiotic Beauty Products,” 2nd Skin Microbiome Congress, San Francisco, California (September 2018)
  • “High on Beauty: The Cannabis Dilemma,” Cosmoprof North America, Las Vegas, Nevada (July 2018)
  • “FTC Spotlight,” co-presented with Richard L. Clelland, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Natural Product Association’s (NPA) “The Big Natural,” Las Vegas, Nevada (June 2018)
  • “Cosmetic Sciences: Skin Care Ingredients, Skin Conditions and Regulatory Issues for Cosmetic Professionals,” UCLA Extension, Los Angeles, California (April 2018)
  • “Regulatory and Legal Challenges Facing Subscription Commerce Businesses: What Can You Do to Reduce Your Legal Exposure?”, SUBCOM 2018 East, New York, New York (March 2018)
  • “How to Market Cosmetics Without Attracting Unwanted Attention from Regulators and Consumer Lawyers,” Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles, California (March 2018)
  • “Regulatory, Compliance, and Legal Challenges for Subscription Businesses: What You Should Know to Reduce the Risk of Exposure,” SUBCOM 2017: The Subscription Commerce Summit, San Francisco, California (November 2017)
  • “Lessons Learned: How to Market ‘Natural’ Products Without Drawing the Attention of Regulators and Class Action Lawyers,” 2017 Suppliers’ Day Exhibition of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Long Beach, California (October 2017)
  • “How to Market Cosmetics Without Attracting Regulatory and Consumer Scrutiny,” In-Cosmetics North America, New York, New York (October 2017)
  • “What Women Want From Naturals,” Panelist, Cosmoprof North America Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada (July 2017)
  • “Knowledge is Power: Recent Developments in FDA Warning Letters, FTC Enforcement Actions, NAD Proceedings, and Consumer Class Actions,” Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Manhattan Beach, California (April 2017)
  • “FDA, FTC and Consumer Class Action Update: Avoiding Unwanted Attention from Government Regulators and Private Plaintiff Lawyers,” Beauty Industry West, Los Angeles, California (January 2017)
  • “Proposition 65: Heightened Disclosure Requirements,” Valley Industry & Commerce Association, Van Nuys, California (December 2016)
  • “Advertising Risks and Brand Protection – Claim Substantiation, Enforcement, and Consumer Class Actions,” 2016 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (October 2016)
  • “Claim Substantiation: Best Practices for Avoiding Unwanted Attention from Government Regulators and Private Plaintiff Lawyers,” New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Edgewater, New Jersey (September 2016)
  • “Natural Beauty: The Wave of the Current Beauty Industry,” The Fashion Group International of Los Angeles, Inc. (FGI) and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles, California (December 2015)
  • “Food & Beverage Class Action Litigation Spotlight,” 3rd Annual Food & Beverage Litigation, Compliance & Regulatory Exchange, Chicago, Illinois (October 2015)
  • “Regulatory Update: Strategies for Avoiding Class Actions and Complying with FDA and FTC Guidelines,” Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) Suppliers’ Day, Long Beach, California (October 2015)

Recent Publications


  • Beauty Industry West (BIW), Board Member and Legal Advisor to the Board
  • California Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC), past Board Member
  • Chief, the Private Network for Women Leaders
  • Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW)
  • Bay Area Beauty Association (BABA), Founding Board Member
  • Natural Products Association (NPA)
  • Personal Care Products Council (PCPC)
    • State Government Affairs Committee