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Kimberly-Clark faces $500M lawsuit over Ebola protection gear

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(Reuters) — A Southern California-based law firm has sued Kimberly-Clark Corp. for more than $500 million, alleging that the Kleenex tissue maker committed fraud by marketing and selling some of its surgical gowns as protection against Ebola.

Law firm Eagan Avenatti said it filed a class-action lawsuit in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, stating that Kimberly-Clark had falsely represented to health regulators and healthcare workers that its “MICROCOOL Breathable High Performance Surgical Gowns” are impermeable and provide protection against Ebola.

The law firm said the gowns had failed industry tests and did not meet relevant standards for protection against Ebola, placing healthcare workers and patients at “considerable risk.”

“Kimberly-Clark needs to immediately recall these gowns and come clean with the FDA, CDC, healthcare professionals and the general public,” lead attorney Michael Avenatti said in a statement.

Kimberly-Clark declined to comment.

The company's shares were largely unchanged in morning trading.