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5-Hour Energy Lawsuits Centralized in Federal Litigation

5-Hour Energy Lawsuits Centralized in Federal Litigation

June 7, 2013 — Nine separate class action lawsuits allege that 5-Hour Energy was deceptively marketed with the slogan “hours of energy now — no crash later.” Earlier this week, a judicial panel voted to consolidate all 5-Hour Energy lawsuits into a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in California.

The Transfer Order was issued on June 5 by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation. The order will centralize the litigation into the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. By establishing an MDL, the court hopes to reduce the burden on parties, witnesses, and the court-system. It will also reduce the risk of conflicting rulings and duplicate discovery.

All of the lawsuits accuse Michigan-based Innovation Ventures, doing business as Living Essentials, of marketing 5-Hour Energy with false and deceptive advertisements. Lawyers claim that the slogan “hours of energy now — no crash later” is false. Although the fine-print on the product label indicates that “no crash means no sugar crash,” plaintiffs who have joined the class actions allege that they “did experience a crash.”

Only lawsuits involving false marketing have been centralized — not personal injury claims. However, in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that dozens of injuries and at least 13 deaths had been associated with 5-Hour Energy. The incidents have led many health experts to warn that the drinks should not be consumed by children, people with pre-existing health problems, or before vigorous exercise.

Each 5-Hour Energy “shot” is estimated to contain 200 milligrams of caffeine, but the actual amount of caffeine and other ingredients is unknown. The manufacturers avoid listing the ingredients because 5-Hour Energy is marketed as a “dietary supplement,” not a food, and is subject to different regulations.

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