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Judge Denies Class-Action Certification On Ephedra Lawsuit
San Diego CA, 1 October 2003

A United States District Court in Miami, Florida, issued an order this week refusing to certify a class action filed by six individuals against Metabolife International, Inc. relating to its over-the-counter dietary supplement Metabolife 356.

In Perez v. Metabolife International, Inc., a lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the plaintiffs sought authority to litigate their claims against Metabolife International, Inc. in the form of a nationwide class action or, alternatively, a class action comprised of present and former users of Metabolife 356 that reside in the State of Florida.

The plaintiffs claimed in their suit that the distributor of Metabolife 356 should be required to provide medical monitoring to every present and former user of Metabolife 356, as well as to fund research and educational programs regarding the alleged health risks and potential side effects of using Metabolife 356 and other ephedra-based products. It was asserted by the plaintiffs in their suit that Metabolife International, Inc. promoted its product, an ephedra and caffeine mixture that is marketed primarily for weight loss and increasing energy, by failing to adequately warn consumers about the risks and dangers that could result from using the product.

In denying class certification, Judge Paul C. Huck found that the plaintiffs were unable to meet the requirements for class certification under federal law. Among other things, Judge Huck ruled that the individuals that had filed the suit were not adequate class representatives and that the case did not present the type of common issues that class certification requires.

Finally, the court noted that the claims asserted by the plaintiffs regarding Metabolife 356 are unlike other medical products liability cases that have been certified as class actions, such as those relating to the banned diet drug Fen-Phen, because while there was clear-cut scientific evidence that the use of Fen-Phen would cause two specific cardiovascular disorders, no such evidence exists with respect to Metabolife 356.

Metabolife International, Inc. is represented in the case by Ernest P. Gieger, Jr., Andrew A. Braun, John E. W. Baay, II and Lisa E. Ciolino of Gieger, Laborde & Laperouse, L.L.C. located in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Ronald E. Cabaniss, Larry D. Smith, and Jason P. Herman of Cabaniss, Smith, Toole & Wiggins in Maitland, Florida.


Metabolife International, Inc.end-of-story




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