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