June 7, 2013 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation has consolidated nine 5-Hour Energy lawsuits involving claims of false marketing with the “hours of energy now — no crash later” slogan. The lawsuits will be transferred into a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) located in the Central District of California. All of the lawsuits are class action lawsuits involving allegations of false marketing.
The ruling, issued on June 5, transfers all current and future 5-Hour Energy lawsuits into a litigation under Judge Philip S. Gutierrez in the Central District of California for coordination of pre-trial proceedings. Centralizing the litigation is intended to reduce the risk of duplicate discovery, conflicting rulings in various courts, and reduce the burden on parties, witnesses, and the court system.
The lawsuits accuse Innovation Ventures, a Michigan company doing business as Living Essentials, of engaging in deceptive marketing practices. The company sold 5-Hour Energy with the slogan “hours of energy now — no crash later,” which lawyers claim was proved false at least five years ago. Although the label clarifies that “no crash means no sugar crash,” plaintiffs allege that they did experience a “crash.”
The lawsuits do not involve personal injury claims. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there have been at least 13 deaths linked to 5-Hour Energy. These incidents have raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with energy drinks — particularly since many of the drinks are aggressively marketed toward children and people exercising strenuously.
Experts estimate that each 5-Hour Energy “shot” contains more than 200 milligrams of caffeine, in addition to other ingredients that are not disclosed by the manufacturer. Because 5-Hour Energy is marketed as a “dietary supplement” instead of a food, manufacturers do not have to list ingredients on the label or prove it is safe.
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